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Customer Review

on 31 March 2010
This is probably the most eagerly awaited JB cd in his recording history, mainly due to the enormous success of recent times with Sloe Gin, Ballad Of John Henry and the RAH concert and dvd release. Questions being thrown around about 'How the hell can he get near these musical highs?' Well people ...Joe & co have produced a musical masterpiece. I can confirm , in my humble opinion, that Joe has given us his best work since the 'You And Me' cd.
Very Led Zep in feel , and the added bonus of the Greek influence which enhances the songs in the most positive way.
Black Rock is a very complete statement , unlike its 2 predecessors that were very good but had the odd track you wanted to skip past, not here , every track is a killer in its own way.
Excellantly produced by Kevin Shirley, he and Joe have a very good understanding now and it shows . Only 5 originals here , but its quality not quantity here, following on from the superb 'Happier Times' and 'The Great Flood' from TBOJH, the writing is getting more confident.
The cd kicks off with 2 covers that set the rock groove in nicely, 'Steal Your Heart Away' and 'I Know A Place', before the first of Joe's own compositions 'When The Fire Hits The Sea' which I believe was written about the sunsets in Greece.
The first taste of Greece in the music comes on 'Quarrymans Lament' which has a wonderful laid back rhythm courtesy of the local musicians Joe playing along over the top of them, culminating with a beautiful guitar solo. This will I presume take a few people by surprise, but I like it.
Back to the rock on 'Spanish Boots' an old Beck/Stewart/Wood composition, that will sound great live. The bass , drums and keys are excellant on this track.
Back to Greece on the Cohen cover of 'Bird On A Wire', very beautifully done by all concerned, it could have gone totally over the top here, but thankfully it was kept within boundaries to make a cover version to be immensly proud of.
Back to more familiar Joe ground next on the great Otis Rush's 'Three Times A Fool' rolling blues/rock guitar riff with unlucky in love lyrics .
Nightlife comes next , the duet with Joe's hero BB King. Both guys taking turns on vocals and guitar, great to hear 2 different styles of blues here.
Joe hits us next with his own 'Wandering Earth' the song could have come from any of Led Zeps first 2 albums, I think even Robert Plant would enjoy singing along to this one . Another track that will sound awesome live.
'Look Over Yonders Wall' is another familiar blues/rock groove that we all love to sing and dance along to. A great bassline laid down here by Carmine, with a great Joe solo.
The last 3 tracks on the cd are 'Athens To Athens', 'Blue And Evil' and 'Baby You Gotta Change Your Mind', these 3 are probably my favourite tracks on this cd.
The first 'Athens To Athens' is the cd's standout track , a brilliant old style acoustic blues playing/singing style that I love, with the Greek musicians playing around it. Very close to being the best song Joe has ever written in my very humble opinion.
'Blue And Evil' just rocks and will be a live fave with an acoustic guitar/greek opening and ending, it quickly opens into a total rock riffing track again very Led Zep in structure, great singalong live song.
'The final song 'Baby You Gotta Change Your Mind' is a song I really truely hope Joe plays live in the UK in May. One of the best cover choices he has ever made for his cd's. Written by Blind Boy Fuller , it captures the old mono style recordings style.
This cd I believe will in years to come be regarded as the best cd Joe has released up to this point. Great production from Kevin Shirley, the musicians are quite excellant on here, the songs choices are impeccable, and finally the use of Greek musicians on some tracks is inspiring.
Black Rock is a cd that any of the tracks here could be performed live, I hope he does them all. All concerned can hold their heads up and be proud of what has been produced here.
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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