Chrissie Hynde – Valve Bone Woe

An alternative Great American Songbook? Approach Valve Bone Woe with open ears and it will bring rich rewards across most of its 14 tracks

Album Review by Alan O'Hare | 06 Sep 2019
  • Chrissie Hynde – Valve Bone Woe
Album title: Valve Bone Woe
Artist: Chrissie Hynde
Label: BMG
Release date: 6 Sep

Rock'n'roll hero Chrissie Hynde has joined the ranks of classic songwriters taking on a selection of jazz standards – but Valve Bone Woe is so much more interesting than anything released by Rod Stewart or Paul McCartney in this category.

It's jazz, Jack, but not as we know it. Hynde finds her voice caressing vowels and reaching for consonants over a selection of esoteric song choices touched by psychedelic edges that both enthral and engage. Producers Marius De Vries and Eldad Guettta, alongside the Valve Bone Woe Ensemble, have helped Hynde find the sweet spots on a selection of songs that bring to mind Iggy Pop's excursions into jazz or the sound of Bob Dylan's recent covers collections.

Choosing songs sung by Barbara Streisand and Nina Simone could be described as brave, but Hynde is a fearless singer who finds her own soul in most of what she performs. Openers How Glad I Am and Caroline, No bring groove and gravitas to the record, before string arrangements, horn sections, dub and electronica open up the palette of colours Valve Bone Woe offers. Hynde has said she may have found her inspiration for this album back in the 90s when she duetted with Frank Sinatra, but stunning takes on The Kinks' No Return (Ray Davies does Tropicália?!) and Nick Drake's River Man nudge the record into more original landscapes.

Representing a left turn late into a rock'n'roll life lived less ordinary, approach Valve Bone Woe with open ears and it will bring rich rewards across most of its 14 tracks (especially if you skip the Groove Armada-esque misstep of Naima). Pretenders with strings? There's no such attachments here.

Listen to: No Return, How Glad I Am, I Get Along Without You Very Well