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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Joe Bonamassa

Live At The Greek Theatre

Review by Gary Hill

This new live album finds Joe Bonamassa playing tribute to the three Kings of the blues, Freddie, Albert and the one true king BB. You can expect scorching guitar work whenever Bonamassa is on the six string, but honestly, this album is about the songs. He lets the sound of the masters stand taller than his own instrumental prowess. The result is a great blues album that's mostly traditional with a bit of modern sound.
 
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
CD 1

                  
See See Baby

Here we get a real old school blues jam. The piano really drives this thing. Of course, this is Joe Bonamassa, so you know there is some scorching guitar soloing, too. The horns add quite a bit to the mix.

Some Other Day, Some Other Time
There is no huge change in the format. This is a just another killer traditional blues jam. The horns and guitar both shine here.
Lonesome Whistle Blues
Although this no big shift, it's just so much cooler than the two openers. The guitar soloing is purely on fire, and the whole tune just oozes class. This is one of the real highlights here.
Sittin' On The Boat Dock
More light hearted and fun, this is solid stuff. The female vocals really bring some magic to the piece.
You've Got To Love Her With A Feeling
The piano and horns really invigorate this piece. It's an old school classic blues tune. Of course, some screaming guitar soloing ensues mid-track.
Going Down
Piano leads this one out of the gate. The cut turns out to something a bit more like traditional blues meets The Allman Brothers. It's a killer tune. This is another highlight of the set for sure. It's harder rocking than the stuff we've heard to this point.
I'll Play The Blues For You
More pure guitar blues, this is the kind of thing you might expect from Buddy Guy. It's another standout tune.
I Get Evil
Although not a big change, this one does include some retro organ soloing. It's just another solid electric blues tune.
Breaking Up Somebody's Home

There's an extended instrumental intro on this number. Beyond that, the cut is a tasty classic blues rocker. The female vocals lend a soulful edge.

Angel of Mercy
There is screaming guitar soloing on the opening instrumental section. This is another powerhouse classic blues rocker.
Cadillac Assembly Line
Again, the change isn't a paradigm shift kind of thing. This is just another classy slab of electric blues. The horn laden instrumental section later in the track is quite cool.
CD 2
           

Oh, Pretty Woman

By this point, you've got a pretty idea of what's going to happen here. This is another killer classic blues type tune. It has some great guitar soloing. It's not a standout, but it's darned classy. This does include a drum solo.

Let The Good Times Roll
Here we get a classic high energy blues tune. It has a lot of jazz built into along with some definite rock and roll. I love the female vocals added to the cut.
Never Make Your Move Too Soon
I think the guitar soloing on this killer cut is perhaps tastier even than some of the rest. I love the bass line, too. It's another stomper.
Ole Time Religion
Here we get an old school gospel music styled number. It's good, but not really my kind of thing.
Nobody Loves Me But My Mother
This is perhaps the most old school blues thing here. Yet, they bring it to powered up electric blues territory at a couple points. Again, this isn't really the kind of blues that is my favorite. Still, it has its moments for certain.
Boogie Woogie Woman
As advertised, this is a boogie woogie, tune. It's fun stuff. Still not quite my favorite type of blues, this works pretty well.
Hummingbird
Here we find ourselves back in the midst of the smoking hot guitar blues sound. This is a killer tune. It's one of my favorites here. There is some seriously soaring stuff here as the female vocals take over near the end. This is another that's more in line with rock music, perhaps calling to mind the Allman Brothers. It's also more killer music.
Hide Away
There is quite a bit of jamming here. It includes some musical quotes from various tunes. This is rocking, but retro in texture. It's also the only instrumental on the disc.
Born Under a Bad Sign
More smoking hot guitar blues is the idea here. I dig this one a lot.
The Thrill Is Gone
I contend that this is the best song written in the twentieth century. So, I love pretty much every version of it I've ever heard. This is not the best rendition I've heard, but then again, I heard BB King do it live in person. This is quite a smoking hot performance of the classic.
Riding With the Kings
Combine a killer blues band with the Rolling Stones. You'll find yourself somewhere in the vicinity of this rocking number.
 
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