CD Reviews

Black Country Communion - 'Black Country' Hot

Added by James Gaden     August 20, 2010    
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Debut album from the much hyped supergroup.


Hey, it’s that term ‘supergroup’ again... if you’ve been living in a cave, Black Country Communion are a four piece assembled by Glenn Hughes of Trapeze, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath fame, in tandem with blues guitar hero Joe Bonamassa. With the experience of Kevin Shirley (Journey, Aerosmith, loads of others) on production duties, and drums provided by Jason Bonham, things were looking good. Apparently Bonham didn’t want to be part of a three piece, so the not inconsiderable ivory tinkling skills of Derek Sherinian from Dream Theater completed the line up.

Understandably the quartet’s reputations caused much speculation and now their debut record has finally arrived. I wasn’t sure whether it would be bluesy because of Bonamassa’s influence, or have some of Hughes’ trademark funk in there, but neither of those genres get a look in. The fact of the matter is this band was put together to rock, and rock they do!

The title track opens the record, with a pounding bass line from Hughes, before Bonamassa kicks in with Bonham and Sherinian right behind him. It’s a powerhouse start, and lyrically Glenn explained to me it was all about him returning to rock. Follow up ‘One Last Soul’ is even better, with Hughes’ awesome voice in great form. The song has a great chorus and there’s not a sniff of funk for those who dislike that side of Glenn’s work... and that is the case for the entire album.

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‘Down Again’ is worth mentioning because it sounds like it was left off Glenn’s popular ‘Return Of Crystal Karma’ CD. ‘Beggerman’ is also worthy of note for it’s frantic pace and Glenn giving a prime example of why he was bestowed the rather hefty ‘Voice Of Rock’ mantle. For long time Hughes fans, they’ll lap up the new version of the Trapeze classic ‘Medusa’, which apparently Glenn often jammed with John Bonham, and Jason was keen to follow his father’s example, with Bonamassa playing it on the late Mel Galley’s guitar.

‘The Revolution In Me’ and ‘Song Of Yesterday’ feature Bonamassa on lead vocals and he does a terrific job. There are also a couple of duets where Glenn and Joe share the limelight, one of which is the stand out ‘Sista Jane’, with an almost AC/DC-esque power chord intro, and the best hook and chorus on the album.

Rounding things out is ‘Too Late For The Sun’ which ends with a band jam that was recorded spontaneously in one take. I found the album grew on me with repeated listens and is a fine first effort from what I hope will be a continuing project. It sounds huge and similar to Chickenfoot, it was recorded with few overdubs and plenty of enthusiasm. Those wanting Hughes to rock have got it in spades here, and this funk free debut will win back a lot of fans for the Voice Of Rock. This is more than just a Glenn Hughes vehicle though, it really does sound like a serious band and the album is well worth checking out!

James Gaden


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