Been listening to the new Black Country Communion album quite a bit, liking it more and more. Listened to the new Santana album 2x – one time too many! Her’s more on both.
I mentioned in the album “review” that the drums are a bit too buried for my taste. That’s still the case, but the more I listen the more cool drums I hear. Jason Bonham can play, man!
Good tone, good songs, good playing, good singing. Still, it’s hard for thrown-together bands of any stature (local or as big as these guys) to find real magic and style so quickly. But it’s a definite possibility with this band. I hope they tour and get some new songs together. If they do, the new album could be great.
The BCC album is out today! You can buy the CD and get free digital (or vice versa, depending on your perspective) here.
Santana’s ‘Guitar Heaven’
Now to Santana. A buddy of mine – let’s call him Joe, since that’s his real name – emailed me yesterday with this:
New Santana streaming at: http://music.aol.com/new-releases-full-cds/#/3
Maybe it’s crabby Monday, but this thing is an abomination. Billed as “classic songs retooled with an all-star cast of vocalists” – if you listen it gets progressively worse (with a couple of exceptions, the Joe Cocker one is cool). In my opinion….
I thought, Couldn’t be that bad. Then I went and listened. IMO rundown below.
> “Whole Lotta Love” with Chris Cornell was good enough that it got me wondering whether Jimmy and JPJ auditioned Chris for the Zep gig. If not, they should have.
> “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” with Santana’s rhythm section was pretty cool (the drug-addled Scott Weiland on vox).
> “Sunshine of Your Love” has Rob Thomas on vox and it works, in part because he and Santana just go well together.
> “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” starts with what sounds like an electronic harpsichord – a crappy one, then a crappy drum machine. I’m done!
> “Photograph” with Daughtry of American Idol fame, such as it is. Don’t have anything good to say, so per my mother’s advice, I won’t.
> “Back in Black” with Nas. I have no idea who Nas is, but obviously some rapper. Starts with Nas making sounds like he’s pushing out some of last night’s chili. Then rap, which is like the cockroach of popular music. Still, props for doing the only thing you really could do with a perfect tune – try something radically different. But to me this tune sounds like it could be on the soundtrack for some Hollywood movie. Ain’t workin’ for this rocker. And Carlos supposedly played a Les Paul through a Marshall 50w and Marshall 8×10 cab on this!
> “Riders on the Storm” – I really like Santana’s rhythm section so when it works in a tune, I dig it. I prefer the new singer for The Doors over this Chester Bennington cat, whose name sounds like it’s the name of a bunny in a children’s book. Sorry man!
> Rag on the overplayed riff all you want, but “Smoke on the Water” is a great tune. Santana’s band does a good job, as does vocalist Jacoby Shaddix (who?). But Santana’s guitar doesn’t shine a whole lot, surprisingly. Especially with the wah on.
> “Dance the Night Away” – Once again, a rhythm section like this can do a lot with this beat. That’s the good part. The bad part is don’t expect to hear one iota of a nod to Van Halen on this tune other than the chords and melody (and my 8-year-old son can play the drums for this tune better than the part I’m hearing – but he is a good drummer!). Singer is Pat Monahan, another one I never heard of, sounds poppy. The whole tune does.
> “Bang a Gong” – Gavin Rossdale on vox. Not sure how this is different or why it was chosen.
> “Little Wing” with Joe Cocker. You can take it for granted that Cocker nails his performance. You’ll be asking if Carlos does justice to Jimi. With much respect to both men…no, but he does get some nice, fattish tone in the lead break. (Apparently the Strat he plays has John Suhr V60LP pickups in it.)
> “I Ain’t Superstitious” with Johnny Lang. Wow! This is good! Fat, guitar tone (still too much dang wah), and Johnny delivers! A bright spot in an otherwise uninspiring (to me) album.
Albums like this are always hit and miss, and usually miss (George Lynch’s underwhelming Furious George CD pops immediately into my head). Remember it’s not the player, since Santana obviously is a force of nature with ears for good tone. This can all be laid at the foot of the producer, which I believe was music mogul Clive Davis. Thanks a lot Clive!