Joe Bonamassa – British Blues Explosion Live album review

World's hottest blues guitarist takes on the legacy of Clapton, Beck and Page…

Louder Verdict

JoBo is the finest tribute act you’ll hear – but he shouldn’t make a career of it.


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    Joey Bones does Clapton, Beck and Page.


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    The album sleeve. It's like someone ate and then threw up the sleeve for Disraeli Gears…

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Think of a seminal blues titan, and chances are Joe Bonamassa can do you a decent facsimile. The guitarist has previously channelled his inner Chicago bluesman with 2015’s Muddy Wolf shows, so he was never going to struggle to inhabit the white-boy boomers at this 2016 show from the Greenwich Naval College. 

Jeff Beck is to the fore, the temperature rising with the knuckleduster licks of Rice Pudding and Spanish Boots, and Jimmy Page gets his due with a coruscating Tea For One and a steroid-abusing How Many More Times

But it’s Clapton who gets the lion’s share, and while Bonamassa fiddles the time line (1974’s breezy Mainline Florida and 1989’s Pretending are a long way from the Ealing Club), those cuts are played with the same scholarly fire as Beano fodder like Double Crossing Time

JoBo is the finest tribute act you’ll hear – but he shouldn’t make a career of it.

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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.