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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 28 February 2009
Many Bands produce their best work in the early days - U2/Bon Jovi/Clapton etc but we think that they'll then progress further which is often not the case. However to play the blues with such maturity of tone and texture must come through time yet with JBM he seems have torn the rule book up here. This is whats makes it so refreshing that we have a young head who still has the bite for creativity and daring to not conform but with the class of an elder blues statesmen.

His own tracks and covers are well put together and the album has very deep gritty feel to it with JBM throwing himself 100% into tracks you thought no one would dabble with. His voice and music complement each other very well.

The feel of the album feels so natural and is not overworked. Jockey Full of Bourbon and the soulful happier times to me are the stand out tracks but generally there all up there.

The blues just flaws effortlessly and the guitar work sways from moody deep chords throught to blistering licks.Never overworked or overstated.

We've been blessed with 2 greats this year with albums and tours JBM and Gary Moore however....Been Honest - This will give the technically brilliant Gary Moore (but becoming predictable)more than a good run for his money and will hopefully drag him out of his comfort zone and get him to become creative (again)as this is the type album I have craved from him for some time.

A very good album and... if this guy can perform live... this album/tour will put JBM in the arenas next time around...Watch this space.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 24 February 2009
Appearing as if from nowhere, Slow Gin brought this brilliant artist to my attention, and I have thoroughly enjoyed building up my collection with his back catalogue. I've only had the chance to listen to this the whole way through once and it hits you immediately in the solar plexus, just how good a guitarist this guy is, how well produced this album is and most strikingly for me, what a good singer he is. Often underrated that, and I am looking forward to the Royal Albert Hall gig all the more now.

One further point in Joe's favour is that my 11 year old lad has declared him his favourite "band" (I know!) and anyone who can turn a boy of that age away from all that hip hop rubbish has to be a good thing. The RAH gig will be his first ever gig as well and I can't help thinking that it will be hard act to follow.

Anyway, enough of this self-serving stuff, the bottom line is that this is blues rock of the highest calibre and deserves a wider audience.
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VINE VOICEon 12 February 2009
OK, I'll 'fess up. In the past I have found a lot of Joe Bonamassa's output on the lumpen side. There, I said it. I feel a whole lot better now. So I wasn't overly excited about this, the follow up to 2007's Sloe Gin. But I'm delighted to say that this is an absolute belter, and the best album Mr Bonamassa has ever produced. I can now consider myself converted to the cause.

Featuring twelve tracks, it consists of seven originals alongside five cover versions, including a Tom Waits tune, "Feelin' Good" as covered by just about everybody (including John Coltrane, Muse and George Michael), the fabulously titled "Funkier Than A Mosquito's Tweeter" (previously recorded by Nina Simone and Ike & Tina Turner, amongst others), a Tony Joe White tune, and most peculiarly a turn at "Stop!," originally a hit for Joe Brown's daughter Sam, and later covered by UK soul/pop singer Jamelia.

His last album went straight in at Number One on the US Billboard Blues chart and even got into the Top 50 in the UK, so the pressure is definitely on, especially with Bonamassa hailing The Ballad Of John Henry as "my strongest work to date." And, for once, that isn't mere hyperbole as the working class hero title track kicks things off in tremendous style before the Sam Brown tune is transformed into a slow blues, brass punctuated gem.

On into "Last Kiss," and Bonamassa finally cranks up his guitar for all the fretheads out there. I'm still not wholly convinced that Aerosmith, Journey and Iron Maiden producer, Kevin Shirley, is the right man for the production chair, as there is still the occasional stumble into generic rock, but there's considerably less of it than on earlier releases.

There really isn't a weak track on offer here, with even Tom Waits' "Jockey Full Of Bourbon" transformed into a grubby musical delight. If you're looking for some hard rock, then try "Story Of A Quarryman;" if it's the blues you crave, then head for "Lonesome Road Blues." The aforementioned horns also add some nice touches to Ailene Bullock's "Funkier than a Mosquito's Tweeter" and, best of all, "The Great Flood," which has a remarkably inventive arrangement. It helps that he's got an all star backing band including ex David Bowie/Rod Stewart bassist Carmine Rojas, former Joe Cocker and KISS drummer Anton Fig and one-time Beach Boy Blondie Chaplin on rhythm guitar.

He seems to have made a wilful, if graduated, move away from the mainstream Seventies blues-rock vibe he'd been mining for a while prior to the more acoustic based Sloe Gin; and it's the increasingly adventurous musical statements that has lifted this album head and shoulders above anything he's done before. Whether it's the slide drenched "Feelin' Good" or the funky swamp blues of "As The Crow Flies" (as previously covered by Rory Gallagher), this is an album Mr Bonamassa can be justly proud of.
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on 25 February 2009
I was already a fan, but when the man himself says "its his best work to date", then take a deep breath. For many fans his best work is done live but the music is born in the studio and this time he has both stepped out, and stepped up.
Vocally better than ever, creative production, great performances. The guitar playing is a given,of course, and any covers songs are always both imaginative choices and intelligently developed,so what is so special about TBOJH? Well, for me, the depth and quality of HIS writing is striking. The whole album has a real sense of purpose. We've known he has been developing his talent but he has come a long way in quite a short time. At what point does an artist stop being great and become GREAT? This album goes a long way to answering that question. His next tours are going to be incredible events. I doubt John Henry himself could have hit harder..
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on 2 February 2010
Firstly let me say this review is not a JB vs. Gary Moore comparison as so many other writers seem to promote. They're very different players and I've always thought Bonamassa was far closer to Robben Ford in style and tone. You can also dismiss claims that Joe is the new Stevie Ray - they've little in common.

