When you head north from Vicksburg Mississippi, you travel on the legendary Highway 61. Like a wide Roman road meant to last forever, it is a straight rigid arrow pointed at the temple of the blues, Clarkesdale, 200 miles to the north. Along its way, you experience miles of miles of flat open cotton land and copses of trees sheltering small stores and the homes of the people that work the fields. During the summer, it is a hot, hard, sweltering land. And from this productive soil, much of it reclaimed from the swamps by slaves and their “freed” descendants, rose the sounds and music of the delta blues. Two of its sons, Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, took that music, electrified it, and at the relatively late ages of 28 and 38 respectively, headed north to Chicago. They weren’t so much seeking fame and fortune as a bigger stage on which to play and perform the music they loved. Now two generations later, Joe Bonamassa has released a live double album that commemorates their lasting contribution to the blues. Performed at the Red Rocks venue in Colorado, Joe and a solid cast of blues all-star musicians pay tribute to their blues heroes with a stellar list of tunes.
Normally when I review an album, I find one, sometimes two or three, and very seldom more than 4 songs that merit a cigar rating. For this album, EVERY song on it is a Cuban of the finest quality. Joe has been honing his craft since his discovery as a child prodigy at the age of 12 by B.B. King and he is now the crown prince of the electric blues. Because of his voice and playing style, he is accessible to lovers of rock as well as the blues. Because of his incessant touring and recording over the last 15 years, he is the face of the rockin’ blues to the droves of fans that attend his concerts and buy his music. If you don’t know who he is or know much about the current state of the blues, this album will serve as your gateway. It includes classic tunes from Muddy and Howlin’ like I Can’t Be Satisfied, You Shook Me, Double Trouble, My Home Is In The Delta, How Many More Years, Shake for Me, Evil (Is Goin’ On), Spoonful, and Killing Floor. It also includes some Joe B. nuggets like Sloe Gin (his “instant” classic from 2007) and the Ballad of John Henry, as well as a couple of cuts from his latest studio album released last fall. Joe’s love for the blues and his profound respect and admiration for the work of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf comes through loud and clear on this album. Give it a listen. If you aren’t already, you will become a fan of the electric blues and the amazing Joe B.!
Rating: A Box of the finest Cuban Cigars to be shared with friends and family after dinner and drinks!
J&R Adventures CD and DVD formats – 2015