As a former member of the 5th Estate and a columnist back when GH was on the trapeze and our man Joe was a glint, rock music was alive with so many incredible bands that could write songs and play the poop out of their instruments. It was heaven. Then it went the way of the dodo. Decades have passed and there has been so little out there to thrill a blues rocker's heart. Having dinner one evening at B.B. King's in Manhattan we were treated to a video of a killer Joe B concert and I have been a happy camper ever since. But now my Joe B DVD and CD collection is full and I begin to notice repetitive riffs and patterns in the soloing. Joe has an unmistakable style which has served him well over the years, but as a writer reviewing record after record for 13 years I knew it was time to lay the pen down when I felt like I was repeating myself. Now, I'm not saying that it's time for Joe to put the guitar down and pick up knitting. I was pleasantly surprised listening to the first and second BCC releases. I feel this is exactly what the rock doctor ordered! The change of scene and shift in load (not carrying the entire project on his back) has had an effect...at least to my ears. I just got my copy of Afterglow and though I miss Joe's vocal input I must say for some reason this one just flows for me. I think Joe's playing has more edge here. I can't help but feel the "danger." This is closer to that powerhouse early 70's ZEP than anything else I've heard in years. Having been in bands for many years I know that GH may have brought the idea for songs to the table but it is unlikely he had the Bonham kick, guitar structures Joe used
and Derek's keyboard treatments up his sleeve when he presented to the band. It's pretty much always collaborative unless you're a paid sideman playing from a chart. I'm a big proponent of album (pardon me for using that term...I'm old) structure and flow. You should be taken on a journey while you listen just like reading a great book or experience live theater (introduction, rising action, climax, denouement, finale).
Afterglow delivers. Kudos to all. Sorry Joe can't tour, but my ears will be satisfied for a long time to come! Joe, keep it together if you can. But no worries. Keep on rockin'.