Analog Man (Fantasy)
By Brian Arsenault
Ah, Joe Walsh. You expect big guitar riffs and he doesn’t disappoint. This is a guy who doesn’t need to be anything other than a rock ‘n roll guitarist so you get authenticity, veracity, even tenacity.
You expect humorous, sometimes ironic lyrics. He doesn’t disappoint even if you also get some sentimentality but, hey, who needs consistency let alone obscurity.
For a while this album seems to be pretty much the Joe Walsh/Jeff Lynne (yes, ELO and The Traveling Wilburys‘ Jeff Lynne) as Lynne produces and plays whatever Walsh doesn’t. But look, here comes Ringo on drums for a song and Crosby and Nash (but no Stills) doing backup vocals on another.
But make no mistake this is not a Ringo’s All Star band or big name collaborative album. It is Joe Walsh throughout.
Did I mention the big guitar riffs?
The album has just been released — first in vinyl with CD to follow. Walsh may be an Analog Man but he’s no fool. He knows that turntable stereos are secreted away by some of us other analogs like short-wave radios hidden by the French Resistance.
The vinyl package even includes a card good for “a free 24 bit 96 KHZ high resolution audio download.” Proud to say I don’t know what hardly any of that means and if Joe doesn’t either he at least knows that you need it.
If it were still possible for a simply good rocker to be a hit single (please tell me it is), “One Day at a Time” would have a real shot even if it is a bit of a lament for hard living older guys. Did I mention the big guitar licks? An infectious toe tapper for those no longer able to dance the night away.
“Spanish Dancer” might also manage radio play. A neat tribute to a woman who can entrance with a dance, it’s the surprise delight of the album. Oh, and some big guitar licks.
“Band Played On” seems a little George Harrison in instrumentation and lyrical stylings. Probably no mistake that Ringo shows up on this track. Note that I am not mentioning the big guitar licks.
“Funk 50” is, well, funky and “India” is almost completely big guitar licks.
And there are even words to live by. On “Lucky That Way”, Walsh intones “if you just act like you know what you’re doing . . . everybody thinks that you do.” That’s a pretty good description of my meandering so-called professional life and that of many others. I also know the converse to be true: that almost nobody knows, so acting like you do is a necessity.
This is not a long album, nor a dreaded “concept” album. And almost nothing, thank goodness, sounds like the Eagles. There are some recurring themes but it’s mostly just good rock done by an old, make that veteran, master.
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