Soul Deep

Jimmy Barnes

(CD - #5032645)

Review by Jonathan Lewis

Jimmy Barnes did a funny thing when he released Soul Deep. Gone was the long hair and leather jacket. Barnes was now a soul crooner, complete with '50s suits and slicked hair. He performed soul standards like Jackie Wilson's "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher," Sam and Dave's "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby," and Ike and Tina Turner's "River Deep, Mountain High." But the change is only a superficial one: Barnes is not a soul singer, and instead chooses to belt out these classics as if they were "Working Class Man."

In other words, depending on your viewpoint, this album is either an abomination or a refreshing new take on some classic Motown songs. Purists will hate Barnes' gravelly delivery of these songs (which does descend into pointless screaming far too often), but Barnes has assembled a surprisingly cohesive tribute to '60s soul. It's typical Barnes, but with a twist, making this a brave, yet rewarding, step away from his stale blue-collar commercial rock.