Rolling Stone (5/4/95, p.69) - 4 Stars - "...What's especially winning about [Joan Osborne] is her range: Sexy and earnest, her voice, all on its own, conveys whole choirs of feeling..."
Entertainment Weekly (Spring 2000, p.166) - Ranked #10 in EW's "Top 10 albums of the '90s"
Entertainment Weekly (12/29/95-1/5/96, p.131) - Ranked #1 on EW's Top 10 Albums Of 1995.
Entertainment Weekly (3/10/95, p.69) - "...Osborne, who's earned a formidable rep through constant touring, has Springsteen's gift for expressing regular folks' pain and pleasures. Especially the pleasures..." - Rating: A-
Q (1/96, p.143) - 3 Stars - Good - "...effectively showcases her strong, bluesy delivery..."
Village Voice (2/20/96) - Ranked #11 in Village Voice's 1995 Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll.
New York Times (Publisher) (1/6/96, p.C16) - Included on Jon Pareles' list of the Top 10 Albums of '95 - "...her gutsy voice moves from blues growls to Balkan glottal stops, while the band locks into swaggering vamps..."
NME (Magazine) (3/9/96, p.41) - 7 (out of 10) - "...Comparisons of Osbourne's gravelly squeals and sobs to one Janis Joplin are inevitable....For once, 1.3 million Americans weren't wrong..."
Personnel: Joan Osborne (vocals, acoustic guitar, percussion); Rick DiFonzo (acoustic & electric guitars); William Wittman (electric guitar); Larry Campbell (fiddle); Wade Schuman (harmonica); Chris Palmaro (electric piano, Mellotron, organ); Andy Kravitz, Sammy Merendino (drums, percussion); Rick Chertoff (percussion); Leo Osborne, Catherine Russell (background vocals).
Recorded at Big Blue, Katonah, New York and The Crawlspace, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
RELISH was nominated for the 1996 Grammy Award for Album Of The Year. The single "One Of Us" was nominated for 1996 Grammys for Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. "St. Teresa" was nominated for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. Joan Osborne was nominated for Best New Artist.
"Spider Web" was nominated for a 1997 Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.
Liner Note Author: Chris Talbott.
Recording information: Big Blue, Katonah, NY; Pie Studio, Glen Cove, NY; The Crawlspace, Philadelphia, PA.
Photographer: Terry Richardson.
Joan Osborne cut her teeth on the Greenwich Village club circuit, and with her major label debut, RELISH, she confidently shows off the fruits of paying her dues. Osborne's music starts with a raspy vocal style that is stock for the musical bouillabaisse that she cooks up.
Osborne's roots lie in Kentucky and like Janis Joplin, another southern songbird, she has a voice that easily goes from a sexy growl to a sassy purr. Aided by Eric Bazilian and Rob Hyman of Hooters fame, Osborne mixes in distinctive covers (Bob Dylan, Sonny Boy Williamson) with her own offbeat originals. A snippet of an Alan Lomax field recording of Nell Hampton's "The Airplane Ride" prefaces the theological musings of "One Of Us," which wonders whether God may be an anonymous being shuffling along as one of the faceless masses. Omar Hakim's drumming paces "Spider Web," a song about a world where Ray Charles can see.
Though Osborne loves to delve into religious mysticism, she isn't afraid to cut loose with frisky abandon. "Right Hand Man" is a randy romp with a love-starved Osborne looking for lust, while "Let's Just Get Naked" uses a plodding fuzz guitar as a backdrop to suggest a way to avoid ennui instead of filling a burning need.