Album review: Jimmy Page, Outrider (1988)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 26, 1988

By Steve Newton

As if Led Zeppelin fans didn’t have enough to satisfy them with the recent return to prominence of Robert Plant, now his old guitar-playin’ buddy Jimmy Page has gone solo for the first time. The result is the closest recreation of the old Zeppelin sound since drummer John Bonham departed this world.

A big reason for the similarity is the presence of Bonham’s son Jason Bonham on seven of the LP’s nine tracks (Barrymore Barlow of Jethro Tull plays on the other two). The young Bonham seems to have inherited his father’s natural drumming ability and stripped-down style, which comes through on both side one’s rockers and side two’s blues tunes.

Having Robert Plant sit in with Page and “Bonzo Jr.” on the Page/Plant composition “The Only One” also brings back vivid memories of the heyday of their old band. The rest of the vocals on the album are provided by bluesy crooner Chris Farlow and John Miles (who sounds more like early Robert Plant than Plant does, especially on “Wanna Make Love”).

Guitar-wise, it’s on the Page-written instrumentals like “Writes of Winter” and “Emerald Eyes’ that the latter’s inventive playing really shines. He’s also particularly hot on the blues workout “Prison Blues”.

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