Steaming Hot Black Coffee Courtesy Of Hart Bonamassa Combo

Steaming Hot Black Coffee Courtesy Of Hart Bonamassa ComboSteaming Hot Black Coffee Courtesy of Beth Hart Joe Bonamassa Combo

Black Coffee is only as tasty as the beans selected and then the careful roasting to leave a smooth, tasty brew with depths of flavours and tastes to excite those taste buds. Has this been achieved as Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa collaborate once again on Black Coffee?  We have waited four years for the album to be brewed and the wait is worth it the tonal textures and shapes excite adding new nuances to the selection of songs chosen by Hart & Bonamassa for our aural stimulation. The production takes the music and adds that magic to the sound just as master coffee roasters use all of their sense so does Kevin ‘The Caveman’ Shirley.

The songs have been selected to touch your soul as they have been re-imagined and given magical sparkle to the lyrics as they are vocalized through the phenomenal vocal chords of Ms Beth Hart. With the guitar playing of Joe Bonamassa that laughs, cry’s and squeals as the emotion are wrung from the tracks by his six-strings. Added to the mix Hart & Bonamassa have surrounded themselves with musicians who understand intuitively the way Beth & Joe work. The Black Coffee is definitely steaming, as the album invigorates the classics.

Opening the album is the guitar of Joe Bonamassa, full on the distorted ear-catching heavy rock with the horns picking up the notes and heralding the vocals of Beth. Whenever I hear Beth her voice sends that luscious tingle of pure pleasure down my spine. Give It Everything You Got, the Edgar Winter number from his White Trash album is a masterstroke as the opener as it is telling you this is music that has been blended with skill and understanding and you are filled with the warmth of soulful sounds.  Turning next to Etta James, Damn Your Eyes. Her voice is the focus of the album as Hart blends the inner chemistry of great women singers, to simply compare her to Janis Joplin or Nina Simone is just not enough. Her vocals are power and vulnerability pure and dirty. She is Beth Hart and her vocals are incomparable as she makes this number her own with a warmth that adds to the inner mystery of the number.

The Title track, Black Coffee associated with Humble Pie & Steve Marriott was originally sung by Ike & Tina Turner. She sings each word with a tonal depth that you just want it to go on and on Black Coffee, dark, hot and tasty. Beth’s voice captures every sip of coffee that invigorates your soul. The instrumentation is minimal, chords from keys plus the addition of backing vocals echoing Beth’s refrain of Black Coffee.  Three songs in – I am well and truly hooked. Every number is superb, definitely an album that once loaded stays on re-play.

Now we travel to Broadway with Lullaby of The Leaves, the temperature changes. The sound is a gentle soothing refrain with the guitar work from Bonamassa adding to the quality of re-imagining Etta James’ number from Hello Dolly. We are now calm, refreshed and ready for what else the album unfolds. This is the perfect duet of vocals and guitar captured by Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa, the intensity is palpable.

We are all Saved by the lyrical dexterity that is demonstrated by Beth on a number covered by many and sung originally by LaVern Baker.  The tempo is picked up and we are now moving with the vibe created. Then a classic has been done so many times you do wonder do we need another one? Yes, we do! The Howlin’ Wolf number grounds the album with this version that has a sting in its tail a mix of coffee ground and cream. Beth’s vocals drawl through the lyrics with the splash of guitar and the judiciously added tone from keys.

Closing out with Addicted from a collaboration that sparkles and shines every track has a dimension that thrills, surprises and leaves with a musical smile of delight. Choosing not to close with a well-known, establish classic they have left one surprise in the coffee pot a track from Austrian trio Waldeck a new name for me. Shirley came across this 2007 trip-hop leaning album whilst on holiday and “shazamed” it. If you weren’t Addicted to the Beth & Joe combo you will be after a swig of this layered and tuneful album. Black Coffee that will always hit all the right spots.

 

Black Coffee – Beth Hart & Joe BonamassaMascot Label Group

TENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track Listing

  1. Give It Everything You Got
  2. Damn Your Eyes
  3. Black Coffee
  4. Lullaby Of The Leaves
  5. Why Don’t You Do Right
  6. Saved
  7. Sitting On Top Of The World
  8. Joy
  9. Soul On Fire
  10. Addicted
  11. Baby I Love You (Bonus Track)

 

Band Members
Anton Fig (Drums/Percussion)
Ron Dziubla (Saxophone)
Lee Thornburg (Horn Arrangements/Trumpet/Trombone)
Reese Wynans (Keyboards)
Michael Rhodes (Bass)
Rob McNelley (Rhythm Guitar)
Paulie Cerra (Saxophone)
Mahalia Barnes (Backing Vocals)
Jade Macrae (Backing Vocals)
Juanita Tippins (Backing vocals)

