Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa – Don’t Explain (2011, J&R Adventures)
1. Sinner’s Prayer … 4:27
2. Chocolate Jesus … 2:39
3. Your Heart Is as Black as Night … 5:00
4. For My Friends… 4:11
5. Don’t Explain … 4:34
6. I’d Rather Go Blind … 8:06
7. Something’s Got a Hold on Me … 6:05
8. I’ll Take Care of You … 5:13
9. Well, Well … 3:42
10. Ain’t No Way … 6:47
Beth Hart – Vocals, Piano
Joe Bonamassa – Guitar, Vocals
Blondie Chaplin – Guitar
Carmine Rojas – Bass
Anton Fig – Drums, Percussion
Arlan Scheirbaum – Keyboards
Producer: Kevin Shirley
Joey Bones has had quite a busy year! In 2011, not only did he released the excellent Dust Bowl solo album but there was also a second helping from super-group Black Country Communion with 2 and now he’s partnered up with Beth Hart for a collection of blues, soul and jazz covers.
Though there are a number of uptempo moments like “Chocolate Jesus”, “For My Friends” and “Well, Well”, it’s the slower numbers and tender moments that I found myself enjoying most. “Your Heart Is As Black As The Night”, “Don’t Explain”, “I’d Rather Go Blind” and “I’ll Take Care of You” are fantastic soulful and sultry jazz numbers with Beth Hart putting in a great performance on these songs. I know of Beth Hart but I’m not familiar with any of her work but it’s easy to say from this album alone that she’s a great vocalist who can handle either bluesy rockers or soulful ballads.
Then, of course, there’s Joe Bonamassa who is proving himself to be one of the greatest guitarists of his generation whether he’s playing blues or straight up hard rock. There’s a lot of great solos and emotional lead work on this disc.
An album such as this is not something I would normally try but with the October 2011 issue of Classic Rock giving it a good review (and knowing I enjoyed Joe’s Dust Bowl and BCC works), I decided to give it a shot. A collection of blues, soul and jazz is something I’d have to really be in the mood to listen to but on a cold, dreary Autumn afternoon, it fit my mood and I found myself enjoying it a lot.
Don’t Explain may not be the album of the year for me and outside of my usual brain-dead listening circle of rock & metal but I found it to be a good listen and fans of both Joe & Beth should check it out.
Highlights: “Your Heart Is as Black as Night”, “Don’t Explain”, “I’d Rather Go Blind”, “I’ll Take Care of You”, “Ain’t No Way”
Joe Bonamassa – Dust Bowl (2011, J&R Adventures)
1. “Slow Train” … 6:49
2. “Dust Bowl “… 4:33
3. “Tennessee Plates” … 4:18
4. “The Meaning of the Blues” … 5:44
5. “Black Lung Heartache” … 4:14
6. “You Better Watch Yourself” … 3:30
7. “The Last Matador of Bayonne” … 5:23
8. “Heartbreaker” … 5:49
9. “No Love on the Street” … 6:32
10. “The Whale That Swallowed Jonah” … 4:46
11. “Sweet Rowena” … 4:34
12. “Prisoner” … 6:48
Joe Bonamassa – Vocals, Guitar, Slide Guitar
Glenn Hughes – Vocals (“Heartbreaker”)
Beth Hart – Vocals (“No Love On The Street”)
John Hiatt – Vocals (“Tennessee Plates”)
Vince Gill – Guitar (“Tennessee Plates”, “Sweet Rowena”), Vocals (“Sweet Rowena”)
Blondie Chaplin – Guitar
Carmine Rojas, Michael Rhodes – Bass
Anton Fig, Chad Cromwell – Drums
Rick Melick – Organ, Synthesizer
Steve Nathan – Organ, Piano
Producer: Kevin Shirley
I have been curious about the “new” blues scene for quite some time. UK’s Classic Rock magazine often does features on new and old blues musicians so it got me interested and I figured I might as well start with the scene’s current modern marvel Joey Bones (or JoBo, if you prefer).
While I don’t know how this compares to Bonamassa’s previous efforts, Dust Bowl is all that a current blues-guitarist’s album should sound like. While it’s fairly standard for blues artists to cover old blues songs (only half the album features original material), I think I would get very bored if this album was just a repeat of songs from decades and decades ago. Luckily, Joe isn’t content to merely dig up the past.
