Monday, 11 June 2012

Review: Analog Man (Joe Walsh)

#355: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! I have to admit that when Yours Truly KJS pre-ordered the Limited Deluxe Edition of this album, I was expecting to hear either an album of great bluesy numbers in the same vein as the classic "Life's Been Good" or maybe another "Armchair Theatre" or "Zoom" or "Far" with that familiar tried and trusted "Produced by Jeff Lynne" style we all know and love. But ain't it good to be surprised every now and then?
Recording Rites: Jeff Lynne with Joe Walsh and friends ...
For me, the circle is completed in listening to and reviewing this latest release. I always fondly remember thumbing through the many 7" and 12" singles at Wolverhampton's Sundown Records in my search for ELO and related rarities in the day and often ending up looking at Joe's 1974 release "Turn To Stone" - later coupled to "Rocky Mountain Way"! So to be looking at a new Joe Walsh album co-produced and featuring Jeff Lynne is a nice position to be in. "Analog Man" is indeed an album of contrasts and surprises. I can also say that it has exceeded my expectations too. The twelve tracks on the CD [as well as the trio of live performances on the special edition DVD] include the much anticipated five Jeff Lynne productions "Analog Man"; "Wrecking Ball", "Spanish Dancer", "One Day At A Time" and "Wishbone".
Joe also shared a certain song title with ELO/Jeff Lynne ...
Part of this album does indeed sound like The Eagles - and you'd expect that. But with addition of Jeff's bass, deft keyboards, guitar and backing vocals, that unmistakable 'sound' and influence is there for all to see [and hear]. I'm reminded on "Wrecking Ball" of the construct on some of the songs on that classic 1991 Tom Petty release "Into The Great Wide Open" yet I can also hear the guitar driven, ELOesque wall of sound within "Spanish Dancer" and "One Day At A Time". Yet with "Fishbone" we have a departure back to the blues fusion apparent in "Analog Man" - and it works! Proving beyond all reasonable doubt that the there are many more strings [excuse the pun!] to the production bow of Jeff Lynne than this writer has given him credit for in recent years.

But there is a lot more to this release than the work of Jeff Lynne. This is a great release for Eagles and ELO fans alike with elements of both rock legends oozing out from each and every track. The guest drumming of one Ringo Starr on the autobiographical "Lucky That Way" and "Band Played On" adds The Beatles' interest with the superlative vocals of David Crosby and Graham Nash over the thankful ballad "Family" also adding a folksy bluesy touch to this particular musical adventure. There's also a nice nod to the late Barbara Orbison here too. We should indeed be thanking Joe's wife Marjorie for talking him out of solo artiste retirement! I also love the feel good song "Hi-Roller Baby", the thumping "Funk 50" and the instrumental, synth-driven slick guitar extravaganza that is "India" [Mike Oldfield would be proud of it!]. After twenty [20] years out; Joe Walsh has returned with a fresh; invigorating and foot-tapping set of songs that I believe will satisfy the musical appetite of not only any Eagles, ELO and/or Jeff Lynne fan, but anyone looking for something NEW to listen to in this present age of musical famine. "Analog Man" is available from the official Joe Walsh web site and all good music outlets including thus:

ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends "Analog Man" by Joe Walsh to those enlightened folks who also enjoy the music of ELO, Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, 'Brum Beat', The Idle Race, The Move, The EaglesThe Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 11-June-2012

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