Album Reviews

Joe Bonamassa – Dust Bowl

J&R Adventures Records

Genre : Blues Rock

Links :


01.  Slow Train

02.  Dust Bowl

03.  Tennessee Plates

04.  The Meaning Of The Blues

05.  Black Lung Heartache

06.  You Better Watch Yourself

07.  The Last Matador Of Bayonne

08.  Heartbreaker

09.  No Love On The Street

10.  The Whale That Swallowed Jonah

11.  Sweet Rowena

12.  Prisoner

To say Joe Bonamassa is a busy man would be a ridiculous understatement. Since his debut album in 2000 A NEW DAY YESTERDAY he has released eight other solo albums and an amazing hard rock album with supergroup BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION. On this album, his ninth solo effort DUST BOWL, some of the BALCK COUNTRY influence flows over into the songs and once again we find Joe trying to add some interesting elements to keep ahead of the current crop of blues rockers. I am happy to consider Joe Bonamassa the best bluesman of this generation and am usually pleased with anything he offers up. I also think that he has a great blues voice, which is once again used to perfection on this album.

I do however have a bit of a problem with just how out there some of the material on offer is, and while versatility has always been Bonamassa’s selling point, on DUST BOWL he branches out just a little bit too far on occasion and I would have preferred a couple more straight blues tracks on the disc, but at least Joe has clearly experimented with some different guitars and different effects on the album which is pretty cool and it’s fun to sit and try and spot where he is using different guitars and setups.

Opening track SLOW TRAIN features a very clever use of the drums, making them sound like an approaching steam train before opening up into a great slow blues song. DUST BOWL is yet again something different for Bonamassa and reminded me a little bit of ABRACADABRA era Steve Miller Band material. TENNESSEE PLATES is a straight up country music duet with John Hyatt, definitely not my thing and certainly a track I could have done without. THE MEANING OF THE BLUES is a cover of the jazz music standard originally penned by Bobby Troup but has been given a slow blues makeover and comes out sounding like something the late Gary Moore (R.I.P) would have recorded. BLACK LUNG HEARTACHE is an interesting mix of very modern blues rock sound with a swampy rock edge to it. YOU BETTER WATCH YOURSELF is another cover version, this time of a song originally written by Walter Jacobs, It’s a great version that can sit proudly next to the excellent rendition done a while back by Buddy Guy. THE LAST MATADOR OF BAYONNE features a very interesting lyric about ancient warriors, an odd subject matter for a blues tune but Bonamassa manages to pull it off with style, the trumpet in the background also helps to give it a very eerie vibe too. Another cover up next, but one that’s a bit better know with the FREE classic HEARTBREAKER, it’s a good version, but the original is one of my all-time favorite songs so this one was never going to quite stack up even though the might Glenn Hughes adds some great backing vocals. NO LOVE ON THE STREET changes things up yet again and is a track that I really could have done without, it’s not bad per-se but it’s not that great either. THE WHALE THAT SWALLOWED JONAH is an upbeat boogie-woogie type blues track with some great honky-tonk style piano in the mix. SWEET ROWENA is a fun little duet with Vince Gill, once again not really my thing, but you can hear that it must have been a fun song to record. Just to keep things odd and interesting the album closes with PRISONER which is oddly enough a Barbara Streisand cover! Amazingly though, when given the Bonamassa overhaul it ends up as a great slow blues track and a really good way to close an album.

DUST BOWL is yet another successful entry into the Joe Bonamassa work book, it does stray offside a little bit too often to be essential listening for blues fans, but when it’s on it’s a pretty mighty record. Long-time fans will obviously lap this up to no end, but the more casual listener should be a little more wary about what they are getting themselves into.

Written By ZeeZee

Rating : 7/10

Tell Us How You Feel