Joe Bonamassa Blues Deluxe Vol 2 album review


Twenty years since the release of his best-selling album ‘Blues Deluxe,’ which celebrated what the US government had declared “the year of the blues” with a mix of originals and reinterpretations of classic songs, superstar Joe Bonamassa is taking stock of how far he and the genre have come with Blues Deluxe Vol. 2, out October 6th via J&R Adventures. Featuring two new originals and eight new covers spanning some of the most important names in the blues – from Bobby “Blue” Bland and Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac to Albert King – Blues Deluxe 2 finds Bonamassa returning to his roots and giving new life to the classic tracks that have informed his own artistry.

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We all know Joe Bonamassa doesn't stop and he is always on the road and reinventing the blues from album to album and show to show from night to night.

20 years since the release of Blues Deluxe and with Josh Smith producing we see Joe and his band in their element and truly showing how far Joe has come in that time frame not only in his guitar playing but also as vocalist which is now showing he has 2 world class instruments.

Over the course of 43 minutes with I have to say a stunning production from Josh Smith with every instrument given their place and time to breathe.

Joe's current band of Josh Smith on guitar ,Calvin Turner on bass ,Lemar Turner on drums and the legend that is Reese Wynans on Keys and B3 with background vocals from Jade Mcrae , Dannielle DeAndrea ,Mahalia Barnes and Charles Jones all more than play their part.

Horns give the channels the Tower Of Power across the album and the horns and string arrangements from Calvin Turner only add to the aural majesty.

Opener Twenty-Four Hour Blues (originally performed by Bobby “Blue” Bland) is a laid back blues number with deep orchestration from the horns and strings throughout and Joe from the start showing off how his vocal capability that has improved so much over the last 20 years. The lengthy guitar solo at the end of the song of course shows that side of his development is immense too and why he is now among the top players on the planet.

It’s Hard But It’s Fair (originally performed by Bobby Parker) has Joe backed up with the horns and background vocals on the choruses and his bluesy ad lib playing throughout the verses is a joy to hear.Lemar Turner on drums drives the song with increasing velocity as the song ends and look forward to seeing how that part develops on the live stage.

Well, I Done Got Over It  (originally performed by Guitar Slim) swings from the first note and you can imagine it being played in a smokey blues club back in the day .Joe's vocal adds to the swing and the horns interplay with Reese is superb.

I Want to Shout About It (originally performed by Ronnie Earle & The Broadcasters) has Joe again backed up on the chorus and verses by background vocals and horns. Beautiful Reese organ solo mid song as the band continue with the swinging beat before Joe hits a stunning short guitar solo before Paulie Cerra blows us away with a superb saxophone solo too before the outro sees everyone backing up Joe's guitar solo too.

Win-O   (originally performed by Pee Wee Crayton) is superb with a slow beat and Joe's vocal drawl and Reese lays notes all over it as only he can. Horns then appear mid song and Joe's picked note add libs pierce the song before his mid song guitar solo is lengthy with added speed and dexterity and feel at times needed. The production again shines with horns adding to the depth of the sound against Joe's soloing and never fighting for space.

 Hope You Realize It (Goodbye Again)  *original song written by Joe Bonamassa & Tom Hambridge is driven by Lemar on drums and Calvin's bass is bubbling alongside the drums and you just smile at the musicianship involved and how lucky we are to hear such talent. Joe's mid song solo is full of picked held notes and all the while Calvin is playing his ass of underneath. Reese plays us out with a solo that again will be embellished live I am sure.

Lazy Poker Blues (originally performed by Fleetwood Mac) is a fast paced number with Lemar again prominent and driving the song to new heights. Straight out of first chorus and into Joe's guitar soloing and then back to another verse and chorus before more Joe soloing to his heart's content. Reese then lays down another of his just perfect solo's in the outro.

You Sure Drive a Hard Bargain  (originally performed by Albert King) is more laid back with Joe trading guitar add libs alongside his vocals. Horns swing in the background and Calvin takes it down a notch with no loss in power. 

The Truth Hurts Feat Kirk Fletcher and Josh Smith (originally performed by Kenny Neal) is fantastic from note one. Josh Smith then Kirk Fletcher then Joe trade vocals and guitar solo's and you can only imagine the smiles in the studio as this develops. Horns and rhythm swing behind them all keeping the beat and letting the 3 amigos do their thing and the outro with all 3 guitar soloing is a dream scenario for all of us.

Is It Safe To Go Home  *original song written by Josh Smith is quite simply and here's big words for a new song the best ballad Joe has ever done. I actually started listening to the album with this song don't ask me why though?

From the first note and that tone on Joe's guitar my jaw dropped. Josh and Joe set out to show the world the difference in Joe's ability as a vocalist and guitar player and performer in the 20 years since the original Blues deluxe album well here it is in 6 and a half minutes.

The production shines through and Joe's voice is deep and emotional and shows his development in every note sung. The main guitar tone of held notes is dripping in tone feel and emotion with every delicious note.

You can see him centre stage back arched during the main mid song solo which increases in tempo and the crowd on their feet showing their appreciation.

Background vocals add to the depth and the song ends with another guitar solo.

It is stunning and I feel privileged to be able to share with the world it's beauty.

All I want to do is press play again and relive it time and again.

Blues Deluxe Vol 2 will be looked at in 20 years time when we get Vol 3 at the showcase of a musician at the top of his game and who knows where we will follow him through over that next time frame but I for one can't wait to see.

Joe Bonamassa thank you.

Photo Credit: © Adam Kennedy

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