Following the big rock sound of Black Country Communion, the concept behind Bonamassa's new solo album Dust Bowl was to move things in a more blues roots direction, touching base with the beast first spawned in the Delta by the likes of Muddy Waters and B.B.King. But for a guitar genius brought up on British blues rock (Kossoff, Green, Clapton, Moore, Gallagher, Beck, and Page), this was always going to be something of a challenge.
So, is this authentic old school blues? Well, bits of it sound it. For example You Better Watch Yourself is an old blues standard of the eye-rolling, naughty-fat-man-schtick variety, bringing to mind Buddy Guy or B.B.King in playful mode. Other songs like Prisoner are AOR ballads with a Blues sheen, while the The Whale That Swallowed Jonah even has a Del Amitri vibe!
While some songs caricature old blues and some vaguely hint at it, the best tracks are the ones that break free from Dustbowl's central concept, and just allow Joe to rock out. The big lolloping sound of Slow Train, the cool, slithering rock of the album title track, and the squalling guitar of No Love on the Street show that Bonamassa is better than the blues.
21st March, 2011