Joe Bonamassa: The Ballad of John Henry

Don’t you just love it when someone lends you a CD of someone you’ve never heard of that they think you might like, and it turns out to be a real gem? This is one such album. Joe Bonamassa may only have been born in 1977, but his blues-rock style has clearly been influenced by those eminent British Blues Rock aficionados of the late 60’s (Beck, Page, Clapton, Green, Kossof, Mayall). “The Ballad of John Henry” is in fact Bonamassa’s 9th official release, which means I have a bit of catching up to do on his back catalogue.

The title track at the top of the album sets the standard of stonking blues with its solid riff, clanking chains and string orchestration that could augment Zeppelin’s Kashmir.

After the self-penned opener, we move to a cover of Sam Brown’s 1989 classic, “Stop”. The extended outro compliments an already fabulous song with Jeff Healey like guitar work.

“The Great Flood” is a slow blues number that draws strong comparisons with Gary Moore, it builds up slowly to that crisp clean guitar solo emphasising each perfect squealing note. A return guitar solo at the end of the track is accompanied by a saxophone that would have been at home on Rogers’ “Pros and Con’s of Hitch Hiking”.

Although, I’ve only really covered 3 tracks, I could have picked on any three, as there’s no chuff on this album. Before finishing up I’ll just bandy about a few more names: Rory Gallagher, Stevie Ray Vaughan, BB King, Albert Collins, and Muddy Waters. If any of those names mean anything to you, then you should really check out this album.


LixeL said...

Joe Bonamassa, wow, that video clip has just blown me away, to think about the amount of times I was down Kyps around 2005 and never saw him, what a miss.

The guy is amazing, I was in agreement with the Ballad of John Henry being very similar to Zepps Kashmir, the orchestral stuff and the mid section riff, but the first part of the track was so Rainbow it was fantastic.

Thanks for that, I am now on a youtube mission, while rueing not going for it and seeing what he was about down at Mr Kyps.