Red Steel Music 2021
Venerated American songwriter takes an elegant stroll down memory lane to the days he spent admiring a certain femme fatale.
It wouldn’t be surprising if it was Marquis Des Barres to come up with an album about his former missus Miss Pamela, arguably the most famous groupie of all, but no, it’s Walter Egan who’s best known for his 1977 hit “Magnet And Steel” where Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham provided backing, yet also had Gram Parsons cover his “Hearts On Fire” and Eminem sample his “Hot Summer Nights” – so there’s still a lot of passion in the veteran’s veins, and “Fascination” is full-blooded enough to make a much younger man blush. Romantic and cynical in equal measure, this record may not tell as juicy a tale as the songs’ subject’s memoir “I’m With The Band” did; only listening to the story from the other side – see the memories through the prism of a mature artist’s perspective – seems rather interesting, captivating even.
From the jangly guitars and intimate tone of “I’m With The Girl” onwards, Walter weaves a warm yarn whose countrified, hazy harmonies are offset by brightly lit choruses – haunting as Egan could say – while the organ-smeared “Miss Pamela” has an infectious riff attached to its rock ‘n’ roll jive, and “A Fool In Love” swaps grit for gripping balladry that highlights the undimming qualities of the 72-years-old’s vocals. He’s irresistibly lyrical on “The Fruit Of Fascination” – set against the backdrop of acoustic strum and electric lines – and playful on “Woo To Woe” which would enhance any hoedown tune, but the boogie-driven pastiche of “Fading Love” is punchy, and the dewy-eyed nostalgia in the heart of “Yesterday, Forever & Today” is dissolved in effervescent pop bravado.
There’s baroque transparency to the otherwise urgency-inducing “Waking Up To You” and the rockabilly sway to “Treat Me Nice” that picks up, the King style, where “Don’t Be Cruel” left off, before the slightly psychedelic “Gestures” pitches raga in the spiced up and honeyed flow, which the piano-laden hymn “Hell, I Know It’s Over” will bring to an anticlimactic, albeit glorious, close. It’s a truly fascinating work, a genuine grower – Miss Pamela is bound to agree.