Friday, January 18, 2008
Classic rock at its best
Back in the mid-1970s my friend Rebecca introduced me to the music of Joe Walsh. By far our favorite album was a solo effort from 1972: Barnstorm. I wore out the vinyl long ago. For some unfathomable reason, it has not been available on CD until now. When I happened upon it on Amazon last week, I called my husband and asked if it was OK to order it. Being a wise man, he said yes.
It came Wednesday and I have to say, it has held up well. It's definitely an album to listen to as an album. Each song flows to the next one and the cumulative effect is wonderful -- and it's layered with musical texture. (It's a great album to listen to on headphones.) It's a hard album to classify -- yes, it rocks out (this is Joe Walsh, after all), but you'll find some jazzy elements (Joe Vitale's flute solos, for example), prog rock in the classic ARP synthesizers, and hints of country. It has it's soft, melodic side, but also a bit of Walsh's biting irony.
Sometimes an album from one's high school and college days doesn't live up to one's memories of it. I'm glad that's not my experience with Barnstorm. If anything, I appreciate the musicianship even more. If all you know of Joe Walsh is Rocky Mountain Way or his work with the Eagles, give this album a listen. I don't think you'll be disappointed.