Sunday, May 20, 2012

Joe Walsh - Analog Man (2012), First New Album in 20 Years, Due June 5th


Analog Man [CD / DVD Combo Deluxe Edition]

Fellow blogger Charlie from Bloggerhythms emailed this week to say: "As a long time Joe Walsh fan I thought you might like this". The link led to a blog called isorski's musings and a post about the new Joe Walsh single, "Lucky That Way", to which Charlie commented, "nice. I like it a lot. The old Joe is back". Check it out in this live version from Joe's website.



We're with Charlie and Isorski on the new song, we like it too. They did an amazing bit of arrangement and production to get the sound close to Joe's old James Gang song "Midnight Man" off James Gang - Thirds.

Listen to "Midnight Man"




We might be a bit more enthusiastic about the new album, had we not already heard the first single, the title track.



It's not that "Analog Man" is necessarily a bad song but Joe seems to be in somewhat of a songwriting pattern since "Life's Been Good", writing first person songs about Joe. The two new songs show a nice sense of humor and find Joe with the good sense of self. But, compared to his songwriting in the seventies, the first person songs don't come close to the quality we all hope for every time Joe hits the recording studio. We know that Analog Man can't possibly have all first person songs about Joe, but so far the advance tracks are batting two for two.

It's probably unfair to have to compete with your own past every time you release a record, but to give you an idea of what Joe is up against every time out, we are going to make the case with a just a few audio and video tracks that Joe's body of work in the seventies was second to none in terms of songwriting, guitar playing, production, and as a singer, Joe was no slouch. In this next song, hang in through the long slow intro and be rewarded with a song that sounds as fresh, new, and great now as it did when he first released it in 1970.

Listen to "Tend My Garden" from James Gang Rides Again




Between 1969 and 1976, Joe made three albums with the James Gang (Yer' Album, James Gang Rides Again, and Thirds), and four solo albums (Barnstorm, The Smoker You Drink The Player You Get, So What, and You Can't Argue With A Sick Mind). If you want to hear Joe Walsh at his best, all these albums are essential. These albums sound great on CD because a few years ago, Joe's original producer and engineer Bill Szymczyk personally supervised the CD remastering. One could make a case that the Barnstorm album was his masterpiece. Next up is one of our favorite songs from Barnstorm.

Listen to "I'll Tell the World About You"



.,,....Photos courtesy of Joe Walsh

Here's a vintage video of another great song from Barnstorm. "Mother Says". This live version was recorded in 1975 and appears to be from the Don Kirshner's Rock Concert TV show, the same performance that was used for the live album, You Can't Argue With a Sick Mind, even though "Mother Says" wasn't included on the album.



"Help Me Through the Night" first appeared on the So What album (1974). Everyone was surprised when, in 1976, Joe joined the Eagles. Everyone, that is, except anyone familiar with You Can't Argue With a Sick Mind; the live album was recorded in 1975 and released in early '76. It featured "Help Me Through the Night" with Don Henley, Glen Frey, and Don Felder of the Eagles on guest vocals. The beauty of their voices combined can be heard in this live performance from the Eagles' Hell Freezes Over tour (1994), this show was recorded and released on CD and DVD.



Joe's talents were somewhat under-utilized in the Eagles, but he's in his fourth decade as a member. "Pretty Maids All In a Row" is one of his songwriting contributions which was included on the Hotel California album (1976). Here's a live version by Joe and the Eagles.



In 2004, Joe appeared at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival. He did his own "Funk #49" and "Rocky Mountain Way", but in this video he comes out and plays with James Taylor on a smokin' version of "Steamroller".



In 2007, Joe made an appearance at the London tribute concert honoring the late Jim Capaldi, Traffic drummer and songwriter. This acoustic performance of "John Barleycorn Must Die" is especially poignant, in light of Joe's well publicized history with alcohol.



For a bonus video this week, we have Joe as a session musician, playing with none other than Paul McCartney on his new album of standards. Here we have Joe joining Sir Paul in the studio to play some mellow jazz with Diana Krall on piano in a nice version of "My Valentine".



Joe Walsh's Website
Joe Walsh's Facebook



2 comments:

Chuck said...

Lots of good videos here. I haven't sat down and listened to Joe Walsh in a while. Thanks! His catalog of material kind of sneaks up on you. He's been a part of making a lot of good music over the years.

Charlie Ricci said...

I considered songs like "Life's Been Good to Me to be kind of novelties. However, Rides Again made me a fan because of Joe's versatility. He showed everyone he could rock out when he wanted to but side 2 proved how melodic he could be.