Marking a half-century in the music business is reason enough for a party, and it’s a pleasure to hear an old warhorse like Bonds (metaphorically, at least) dancing on the tables and giving thanks for his prolonged good health and hunger for rock. Let Them Talk may only be his third album of new material in 25 years, but it’s clear he’s lost none of his earlier spark.
Have Mercy and I’m Gone tread an easy blues groove, all economical guitar lines and gospel-tinged backing vocals draping themselves around Bonds’ sweet high register. His deep soul lungs get a proper workout on the ballad She’s A Woman and a testifying title track that would have been perfect for Otis Redding in his prime.
The record may not have as many high watermarks as the early 80s brace Bonds recorded with Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band, nor the full-blooded vigour of his 60s hits, but it’s still a powerful performance for a 70-year-old. It’s an age-defying joy in a rocked-up world where it’s always Quarter To Three.