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John Hiatt:: Master of Disaster (Album Review)

1987’s “Bring The Family” put John Hiatt on the map. Writing songs for others and releasing a bunch of decent, but somewhat forgettable albums from as early as 1974, it was Hiatt’s collaboration with Ry Cooder, Nick Lowe, and Jim Keltner on “Bring The Family” that opened the ears of just about everyone. A near-perfect release, very similar in style to Elvis Costello’s “King Of America.” Since then, Hiatt has unfortunately released too many records with too many of the same themes, sounds, and ideas. And his voice has not aged well, becoming more nasal than what is comfortable. At times he makes Dylan sound like Joni Mitchell. Sure, most of Hiatt’s mediocre releases are better than most people’s strong releases. And along the way, he has given us some damn fine music. (listen to “Crossing Muddy Water) But, the fact remains, Hiatt needs a winner. “Master Of Disaster” is that winner. Well…almost. Another collaboration, this time with the Dickinson boys, better known as the North Mississippi All Stars, Hiatt’s new record does not break any new ground. As a matter of fact, on first listen, you wouldn’t think it was a new record at all. But I stayed with it. I respect Hiatt and I’ve loved the work of the NMAS. To quote a friend of mine, “the new Hiatt is oddly terrific.” Still not sure what that means, but I agree. The record works. (review by Sal: NYCD)