Fans of Stevie Ray Vaughan will enjoy this album a lot as that is who I am reminded on songs like “Slow Train” and “You Better Watch Yourself”. Still, Joe’s own style shines through with “Dust Bowl” (my favorite track and the most accessible), the ballad “The Last Matador of Bayonne” (which sounds like it could’ve been on one of Black Country Communion’s albums), the excellent “Black Lung Heartache” (which start off sounding like bluegrass then turns into hard rock) and “The Whale That Swallowed Jonah”. Another high point on the album is “The Meaning of the Blues”. A lot of passion behind that song and it is the epitome of a great blues song, IMO.
Despite Joe being known primarily as a blues rock guitarist, country/folk music and classic rock have their places on this album. John Hiatt’s “Tennessee Plates”, Vince Gill’s “Sweet Rowena” and Free’s “Heartbreaker” are all covered. Hiatt and Gill both pitch in on their respective songs while “The Voice of Rock” Glenn Hughes lends his voice to “Heartbreaker” and again this is a song that could’ve ended up in BCC. Heck, Joe even covers Tim Curry’s “No Love On The Street” with Beth Hart lending vocals. I never even knew Cardinal Richelieu had an album… much less three! I always thought his musical experiences were tied only to the theater and Rocky Horror Picture Show.
In the liner notes (where he comes across as very likable, down-to-earth and funny), Bonamassa states this is his best album yet. Hey, aren’t the latest releases always the “best yet”? While he kinda has to say that and I’m still a novice when it comes to Joe, he may be right. This is a very good collection of original material and some choice covers. I’d love for his next album to feature and even higher percentage of original numbers with maybe just one or two covers thrown in.
Blues rockers will really enjoy this one and it makes me wanna pick up Joe’s earlier albums.
Highlights: “Slow Train”, “Dust Bowl”, “The Meaning of the Blues”, “Black Lung Heartache”, “No Love On The Street”
Deep Purple – Burn [30th Anniversary Edition – Remastered] (2005, Warner Bros. Records/Rhino Records/Purple Records)
Original Release: 1974, Warner Bros. Records
1. “Burn” … 6:00
2. “Might Just Take Your Life” … 4:36
3. “Lay Down, Stay Down” …4:15
4. “Sail Away” … 5:48
5. “You Fool No One” … 4:47
6. “What’s Goin’ on Here” … 4:55
7. “Mistreated” … 7:25
8. “”A” 200″ … 3:51
9. “Coronarias Redig” [2004 Remix] … 5:30
10. “Burn” [2004 Remix] … 6:00
11. “Mistreated” [2004 Remix] … 7:28
12. “You Fool No One” [2004 Remix] … 4:57
13. “Sail Away” [2004 Remix] … 5:37
David Coverdale – Lead Vocals
Ritchie Blackmore – Guitar
Glenn Hughes – Bass, Lead Vocals
Ian Paice – Drums
Jon Lord – Keyboards
Producer: Deep Purple
Years ago, during a Columbia House or BMG Music binge, I ordered Deep Purple’s Perfect Strangers and then I never bothered with another Purple album. I wasn’t overly impressed by the album at the time and I’ve always had this hang-up on Deep Purple that they were “too 70s” and too heavy on keyboards and organs and that’s just not my style of rock.
Well, years later I decided to give the band a chance again by picking up Burn featuring the Deep Purple debut of two of my favorite rock vocalists – David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes. It didn’t hurt that I found this anniversary edition online, brand new, for only six bucks and some change.
Again, everything about this album screams 1970s. The keyboards, the album cover, the funky & bluesy bass lines. I should really hate this album but somehow, I like it. I don’t love it, but I like it a lot and its a real treat listening to Coverdale and Hughes share lead vocals. Coverdale didn’t play any instruments in the band, so I’ve always wondered how he felt about sharing vocals with a band member who is playing an instrument as well. Just seems like a weird deal to me, but it was the 70s after all!
This album began the end of Ritchie Blackmore’s involvement in the band he co-found as he hated the bluesy and funky direction Hughes and Coverdale were taking the group in. I will say this, this album features some GREAT performances by Coverdale. Just listen to “Mistreated”.
The remixes I guess are nice if you have a really good ear or sound system for that type of stuff. I don’t have either, but I appreciate the effort put into this package to make it something special. “Coronarias Redig” was a B-side and is a pretty cool funky jam. There’s a very comprehensive booklet as well that’s full pictures and talks about the history about the band during this time frame. I love it when reissues include retrospectives like that. It oughta be a law.
Highlights: “Burn”, “Might Just Take Your Life”, “Sail Away”, “You Fool No One”, “Mistreated”, “Coronarias Redig”