Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Joe Walsh - You Bought It - You Name It

Today (May 21st) marks the thirtieth anniversary of You Bought It - You Name It, the sixth solo studio album from American rocker Joe Walsh. It peaked at number 48 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and produced a couple tracks that were big on the US Mainstream Rock chart.

Joining Walsh on the record was Kevin Dukes (guitar), Don Felder (guitar and vocals), Don Henley (guitar and backing vocals), Michael Martin Murphey (vocals), George Perry (bass), Timothy B. Schmitt (vocals), Joe Vitale (various instruments) and Waddy Wachtel (guitar).

Side one opens with the statement “I Can Play That Rock & Roll”. As the second single, it went to number 13 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. It opens with a very heavy guitar riff before the main groove kicks in. The lyrics, a commentary on the music business, dismiss disco and other genres in favor of classic rock.

The B-side to the third single was “Told You So”, a tune Walsh co-wrote with Felder. I really like the track’s down-and-dirty grind with an oh-so-funky edge.

Walsh goes reggae with “Here We Are Now” , the B-side to the second single.

“The Worry Song” shows the musician’s playful humor on this track about an obsessive worrier. It has a solid, toe-tapping rhythm to it and a solid guitar solo too.

“I.L.B.T.‘s” is a bluesy-funk ode to well-endowed women. It is brash, ballsy and funny. If this one gets stuck in your head after hearing it, I would not be surprised.

Side two starts with “Space Age Whiz Kids”, the first single from the album; it reached number 52 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 21 on the US Mainstream Rock charts. Thanks to the use of vocoder and synthesizers, this one has a decidedly early 80’s vibe to it. You can even hear a bit of some classic arcade games like Donkey Kong in the background of the bridge.

Next up is “Love Letters”. The song was originally written in 1945 by Victor Young and Edward Heyman; it was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Song for the film Love Letters. Walsh’s cover, one of dozens in the rock era, has a bit of an old-fashioned feel thanks to the piano line. Released as the third single from the album, it did not make much noise though.

“Class of ‘65” takes a trip down memory lane when a guy gets a letter from one of his old classmates about the upcoming reunion. This one kind of hits home for me especially this year as my class will be celebrating its 30th reunion this summer (still trying to see if my schedule will allow me to make the trip back to my hometown for it). Unlike the song’s protagonist, many of us have been able to keep up - especially with the advent of the Internet age.

“Shadows” starts out really cool with a ticking of a clock. The guitars come in, dark and heavy. It all sets a great mood for this song about all the secrets that people keep hidden in the dark recesses of their lives.

The closing track “Theme From Island Weirdos” was also the B-side to the first single. It is a lovely instrumental track, with ambient bird and ocean sounds in the background to go with the piano. It definitely shows a different side of Walsh.

Just as with his 1981 album There Goes The Neighborhood (click here), I was not that familiar with this offering from Joe Walsh. If I heard any of the tracks, it would have been on the occasion they played on the album-oriented rock station. However, of the two back-to-back releases, this one was definitely more my style. The songs here are more up-tempo and fun.

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