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Walsh, Joe: Analog Man

It's been exactly 20 years since we've seen a solo album from ex-James Gang and current Eagles guitarist/vocalist Joe Walsh, but with the sub-par quality of 1987's Got Any Gum?, 1991's Ordinary Average Guy, and especially 1992's Songs for a Dying Planet, it seemed apparent that perhaps this legendary rock star had run out of ideas and really needed a break. In late 2012 Walsh returned with the solid Analog Man, a real return to form for the guitarist, filled with songs that at times rock pretty hard and have great riffs and licks, catchy melodies, and a spot on production courtesy of himself and ELO legend Jeff Lynne.

Along with Walsh on guitars, vocals, bass, drums, and keyboards, the list of guest stars here include Lynne, Ringo Starr, Kenny Passarelli, Joe Vitale, Tommy Lee James, Graham Nash, David Crosby, among many others. Though the presence of Lynn is felt here, thankfully it's still a Joe Walsh album through and through. The opening title track tells the story of a guy who really prefers the old days when things were much simpler and less technology driven, and contains some of Joe's best riffs and slide solos in decades. "Wrecking Ball" is another guitar driven hard rocker, while "Lucky That Way" is a more country tinged rock ballad that could easily find a home within the Eagles repertoire. The tune "Spanish Dancer" has some great textures and melodies despite some straining vocals from Walsh, but at the mid-way mark it turns into a ripping James Gang styled rocker complete with some fiery guitar licks. Old partner in crime Vitale contributes some drums & sitar on the Beatles influenced "Band Played On", a fun tune which also sees Joe's buddy and former Beatles member Ringo join in on the fun. That brings us to "Family", a tender pop ballad with Nash & Crosby on backing vocals; it's a nice enough tune but kind of drags things to a halt somewhat, despite some truly heartfelt lyrics from Walsh. You can really hear the influence of Lynne on "One Day at a TIme", as the bright melodies and full instrumentation reminds a bit of latter day ELO, with Jeff contributing drums, bass, rhythm guitar, and backing vocals, but Joe tossing in a tasty lead guitar solo. Fun tune. "Hi-Roller Baby" is a catchy little rocker, with Joe guitar dueling with Tim Armstrong, and "Funk 50" sees Walsh returning to the themes of "Funk 48" and "Funk 49" from the lofty days of the James Gang, highlighted by some ultra-nasty guitar work that shows that he still has plenty of fire in his belly. It's just a shame that the song is just under 2 minutes long. Closing number "India" is a scorching guitar led instrumental, again, proof positive that Walsh was out to make a statement here that he hasn't forgotten how to rock & roll like the old days.

Analog Man is a hell of a lot of fun, and way stronger than probably any of us expected it to be. There's enough hard rocking goodness here to suggest that if Walsh, Dale Peters, and Jimmy Fox do that full-blown James Gang reunion like they've been hinting at, we could see something really spectacular. But, simply as a Joe Walsh solo album, this is easily his best since There Goes the Neighborhood back in 1981.

Track Listing
1) Analog Man
2) Wrecking Ball
3) Lucky That Way
4) Spanish Dancer
5) Band Played On
6) Family
7) One Day at a Time
8) Hi-Roller Baby
9) Funk 50
10) India

Added: January 30th 2013
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Artist Website
Hits: 1769
Language: english

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