Reviews roundup – Joe Bonamassa vs. Simon Felton vs. Gustavo Assis-Brasil vs. Neon Alley vs. Bulgogi


Reviews roundup – Joe Bonamassa vs. Simon Felton vs. Gustavo Assis-Brasil vs. Neon Alley vs. Bulgogi

184448-l-loJOE BONAMASSA
Live At The Greek Theatre DVD

The latest release from the 24/7/365 blues rock factory that is Joe Bonamassa sees the release of a twenty two track Double CD, Double DVD, Blu-ray, and 3-LP Deluxe Edition.  And it’s a tribute to the three Kings, Albert King, B.B. and Freddie.

In his own words, “The Three Kings and their catalogue mean the world to me.  Freddie, Albert and of course BB.  Freddie was the Texas tornado coming in fast and furious.  Albert a drummer turned southpaw slayer always had the groove and made it funky as well as bluesy. BB defined the genre in which he lived so successfully for over 60 years.  Giants, humble, yet gentlemen off stage.”

And he’s down them proud on this release.  He’s got a fantastic band backing him – Anton Fig (drums), Kirk Fletcher (guitar), Michael Rhodes (bass), Reese Wynans (piano, Hammond organ), Lee Thornburg (trumpet, horn arrangements), Paulie Cerra (saxophone), Nick Lane (trombone), and a trio of backup singers including Mahalia Barnes, Jade MacRae, and Juanita Tippins.  The show has been recorded in a beautiful theatre (which you won’t see if you only buy the audio) and it seems to be one those venues that enhances the sound.

Now nothing is going to match the originals but when he gets into songs like “You’ve Got To Love Her With A Feeling”, “Breaking Up Somebody’s Home”, “Nobody Loves Me But My Mother” and “Hummingbird” the love for the music just shines through.  get yourself the DVD and you’ll get a bunch of extras including Growing Up Joe – A Conversation With Joe’s Parents, Riding With The Kings (Official Video), Caveman’s Hacked iPhone – Behind The Scenes and Joe’s Big Fat Greek Photo Gallery.  Fans will adore this.

cdaf9c_c0d618b927ec4fd1903d2fe672ec38d1mv2_d_1534_1530_s_2SIMON FELTON
Return To Easton Square
Pink Hedgehog

The world is just downright spooky sometimes.  Because the last time I reviewed a Simon Felton album was on September 17th 2015.  Which was exactly the same day that I reviewed a Joe Bonamassa release.  Weird.

However, Mr Felton hasn’t decided to follow the JB blues rock behemoth route.  Nope, he’s decided to stick to what he knows best.  Which is writing proper, old-fashioned pop songs, timeless in quality. As with ‘Emotional Feedback’ this sees him channeling his inner singer / songwriter to bring forth an array of tunes, any of which could have emerged at any point in the last forty years.

He says it’s “another therapeutic/confessional collection. which has seen me in many different moods which I think are reflected in the somewhat erratic song selection – some which are probably far too introspective, some bouncy and fun, while others are a bit silly.”  But he does himself an injustice there because the one thing he always manages is to write a good song.

For sure, a couple of the songs are a bit lo-fi for me but when he hits the bullseye as he does on “Falling To Pieces” and “Missing Action” then it’s pop gold.  He says this will be his last solo action for a while, but here’s hoping it’s not too long.

41gcrww7ckl-_ss500GUSTAVO ASSIS-BRASIL
Chromatic Dialogues
Anamaria Records

Hmmm.  Jazz.  And it’s from Brazilian / American jazz guitarist Gustavo Assis-Brasil who has released this ‘Chromatic Dialogues’ album, his first solo release in six years.

And it’s mainly a fusion sound that he’s going for here.  Says Gustavo, “my compositions are abstract. I want the listeners to interpret the dialogues and compositions the way they want. It becomes easier to understand the dialogues after listening to them a few times”.  Which will frighten a few but make fusion lovers gird their loins for an interesting listen.

There are a few instant gems, however, with “”Gee” and “CC” leading the line.  But once you’re into the more difficult tomes sich as “Pro Sapo” then it’s time to kick start your brain and paying closer attention. Musically it’s nigh on peerless and along with a sympathetic backing this is the kind of release that will top many an end of year jazz best of.


neonalleyNEON ALLEY
Neon Alley

Time for some rock now and for that we’re off to Boston, Massachusetts to catch up with David Vaccaro and his new trio, along with Mike McDonald – Bass, Vocals and Scott Marion – Drums & percussion.

Those of you with long memories and a love for melodic rock may recall his V-Project days which saw the release of a couple of albums that featured the likes of Robin McAuley (Grand Prix, McAuley Schenker Group), James Christian (House of Lords) and Christopher Post (Dillinger) amongst others.

Well he’s back with a bit of a seventies classic rock throwback vibe which suits songs like “Got To Rock” and “That’s How It Is”.  It sees Vaccaro singing for his supper for the first time and he makes a decent fist of it, even if you can’t help but wish someone like Lou Gramm was fronting the material.

It’s a good production for an indie release and if you want to hear before you buy head to the bottom of this page for a video.

Juan Dissed The Cyclops Baby

I like nutters. Actually, that’s a lie.  I hate nutters.  What I like are nutters who channel their lunacy into making music.  That way, at least, I don’t have to put up with their chin dribbling on the bus.  So say hello to Bulgogi who’ve just released this EP.

Head off to North Korea and you’ll find 불고기 being served up on a platter.  Find yourself in North Carolina and you’re hit over the head with some hard rock meets psych meets college indie meets Tramadol in a dark alley.

It’s the kind of thing you’re happy to encounter once before you smile benignly and move away to the other side of the street before it follows you home and ends up sleeping on your doormat for six months while you pray you can move out at lease end without them noticing.  And that’s just the opening track “School”.

Approach with caution and an anonymous browser.




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