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on 15 July 2014
"Terms Of My Surrender" is the twenty-second studio album by John Hiatt, the singer-songwriter with the soulful, gritty voice, and another highlight in a career that already spans four decades. In a bit of a departure from previous albums that slanted towards gravelly country-folk, the 11 tracks on his new record are mainly acoustic blues, with Hiatt even playing harmonica, something he hasn't done in several years.

Among my favorites on this album are the folksy album-opener "Long Time Coming," which is a Springsteen-ish track, with Hiatt starting out acoustically. It slowly grows into full instrumentation with a great guitar solo from Doug Lancio in the middle part, before ending acoustically again. Then you have the thumping back porch blues of "Face Of God," a 12 bar track where Hiatt asks: "How much more suffering, Before you see the face of God," and also makes the harmonica howl. Then you have the cheerful "Marlene," a deceptively simple ditty as exemplified by lyrics like "Marlene, Marlene, when you call my name, Marlene, Marlene, like a summer rain," but it's an incredible catchy and for sure will make "... the blues run and hide."

"Wind Don't Have To Hurry" is a banjo-driven track that also has female backing vocals to flesh out the song (although the "Na Na Na Na" edges close to getting a tad repetitive). The hobo jazz of title track "Terms Of My Surrender," which has some of the wittiest lyrics on the album: "Sometimes love can be so wrong, Like a fat man in a thong" (okay, now to get that image out of my head!) and which is a bit reminisced of Randy Newman. Then you have the gospel-flavored "Old People," a snarky song in which the 61-year old singer-songwriter takes a witty look at the older generation who's running out of time: "Old People are pushy, They don't have much time, They'll shove you in the coffee shop, Cut in front of you in the buffet line."

That's not to say that the understated but powerful "Nobody Knew His Name," the swampy "Baby's Gonna Kick" - again with his own train-whistle harmonica - and the blues-strut of "Nothing I Love," the gospel-influenced blues of "Here To Stay," a melancholy track in which he sings "Leaves are fallin', Winter's on my mind" and album-closer "Come Back Home" aren't great songs. They are. And like good wine, Hiatt's vocals appear to be improving with age. At age 61, he may have lost the top of his vocal register, but his whiskeyed voice suits the bluesy material on this album exceptionally well.

"Terms Of My Surrender" was produced by Doug Lancio, Hiatt's longtime guitarist, and we've got him to thank for challenging John to put his electric guitar aside and play acoustic. It was recorded off the floor with his touring band as in a live setting, and it truly sounds like Hiatt's sitting in your living room and jamming these songs with his band - or maybe a better analogy would be that you're sitting down for a beer in one of those old-style blues clubs, peering through a veil of cigarette smoke at the stage, where Hiatt and The Combo are having a great time. Recommended!
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on 21 July 2014
John Hiatt is obviously a man in a hurry, with no let-up in the rapid pace of his releases. And this one’s yet another good ‘un.

On his last album, the excellent “Mystic Pinball”, Hiatt lamented the fact that the blues couldn’t find him. Well, they’ve certainly found him (or, perhaps more accurately, he’s found them) this time on a set of songs rooted firmly in that genre. Eschewing his electric guitar this is largely an exercise in acoustic country blues, often bringing to mind his “Crossing Muddy Waters” (heavens, could that really have been 14 years ago?)

It’s noticeable how some of the fire has now gone, along with the top-end of Hiatt’s vocal range (a rather unpredictable tool at the best of times), but that’s hardly surprising given his advancing years. This is a much gentler John Hiatt than we’ve become used to of late, although happily there’s no loss of quality in the songwriting. Lyrically, at least, he remains head and shoulders above much of what passes for the competition.

In what is a strong set across the board “Long Time Coming”, “Face of God”, “Wind Don’t Have To Hurry” “Baby’s Gonna Kick” and “Here To Stay” are especially memorable.

The old-time title track sounds like something that Bob Dylan might easily have slipped into “Love and Theft” without anyone even noticing the join. And the sheer political incorrectness of “Old People” pushes Hiatt firmly into Randy Newman territory. He can get away with it because…well, he now qualifies.

Effortless and enjoyable.
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on 26 July 2014
Bit of a mixed bag I think. On the plus side, the recording and production are excellent, great playing all round and Hiatt's voice sounds wonderfully worn but without some of the harshness that can creep in. Some vintage Hiatt songs as well, most notably to my mind the opening track 'Long Time Comin' and 'Wind Don't Have to Hurry'. However, overall the album sounds a bit one paced to my ears with a few too many bluesy, shuffle songs that Hiatt knocks out in his sleep. These feel a bit lazy, both melodically and lyrically, slipping into predictability on both counts. So, not a bad album maybe, with many great aspects, but a missed opportunity when with a bit more focus, urgency and quality control it could have been up there with 'Crossing Muddy Waters'.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 21 July 2014
This album of predominantly acoustic blues serves as further evidence of Hiatt refusing to grow old gracefully, but with a wicked glint in his eye. There are echoes of Springsteen, Dylan, Steve Earle even Neil Young perhaps which is no coincidence as they are all "elder statesmen" producing some of their, if not best work, certainly some of their most challenging in recent times. Hiatt's voice has that reassuringly crumbly timbre which invests the songs with a wordly wisdom that is ably supported by the mostly sparse backing and harmonies. This is one of those albums that you will turn to when you want a dependably enjoyable listen. Great stuff!
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on 26 January 2015
Been a fan of John Hiatt since 'Bring the Family' back in the '80s and this is a very good album indeed - think late Johnny Cash. The voice is not what it once was, which is no surprise, but his phrasing and timbre are still intact as is his ability to write songs which are up there with best in Americana. For the hi-fi fraternity this 180g vinyl pressing is superb ( and excellent value for money at less than £15).
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on 12 February 2016
If you were a JH regular and someone played this CD and said 'guess who ?' it would take maybe half a verse for you to get it right. This is solid fare, unmistakably John, with most of his vocal range still intact and his song-writing following familiar lines. More acoustic than electric, it isn't ground-breaking, but as on previous albums, he suddenly hits a note or phrase that is so right on the money that it reconfirms just how good he is. Happy to have this.
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on 13 September 2014
Best John Hiatt album in I guess twenty years at least since he released his album Walk On in 1995. The albums since then have been patchy but this album 'Terms of my Endearment ' is stunning there isn't a bad song on it . It is a little bluesy but not full on more gentle and acoustic. Before you buy listen to the sample player on Amazon but I'll be amazed, if you're a Hiatt fan, this doesn't take you back to his classic song writing of the 80's and early 90's.
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on 25 September 2014
This is John Hiatt in top blues form. He has been churning out a stream of great albums lately, but this is my favourite in years. Gritty voice, as usual, great melodies, Doug Lancio on the guitar (a bit more subdued than usual but still on top), and "the combo" still there if not mentioned. A must have for Hiatt fans (who don t need me telling them ;).
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on 2 September 2014
He's becoming more laid back and reflective as he gets older, but I like John Hiatt that way. The largely acoustic approach to album brings out the bitter sweet emotion of his songs and his voice has a world weary feel with a poignant element that really shines through against quieter instruments. One of the best songwriters out there.
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VINE VOICEon 29 October 2014
First class album from John Hiatt. His writing just gets better and better.

If you know John Hurt - it's a must.

If you don't know John Hurt and want a good starting point, this will fit the bill nicely.
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