If it wasn’t enough that John David (J.D.) Souther’s debut self-titled album was a stunner, then it shouldn’t come as any kind of surprise that his sophomore effort, Black Rose, was a masterpiece. Originally released by Asylum Records in 1976 and produced by Peter Asher (of Peter and Gordon fame, etc.), this now-expanded 17-track edition recently re-released by Omnivore Recordings breathes new life into this vibrant collection.
Featuring the likes of Linda Ronstadt, Glenn Frey, Don Henley, David Crosby, Joe Walsh and Art Garfunkel amongst others, the original ten tracks shine brightly on their own – a brief but powerful piece like “Simple Man, Simple Dream” or a slow country-soul epic like “If You Have Crying Eyes” which features the heavenly voice of Ms. Ronstadt and a string section. “Bang My Head Against The Moon” is a neatly upbeat groover; “Baby Come Home” is another of those “great lost Eagles tracks” since Souther was very much the unsung 6th Eagle; “Black Rose” is a perfect example of mid-’70’s mellow and there isn’t anything wrong with that – full chorus, slightly funky bass line, piano and quasi-lite jazz chords.
The most striking difference (which may not be fair) between the debut and this album is a 4 years and a shift in style from the more subdued, pure-r country of the first and this ensemble-assisted performance. There’s also a great deal more confidence in Souther’s vocals and it helps with the overall vibe.
As with his debut, J.D. Souther’s second album, Black Rose, should not be overlooked this time around – it sounds good; feels great and is another one of those missed pieces of essential listening.
Black Rose is available now