RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Joe Bouchard - New Solid Black (Bonus Edition)
Joe Bouchard Music

Rating: B

Blue Oyster Cult original bassist Joe Bouchard may not be in that band anymore, but his career is still in full swing.  His latest solo effort is titled New Solid Black. Bouchard delivers big with an album of music that evokes many emotions with it's honest simplicity.

Being reviewed here is the Bonus Edition, which features two tracks co-written with the late Helen Wheels.  Helen co-wrote many tunes for Blue Oyster Cult, most notably "Sinful Love" and "Tattoo Vampire" from 1976's Agents of Fortune, and "Celestial the Queen" and "Nosferatu" from 1977's Spectres

The tunes on New Solid Black Bonus Edition co-written with Helen are "Light Years of Love" and "O Jim." With credits of music by Bouchard and lyrics by Wheels it’s no surprise these songs have a classic Blue Oyster Cult feel to them.  The rest of the album, however, mixes the BOC musicality in Bouchard's DNA with other aspects of his personality. 

Friend John Elwood Cook delivers three songs, the rocking "Forget About Love" -probably the strongest tune on the album- as well as the most touching titled "Memorial Day" and "Love Takes the Heart."  Cook and Bouchard are developing an excellent working relationship as their ability to connect, almost telepathically, is leading to memorable compositions. 

Two other strong tunes on the album are the Dave Van Ronk written "Last Call" and the Joe Bouchard penned "Roller Girls."  Joe also ads a fun rocker titled "Drive Me Crazy."   Still, it’s hard not to keep going back to the Bouchard/Wheels tune "Light Years of Love," a song that would have fit well on an album like Spectres back in the day.  It’s spooky, ethereal and airy... and like all classic BOC tunes, this track begs to be listened to ad infinitum. 

Bouchard plays all of the instruments on the album and sings all of the vocals, proving he did much more than simply provide BOC with the low end thump during his tenure in the band, which ran from 1970 to 1986. 

Not only is Joe cranking out solo albums, lest not forget he is also the guitarist and vocalist for the supergroup Blue Coupe with his brother, and ex-BOC alum, Albert along with Alice Cooper Group founding bassist and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Dennis Dunaway.  Old dogs like Joe may not learn new tricks, but the musical output of the ‘back nine’ of his career prove that rock and roll is not necessarily a young man's game!

In a day and age where albums tend to get the backseat to a single download, or a Spotify play, New Solid Black Bonus Edition is a welcome breath of fresh air. 

You can follow this link, and when you purchase, Joe will autographed the CD cover for you!


Track Listing
Forget About Love
Drive Me Crazy
Love Takes Heart
Memorial Day
Last Call
Roller Girls
Light Years of Love
O Jim

By Jeb Wright