Black Country Communion puts the super back in supergroup

Some socalled "supergroups" really live up to the title, others not so much. I recall when Bad Company came together in '73 sporting members from Free, Mott the Hoople, and King Crimson, and took the rock world by storm. Though best known for "Can't Get Enough", the quartet was actually much better than that simplistic hit suggested, releasing a ton of great material in its time. Then you've got recent allstar collaborations like Chickenfoot, a mashup of Van Halen and Red Hot Chili Peppers members with guitar hero Joe Satriani thrown in for no good reason. Not so super, in my estimation.

The latest group to claim supergroup status is Black Country Communion, which features vocalist-bassist Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Trapeze), hotshot blues-rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa, powerhouse drummer Jason Bonham (son of Zeppelin's John), and former Dream Theater keyboardist Derek Sherinian. The group just released its self-titled debut album, and from the sound of the above YouTubed track, "One Last Soul", I'd say it's got it going on.

I've always been a huge fan of Hughes's voice. I wasn't that familiar with Trapeze, the British power trio he formed in '69 with guitarist Mel Galley and future Judas Priest drummer Dave Holland, but I sure was there when he and David Coverdale took over from Ian Gillan and Roger Glover in Deep Purple for the 1974 albums Burn and Stormbringer. Hughes blew Coverdale away whenever they shared lead vocals on songs like "You Fool No One" and "High Ball Shooter". Man, that dude could let loose with a feeling. Almost made you forget Gillan's screeching on Made in Japan.

But Hughes's voice also had a whole lotta soul. His phrasing reminded me of how Stevie Wonder might have sounded if he was a white hard-rocker from Staffordshire, England instead of, well, Stevie Wonder.

Here's a clip of BCC in the studio with producer Kevin Shirley (Black Crowes, Aerosmith, Zeppelin) recording "The Great Divide", another new tune that showcases Hughes's emotional, to-the-max singing style. Pretty impressive pipes for 58, I'd say.

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