Let me start off this review of the first Black Country Communion album released two days ago by saying I am a big Joe Bonamassa fan — now, we all confess Joe needs to lose the too-tight Preacherman suit and drop the sunglasses in performance — but he is an established and wildly important modern Blues Guitarist.  Joe isn’t a great singer, but he makes a fretboard wail with a caustic vibration.  Joe’s latest concoction is this Black Country Communion “SuperGroup” he formed — and it is an utter, and vast, failure.

Bonamassa has always been an originator and a massive talent.  Here is the young Joe, at age 12, playing a Fender Telecaster on stage with the great Danny Gatton:

Joe has been playing professionally for over two decades and he has a magnificent Blues career in hand.  So why start a Hard Rock SuperGroup when nobody really wants one?  The answer seems to be that Joe isn’t satisfied with his singular talent.  He wants to blot musical history with the talent of spattered blood like Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton before him.

Joe reveals this truth in an unfortunate interview with MusicRadar.com:

Now that the group’s debut, Black Country, has been released, Bonamassa is more pumped than ever. “Do I see this as my Blind Faith or Cream? Absolutely,” he says. “I’m not saying we’re as good as those groups. I’d be an idiot to compare myself to Clapton in any capacity. But I like how he would veer from the blues and get into other types of bands and music. That’s how I view this opportunity with Black Country. It’s my supergroup, for lack of a better term – a chance to stretch out with some killer players who just happen to have some big names.”

Literally thrown together by Bonamassa’s longtime producer Kevin Shirley, the Black Country Communion guys hunkered down and slammed a record down in a week’s time, and the result is a potent and stomping collection of riff-heavy rockers (with just a touch of funk and prog) that will undoubtedly stun listeners who only know Bonamassa from his blues offerings.

Joe, as your faraway and unknown friend in New Jersey, let me tell you this:  You are not Clapton or Winwood.  You are our Little Joe — not of the Ponderosa — but of the Bonamassa.  You are a Bluesman.  Leave the hardline Rock in you bedroom.  Sure, you can play with Clapton live on stage, and let him beat you down with a more beautiful voice and a larger guitar talent if you so choose, but leave the rest of us out of your internal terror of trying to falsely claim a greater, but forced, standing in musical history:

The Black Country Communion album is unlistenable.  Every song sounds the same.  It feels like the entire thing was cobbled together over seven days — and it was!  It’s a sloppy mess with no heart or direction.  I feel a bit ripped off that I bought the album and paid $10.00USD for what now amounts to a single listening.  I have no interest in ever hearing that junk again.

Oh, and as proof that I put my money where my review stands, here’s my iTunes Ping stream showing the purchase:

I don’t want the rabid Bonamassa fans to flay me like the Cyndi Lauper losers who couldn’t attack my review with any sense, so they instead falsely accused me of not actually buying her album before I reviewed it.

For the record, here’s a taste of Black Country Communion in action and don’t let the thumping drums and the droning bass push you over the edge of despair:

You were warned.

Joe Bonamassa:  Please come back to us and honor your Blues roots and condemn your straying from the soul of your promise at birth.  You were bred, not to shred, but to spread the spirit of the Blues across the world with every living cell of your being.  Your place is musical history is solid.  Don’t panic.  Don’t stray.  Don’t throw away what you once honored.  Keep the faith.  Let the pristine moments of your past overshine your insecurity about the future.


  1. This is disappointing news for sure, David. I know you were looking forward to this album. I have enjoyed your Joe videos on Facebook you link from the You Tube.

    1. Yes, I thought for sure Joe would still with his Blues core no matter what other things he chose to do — but that wasn’t the case in this condition. Joe gave up what he knows for what he wants to be.

  2. Get over it. I’m a big Joe Bonamassa fan as well, but I thought Black Rock was sounding a bit stale, while i think BCC is a breath of fresh air. Even if you don’t like it, this will expand Joe’s horizons and rejuvenate his next solo album.

    Personally I love the Black Country Communion album, and I hope they tour and put out a second album next year in addition to a Joe solo album.

    I mean you no disrespect. Sorry you don’t like this album, but give Joe some time to expand and experiment. Personally I love this album, and I hope it introduces more people to Joe’s talent. I don’t think he’s throwing anything away…

    1. I agree his Black Rock album was dead on arrival, too.

      With the BCC release this week — that’s two major whiffs in a row — and Joe is sounding his own death knell as a relevant artist.

      Bonamassa needs to go back to The Blues to re-establish his core.

      Joe can have all the time he likes to experiment and goof around — but he should do it privately — and he certainly shouldn’t ask his fans to foot the bill for his mindless sandbox.

  3. David,

    This is one of the best lines I have ever seen written in a review :

    “You were bred, not to shred, but to spread the spirit of the Blues across the world with every living cell of your being.”

    Beautiful! So sorry he didn’t live up to what you were hoping he’d do!

  4. Bonamassa’s Black Country Communion is fantastic. Joe’s guitar playing on the album is phenomenal. It’s great that Joe can play blues as well as rock, but being stuck in the blues rock genre indefinitely would be a drag. If Joe can play the blues as well as rock guitar, I’m all for it. BCC is a fantastic achievement.

  5. Amazing. So you feel entitled to ask the artist what to do and not to do? “I want a stripped, acoustic Blues, album next. He owes us that one!” Give me a break!

    He grew up listening to rock music. Let his inner child get out and let him be.

    At first I read how you thrashed DR´s tite fits, wich amazed me ´cause they have always worked great for me for the past 3 years. Made me wonder if you could actualy string a guitar. Only to find out you took back what you posted.

    I only wonder what you will have to say about BCC in the neer future.

    1. Let me see if I understand your complaint. You want Joe Bonamassa to have free, non-critical, expression — but I am not allowed the same courtesy to freely criticize what I purchased? If that’s your point — why are you criticizing me? You’ve paid nothing to land here. Your investment is zero.

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