The Coolest Music You Will Hear on a Hot Summers Evening.
Earlier this year I reviewed another JD Souther re-release, the self-titled John David Souther and the response was amazing; with several people getting in touch to say if I liked that I would love Black Rose; and lo and behold it too arrived through the post the following week.
Originally released 40 (FORTY!) years ago in 1976, when Souther was riding on the crest of a wave, writing songs for the cream of the West Coast, and many of that Glitterati appeared on this album – Lowell George, Joe Walsh, Jim Keltner, Don Henley and even Stanley Clarke.
Opening track Banging My Head Against the Moon, with it’s jaunty Caribbean back beat took me by surprise until I remembered when this was first recorded, and that ‘Summer Sound’ was almost de-riguer on albums like this.
Track two, If You Have Crying Eyes is more what I was hoping for; again very much of its time, this beautiful five minute opus is possibly the best song the Eagles never recorded; and the harmonies with Linda Ronstadt are genuinely spine tingling; for a man my age.
Every thing here has actually aged very well; and Faithless Love is the type of song that half a dozen or so singers I can think of ,should crawl over broken glass to cover; and I swear it would still get to #1 in the Hit Parade.
It’s the same with Baby Come Home and Doors Swing Open; but none would be able to ‘feel’ the words that JD Souther does with his softly expressive voice.
I always choose to pick a favourite track; and it’s been very difficult; but the short and sweet Simple Man/Simple Dream was just pushed aside by the dreamy title track Black Rose, which has a true timeless quality to it and is a Masterclass in songwriting.
While these songs have been a bit of a box full of jewels for me; Souther and indeed West Coast music fans in general will want this for the seven rarities tagged on at the end.
Faithless gets a second outing, with a live version with Souther name checking the hit that Linda Ronstadt had; Songs of Love which didn’t make it onto Black Rose is here in two demo versions, one with a band and one solo, with the solo one being staggering good without all the other stuff in the background.
But the song that made my eyes nearly pop out is the duet with Lowell George on the Little Feat bandleaders Cheek to Cheek.
As I said at the end of the previous review, JD Souther is arguably The Finest Singer-Songwriter You Didn’t Know You Loved.
Released February 2016