Home Read Classic Album Review: Robert Palmer | Drive

Classic Album Review: Robert Palmer | Drive

The suave crooner's blues outing might be a cliche, but he pulls it off anyway.

This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Fading Rock Star Cliche Album No. 1: The oldies set. Fading Rock Star Cliche Album No. 2: The blues disc.

Suave video drone Robert Palmer resorted to the first way back in ’92. It’s hard not be at least a little surprised it took him this long to get around to No. 2. Ah well, better late than never. And despite the banality of Drive’s concept, you have to admit Palmer could do — and has done — a lot worse.

As always, he has damn fine taste in tunes — this set includes chestnuts like Why Get Up?, Mama Talk To Your Daughter, Hound Dog, I Need Your Love So Bad and even ZZ Top’s TV Dinners. And while Palmer croons ’em as slick and sophisticated as you’d expect, he’s also smart enough to enlist a backing band with enough authentic blues grit and Cajun gumbo to keep him from seeming too smooth for the room. Dashes of Indian-flavoured melody, Caribbean lilt and N’Awleans boogie, meanwhile, offer enough diversity to keep the disc from being a one-track affair. For a musical cliche, Drive isn’t as boring an outing as you expect.