The Ballad of John Henry

Studio Album by released in 2009
The Ballad of John Henry's tracklist:
The Ballad of John Henry
Last Kiss
Jockey Full of Bourbon
Story of a Quarryman
Lonesome Road Blues
Happier Times
Feelin' Good
Funkier Than a Mosquito's Tweeter
The Great Flood
From the Valley
As the Crow Flies

The Ballad of John Henry review

Joe Bonamassa’s universal creative laboriousness

American rock/blues-guitarist and singer Joe Bonamassa is a unique personage in all respects. This young man took a guitar when a child, at the age of 11 he already performed on stage under the mentorship of a country performer Danny Gotton. When the boy was 12 he opened a concert of B. B. King and soon founded his first band. Today Joe is one of the most renowned and popular musicians in the USA who got famous first of all due to his inimitable style in which the best tradition of blues and rock’s various directions are joined together. Besides his universal creative laboriousness is just amazing: starting from 2000 Bonamassa has released six studio and two live albums each of which is a great continuation of the previous one. His new record The Ballad Of John Henry is one of them. An example of an unbeaten guitarist’s skill, a new vision of well-known songs and a bit of original material are just a few things of all that can be said about this splendid album.

Slow tunes and intensive rock numbers on The Ballad Of John Henry

The album offers 12 compositions all based on Joe’s absolutely mesmerizing playing the guitar with which he has not parted for the greater part of his life. As on all of the musician’s works there are both slow spread tunes making the listeners move their heads with the tempo and more intensive rock numbers on this record. It opens with one of the latter, the title composition showcasing at once that the circle of Bonamassa’s interests is constantly widening; it is quite a heavy rock version of a well-known song powerful on drums and Joe’s vocals. A real surprise is his interpretation of Sam Brown’s famous hit Stop! – the composition’s blues variation may seem to many even more interesting than the original, and the emotions expressed in Bonamassa’s vocals are now less strong than in a female performance. A Tom Waits’ cover Jockey Full Of Bourbon pleases with the freshness of the sound while Lonesome Road Blues is definietely one of the album’s highlights as the best example of blues performed by a professional. Track Happier Times starts with contagious drums whereas a blues ballad Feelin' Good can boast one of the best guitar solos on the album. The song Funkier Than A Mosquito's Tweeter creates a positive atmosphere and charge with its energetic rhythm and the calmest pieces on the record are the instrumental compositions The Great Flood and From The Valley, letting one reflect and relax before the final track As The Crow Flies which is once again powerful, emotional and wonderfully vivid.

New resolutions for old songs

Joe Bonamassa is a man who simply plays the music he has always enjoyed playing. He never means to boast anything or teach anybody in his songs – all he wants to do is to play and to sing. Soon completing 32 years old this musician artfully combines different but rather close music directions and a new unusual and yet surprisingly tasty mix comes out of the known ingredients. All Bonamassa’s fans with no exception do not call him other than ‘a virtuoso’ and the critics praise his ability to find new resolutions for old songs. Although there is not much original material in his creative work – Joe performs covers at most – one cannot call his albums all similar as twins because each time this talented musician manages to make his guitar sound in a new way. We can have no doubt that The Ballad Of John Henry is far from Joe’s last album and that he is already working on the new material for the music is his true vocation and he would hardly like to waste his precious time on something else.

Alexandra Zachernovskaya (04.03.2009)
Rate review4.79
Total votes - 58

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