Review by Paul Sabin for MPM
Legendary British guitarist and songwriter, Joanne Shaw Taylor, one of the UK’s premiere blues rock players, has released an eleven-track album covering some rare blues classics originally recorded by the likes of BB King, Little Richard and Aretha Franklin. `
The Blues Album’, a follow up to 2019’s `Reckless Heart’ came to fruition during the enforced pandemic hiatus with none other than Joe Bonamassa acting as both mentor and producer on the project.
Each track found here, whilst remaining true to the original format, sees Bonamassa, aided by Josh Smith, squeezing that little bit more out of Shaw Taylor’s playing and vocal performance to add even more emotion and feel to the songs.
First track, Peter Green’s `Stop Messin’ Round’, digs in and a rocks hard from the outset and the pace doesn’t stop as `If That Ain’t A Reason’ swaggers its horn filled, funky way along. This Little Milton song has more meat on its bones in this rendition.
Otis Rush’s `Keep On Lovin’ Me’ brings Shaw Taylors’ smoky vocal to the fore and then we are treated to a full Chicago style electric solo spot mid song which is fearsome. The tempo slows with `If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody’ but provides a deeply soulful and powerful vocal delivery here.
The Little Village song, `Don’t Go Away Mad’ features Bonamassa and Shaw Taylor teaming up on this bright and slick track with emotive playing from both parties. Vocals are given a rest as the instrumental, `Scraps Vignette’ has Shaw Taylor trading licks with Josh Smith on this brief break in proceedings.
Albert King’s, `Can’t You See What You’re Doing To Me’ takes the spotlight next, and once more both vocals and guitar soloing are pushed to the limit. A sultry and soulful vocal, smoulders darkly on `Let Me Down Easy’ before being ripped to pieces by some intense fretboard work on the outro.
The merry shuffle of The Fabulous Thunderbirds `Two Time My Lovin’ with its bouncing bass line and sweet choral parts zooms through effortlessly before Shaw Taylor hits her peak vocally on `I Don’t Know What You’ve Got’, and is joined on the Choruses by Mike Farris. The guitar and horn parts allow room for her voice to truly sparkle here without being drowned out.
We revisit the shuffle mode as `Three Time Loser’ plays us out, replete with honky tonk piano, organ and rocky driven guitar soloing that hits the spot.
Bonamassa and Smith have managed to brings Joanne Shaw Taylor’s voice to the fore without sacrificing her superb guitar playing abilities.
The song choices have both stretched her and allowed her to blossom at the same time. Every track is a diamond here and only goes to underline that the lady is at the top of her game whether in the studio or on stage.
- STOP MESSIN’ ROUND (3:38)
- IF THAT AIN’T A REASON (4:00)
- KEEP ON LOVIN’ ME (4:07)
- IF YOU GOTTA MAKE A FOOL OF SOMEBODY (4:10)
- DON’T GO AWAY MAD feat. Joe Bonamassa (2:49)
- SCRAPS VIGNETTE (1:27)
- CAN’T YOU SEE WHAT YOU’RE DOING TO ME (4:25)
- LET ME DOWN EASY (4:50)
- TWO TIME MY LOVIN’ (4:34)
- I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’VE GOT feat. Mike Farris (4:49)
- THREE TIME LOSER (4:52)
Joanne Shaw Taylor has established herself as the UK’s number one star of the blues rock world. The girl with the big voice from the Black Country has toured extensively around the world, released critically acclaimed albums and gained a global fan base as well as having the honour of playing alongside some of her musical idols.
Pre-order ‘The Blues Album’ now at https://bit.ly/JSTtba