Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa – BLACK COFFEE

joe and beth b

Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa
Provogue/Mascot Label

The Dynamic Duo of Blues Create a Modern Masterpiece.

Woah, Woah and thrice WOAH!
Give It Everything You’ve Got is one mighty way to kick start this latest album from this dynamic duo. I actually have a copy of the original version by Edgar Winter’s White Trash (bought for £1.99p I hasten to add) and it’s fair to say Beth Hart brings a whole lot more S.O.U.L to proceedings and Bonamassa gives his guitar a right royal thrashing on a song far heavier than anything on the couple’s previous outing SEESAW for years ago.
I’m not sure my head could have took a whole album at that level and pace; and thankfully it doesn’t have to as Kevin Shirley’s razor sharp production allows Beth and Joe to swoop and soar through every variant of Blues Rock and even Rhythm and Blues with consummate ease and it has to be said; grace.
The Royal Couple take it on themselves to reinvent a variety of Classic (and semi-classic) songs that many of will recognise; but not necessarily in this format; and in my opinion if you are going to cover a song at least do something different with it; and boy is that the case with Lucinda William’s Joy and the 110mph version of Saved, a song I associate with Billy Fury but originally recorded by LaVern Baker and now a fire and brimstone Gospel song in these trusted hands.
As is always the case the singer is always front and centre and Beth Hart doesn’t shy away from her role here; but the normally reticent Joe Bonamassa sounds like he’s having the time of his life as he throws in liquid gold riffs left right and centre; but especially noticeable during Soul On Fire and the sublime title track Black Coffee, which just may be one of his finest recorded moments; and found me playing Air Guitar along to it more than once.
I loved SEESAW and it’s probably the case that BLACK COFFEE is an even more ‘complete album’ with both singer and guitarist both subsequently ‘growing into their respective talents’ in the intervening years and that comes to the fore front on the beautiful Lullaby of The Leaves, an Ella Fitzgerald song that will baffle fans of both the first time they hear it; but this gentle Old-Fashioned Blues song will be the one many of us come back to and discuss lovingly in years to come.
While I adore that song; it’s still not my favourite on the album; that title goes to slow and down right dirty Damn Your Eyes. Lazy reviewers normally compare Beth to Janis; but one cursory listen to this album and especially the way she inhabits this Etta James song while Joe Bonamassa and band show incredible restraint behind her, will tell them that Beth Hart is BETH HART and a world class singer in her own rite; and Mr. Bonamassa too shows some really delicate touches on the electric guitar that will set your hair standing on end.
There’s not a lot else to say; two of this generations finest musicians blow the dust of an intriguing and often beguiling collection of songs from some of our finest ever songwriters and the result is outstanding; and it won’t surprise me one iota if this didn’t go on to one numerous prestigious Awards at the end of 2018.

Released January 26th 2018

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