This is a recording of Joe Bonamassa paying homage to the British Blues Explosion. The music was recorded at Greenwich Music Time at The Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London on July 7, 2016. This is a collection of tracks that were for many the guitar soundtracks of our youth, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and more. The album will sit in the collections of lovers of blues, British Blues, those who love guitar-led music that sparks with raw energy and for everyone who was at this and the other concerts Joe Bonamassa played in 2016 celebrating British interpretation of the blues. (Bluesdoodles caught up when Joe Bonamassa Vintage Extravaganza Enthralls Colston Hall)
As with Beck, Page and Clapton the guitar was stunning but they needed a great band, and the band that joins them together was the might Yardbirds. Tonight it is the turn of Joe’s five-piece band added to tonal textures that evoked the music of the generation when British blues ruled with imagination, confidence and energy. This is music that speaks to us. The rhythm section sets the tone as Anton Fig’s drums and bassist Michael Rhodes join forces to give Joe B the deep grooves to launch his guitar magic from. Into the mix Reese Wynans’ sparkling finger ballet across the keys and that extra layer of guitar chords and shaping the melodies with rhythm guitar from Russ Irwin
The live album exudes the energy, you are transported back to Joe Bonamassa playing the blues that inspires him with passion and flair. The selection choice worked brilliantly in the live auditorium and the transfer on to recorded medium works perfectly. If you were there you are transported back to the explosive gig.
Opening with Becks Bolero Rice Pudding is the perfect introduction (if any was needed) to the scintillating blues sparking guitar wizardry from Joe and the immense power of the band that surrounds him. This is just the first track of the first CD we are in for a blues-powered rollercoaster ride of thrills and musical excitement. Take a breath and we are launched into Clapton’s Mainline Florida and vocals give the melody context. But in truth, this is an album about guitars and augmented by Reeses’ keys and rhythms that flow. Now the beat changes and Fig’s drumming introduces some boogie-woogie piano as we dip into Led Zeppelin for a Boogie With Stu. This is the mix of inspiration that shapes and forms an album that is a trip down a musical memory lane full of twists and turns taking you to magical lead breaks; as with John Mayall’s Double Crossing Time his influence in shaping the British scene could not go unrecognized. The piano work from Reese is superb and the guitar strings with molten heat as we sit back for the last track Motherless Children.
The second CD opens with Cream’s SWLABR, many found this exciting number as the ‘B’ side to Sunshine of Your Love. Joe, does capture the excitement and freshness of the sound that made us sit up and listen with pure joy and amazement. The guitar playing is exemplary as he recreates the sound. The Yardbirds, are heard on Little Girl with this flow that goes off at times in multiple directions, ups the tempo, increasing the static energy that created this explosion of sound.
Second instrumental Black Winter / Django takes us down a more mystical route. The guitar sound is spicy and the rhythm takes us to another place and time. The morphing of Black Winter with an instantly recognised Joe Bonamassa live cover Django is enticing, building so that time is suspended as you are held in a trance suspended from reality.
We are listening to a selection of covers that each tell a story of a period that has shaped modern music. This is the large piece of the jigsaw at the centre of the history of British popular music from blues to rock to metal and beyond. The explosive influence of the British Blues scene is all pervading. Yes, this is a covers album. More importantly, it is a personal tribute by a guitarist and artist (love him or hate him) has and continues to influence the music we listen to today. Every Joe Bonamassa Live album works, as he captures the energy of live performance frozen on whatever format you choose. The options all have advantages – Double CD, convenient, Double DVD immersing you in the live event and never to be forgotten the vintage and modern option Triple LP in Red White and Blue!
NINEdoodle paws out of TEN …
Joe Bonamassa – British Blues Explosion – Mascot Label Group
2CD – 2DVD – Blueray – 3LP (Coloured Vinyl Red, White & Blue)
Becks Bolero / Rice Pudding
Boogie With Stu
Let Me Love You Baby
Plynth (Water Down The Drain)
Double Crossing Time
Tea For One I Can’t Quit You Bab
Black Winter Django
How Many More Times