Bad Temper Joe - "Double Trouble" Album Review By Aron Radford
Bad Temper Joe is a German singer/songwriter with a strong penchant for old school blues. ‘Double Trouble’ is a collection of blues inspired love songs that for the most part played on the Weissenborn. This is Joe’s 4th album in 2 years but this is the first to be Weissenborn orientated at its core, 7 out the 10 tracks here have Weissenborn taking centre stage. Joe is a real fan of old school classic blues ala Buddy Guy, Howling’ Wolf, Elmore James, Robert Johnson, Blind Willie et all. His passion for this golden era of blues is profound and splendidly evident in everything he writes and plays. The Weissenborn seems so well suited to this style of blues, it’s warmer than traditional bottleneck slide and resonator and has given Joe’s music a real earthy mellow aura which always seems to go down a storm with his homeland audiences.
Joe does have more than a passing resemblance to British bluesman Martin Harley musically speaking. Both play the blues, both play Weissenborn and both have a superb story telling quality about their songs (boy that would be an amazing double bill). Joe’s songs take you on a journey, they are heartwarming and always readily relatable. Lamenting about ‘loves lost’, ‘loves yet to be’, and ‘loves never to be’ he has a great songwriting talent that echoes one of his strongest non blues heroes Bob Dylan. It would be criminal not to mention the amazing harmonica playing talents Marcel Rahe who to me is the glue that makes this album stick together. The two musicians seem to have a wonderful understanding. Marcel’s interactions are perfectly balanced and complementary throughout the album and for me elevates this album go from “really good” to “simply great”!
Highlights are in abundance but standout songs for me start with ‘Girl From The East’ which is such a delicate love song, you can really feel the heart ache oozing through Joe’s husky, raspy vocals. The Weissenborn accompaniment is equally heartfelt and tenderly played, touches of Kelly Joe Phelps are buried within this lamentable composition. ‘If Tears Were Diamonds’ is a gem of a track (pun intended). Sweet soulful blues licks accented with occasional but perfectly timed lazy strums give the song such a customised “heartbroken” edge that you really do feel Joe’s angst, now that’s great songwriting and superb delivery right there! ‘I’ll Be Happy When You Cry’ is one of the few guitar orientated tracks on the album and showcases Joe’s splendid arpeggio finger picking skills, melodic, rhythmic and delightful to listen to. ‘Next To You’ has been hitting YouTube hard in various guises prior to this release and however it’s played and in what ever setting it always grabs you with its catchy melodic hook, it does remind me ever so slightly of Van Morisson which is never a bad thing in my book. The album ends on a real highlight for me. The sparse naked intro to the album closer ‘Gave Up Loving You’ is classic Ben Harper territory to this ears, single punctuated refrains slowly and deliberately give the song a brooding forlorn feel, sometime less is more and is probably my favourite track on the whole album.
‘Double Trouble’ is a must have for any self respecting Weissenborn fan out there, playing and singing blues on a Weissenborn is such sweet soulful cathartic listening experience and when its done this good it’s simply wondrous.
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