Joe Bonamassa - Blues Deluxe Vol. 2
by Kevin Wierzbicki
For those who might still think of blues rocker Bonamassa as the new kid on the block, consider this: The first volume of Blues Deluxe
was released a full two decades ago. Time flies, as they say, when you're having fun and Bonamassa and his large, ever-growing fan base have been having a ball for 20 years. As with the Blues Deluxe
release, Blues Deluxe Vol. 2
is primarily a collection of covers but not the songs you hear covered time and time again. Instead Bonamassa digs deep with tracks like the "my baby left me" soul of the Bobby "Blue" Bland associated "Twenty-Four Hour Blues," complete with horns, a string section and of course a hot guitar solo with a mournful overtone. Women provide the subject matter for a few other songs stacked at the top of the album; she's inattentive on Bobby Parker's "It's Hard But It's Fair," she's a cheater on the swinging Guitar Slim cover "Well, I Done Got Over It" but she's a real peach on the joyous "I Want to Shout About It," originally done by Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters. Reese Wynans tickles the ivories on the slow "Win-O" (pronounced wine-o), a Pee Wee Crayton tune where, amusingly (and quite on the mark) drunks are compared to politicians. Joe's original (co-written with Tom Hambridge) "Hope You Realize It (Goodbye Again)" is a funky groove that sounds not unlike something that might have been done by War. There's a Fleetwood Mac cover too, a take on "Lazy Poker Blues" from back in the band's early days with Peter Green. Albert King's "You Sure Drive a Hard Bargain" is a steamy cut about having to give too much to a love relationship, also with some amusing lyrics like "I know your merchandise is good/Your sample proved it so." Kirk Fletcher and Josh Smith guest on Joe's take on Kenny Neal's "The Truth Hurts," Fletcher adding vocals and Smith taking a guitar solo. Smith, who produced the album, also contributes the album's closing number, "Is It Safe to Go Home," a slow burner where Bonamassa sings worried lyrics about the situation on the home front. The cut also features phenomenal guitar work from Joe which at one point veers briefly into psychedelia. As fans have come to expect, Bonamassa's singing and playing is superb throughout and his crack band is right on the money as they delve into a satisfying set that honors Joe's blues roots.