Joe Walsh: Analog Man

Joe Walsh
Analog Man
(Concord Music Group)

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There’s been more than one farewell Eagles tour, a grand bout with sobriety and 20 years since his last solo album, but Joe Walsh is back with Analog Man.

The opening title track tells the story you’d pretty much expect, as 63-year-old Walsh comments: “The last album I made was on recording tape and there were knobs. Now there is a mouse.” It’s a fun, big slappy riff of a tune with Walsh’s distinctive voice, never sounding as good. “Spanish Dancer” is quite different than what we’d expect from this guy, with Walsh singing at his highest range, a great bass swirling across a “Spanish” melody. But then there’s an instrumental bridge talk-box part where things get so wild and funky you forget where you are. Wow!

“Band Played On” has a George Harrison-like sitar opening, giving way to power chords, reminding me of Walsh’s earlier “In the City.” “One Day at A Time” is the man’s ode to sobriety, sounding very much like The Travelling Wilburys, which is of no surprise seeing as Jeff Lynne produced this album.

On “Funk 50” Walsh steals from his own James Gang famous “Funk 49,” wailing over a heavy percussion backing and the “India” instrumental rides through drum-machine/low key backing, into chunky funk, then into rock guitar wailing with an AC/DC-like riff.

The best song here though is “Family.” With its piano spacey strings, this is Walsh laying himself bare. Crosby and Nash singing backing vocal and some perfectly placed slide make this a masterpiece.

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