Best Blues of 2022 – Notable Live and Compilation Roadhouse Blues Releases

ZZ Top – RAW (That Little Ol’ Band From Texas Original Soundtrack) (2022 Shelter Records/BMG)

Recorded in 2019 as part of the documentary “That Little Ol’ Band from Texas“, this legendary trio retreated to their garage rock roots by renting the oldest dance hall in Texas, the Gruene Hall, and then crankin’ out versions of a dozen of their classic tunes. There were no crowds; just the band and recording staff. Dusty Hill was magical on the bass, Frank Beard kept a tight pocket with an insistent beat, and Billy Gibbons provided his signature guitar licks and raw vocals. With the death of Dusty, the magic that was ZZ Top will never pass this way again. And as the last recording of the group, it stands as a mighty testament to their fusion of rock and blues. It is well worth every nickel you pay for the download or the vinyl.

Creedence Clearwater Revival – At the Royal Albert Hall April 14, 1970 (2022 Craft Records)

Recorded by the BBC during Creedence Clearwater Revival’s first tour of Europe in 1970, this music was never released because of the never ending battles between the band and their original label, Fantasy Records. Now, after 52 years, you get to hear CCR at their finest with John Fogerty on vocals and guitars, his older brother Tim Fogerty on rhythm guitars, Stu Cook on bass and Doug ‘Cosmo’ Clifford on drums.

CCR sprang to fame in 1968 with a cover of Dale Hawkin’s Suzy Q, burned brightly as a true super group for 4 years and then they were gone; the victim of internal band strife and business battles. But on this spring night in 1970, they were in top musical form for the 13 songs on the recording kicking out what I have always referred to as swamp blues rock. For me, this was a nostalgic trip back to the golden era of music. For those of you who may have never have heard CCR live, this recording is well worth a listen and representative of the talent of Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Joan Osborne – Radio Waves (2022 Womanly Hips Records)

Joan Osborne is one of those artists that I have always included in the pantheon of Roadhouse Blues artists because her music and songwriting are an outpouring of her soul; to me the essence of the blues. She got her start singing at blues mic open nights at clubs in New York City in the 1980’s. She had a mega hit with One of Us in the 1990’s but I have never felt the song was representative of her body of work which is much more blues, soul and R&B influenced. In fact, she was nominated for a Grammy for the best blues album of 2013, Bring It On Home.

Her newest recording, Radio Waves, is an interesting compilation of 13 songs that she recorded at radio stations between 1995 and 2012. Normally these type recordings are done as part of a promotional tour and have more of a live feel to them which is a strong suit for Joan. Give Shake Your Hips, Only You and I Know, and My Love Is Alive a listen They should help remind you of the talent of this gifted songwriter and singer.

Hundred Seventy Split – The Story So Far (2022 Repertoire Records )

Formed in 2010, this blues rock trio features the legendary Leo Lyons of Ten Years After on bass, Joe Gooch on vocals and guitars, and Damon Sawyer on drums. They are a fabulous band and this recording features songs from five of their recordings over the past decade. Joe on guitar is a fantastic replacement for the late great Alvin Lee. Take a listen to Going Home to see what I mean. Devil To Pay is some straight up badass blues rock and I Grew Up on Muddy Waters is a live tribute to the man who is the father of the electric Roadhouse Blues. This compilation recordings should serve as a great introduction to the many of you that are not yet familiar with this great British roadhouse blues group!!

2022 – The Ben Vee Best Blues Rock Tribute Albums

I have started compiling my Roadhouse Blues “Best of” lists and over the next couple of months, they will begin to appear here on my blues blog, on my Youtube Video channel, and on my Spotify playlists. During 2022, I reviewed or sampled over 750 new blues and blues rock albums and over 10,000 songs submitted to me directly or that I received via my association with BluesMusicFan Radio. For 2022, there are three albums that pay tribute to Roadhouse blues rock artists and their music that I think are well worth your time!

