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I have become a huge fan of Joe Bonamassa in the past few years and have reviewed nearly all his albums on here. After reviewing a string of Joe Bonamassa albums recently I have come to now review yet another of his album "So It's Like That" which was his second album release and was released in 2002. The album was released on the J&R Adventures label and was recorded at Unique Recording Studios in New York. The album was produced by Joe Bonamassa, Clif Magness, Matt Chiaravalle, Richard Feldman & Dave Bassett. Joe Bonamassa was joined on the album by the musicians Eric Czar - bass, fretless bass
Kenny Kramme - drums & Matt Wilcox - keyboards.
**So It's Like That**
Interestingly this is the only album from Joe Bonamassa that features no cover versions as all his other albums although not cover albums do feature a handful of cover versions. The album was released on 13th August 2003 and it topped the US Billboard Blues Albums Chart. It received mixed reviews with mostly positive comments.
1.) My Mistake
The track opens with a catchy electro acoustic part and then as the drums and bass come in the song develops well. It's a nice catchy track with some very strong melodies and nice breakdowns. Joe's vocals are tender and emotive and the guitar blends well with the drums and bass to create a decent soundstage. It's not as strong as the best work he's done but what it is is a decent song which gives you a good example of the talent of Joe Bonamassa, most notably how he builds a song and his musicianship which is evident on the guitar solo which comes in half way through to top things off.
2.) Lie, No 1
This track features a good drum intro which then is joined by an excellent guitar riff which soon gets into full flow. This song is a decent live track and is showcases Joe Bonamassa's talent for building a song. The vocals are strong and the music is good too. The track is about confronting your ex partner after they lied about how they felt and didn't show their love as they were supposed to feel for you. I like the way the guitar solos build and come in. This is a very good track.
3.) No Slack
This track takes the album into an interesting Sound, Opening with some Jimi Hendrix like riffs and then there's some excellent Waah waah like guitar riffs which develop the song well here and Joe's vocals are clear and emotive. There's some great guitar work here as you would expect as he showcases his guitar talent with some excellent solos. I like the way that the song builds.
The opening is a simple electro acoustic part with some gentle bass guitar hooks. The drums come in well and then as the song develops into full flow you get some excellent guitar work along with some excellent organ sounds in the background which compliment the song well. I like Joe's expressive almost story teller like vocals on the song and this is one of the more radio friendly tracks on the album. There's some great guitar work that builds well and tops things off well. The guitar work is Eric Clapton like.
5.) So, It's Like That
Here's the title track from the album and it's a fantastically catchy old school Blues tune which sees Joe's vocals performed strongly and some vibrant guitar work combined with a catchy and very effective bass hook which is something to tap your feet to. Joe's guitar work is again excellent as he goes off with some fantastic hooks and solos. This track not only shows the great musicianship of Joe Bonamassa but also his band who perform very well indeed.
6.) Waiting for Me
This is one of the more gentle tracks on the album, It's a lovely relaxed ballad with some nice piano and gentle keys and percussion. Joe's vocals are again emotive and the track builds well as the volume level slowly rises as the track progresses. This is not one of the more instant Joe Bonamassa tracks you'll ever hear but what it is is a very strong track which is another strong one on the album. The track builds well until the relaxed solo tops things off. Good stuff.
7.) Never Say Goodbye
This is a gentle catchy track about pledging your love for someone and saying that you will always love and be there for them. This track shows a slower side to the album and works rather well. The chorus is a sing along affair and the song builds well before an excellent guitar solo raises the pace of the track a little with slightly more aggressive bass and drums too. This is one of the better tracks on the album despite not being one of the most well known Joe Bonamassa tracks.
8.) Mountain Time
This track starts off gently with an acoustic feel and then as the drums come in it develops with a simple yet effective guitar part. Joe's vocals are emotive again and this is a strong track which has elements of Southern Rock leaning on the Country style. This track is another with a strong sing along chorus that would go down well at concerts I'm sure. It's a catchy track with a nice pace and is topped off well with some very good guitar work from Joe.
9.) Pain & Sorrow
This is probably the best track on the album, It's a ten minute epic which really showcases Joe Bonamassa's vocal and guitar playing ability. It opens with some guitar twangs and then develops with a meandering melody and some shuffling drums. Joe then continues with some great riffs and licks with his raspy vocal which shows a different vocal feel than his usual voice. The guitar solos on the track are really excellent and are built up to very well indeed. This track is probably the one that stands out and deserves qualitative comparison with his more recent material.
10.) Takin' the hit
This is a fluid up tempo track with some great musicianship. Joe's vocals are strong and the music is catchy and has some nice changes of pace and breakdowns which work well. The guitar work is superb as usual as the riffs are so listenable throughout the song and when his solos come in you are treated to some great stuff which showcases what a great musician that Joe Bonamassa is. This is one of the songs of the album for sure.
11.) Under the Radar
This is a relatively fast paced track which has some excellent guitar parts with acoustic and electric combining well with each other to create a nice soundstage. This is another radio friendly effort which has a decent chorus and a catchy feel. This is one of the shorter tracks on the album at 3 minutes and 20 seconds but it gets in enough to leave a strong sound. The guitar solo builds well and compliments the track. Good stuff.
12.) Sick in Love
This is an interesting track, It has an excellent feel and has a fluid feel. The guitar work reminds me of Slash which is great as he is another Guitarist that I hugely respect. This track has an excellent up tempo Rock feel with some strong vocals and a good subject about being in love with someone. It's up there with the best on the album even it is a little short as only a little longer than the previous track "Under the radar".
13.) The Hard Way
We end the album here with a track which is over seven minutes long and is a fine showcases of Joe's guitar ability. The first part of the track is about building the sound with catchy riffs and a nice drum sequence and as the song builds you get the sense of a fine guitar solo coming and you are duly rewarded with a sequence of solo guitar which has several parts and sounds to it. Great stuff which really ends the album off well.
Whilst this is not one of Joe Bonamassa's biggest or most instant albums it does however prove to be an excellent album which shows that Joe Bonamassa at 25 was an exceptional Musician and artist. If you have recently discovered Joe Bonamassa's work then I would recommend delving deeper and purchasing this album as it features some great material and shows how he progressed over the years. Whilst not as good as his best albums this still beats many rival artists and it's not even close with most. Oh and remember this is the only Joe Bonamassa album which features all original material.