Don't be fooled by the title...Heavy Blues, the latest solo album from legendary The Guess Who/Bachman Turner Overdrive guitarist/vocalist Randy Bachman is anything but a straight blues album, but it is damn heavy in spots. Influenced by a conversation Bachman had with his buddy Neil Young, the guitarist decided to go back to his roots and try and revisit his love for '50s guitar rock, the British Invasion of the '60s, and the emergence of the heavy 'power trio' in the late '60s/early '70s. Along with drummer Dale Anne Brendon (who is part of the band for the theatrical run of Tommy) and bassist Anna Ruddick, Bachman now has his trio intact to carry out his vision, and the results are a fine collection of bluesy hard rock songs that includes some of the Randy's best guitar playing in years.
To make this set even more noteworthy are the addition of guest guitar solos from the likes of Young, Joe Bonamassa, Scott Holiday, Robert Randolph, Peter Frampton, Luke Doucet, and the late Jeff Healey. Holiday rips it up alongside Bachman on the near proto-metal of "Ton of Bricks", and Young's distorted licks drip like sheets of molten lava on the heavy "Little Girl Lost". Blues rock sensation Bonamassa tosses in some blazing solos on "Bad Child", and a recently discovered solo from the late Healey fits right in on the rootsy "Confessin' to the Devil", a real catchy blues rock piece chock full of meaty rhythm guitar from Bachman and plenty of vocal hooks. Frampton joins the fray on the stomping, BTO-sounding title track, a terrific riff rocker loaded with guitar thunder from the two greats, and Doucet's snarling leads complement the metallic "Please Come to Paris", another fine hard rocker on Heavy Blues. The trio pieces included on the album are equally as enjoyable, the band getting into a wild Who-like groove on "The Edge" that recalls "Won't Get Fooled Again", complete with some acrobatic, Keith Moon inspired drumming from Brendon and Bachman's tight riffing, and "Wild Texas Ride" is raunchy, '70s styled blues rock in the vein of Foghat, Pat Travers Band, Cactus, and ZZ Top.
If you had any doubts that Randy Bachman still possessed the goods to be a relevant guitar hero in 2015, then you need to check out Heavy Blues. This is a fired up, pedal to the metal collection of hard rocking, bluesy, and memorable songs jam packed with guitar thunder every step of the way. A fun, welcome album from one of rock's musical treasures.
1. The Edge
2. A Ton Of Bricks (feat Scott Holiday)
3. Bad Child (feat Joe Bonamassa)
4. Little Girl Lost (feat Neil Young)
5. Learn To Fly
6. Oh My Lord (feat Robert Randolph)
7. Confessing To The Devil (feat Jeff Healey)
8. Heavy Blues (feat Peter Frampton)
9. Wild Texas Ride
10. Please Come To Paris (feat Luke Doucet)
11. We Need To Talk