Twenty years after Blues Deluxe, his first all-blues album, Joe Bonamassa delivers a sequel with 2023's Blues Deluxe, Vol. 2. He may follow the same blueprint – it largely consists of covers, supplemented by two originals – but the circumstances and collaborators have changed. Here, he foregoes using longtime producer Kevin Shirley to work with Josh Smith, a blues guitarist from Bonamassa's own generation who also contributes the album's closer "Is It Safe to Go Home." Smith helps give Blues Deluxe, Vol. 2 a loose, lived-in feeling that contrasts with the eager fire of the 2003 record. It's a change that suits Bonamassa well.
Rendezvous With the Blues marks another step in the normalization of Melvin Taylor. With Lucky Peterson on keyboards, Taylor is much more the featured lead guitarist in a straight-band context that too often finds him fighting for room to move in the full arrangements. He takes a jazzy lead on the opening "Coming Home Baby," but that runs counter to the measured, mid-tempo groove that dominates the first three tracks and seems like a move to court the contemporary rock-blues audience. So does some of the material – no originals, with ZZ Top, Stephen Stills, and Carlos Santana's tribute to John Lee Hooker in the songwriter credits on one side and Charles Singleton and Prince for contemporary black funk/rock relevance on the other. Horns kick in to punctuate the slinky, clavinet-anchored funk on "I'm the Man Down There," but Taylor's solo gets cluttered up by a duel with Peterson (on guitar here). Taylor is better-served when he escapes the rock beat straitjacket on "Tribute to John Lee Hooker" – the Latin-tinged rhythms give his guitar more freedom to float and sting.
Whitesnake celebrates the blues sound that helped inspire its multi-platinum career on a new collection that features remixed and remastered versions of the group’s best blues-rock songs. THE BLUES ALBUM is the third and final release in the band’s Red, White and Blues Trilogy, a series of compilations organized by musical themes that began this year with LOVE SONGS (red) and The ROCK Album (white). All the tracks on THE BLUES ALBUM have been revisited, remixed, and remastered. Whitesnake’s singer-songwriter David Coverdale says, the music reflects how blues artists like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and the three Kings (Albert, B.B. and Freddie) continue to inspire him. In the album’s liner notes, he writes: “It’s hard to find the words to show how profoundly they connected with my soul. But ‘blues’ to me is a beautiful word that describes emotional expression… feelings, be it feelings of sadness, loneliness, emptiness… but, also those that express great joy, celebration and dance, sexiness and Love!!!”
Canned Heat founder and guitar great Bob Hite once described his band as "a rock band with country/blues roots" and perhaps a little less modestly, "the first and greatest boogie band ever." Canned Heat's "greatness" has always seemed to elude them by a hair, however, regardless of their versatility and devotion to the strange and wonderful mutations their music endured, particularly in the '60s. But these dudes do nothing if not persevere. Having lost their signature falsetto and lowdown harp man Alan Wilson in 1970, 1996's Canned Heat Blues Band fronts "The Bear's" third vocal replacement, Robert Lucas, who wisely doesn't pretend he can cover those cool old road-trip-on-acid songs (like "Going Up the Country") in a particularly familiar manner.
It's hard to believe that's such an artist as Javier Vargas, who's recorded & performed with some of the world's heavy weights such as Santana, Double Trouble, Jack Bruce, Devon Allman, Larry Graham, Carmine Appice, Tim Bogert, Junior Wells, Glen Hughes and Chris Rea to name a few, is still expanding his Blues n Swamp rock spectrum with outstanding results. The Jams and the collaborations will never end as far as Javier is concerned & Heavy City Blues, which featured Carmine Appice, Paul Shortino and Bobby Alexander, is just another stepping stone forward for this Blues Rock phenomenon - namely the Vargas Blues Band.