Released on the newly founded RockHeart Records [the label formed by brothers Joe & Albert Bouchard] – “Strange Legends” is the 6th full studio album in just over 10 years from former / founding member of Blue Oyster Cult Joe Bouchard. Upon first listen, what’s noticeable is the lively sound and great production and much of that is due not just to the solid set of songs, but also the performances of drummer Micky Curry. And just so you know – this is the first album since Joe’s debut solo album in 2009 – that he’s used a real drummer! And Curry has a long list of credits – most notably Bryan Adams, The Cult, Hall & Oates, Alice Cooper, Tom Cochrane, Ian Hunter…..
There’s 11 tracks here, 4 are penned by the late John Elwood Cook [1 being a reworking from a previous JB album], and there’s 1 cover tune. Unlike his previous few albums, there’s no obvious themes running through this, though there are a number of neat stories. Overall this album rocks more than Joe’s previous albums, with the drums really adding a kick into more hard rocking tunes like “The African Queen”, the instrumental “Racing Thru The Desert”, and “Walk Of Fame”. “Forget About Love” [from J.E. Cook] was the first track put out; it’s a reworking of the song that first appeared on Joe’s “New Solid Black” EP, but this version has more punch to it, And it’s a Top 20 hit in Holland!
Some pretty solid melodic pop/rock tracks here with tracks like “She’s A Legend” [co-written w/ Sci-fi writer John Shirley], “Once Upon A Time At The Border”, and closing track “Winter” – one of my favorites here, with guitar from Joan Levy Hepburn; I like how this one plays out with the guitar picking up and the synths coming in. Best pic here has to be the ballad “Strangely In Love”, another J.E. Cook song, a dreamy summertime feel – musically and lyrically; love the performance, and if you’re familiar with “Haunted Dance Floor” or “Dark Boat” from Joe’s first solo album [both outstanding tunes] – then this sits somewhere in-between them. There’s also a fine cover of The Kinks’ “All Day And All Of The Night”!
This album has a lot to offer, great songs, great production; I’m looking forward to many listens in the car [where I can crank it up]. The album art is pretty cool too. Check it out.