Joe Bonamassa - 'Muddy Wolf At Red Rocks'

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Joe Bonamassa - 'Muddy Wolf At Red Rocks'

If you're a fan of Bonamassa, you need this release.

The last two or three times I've done a review of a Joe Bonamassa project I've mentioned how ridiculously prolific he is, and here I am yet again wondering when the guy must sleep. The guitar hero, with Kevin Shirley at the production helm, has come up with another great addition to his expansive live canon.

The idea was to pay tribute to two Blues icons, namely Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, so Bonamassa has taken a selection of songs from each to make the 'Muddy Wolf' concert. Filmed at the truly spectacular Red Rocks, an amphitheatre set in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the show has a stunning look to it. Footage of Waters kicks things off before Bonamassa, and the amazing band backing him, launch into a ferocious rendition of 'Tiger In Your Tank'.

With a band that has the legendary Anton Fig on drums, Michael Rhodes on bass and experienced Blues player Reese Wynans amongst its ranks, you can't go wrong. Add in a second guitar from Kirk Fletcher to let Bonamassa rip in the solos, and throw in a trio of brilliant horns players, and you have a superb sound to let these great songs live again. Tracks like 'I Can't Be Satisfied', 'Stuff You Gotta Watch', 'My Home Is On The Delta' are all received with rapturous applause. In fact, I've rarely seen a crowd so into a concert – with nine thousand people in attendance, Bonamassa proudly acknowledges it is his biggest crowd to date and one of the most appreciative – pretty much every solo and every song receive a standing ovation.

After the Waters set, footage of Wolf plays before Bonamassa launches into 'How Many More Years'. Well known tracks like 'Killing Floor' and 'Spoonful' are aired and I personally thought Bonamassa has seldom sounded better vocally, although my brother (who is a much bigger Blues enthusiast than me) felt the guitarist's voice wasn't suited to songs previously delivered by Wolf's gravelly rasp.

Bonamassa brings things home with a take on Jimi Hendrix's 'Hey Baby (New Rising Sun) and then dusts off a few of his own gems, such as 'Sloe Gin' and 'Ballad Of John Henry'. There are few more polished live performers out there and this latest Blues foray is another absolute triumph.

The DVD is bolstered by documentary film of Bonamassa and Shirley taking a trip to the famed crossroads mentioned in the song of that name, as well as a "behind the scenes" featurette. Also available on audio disc, it doesn't matter which format you prefer, if you're a fan of Bonamassa, you need this release.

James Gaden

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