1st Listen: BCC2 Rocks – Again!

May 24, 2011 | By | 2 Replies More

BlackCountryCommunion2_cover_11Hasn’t even been a year since the first Black Country Communion (BCC) record came out, and the guys have already cut another one. That’s awesome, but even better is that the new one absolutely rocks! These guys are keeping the classic rock flame alive big-time.

If you need a reminder, BCC is the “supergroup” consisting of Joe Bonamassa (guitar, some vox), Glenn Hughes (bass, most vox), Jason Bonham (skins) and Derek Sherinian (keys). That lineup right there is enough to give any of their music a listen.

Even though supergroup music tends not be the greatest – I feel because they don’t play together enough to really gel into a unique style – BCC1 was a darn good album. So is BCC2.

Here are my impressions after a few listens. (Btw, the album will be released June 14. Get the CD and full digital download at the BCC site for $13.99. Plus the boys are about to start touring. Don’t miss ‘em – dates here.)

1. The Outsider
This is the first tune they’ve released (can we still call it a single?). Fast-paced, rocks, Glenn rips on it.

2. Man in the Middle
My favorite tune on the album because it’s the hardest. Hard rock! Key of E, straight-ahead good. I think if I watched them jam this one tune live for 15 minutes I’d be happy.

> From the first two tunes you can tell it sounds like Joe is really going for rock solos rather than a blusier approach, which is great.

3. The Battle for Hadrian’s Mill
Vaugely Zep-ish with the acoustics and organ. Sung by Joe, who does a very good job with it. Notably, his singing sounds more rock than blues, worth mentioning since he’s known as a blues guy. Different guitar tone (vs. first 2 tracks) for Joe on this one.

4. Save Me
Interesting Pink Floyd-ish intro. The tune and octave riff reminds me of an ’80s rock tune, but no song in particular comes to mind. Call me nuts, but maybe early Whitesnake – sort of? Maybe this is Derek’s influence because he used to play in Dream Theater? At 7:43, the second-longest tune on the album, which means a long outro – cool!

5. Smokestack Woman
How can this not be a rock tune with a name like that? Sounds like a Tele or Strat bridge pickup used for the riff, almost a southern rock-ish feel. Sure to be a great live tune. Wah solo, wish it was up in the mix so it ripped my head off!

6. Faithless
Interesting tune. Tough to characterize – maybe making it BCC’s style? – with a Rush-sounding chord part before the lead break. Is this Joe’s first lead break with a flanger? Very cool solo.

7. An Ordinary Son
Slow opening riff – that if sped up about 10x would be EVH-like in terms of the chords. Great rock tune that never loses steam even though it’s 7:58.

8. I Can See Spirit
This is the “Glenn Hughes is in my band!” tune – meaning when his vocals comes in, the song comes alive. He makes the song. Good, solid rock tune. Again wish the guitar solo was higher in the mix – maybe I just need an EQ.

9. Little Secret
A slow blues tune – but Glenn sings, not Joe. Does Glenn do a good job? Of course! He’s Glenn Hughes! You can hear Joe’s lead break better in this one because there’s more space. At 6:59 total time, I gotta say I wish there were some tempo changes in this one. But I’m a rockhead – if you lean more to the blues, you’ll eat this up.

10. Crossfire
Cool riff. Strat on the neck pickup? One of my favorite tunes on the album, probably because it’s rock (duh!) and is different – meaning it’s BCC’s own style, which I dig. This solo sounds like it’s more up in the mix, maybe because less keys and no big rhythm guitar.

11. Cold
A big, slower rock tune. Seems like producer Kevin Shirley’s MO is to put a slower-paced tune at the end of an album. Not the old-school “hit you hard and leave you wanting more” thing, but that’s okay. (Feel like this is letdown on the album description, but shouldn’t be…it’s good!)

Overall

I like the album and keep listening to it – remember I’ve only listened 2-3x so far. I love Glenn Hughes’ voice, and let’s face it, it’s awesome to hear new rock in the classic vein played by guys who can walk the walk.

I felt the last album had some Deep Purple references, which seem to be absent in this one. I take that as a good sign, that it’s more a band now than a collection of A+ players with influences, if you know what I mean.

Get it, definitely worth the $14, let me know what you think.

3 Wishes

If I had three wishes (not criticisms, just personal preference) about BCC2 they would be:

1. More raw-sounding production (bigger drums for starters) like in the old days. But that might be impossible anymore with digital stuff – the last AC/DC album was a huge disappointment in that regard.

2. Joe to stick with one guitar tone, like on the old records.

3. I’d also like rock and only rock, but that’s always the case. Should be on my license plate or forehead – which may be receding a bit to a fivehead (ha!).

Can’t wait to see these guys live. Less than a month!

Category: Black Country Communion, Joe Bonamassa, mp3/CD/DVD

Comments (2)

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  1. Alex says:

    “Call me nuts, but maybe early Whitesnake – sort of?”

    Maybe you’re thinking of “Looking for Love” off 1984?

  2. JediRabbit says:

    This is simply a wonderful album by a great band. I believe that Joe Bonamassa is the artist of the decade, he’s a great songwriter, singer and guitarist.

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