Provogue/J&R Ventures

A Cool Soundtrack To an Imaginary Romantic Film-Noir.

It’s taken a whole but I’ve slowly grown to like Joe Bonamassa’s studio albums; as he’s never been afraid to experiment and change direction on a whim ….. which brings me to this ‘absolute diamond’.
Even by Joe’s standards; this is a brave release and one that is going to divide even his most loyal fans …… as, it’s simply odd. But ‘odd’ in a brilliant way!
The ‘concept’ here; if Bonamassa honoring guitarist Danny Gatton, one of his most influential mentors, as well as covering instrumental versions of some of his favorite songs of all time.
In theory you have to stretch your imagination here; but straight from Track #1 Fun House you are automatically transported back to some Miami night club in the 1960’s or if you are British, either a Working Man’s Club on a Saturday evening; when the band would play the Hits of the Day in their own inimitable way; and in this instance it’s somewhere between the Shadows and The Ventures.
It’s fair to say that JB’s ‘taste’ is eclectic; as how else do you explain an instrumental version of Polk Salad Annie sitting between to a re-imagined Bond (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) and a sultry take on King Curtis’ Blue Nocturne?
It shouldn’t work; but it does.
Just like his albums with Beth Hart, Bonamassa while not exactly taking a ‘back seat’ allows the other players here; most especially Reese Wynans on keyboards to shine in the spotlight; while he creates his own special magic in the shadows.
There’s something here that makes me think that there lots of smiles in the studio when these cats were creating these unusual tracks; which brings me to deciding on a Favourite Track.
The two I’ve narrowed it down to couldn’t be any more different than chalk and cheese, as they are Frank Sinatra’s It Was a Very Good Year; which is played relatively ‘straight’ with Bonamassa proving me right, that’s he’s an amazing acoustic guitar player; and the other is Motorhead’s Ace of Spades! Yes, you read that right; ‘that’ Ace of Spades; and it now get’s a glorious ‘middle of the Road’ makeover, that genuinely sounds like the band are having the time of their lives; so (and I never thought I’d ever say this) the title of RMHQ Favourite Track goes to Ace of Spades!
99% of the people who buy this album will use it as ‘background music’; which is what tends to happen with Instrumental albums; but if you do that; you are seriously missing numerous musical gems; and you wouldn’t treat Jazz or even a Classical music in the same way; would you?

Released April 10th 2020

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