In 1987, John Hiatt, clean and sober and looking for an American record deal, was asked by an A&R man at a British label to name his dream band. After a little thought, Hiatt replied that if he had his druthers, he'd cut a record with Ry Cooder on guitar, Nick Lowe on bass, and Jim Keltner on drums. To Hiatt's surprise, he discovered all three were willing to work on his next album; Hiatt and his dream band went into an L.A. studio and knocked off Bring the Family in a mere four days, and the result was the best album of Hiatt's career. The musicians certainly make a difference here, generating a lean, smoky groove that's soulful and satisfying (Ry Cooder's guitar work is especially impressive, leaving no doubt of his singular gifts without ever overstepping its boundaries), but the real triumph here is Hiatt's songwriting. Bring the Family was recorded after a period of great personal turmoil for him, and for the most part the archly witty phrasemaker of his earlier albums was replaced by an wiser and more cautious writer who had a great deal to say about where life and love can take you. Hiatt had never written anything as nakedly confessional as "Tip of My Tongue" or "Learning How to Love You" before, and even straight-ahead R&B-style rockers like "Memphis in the Meantime" and "Thing Called Love" possessed a weight and resonance he never managed before. But Bring the Family isn't an album about tragedy, it's about responsibility and belatedly growing up, and it's appropriate that it was a band of seasoned veterans with their own stories to tell about life who helped Hiatt bring it across; it's a rich and satisfying slice of grown-up rock & roll.
Performance CreditsJohn Hiatt Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Vocals
Ry Cooder Electric Guitar,Sitar,Harmony,Vocal Harmony
Jim Keltner Drums
Nick Lowe Electric Bass,Harmony,Vocal Harmony
Technical CreditsJohn Hiatt Composer
John Chelew Producer
Margaret Goldfarb Reissue Production Coordination
Larry Hirsch Engineer
Joe Schiff Engineer
Jeffrey Gold Art Direction
Michael Hodgson Art Direction
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Bring the Family based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
If I were given the ultimatum of reducing my CD collection to only five titles, Bring The Family would assuredly be one of the first I would consider. Hiatt selected fellow bandmates Ry Cooder, Nick Lowe, and Jim Keltner- a veritable hierarchy in the pantheon of sought after studio musicians. The true coup is that most tracks on this album were recorded with few takes, and minimal production effects- in essence, a live album. Hiatt's collections of ballads and rockers in this effort have defined his place as one of the finest songwriters of his era, many big name artists have played his titles- from Bonnie Raitt to Clapton. While Hiatt has released other albums, all with their own outstanding moments, Bring The Family still remains my personal favorite.
John Hiatt's career had taken on a variety of styles, until Bring the Family. He really found his niche on this heartfelt and truly classic album. The beautiful ballads, Lipstick Sunset,Have a Little Faith in Me and Tip of My Tongue are among the best songs I have ever heard because of their honesty and sincerity. Ry Cooder's slide playing comes through in prismatic shades, but never overbearing. The r&b classic Memphis in the Meantime grooves along in a fine manner and the rest of the album weaves in and out between striking melodies and introspective lyrics that find redemption through personal tragedy and loss, to overcoming personal victory from substance addiction. This is truly a priceless classic that has been truly underappreciated and should be a must for anyone who knows John Hiatt's music or for someone who has not heard this great artist's music
Being one of the most sensitive & creative talents of ''the planet rock & roll'', Mr.Hiatt's long ''healthy liver'' journey begins with his strongest album ever. In songs like ''Lipstick Sunset'', ''Have A Little Faith In Me'', ''Stood Up'' and ''Learning How To Love You''; Mr.Hiatt's voice becomes an honest ''father teacher'' for every living soul who seems to be troubled with loving, forgiving & apologizing.
I would put this album up there with any album by any artist ever. Hiatt's song writing is second to none. You have to hear this album to understand. ''Have a Little Faith'' is one of my favorite songs of all time, by anybody. I have heard it hundreds of times and it still moves me every time I hear it. Whether you know Hiatt's music or not, don't miss owning this classic.