Featuring the ubiquitous — and to some controversial — Top 10 single “One of Us,” Joan Osborne’s major-label debut Relish was released 20 years ago this past March. To celebrate the anniversary, the album is being reissued October 30th in CD, digital and vinyl form.
Osborne, who continues to tour solo, and has shared the stage with different Grateful Dead offshoots and as a member of the Americana supergroup Trigger Hippy, say the album remains a touchstone for fans.
“I still play a lot of the songs from that album. I feel proud that it’s a record that people come up to me every show and they say, ‘I listened to this record yesterday and it stands the test of time and it’s something I keep going back to again and again,'” Osborne tells Rolling Stone Country. “Or people will say, ‘This is a show that me and my dad can come to together because we both like your music.’ I feel really proud of that.”
Produced by Rick Chertoff (Cyndi Lauper), Relish was highlighted by the raucous “Right Hand Man,” a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Man in the Long Black Coat” and the irreverently spiritual “One of Us.” Written by Eric Bazilian of the Hooters, “One of Us” was polarizing with its lyrics asking, “What if God was one of us/just a slob like one of us?” Bazilian’s acoustic demo version of the song appears as a bonus track on the CD reissue.
Looking back, the bluesy singer says it was the song’s pop ballad nature that she herself questioned when it exploded on radio.
“There was a moment where I maybe felt a little bit misinterpreted as an artist, because that song got so much more attention than many of the other tunes. I felt, ‘Well, wait, there’s a lot more going on here and don’t pigeonhole me as a little pop singer or whatever,'” Osborne says. “But you have to look at those as pretty minor complaints for having a song that had that kind of reach and that kind of popularity and impact. That song sent people to the album as a whole and allowed them to see that there were more dimensions to what I was doing. I’d be hard-pressed to be anything but overjoyed about the success of that song.”
In addition to the “One of Us” demo, specific formats of the Relish 20th Anniversary Edition will include various bonus tracks, unreleased songs and live performances. Osborne is currently on the road with Mavis Staples.