Recorded at the Palms, Las Vegas

 

Steaming Hot Black Coffee Courtesy Of Hart Bonamassa Combo

Joe Bonamassa inspired to explore Blues of Desperation

Joe Bonamassa inspired to explore Blues of Desperation

Joe Bonamassa inspired to explore Blues of Desperation

 

There is a definite blues scent of originality within the latest album, Blues of Desperation, from Joe Bonamassa. The whole album takes on a journey through the geography of the blues as the album explores the physical landscape of rivers, mountains and valleys by train. Other tracks explore emotional blues of love lost, misery and desperation. The eleven original tracks have a depth and musical arrangements that augment and add a wisdom to the lyrics. Building on his last studio recording Different Shades of Blue.

The opening track This Train gets the journey underway with a raw rhythm and curling guitar riff that mimics the movement of a train moving along the tracks with purpose and determination. The instrumentation at times is muted allowing vocals and lyrics to drive the soul of the album as on Mountain Climbing. This builds with backing vocal and guitar that grinds reflecting the struggles of the poor working man. The track is poignant and relevant for life today as in the historical context of the track just replace toiling in the fields with toiling in the factory or office! Where will we be taken next as swampy guitar sounding more Latin than Southern Rock we are off for a drive with a swing in our hips. The drive is a solution to stress as Joe B’s vocals sooth and ‘put on an old blues song. And let our troubles be gone Lets Drive”.

Nearly half way into the album and the journey takes up deep into the Blues of Desperation. The guitar is full of pleading and the low feeling of desperation, the drum beat is harsh and enduring like your brain whirling when desperation is like staring into an abyss of tears. The track is a sonic description of the emotional rollercoaster you feel when you are desperate, have now where to turn. Through the miasma whirl of instruments there is a touch of the east with Joe’s vocals a track dripping with honest emotion as it fades away. Phew! After all the emotion we take another return with the first single of the album The Valley Runs Low. The beat opens up and the tempo has a lightness and the backing vocals make this country fueled blues ditty flow from the speakers.

The urban blues and the electric guitar puts you in a spin for You Left Me Nothin’ But The Bill and the Blues, the way we have come to know through albums and live shows. This album ain’t leaving us there, no the next station is Distant Lonesome Train. There is a real urgency and the drums beat out the feeling of the album as we explore the lonesome trail. The driving guitar and keys gives the Lonesome Train a real intensity.

With horns and an easy feel Livin’ Easy takes us back to the time of speakeasies and is redolent of the last in the structure of the melody. Like the rest of the album this penultimate track fits in perfectly. Closing with What I’ve Known For A Long Time a blues number that curls around the journey Joe has shared with you through his music for over an hour. Joe Bonamassa inspired to explore Blues of Desperation has hit upon a winning blues drenched formula of delights. Why, the tonal context of plugging into a Fender amp and using the power of his fingers on the six-strings creates a rhythmical sound that drives Bonamassa on an exciting road of twenty-first century blues.

The album is eleven tracks that are about more than the considerable guitar skills of Grammy nominated Joe B. It is about how music and blues-rock musicians reflect back to listeners experiences they can connect to. Joe Bonamassa inspired to explore Blues of Desperation has created an album that is drenched in the blues and is a mature reflection of urban twenty-first century blues.

There is a swaggering attitude throughout that adds not a smugness to the production but assuredness of an album that is complete. This is the first time Bluesdoodles has given Joe Bonamassa a 10 this is an inspired album that hit my blues-spot. This is a new approach more muted deeper tones, the result a powerful statement an album with direction and purpose.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD TEN pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

 

Joe Bonamassa – Blues of Desperation – Mascot Record Label/Provogue Out 25th March 2016

Track Listing

1. This Train
2. Mountain Climbing
3. Drive
4. No Good Place For The Lonely
5. Blues of Desperation
6. The Valleys Run Low
7. You Left Me Nothin’ But The Bill And The Blues
8. Distant Lonesome Train
9. How deep Does This River Run
10. Livin’ Easy
11. What I’ve Known For A Very Long Time

 

Some Facts and then a video for you…

Bonamassa and his long-time producer Kevin Shirley (Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Journey) convened at Nashville’s Grand Victor Sound Studios (formerly known as RCA Studio A), and during an intense, five-day period they recorded 11 galvanizing songs with a crack group of musicians including drummers Anton Fig and Greg Morrow, bassist Michael Rhodes, keyboardist Reese Wynans, horn players Lee Thornburg, Paulie Cerra and Mark Douthit, and background singers Mahalia Barnes, Jade McRae and Juanita Tippins.