I don't see this as a 5-star album because (a) all the tracks that are on both this and his live DVD sound far better in the concert setting - this has to be an indictment of the production and arrangements used in the studio; and (b) Bonamassa's voice becomes slightly monotonous if you listen to the entire album in a sitting. In particular the singing style (constantly bending up a third at the end of lines) in the more overtly blues numbers hardly varies. This is a pity as his voice is very distinctive and some of his own compositions have quite good melodies.

His guitar playing is very accomplished (MUCH better live) but it's obscured in many places by what I consider to be overproduction, too many fx and a "slickness" that doesn't sit well with blues music. The title track and "Last Kiss" are live stormers but here they sound too repetitive. "Stop", "Jockey full of Bourbon","Lonesome road Blues" "Happier Times" and "Story of a Quarryman" are terrific songs but this album is not any better than "You & Me" or "Blues deLuxe" and I would recommend going for the Albert Hall DVD as a better option or his Rock Palast DVD (as a 3-piece) both of which are 5-star releases.
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on 23 November 2011
I had heard a little about Joe Bonamassa and that he was a very good blues guitarist, I read the reviews on Amazon and heard a couple of taster tracks and was simply blown away by the CD so I ordered the CD straight away from Amazon.
From the opening CD title track, then track number/4 Jocky Full Of Bourbon, track number/9 Funkier Than A Mosquito's Tweeter these are the stand out tracks but there arn't really any poor tracks, there are a coupler of slower tracks but this creates a good balance of music on the CD, the only slight problem if you get the CD rather than MP3 was the very small text size on the inner sleeve notes, and I like to read the notes on CD's whilst playing them.
I am already looking to order the CD Dust Bowl from Amazon, I just hope that the high standard continues keep it going Joe, you are a real talent and it is great.
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on 17 April 2009
From the very first track which happens to be the title track to the last this album delivers sheer class. I predict it will be a future classic or there's no justice in this world. Bonamassa's vocals are excellent as is his guitar playing, where he captures the very essence of every song. John Henry is sung as though he was telling someones life story, Stop is played with sheer genius where the notes just mesmerize. And then there's the Last Kiss which rolls on a melody which does not fail to get your foot tapping and leads up to the wonderful Jockey Full Of Bourbon with it's bar room piano and gut wrenching lead. At this point you are not even half way through the album and I just wanted more and more. The recording quality is excellent with crystal clear presentation and good sound stage when listening on stereo speakers or headphones. I recommended this album prior to it's release to a work colleague who heard a few tracks and went and bought the album even before I did. It will be a hard album to follow up on for Joe.
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on 27 February 2009
I've been a huge Bonamassa fan since I first came across a track from the then-new You & Me and was inspired to collect his back catalogue. I've become used to putting large portions of Joe's albums in my favourite playlists as they're released. It's true, as others have said, that there's a bit more experimentation on this album - but that tells me Joe should stick with what he's familiar with. Few of the songs here serve his trademark guitar style well, and as much as I've loved some of Joe's best vocal work - on I Don't Live Anywhere, Black Night, Sloe Gin and If Heartbreaks are Nickels among others - there's little old-school blues or Zeppelinesque rock ballads here to showcase this either, and certainly nothing that combines the best of Joe the singer with the best of Joe the guitarist like the above-named songs.
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on 24 May 2012
JB has really out done himself on this record. The baritone guitar oh "The Ballad of John Henry" is in my opinion of of his great all time riffs. other songs like "Story of a Quarryman" are uber awesome, the soulful Happier Times is a master piece of grace and pure blues with a southern sound.

However JB gets back to his roots with "Lonesome Road Blues" as a great up tempo blues track.

For me this album may become JB, "Paranoid" or "Machine Head" or "Black Album"......... i.e the album you give to a child if they ask "Who is Joe Bonamassa?"
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on 26 February 2009
I have all Joe's CD's and he is my favourite guitar player (alive - my main man being Rory Gallagher). I ordered this CD weeks in advance and expected it with trepidation. I have heard it 3 times now and I am sorry to break the party but ... this is really disappointing for me! Mostly slow songs, focus on vocals rather than guitar, an appalling first song (with a Led Zep Kashmir-ish ring) ...
So I hate to do this, I love Joe, but I am NOT happy with this new CD. I don't know what the other reviewers have heard, but this has nothing to do with all his previous brilliant albums. His poorest for me.
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