Monday, 4 April 2016

CD Review - Joe Bonamassa Blues of Desperation and Jeff Healey - Heal my Soul

Joe Bonamassa - Blues of Desperation

I ordered this a day or so before the gig previously reviewed.  It arrived a few days after.  So I'd heard some of the tunes at the gig before hearing them on the recorded version.  Overall a terrific album, possibly his best yet, in terms of performance, song writing, sound and energy.  The album kicks off with uptempo blues rocker This Train and then into one of the albums highlights the Zep like riff laden Mountain Climbing.  These set the scene for the early part of the album - tight superbly executed blues rock.  The tone of all instruments is to die for frankly Kevin Shirley is undoubtedly one of the best producers around in terms of getting a band to all individually sound superb.

Drive the pre-release single is a slower more Chris Rea/Mark Knopfler sounding gentle sound with some great percussion playing.  No place for the lonely is another highlight tipping it's hat strongly in the direction of Gary Moore for me.   What I've Known for a Very Long Time is the closer and is a superb tribute to the late great BB King, I'm presuming that it was with the lyrical guitar intro the slow swing blues beat and super brass section stabs it sounds just like the BB of the 70s to me.  I'd also say this album has the best studio recorded singing from JB I've ever heard frankly.

Overall a really great album that hardened fans like me will lap up.  Will it find new fans?  It might do as some of the songs whilst in the Bonamassa style do push into new areas of the genre that he's not been renowned for playing before.  I believe it has hit new sales records for a JB release already so maybe some new fans out there are picking up on it.

My only downpoint was somewhere about 75% in there seem to be one or two tracks notable The Valley Runs Low which whilst a good song doesn't seem to sit perfectly in this collection.

Jeff Healey - Heal My Soul

First album in 15 years from Jeff, I've seen it billed like that believe it or not.  Given sadly Jeff passed away in 2008 that's hardly a surprise then!  His estate have managed to find a collection of unfinished and unreleased tracks that they have been able to polish up.  This all sounds like one of those "Oh boy, maybe they shouldn't have released all of that?" type scenario... remember some of those posthumous releases featuring Jimi Hendrix in the 70s?  Anyway this selection of songs doesn't fit into that mould at all.  This is frankly a stonking set of songs and I really pleased they've seen the light of day.

We kick off with Daze of the Night - this is Jeff at his incendiary best, heavy blues rock in the tradition of Cream et al.  His Strat is being played within an inch of it's life it seems throughout!  Overall the collection here is more heavy blues rock like this with some more AOR radio friendly stuff like Kiss The Ground You Walk On.

If you ever liked Jeff check this out - if you've never heard of him but any mention of Rory Gallagher makes you go gooey eyed then... check this out for the rockers!