Thursday, August 4, 2011
Black Country Communion 2
I had absolutely no intention of ever trying to hear this album let alone review it, but for some reason Glenn Hughes is playing a recurring role in my life these days. A few weeks ago I picked up the Deep Purple Mk.IV documentary Phoenix Rising. The day after watching it I stumbled upon a used LP copy of Come Taste The Band and I knew it was destiny compelling me to buy it yet again. Then the new issue of Classic Rock arrives the day after that with a big article on Glenn’s band Black Country Communion and their new second album. I read it with mild interest but had no real plans of hearing it. Well, I didn’t have to since someone just handed me a promo copy and I must admit it’s pretty good so here I am writing about it.
Black Country Communion is sort of a supergroup that was put together by producer Kevin Shirley to combine the forces of Glenn Hughes with blues guitarist Joe Bonamossa, drummer Jason Bonham (no introduction necessary) and keyboard player Derek Sherinian. The players are all top notch pros but they rock together really well. Led Zeppelin is the main influence and they do it better than anyone I can think of. The guitar riffs are very Zeppy and the keyboards (mainly organ) add an obvious Deep Purple tone but there are some “Kashmir” style synth effects occasionally, too.
The band rocks hard right out of the gate on “The Outsider” with an “Evil” speedy jam that’s totally Cactus worthy. Glenn Hughes turns 60 on August 21 this year but can still sing with more gusto than dudes one third his age. He really has no right to be able to sing this well after all the hard living he’s done. Someone upstairs likes him. Glenn’s bass playing sometimes gets overlooked because of his powerful voice but he can really groove. He’s always been a heavily R&B influenced player and his role in BCC is no different. He never gets carried away and blends well with the powerhouse drumming of Jason Bonham. I’ve heard very little of Joe Bonamossa’s music prior to this but he really gets the Led out on his riffing and solos and Derek Sherinian’s keys fit the songs very well.
Although it’s their second album, Zep III is more the template here with the Presence turned up to 11. “The Battle For Hadrian's Wall” will have you swinging from the gallows pole while “Little Secret” will have you ordering “Tea For One.” By far my favorite song is “Smokestack Woman” because it sounds like Krokus (One Vice At A Time-era) covering “Custard Pie.” How can you not love Glenn bellowing “Smokestack woman gonna steal my soul” like Marc Storace on a crystal meth powertrip? You can’t!
The eleven songs clock in at about an hour with a few of the songs going on for a minute or two too long. The production is great, the band sounds like they’re all playing in a room together and having a blast so I’ll chalk it up to the spirit of the boogie that prevented them from doing too much editing. All the members have pretty busy solo careers but hopefully they’ll continue to make time for this band.