On September 23, the Grammy Award nominated blues guitar genius JOE BONAMASSA will release his “Live at the Greek Theatre” 22-track double CD with bonuses such as DVD, Blu-ray and 3 LP deluxe editions — tributes to the greatest blues-men who ever lived : Albert King, BB King and Freddie King.
The tribute to the “The Three Kings” was played on a sultry night to a packed Greek Theatre in Los Angeles and songs ranged from “Hummingbird” to “Let the Good Times Roll” and to “The Thrill is Gone” to “Lonesome Whistle Blues.”
For the show, Bonamassa took a series of vintage guitars to the stage, including four Gibson ES models, a Gibson Les Paul, Flying V and Custom Shop models as well as strats and Don Erlewine custom Flying V named ‘Lucy.’
The 11-piece band included such luminaries as Anton Fig (drums) Michael Rhodes (bass) Reese Wynans (keys) Lee Thornburg (trumpets and horns) Paulie Cerra (sax) Nick Lane (bone) plus a trio of backing singers that included Mahalia Barnes, Jade MacRae and Juanita Tippins.
The collection starts with Freddie King’s “See See Baby” whose rhythm is very familiar [reminiscent of ‘Hey Lawdy Mama‘ made famous by Cream.] This is a swing-blues number of up-tempo performance and sparkles with effervescent guitar-work and bursts with meandering streams of flaming grooviness.
“Some Other Day, Some Other Time” [Freddie King] is a Bonamassa favourite. This has a ratlle and roll all of its own and chattering guitar that adds a spicy flavour.
“I’ll Play The Blues For You” [Albert King] is a smokey boogie number all about loneliness. This is probably one of the best classic blues songs ever written. And it’s sexy and husky here on the “Three Kings” performance.
The “so sweet and so plain...” number “Hummingbird” [Leon Russell 1970 — Russell worked with both Freddie King and B.B. King, who made this song his own] is perhaps one of the most generous Blues numbers ever written…
Everything … the lyrics, the melody, the rhythm … are all amazing. It has a healing quality and meditative effect. There is little doubt that this number inspired ‘Derek and the Dominoes‘ to go forth and do their thing [Bobby Whitlock was present during the first recordings.] How much the number was influenced by “Little Wing”  is hard to say but, on this Joe Bonamassa version, the comparisons seem clear.
“My only regret…” Said Joe Bonamassa, “is that B.B. Was not alive to see [this] …”
Live at the Greek Theatre – Joe Bonamassa Release date: SEPT 23RD 2016
Words: Neil Mach 2016 ©
Main Image: Christie Goodwin