Ordinary Average Guy

Ordinary Average Guy

As Joe Walsh entered the fourth decade in which he made records, he had every reason to rest on his laurels and spend his later years cranking out passable imitations of his James Gang hits. Instead he delivered Ordinary Average Guy, arguably the most diverse and experimental record in his career. The weird production touches are a good fit for “The Gamma Goochee” and “Alphabetical Order.” These songs have more in common with Talking Heads and Devo than they do Led Zeppelin but those eccentricities have long been an essential, if overlooked, aspect of Walsh’s musical personality. Yet, as if to reaffirm his gusto, Walsh includes “Look At Us Now,” a swaggering blast of heroic rock led by the drumming of Joe Vitale, Walsh’s right-hand man since 1972. The rest of the album is filled with easy-rolling and often wistful pop songs like “Up All Night,” “I’m Actin’ Different” and “All of a Sudden,” which show Walsh is more of a charmer than his chest-beating peers. For the title song he returns to his signature reggae rhythm, a bizarre pop confection that would fail in the hands of anyone else, but brings out the best in Walsh.

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