Saturday , May 18 2024
Were the comparisons inevitable?

VCV: Joe Bonamassa – “Blue And Evil”

We've all reflected on past decisions and situations in our life and wondered how things might have been different if we'd been armed with different or more complete knowledge at the time those decisions were made.  Today, I'm wondering the opposite.  Would I have drawn the comparison I'm about to make if I didn't know what I know now?

Producer Kevin Shirley has worked with a lot of artists in his career, among them Led Zeppelin.  Sort of.  Shirley has been called in as a tape doctor for Led Zeppelin reissues and archival releases and also helped remaster Robert Plant and Jimmy Page's Unledded  performance for MTV.  That association between Shirley and Led Zep was definitely on my mind when I heard connective threads between Joe Bonamassa's "Blue and Evil" and Zeppelin's "Kashmir."

Black Rock, the album from which "B&E" is taken, was recorded in Greece with Shirley manning the boards.  Greece's Mediterranean setting had an obvious influence on Bonamassa and the sounds he incorporated into the album and, in particular "B&E," are recipients of the Mediterranean/Middle Eastern flavor.  The similarities don't stop at similar world music similarities.  There are hundreds of songs that have aped the "Kashmir" riff more closely than "Blue and Evil" but there is no mistaking the resemblance.

It would be a mistake to dismiss "Blue and Evil" as a Zeppelin ripoff, though.  "Kashmir" has a sweeping epic quality to it.  "Blue and Evil" sounds huge but it doesn't have that epic sense of the Zeppelin classic.  Middle Eastern-tinged acoustic noodling bookends a thundering, muscular riff.  "Kashmir" had sprawl and grandiosity.  "Blue and Evil" is teeth-chattering, immediate power.  

This isn't Joe Bonamassa going metal but hard rock fans ought to find plenty to sink their teeth into.  This track isn't the best exhibition of Bonamassa's lead guitar work — although his solo brings plenty of heat — but this is a heavyweight riff that fans of greats like Jeff Beck and, yes, Jimmy Page, can get behind and they should download this track from iTunes or Amazon immediately.

About Josh Hathaway

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