Blues Deluxe? Absolutely! Anyone who has followed Joe’s career knows the diversity he possesses.
The multiple-genre approach can be the bane of great guitarists. But when you have talent that displays no parameters, why not explore the edge? Bonamassa has done that in the past, but on this release there is no identity crisis.
From the opening cut – a Texas tease rendition of BB’s “You Upset Me,” you may think you’re being set up for one more “tribute.” Well, just skip to cut two.
Bonamassa is all of 25, but has achieved a degree of maturity where age is no longer an element to consider. And he’s heard it one too many times; he’s been careful not to indulge his musical persona too far in the shadow of any particular Texas legend to the degree that he can’t step outside that box and cast his own shadow.
Blues aficionados are a rather staid bunch when it comes to change. But give a listen to this release and you’ll find it bordering on peerless. And give an extra ear to the rendition of Buddy Guy’s “Man of Many Words” and Albert Collins’ “Left Overs.” It’s a bit longer here, but no less powerful then the original.
An array of vintage gear is used throughout, and while it’s all listed, it’s up to the listener to figure out what’s used where.
One of the best “traditional” blues releases from late in the Year of the Blues, hopefully this is the beginning of a wider acceptance of this talent.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s June ’04 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.