Nato Coles (Modern Machines, Used Kids) has finally delivered the definitive rock & roll full-length of his Minneapolis’-based, The Blue Diamond Band. With heart-on-his-sleeves influences ranging from: Bruce Springsteen & The Replacements, Nato has mastered writing a fucking great rock & roll song. Elements of country-twang and punk rock are soaked within the bones of these instantly memorable rock songs.
Recorded for a Chicago radio station in 1993, not long after the release of Perfectly Good Guitar, My Kind of Town finds John Hiatt mining his then-recent records for A&M — the classic 1987 comeback Bring the Family, its excellent 1988 successor Slow Turning, the highly polished 1990 LP Stolen Moments and, naturally, Perfectly Good Guitar, which was the record he was plugging — adding a few earlier tunes for good measure. His band is slick and professional, expertly vamping as Hiatt talks some jive at the start of “Child of the Wild Blue Yonder,” goosing his roots rock so it has a contemporary punch that, in retrospect, sounds slightly dated (the heavily flanged guitar on the opening solo rendition of “It’ll Come to You” sets the pace for everything that comes next). That said, Hiatt and crew sound quite good beneath the gloss and the set list — while missing a few recent Hiatt heavy-hitters, such as “Tennessee Plates” or “Memphis in the Meantime” — is robust and filled with good songs. Not a major thing but a good snapshot of where Hiatt was in 1993, when he was still in the mainstream and a crossover hit still seemed like a possibility.
Whilst touring across the US and Canada in support of Slow Turning, John Hiatt stopped off at Barrymore’s Music Hall in Ottawa on 19th January 1989, with this CD featuring the dynamic show performed that evening. With a wealth of tracks from both Slow Turning and Bring the Family, this superb show delights an ecstatic audience and sounds as electric now as it surely did when it was performed.