Joe Bonamassa: Blues Deluxe Vol. 2 Review

Blues great Joe Bonamassa is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Blues Deluxe with a new 10-track volume due out on Friday through J&R Adventures—and it’s a blast to listen to. Bonamassa appears, unsurprisingly, as a prolific guitar master, delivering well-produced new material that’s likely to thrill his fans. The sense that he’s having a great time makes it all even better.

Blues Deluxe Vol. 2 is Bonamassa’s first studio album since 2021’s Time Clocks. It features eight covers and two original tracks. Bonamassa has said this was intentional, as he wanted to release a similar ratio of covers to originals as he did on Blues Deluxe. (The 12-track 2003 album featured nine covers and three originals.)

The album’s first original track is “Hope You Realize It (Goodbye Again),” a song Bonamassa wrote with Tom Hambridge that appears sixth on the album’s track list. Released as a single last month, the song has a deep funk groove that Bonamassa has attributed to his decision to give it “a real Tower of Power treatment.” It’s fast and smooth, with emphatic drums and an exciting mid-song Bonamassa solo.

The second original track is album closer “Is It Safe to Go Home.” The song was penned by Josh Smith, one of Bonamassa’s frequent collaborators who also produced Blues Deluxe Vol. 2. Bonamassa’s plaintive guitar and soulful vocals bring a wistful tone to the song beneath lyrics that confront being alone and pushing someone away “for fortune and fame.” It ends the album on a reflective note, a counter to some of the joyful covers that appear earlier.

Bonamassa reimagines songs by many of his influences on the album’s eight other tracks, weaving a jaunty version of Guitar Slim’s “Well, I Done Got Over It” with a driving take on “Lazy Poker Blues” from Fleetwood Mac’s early Peter Green years. The album kicks off with a cover of Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “Twenty-Four Hour Blues,” a song that touches on key blues trademarks like heartbreak and longing before Bonamassa shifts into a cover of Bobby Parker’s “It’s Hard But It’s Fair.”

Bonamassa’s choice of covers have him returning to traditional blues themes several times throughout the album, including with “The Truth Hurts,” a Kenny Neal song he covered with Smith and Kirk Fletcher. Perhaps the album’s most upbeat track is Bonamassa’s take on Ronnie Earle & the Broadcasters’ “I Want to Shout About It,” a song delivered with as much gusto as appears in the excited lyrics about new love.

Blues Deluxe Vol. 2 shows Bonamassa celebrating the artists who inspired his own career and doing one of the things he enjoys most in putting his spin on their classics. It’s a fun ride, and it begs the question of whether fans will have to wait another 20 years before hearing Bonamassa’s next Blues Deluxe installment.

The Review: 9/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– It’s Hard But It’s Fair
– Well, I Done Got Over It
– I Want to Shout About It
– Hope You Realize It (Goodbye Again)

The Big Hit

– Hope You Realize It (Goodbye Again)

Buy the album: Amazon

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