Eagle walsh won't ruffle any feathers

Eamon Carr

Joe Walsh Analog Man (Concord Records)

"I was always the first to arrive at the party and the last to leave the scene of the crime."

Such was the life of barnstorming guitarist Joe Walsh whose riffs lifted the Eagles to a level of previously unimagined commercial heights. The parties Walsh sings about on One Day At A Time, a confessional track on his first solo album in 20 years, weren't for the faint-hearted. Chances are guests rubbed coke in their eyeballs in an ill-advised attempt to "take it to the limit".

We first heard of Walsh when Pete Townshend began raving about this kid in The James Gang. Walsh admits The Who guitarist was an influence. "And Keith Moon taught me the finer points of hotel demolition," he adds.

Rock's longest party ended when the guests began to die young. Walsh survived. Hanging out with him backstage before an Eagles stadium gig I found he had the air of someone who'd sleepwalked through a major earthquake. Onstage it was Walsh who generated the most affection among the 20,000-strong audience. Those fans are going to love the 10 tracks in this collection, co-produced by Jeff Lynne. It's dependable Walsh fare: meaty guitar riffs, trademark slide guitar solos, unfussy drums, easy melodies and dynamic shifts all topped by Joe's recognisable adenoidal vocal whine.


On the title track, the old gonzo protests, "I'm an analog man in a digital world". But don't be fooled. This isn't a bar-room jam. It's a slick, state-of-the-art production with murmuring synths and machine-like beats.

Brother-in-law Ringo Starr hammers out the rhythm on the country-ish Lucky That Way, a celebration of Joe's triumph over addiction: "I was standing in the middle of nowhere and didn't have far to fall." Sure to become a highlight at Eagles concerts, it's blatantly sentimental.

As is Family, a ballad so gauche it makes Coldplay sound as threatening as Skrewdriver.

The Band Played On switches between sitar and guitar and Funk 50 mixes heavy rock and Johnny 'Guitar' Watson to ear-shattering effect. HHHII