Before anthropomorphizing God and becoming a pop sensation, Osborne was a big-voiced but otherwise average blues-based bar-band singer, as documented in this collection of live tracks previously released through her indie label. No clues here in the songwriting (adequate), arrangements (unimaginative) or even singing (both Joplin and Raitt fixations) of the stardom to come. Inessential, except for fanatics.
Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to four stars (excellent).
To hear excerpts from the albums reviewed, call TimesLine and press * and the artist's corresponding four-digit code. Joan Osborne *5712
805 area code, call (818) 808-8463.