Putting four genuine stars together in one outfit can be either a recipe for disaster or a genuine coming together of mutual respect. Black Country Communion seems to be lacking any clash of egos and in the main it genuinely delivers some stunning rock.
We all know how good a guitarist Joe Bonamassa is and Glenn Hughes vocals – old ‘Leather-lungs’ himself – have been heard fronting Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Trapeze to great effect. I was unsure how effective Derek Sherinian would be in this company especially with a power drummer like Jason Bonham but his keys add a lot to the sound and while they aren’t at the forefront of the music they add a crucial texture that akkows all the others the space to roam.
For my money the best tracks on the album are those where all the power is unleashed – ‘Black Country’ with its huge, anthemic chorus and theme or ‘The Great Divide’ which starts coolly enough but builds rapidly into a screaming and passionate Blues/rock odyssey. ‘Beggarman’ is a classic piece of Hendrix style Blues with Bonanassa ripping out some great riffs and Hughes vocals snarling and impassioned. ‘Medusa’, an old Trapeze number, shimmers with an almost psychedelic image and features some delicious power play from Bonham and Bonamassa behind Hughes most emotional vocals and ‘Sista Jane’ has all sorts of nastiness lurking under the skin - “sweet Sista Jane, sure likes the pain” indeed. The mammoth ‘Too Late For The Sun’ rounds off the album and manages to allow all members of the band to indulge themselves in its 11+ minutes – to great effect I should add.
This is a real throwback to rock of the seventies but there isn’t any negative in that – it was a golden age for development of rock music and this album is true to the spirit and the heart of it all – it also sounds like the four of them had a real good time in the studio.
Check out our Joe Bonamassa and Derek Sherinian interview and parts of the first ever live set below.
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