|Label:||J & R Adventures (2016)|
|Genre:||Blues , Rock N|
Brand new sealed 4 album box set, includes free digital download vouchers. Made in the USA.
Following 2014’s highly acclaimed Muddy Wolf tribute shows, Joe Bonamassa again set out to honour his heroes when, earlier this year, he staged a number of shows devoted to the groundbreaking music of Freddie, Albert and BB King. Recorded at Los Angeles’ famous Greek Theatre on the final night of that tour, this is a dazzling testament to those legendary bluesmen, highlighting the immortal power of their music as it continues to find new life beyond any one artist or generation.
There’s something special about this concert recording that becomes increasingly apparent every time Bonamassa and his exceptional 10-piece band - featuring most of the Muddy Wolf gang plus a trio of backing singers - launch into another ‘Three Kings’ classic. A nice mix of standards and cuts for the connoisseur, these songs may be decades old but Bonamassa reinterprets them for a modern audience while preserving their essential musical, emotional and spiritual heartbeats.
This conveys a magical, and rather profound, sense of blues as a timeless artistic form, reborn through the unique individual and collective experiences, abilities and interactions of the musicians identifying with them in the here and now.
From Freddie’s Lonesome Whistle Blues to BB’s gospel-inclined Ole Time Religion, arrangements are tastefully tweaked and new colours sourced, enhancing the songs’ essences by locking into the passion and purpose that gave birth to them.
As a guitarist, Bonamassa is light years ahead of his idols, so playing their licks verbatim would feel counter intuitive and mechanical. When his solos scorch the sky he’s completely absorbed in the music, infusing his own character into the material with spectacular results on Nobody Loves Me But My Mother and Angel of Mercy.
The same can be said for the rest of the band, as exhibited to staggering effect on Breaking Up Somebody’s Home. Maintaining the brassy voicings of Albert’s version, its verses are gifted sweatier, street-smart funk grooves and its chorus a sexier melodic aura courtesy of seductive backing vocals. Add to that prolonged, fierce fretboard action and the result is - whisper it - better than the original.
Perhaps what’s most impressive about this release, though, is that it doesn’t contain a single Bonamassa original and you never pine to hear one. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the strutting swagger of Going Down or sheer resplendence of Hummingbird, they’re played with so much ebullience and clarity you’ll be entranced from first beat to last.