Review: Joe Bonamassa – Blues Of Desperation

Well 2016 seems to be the year of Blues supremacy. We are only getting to the end of March and there have been some brilliant highlights thus far. On the live front, seeing King King playing an arena tour with Thunder and winning a mass of new fans was right up there. On the recording front we have seen two stunning releases from Stevie Nimmo and Ben Poole.

As good as all these were you just need to leave it to Joe to step it up to an altogether different level. Any budding blues musician from amateur to pro just sit down on your ass and listen…the master is at work. “Blues Of Desperation” is his twelfth album and for me it takes me back to “Sloe Gin” and “The Ballad Of John Henry” (yes it is that bloody good).

“This Train” kicks off the album with an upbeat, almost country vibe and the master of reverb is back and putting a smile on my face in seconds. The two year wait for this album is gone in an instant. “Mountain Climbing” hits us with a full on classic rock riff with serious hints of “Lenny Kravitz”. I was not expecting this song but wow did I love it from the off. It went on repeat after repeat.

And yet another surprise with the song “Drive”. If I shut my eyes I could very well be listening to a Tarantino soundtrack. Listen to the lazy licks and back porch vocals. This one is a slow burner that will haunt you. “No Good Place For A Lady” clocks in at over eight minutes and with that you know you are in for a complete masterclass in guitar and I can assure you you are not going to be disappointed. It is more of a traditional blues number, without the guitar work it is a great song and with that you have an absolute classic. I got lost in that guitar and I was pulling more blues faces than should be allowed (maybe I should not have been listening on the train, where did everyone go?).

The title track is just beautiful, from that wah guitar and the almost Egyptian feel in the intro to the dusty, low vocals it is just perfect. I love the different direction on this. Is there nothing this man cannot do on a guitar(no need to answer that people).  “The Valley Runs Low” kicks back into the country feel with a whole bag full of The Eagles. For some reason I can see this song playing at a wedding at the end of the night. It just has a real happy go lucky feeling. Next up is ” You Left Me Nothing But The Bill And The Blues” and with this track that is all you need. Classic Blues from start to finish and just let me know how much the bill is as I will happily pay it Joe.

What a riff for “Distant Lonesome Train”! The drums and Joe’s vocals really cry out for your attention on this one. Get some headphones on and you will see what I mean. When this man rocks up the blues it is a thing of sheer beauty, no more, no less. Here is a question for you…have you ever heard Joe play Iron Maiden? With this intro you now have. I will leave you to figure out which song but this is another belter. Rock and Blues melded to perfection.

For “Livin’ Easy” you have just walked into a smoky old Jazz club. The old man on the keys is tinkling away and the sax is screaming for your attention. The guitar takes a back seat and it is all about Joe’s voice until the acoustic comes out and you can just envisage the man beating the crap out of a dilapidated old Hofner. We finish the astounding album with ” What I’ve Known For A Very Long Time”. Back to good old time Blues, we get the slow guitars and the sob story that only Blues can do.

“Blues Of Desperation” is class from the opening riff until the very last touch of the ivories. I cannot bestow enough praise on this album and for all those millions of Bonamassa fans out there, you are in for the treat of your life. Roll on his UK tour later this year. This is one not to be missed, especially now that Joanne Shaw Taylor has been added as support.

Review Ritchie Birnie

Joe Bonamassa in Concert: A Salute to the British Blues Explosion (UK Tour)   Joe Bonamassa pays homage to the music of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page  24 Hour Ticket Hotline: 0844 844 0444 HOUGHTON TOWER                                                         SATURDAY 2nd JULY 2016 GLASGOW CLYDE AUDITORIUM                                 SUNDAY 3rd JULY 2016 BRISTOL COLTON HALL                                                  TUESDAY 5th JULY 2016 LONDON GREENWICH MUSIC TIME FESTIVAL   THURSDAY 7th JULY 2016 NEWARK CASTLE                                                                FRIDAY 8th JULY 2016  ]]>

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