"Hindsight" is the impressive collection overviewing his 30 years spanning solo career as a performer. Scotland born Aussie blues vocalist Jimmy Barnes opens all registers to make the revival of his finest songs a sheer magical experience, hitting you like an uppercut launched by his prizefighter dad. It is that working class fighting skill and his rough voice making Barnes such a stand out artist and hardworking recording artist. The man's illustrious career took shape in the early 70's joining the notorious Cold Chisel landing him worldwide recognition. After the Cold Chisel disbanded however, Jimmy Barnes took matters in his own hand, creating some of the finest blues and hard rock blended records in the genre, alongside some exceptionally well received soul albums hinting his outstanding showman skills and extraordinary vocal range.
His jaw dropping vocalic power is still in pristine shape. Raspy and powerful like in the ol' days, grinded on brimstone and drenched in agony, Barnes voice has stood the test of time firmly. Uncompromising and fierce Barnes takes on his newly recorded classics and does it with such enthusiasm and energy; the songs come alive on the first spin. No less than 17 of his classic tracks were re-recorded by the Aussie powerhouse who took picked up some friends to celebrate his 30th anniversary with. Illustrious names depicting his reputation amongst fellow musicians from all over the scene. Fresh in mind are his collaborations with guitar ace Joe Bonamassa present on this record on no less than 2 instant classics. "Too much ain't Enough" is just magical with the combination of soaring guitars and Barnes' bluesy and rough edged voice. On "Stone Cold" Joe and Jimmy are joined by Tina Arena, delivering an outstanding performance.
Fellow Aussie Baby Animals join Barnes on "Time will Tell", Keith Urban jumps in on the bluesy rumbler "Good Times" creating diversity with the master himself being the binding factor. Power and passion for music literally radiates off of the edges of this wonderful sonic blast.
"Working Class Man" sees Barnes and Jonathan Cain reunited for the hymn to working men in general. A collaboration which took shape in the mid-eighties and should have launched Barnes' career in the USA during the heydays of melodic rock. Even though "Freight Train Heart" was hailed by fans and press as one of rock's most memorable recordings, it did not cause crack open the US market. Lucky for us however the friendship between Cain and Barnes lasted leading to Journey teaming up on "Going Down Alone" as well. It's a remarkable collaboration and Journey larger than life sound blends extremely well with the roughness and energy unleashed by Jimmy. The diversity in styles of these collaborations is what makes this record highly enjoyable. "Ride Away the Night" featuring Steve van Zandt, whipping the Aussie working class directly together with the "Born in the USA" mentality from Steve's E-Street history.
Another magical moment is the excellent soul and swing outburst with Mahalia Barnes and the Soul Mates on the hard hitting "Stand Up", or the melodic chartbusters "I'd Die to be with You tonight" (feat. Diesel) and the "I'd rather be Blind" recorded with Jon Stevens.
The songs benefit from these diverse collaborations as well as from their revived rerecorded sound. "No Second Prize" swings like never before as where the blues injected Bonamassa collaborations count to be the best tracks both Joe and Jimmy have recorded. Aside this musical depth added, Mr. Barnes also showcases his fine choice in picking tunes that truly stand out because of the added panache. The album is perfectly balanced in pace and emotion.
Uncompromising energy explosions like "Lay down your Guns" (feat. Living End) and "Love and Hate" (feat. Shihad) are followed by melodic moments and the 3 quarter paced blues rockers, to be intervened by some of his finest ballads in which all registers are opened.
"When Your Love is gone" with Ruby Rodgers and the Thin Lids & "Walk On" (feat. David Campbell), or the drastic makeover of "I'm still on Your Side" with Bernard Fanning, prove this excellence.
Anyone up for more?
This "30:30 Hindsight" collection also comes as a 2 CD set as well as a 3 CD version containing even more of Jimmy Barnes' outstanding and varied music. It's the perfect addition to your collection, or the best way to get acquainted with the Australian blues rocker. Highlights are too many to mention, but make sure to check out his duet with Tina Turner on her anthem "Simply the Best" and the awe "When something is Wrong with my Baby" which he recorded with John Farnham. Classics alongside chartbusting Australian hit singles such as "Driving Wheels", "Love is Enough" or the exceptional "Waiting for the Heartache". All 11 tracks from the 2nd CD, display the wide and varied character of Barnes perfectly.
CD 3 contains another 12 tracks of which the acoustic "It will be Alright" and the rip roaring power ballad "Change of Heart" are two of his most memorable tracks ever. Fragile moments adding shade to the action-packed overhaul of the 1st CD in this package. This 3rd CD is a true crowd pleaser highlighting Barnes as the one off vocal performer he truly is. His soaring performances such as "Thankful for the Rain" show not only his deep cutting abilities vocally but also display a dismantling honesty as a lyricist.
Jimmy Barnes has had his up and downs during his 40 year spanning career. The long party nights with Cold Chisel left a mark on him battling alcohol addiction several times, and from 2007 onwards Barnes has found himself in the hospital being admitted for heart failure. Prior to this release Jimmy found himself hospitalized once more adding more lyrical fuel to the lingering fire of his timid and heart touching words.
It's these experiences, which carve a subdued mood in his later releases, prominent on this 3rd CD. On the other hand this Cd features cover versions of classic tracks Barnes has reshaped into completely new tunes. "Red Hot" he turned into a fire cracking rock'n rumble as where the glam classic "All the Young Dudes" is transformed into a soul blast.
Closing this collection is the perfect outro "Largspier Hotel", warping us back to his debuting days with laughter and tears. The song is built around a Celtic scale linking his roots and career together. It ploughs onward intimately with clapping and stomping and Jimmy's voice raspy as ever, telling his story in an almost campfire setting. It makes the album die out gracefully.
"30:30 Hindsight" not only offers a perfectly sliced chop from his varied catalogue, it also offers you insight in his career and growth as a performer and composer. Jimmy Barnes is gifted with a unique and powerful voice, which stands out in the genre. A voice he managed to maintain well and he has explored on many musical expeditions in his career. Whether it is soul or blues, melodic rock or powerful driven blues rock, Jimmy Barnes always manages to mold his music around his vocal chords, and the other way round. The man is a truly gifted magician vocally and a miracle worker lyrically....
For music fans unfamiliar with his work; this is your chance to get in lead with one of rock's best kept secrets. Jimmy Barnes simply has no equal!
98 out of 100
Review by Edwin van Hoof, 2014.