Beth Hart – A Tribute to Led Zeppelin (Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group 2022)

Beth Hart has one of the best and most distinctive voices of her generation. She has been a perennial member of my internet radio show playlists over the last decade. She is a California native who got her big break when she won the annual Ed McMahon Star Search competition back in the early 1990’s. One of the highlights of her early concerts were renditions she did of Led Zeppelin tunes. There are videos on the net that show her singing her heart out and even dropping to the floor belting out Zepp tunes Robert Plant style. But as the nineties progressed, Beth got steadily more and more out of control as she dealt with drug issues and she eventually had to take a break to get her life back together. The albums Leave The Light On and My California helped revive her career in the mid 2000’s and she became a favorite amongst blues and blues rock audiences through her association with Joe Bonamassa on the 2011 Don’t Explain, the 2013 See Saw, and the 2018 Black Coffee releases.

In 2022, Beth Hart returned to her blues rock roots with the 12 song release of “A Tribute to Led Zeppelin“. Always known as a high energy concert performer, the power and quality of her voice are a perfect match for the tunes. She covers songs from a number of the eight Led Zeppelin studio recordings including the classics Stairway to Heaven and Kashmir. My personal favorite is her cover of The Rain Song; it is Beth in her full majesty!

The Rock House All Stars – Let It Bleed Revisited – An Ovation from Nashville (Qualified Records 2022)

Released in 1969, Let It Bleed by the Rolling Stones is still considered one of the best rock recording of all time. For a group of Nashville studio musicians, together with a talented array of local vocal artists, to take on the challenge of recreating the songs on the album speaks volumes to the lasting legacy of the initial album. Guided by producers Kevin McKendree and John Heithaus, The Rock House All Stars band does justice to the songs while allowing the vocalists some creativity in the their interpretation of the music on the ten songs.

Jimmy Hall (Wet Willie) roars out of the gate on the album with his cover of Gimme Shelter and is assisted on vocals by Bekka Bramlett, the daughter of Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett. Jimmy has been one of my favorite blues and blues rock singers (and harmonica players) over the years and he does a great job on the tune. The title cut, Let It Bleed, is sung by Emil Justian & Greg Mayo. They give it a bit more of a Nashville feel than the original but it is a great cover. Wendy Moten, a finalist on The Voice in 2021, belts out You Can’t Always Get What You Want and Rick Huckaby does a great job on Midnight Rambler. And I really liked the Mike Farris rendition of Monkey Man.

Over the years, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, have toyed at the fringes of country music on a handful of their recordings. The Rock House All Stars have run with that thought and produced an entertaining and respectful rendering of the original album.

Various Artists – Legacy – A Tribute to Leslie West (Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group 2022)

I first listened to Leslie West as a member of Mountain back in the day and I was a fan for all of his life. As the years went by, Leslie became a blues rock fan favorite and produced a series of stellar albums that have regularly been featured on my shows. On Legacy – A Tribute to Leslie West, a heavy weight group of guitar players including Zakk Wylde, Martin Barre (Jethro Tull), Robby Krieger (the Doors), Slash, and Yngwie Malmsteen all pay respect to the songwriting and music of Leslie.

As would be expected, my favorite on the album is Mississippi Queen featuring Marc Labelle, vocalist for Dirty Honey and Slash on guitar. Joe Lynn Turner (Deep Purple, Rainbow) and guitar master Marty Friedman do an incredible job on Nantucket Sleighride and I loved Charlie Starr (Blackberry Smoke) on Silver Paper as well as the Bachman Brothers (Randy & Tal) on Money.

Listening to all of these Leslie West tribute songs brought back a lot of great memories. If you were a Leslie fan, I am sure it will do so for you also.

#blues #bluesrock #bluesmusic


Ben Vee started out spinning songs on terrestrial radio and at nightclubs back in the 1970’s in his home state of Louisiana. After a career in the construction business, he returned to DJing in 2011. He now hosts two shows each week on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com and writes about the blues at http://www.benveeblues.com from his home in Connecticut. He also has a personal 24 hour stream devoted to the Roadhouse Blues… WRHB as well as a Youtube channel.