Joe Bonamassa fires on all cylinders on the unfailingly upbeat sequel to 2003's Blues Deluxe

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of his best-selling independent release Blues Deluxe, Joe Bonamassa repeats the trick

Joe Bonamassa: Blues Deluxe Vol. 2 cover art
(Image: © Provogue)

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What a difference two decades makes. Back in 2003, when Joe Bonamassa released his first Blues Deluxe, he seemed every inch a busted flush, having been jettisoned by two labels and his booking agent. 

Fast-forward to 2023 and a different concern hangs over this second covers set: can a financially secure middle-aged star summon the pencil lead of a 26-year-old gunslinger with his back to the wall? 

While Vol. 2 is unfailingly upbeat, the opening brace – a molten take on Bobby Bland’s Twenty-Four Hour Blues and aspirited spin through Bobby Parker’s It’s Hard But It’s Fair – suggest Bonamassa no longer feels the need to burn off our eyebrows. 

That (relative) lack of scorched-earth fretwork might rankle eternal adolescents, but if you’ve followed his career the evolution makes perfect sense and the soul that has seeped into his playing is preferable: try the masterful, mid-tempo Win-O or the push/pull of his solo in You Sure Drive A Hard Bargain. Roll on Vol. 3.

The Joe Bonamassa Blues Deluxe Vol. 2 bundle edition of Classic Rock magazine is available now.

Henry Yates

Henry Yates has been a freelance journalist since 2002 and written about music for titles including The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Classic Rock, Guitarist, Total Guitar and Metal Hammer. He is the author of Walter Trout's official biography, Rescued From Reality, a music pundit on Times Radio and BBC TV, and an interviewer who has spoken to Brian May, Jimmy Page, Ozzy Osbourne, Ronnie Wood, Dave Grohl, Marilyn Manson, Kiefer Sutherland and many more.