Black Country Communion – One Four All

“Watch this space..” whispered BCC singer and bassist Glenn Hughes a while ago, after we had been discussing amps, Tommy Bolin, Andy Fraser, BCC and all manner of things in London. Soon afterwards, the musical four-piece reconvened in the studio to start work on a bunch of new material and a vision to develop the potent BCC brew of rock, blues, prog, folk, soul that the act can draw on and deliver the album BCC 4. Recently and after I had listened to a stream we chatted about the new record over tea. I always learn a lot from Glenn who is as usual grounded, friendly and direct….

Neil Zlozower

JLTT: Thanks Glenn, I’ve been listening to the record..my overall response is that it is a collection full of pictures, i e atmospheric tracks and now and again a hint of Ronnie James Dio and maybe Led Zep 3  

GH: (Ponders) That’s interesting..no disrespect to Ronnie who as you know was one of my best friends, but I am not sure where that would come from..we can discuss that certainly..

Let’s run through the tracks, maybe – first one Collide, where you’re singing, it’s a great full-blooded start and has what I call this kind of Black Dog lope

(Warmly) Of course it is! Of course it is..

The prog keyboard part..strikes me as a very romantic song  

Now the use of the keys on this BCC album is a little different to those on the other albums we have done..how do I say this, Pete? We wanted the album, the songs to be more organic-sounding rather than synthesizer-based ..a bit more mellotron, more piano and more organ. That’s why you hear a lot more piano. Derek, by the way, as we were boarding this, he hadn’t heard any of the songs before then. No-one had heard these songs that Joe and I wrote, just the two of us. So we went in to start the recording and Collide was the first song we worked upon, whilst we were recording them, Derek would look at me just to see if this was the right keyboard or the right tone..feeling his way in the moment. And without telling him what to play he would from his many, many keyboard sounds..and then of course Kevin has to sign off on it. What Derek said to me after the album was done was “Did I embellish your songs, appropriately ?” and all I could say was “ You did ! “ So he was throughout really of service to the song.

So I guess what that does is give a little boost of adrenaline which can be sensed in the recording..he’s watching what is developing  

(Firmly) Oh very much so. Derek on this particular album was just ..right there. And I was right here.  Eye To eye…Joe’s over ‘ere and Jason’s over ‘ere. And it’s me and Derek like this! (Demonstrates)

One of my favourite tracks on this set is Over My Head, the singing is just amazing, the power..the lyric is Man On A Mission, it bursts with intent..is there a tinge of Trapeze in there, Glenn?

Well thank you. I appreciate that…I woke up at about three in the morning going (sings) “ Over my head…” and I went in my studio and finished it! It was out of a dream I was having, woke up singing it..there you go! The only time I’ve ever done that.

And this is where your approach to singing in does link in with the likes of Marvin Gaye

The falsetto thing, yeah

And that celestial element…Curtis had it..

I am not frightened, as you know, to use the different Glenn voices..you know my work from way back.

Also it nudges Joe to draw upon all those guitar stylings that you and I KNOW he is aware of, to complement the composition. On this one, he suddenly uses that Pat Thrall legato sound and it’s dead right! As used on the Automatic Man albums

 Oh wow! It is a great break

You bet your life he knows those records just as he does say Cornell Dupree, Little Beaver….

Yes, you know Joe would be  the first to say “I’m just giving you stuff back now what I’ve been hearing, from other people “. He’s very generous in acknowledging that. He can tap into so many styles

This epic track Last Resting Place..now this is the one where I sense a touch of Dio  

(Sighs) Ah!! Ah, I see!

It’s a romantic piece, it’s very European sounding, a story of old..which Ronnie had such a handle on. (Hughes nods) Who’s the violin player?

A guy from Ireland. From The Dubliners. I’m not joking! Oh and when Joe told me he was writing a lyric, it was going to be about the orchestra on The Titanic and the lost Stradivarius..I said it does sound like we ought to have a violin on this song. So, we recorded the track, recorded the mandolin and then I had to go back to England as my Mum was sick. And when I get back home after the funeral they send me some due playing the fiddle! I’m thinking there’s going to be a violin on this track and it’s going to be really nice and mellow. This fast leprechaun type stuff! Kevin wanted that element..I was a bit surprised  

That Mellotron touch too..it does give a touch of The Moodies, who you know  

Oh yes I do indeed.. you’re very close, we are rockier

Does almost sound like a lost gem from the LZ3 sessions  

Yep..the mandolin..you know every album we do there’s a Joe song on there and he’ll nod to those sounds he likes or grew up with..and now you got this one and it’s like ..it does follow the thread of what BCC have achieved and this thing of the range of each collection. Joe just opens up and plays, y’know. It’s very instinctive on his part.

What I like is the ability to use say, minor elevenths on a bridge  

Yeah nice changes, that work

Sway – your lead vocal on this one, you sound very fired up  

I am!

You’re playing bass low down the neck..and the vocal is sort of detached from the flow of the song  

Correct – it’s a very free song for me to sing. Yes, I am singing against the groove. It makes sense to do that, here. A lot of rock guys wouldn’t do that

Very few could!

Yeah we’re talking about sw..I love that song it’s going to be a big one for us

I’ve got a note re the keyboards having a Hitchcockian vibe..you know, Bernard Herrman used to do the scores for Alfred

(Laughs) Derek was kind of joking around, but we kept it in!

Now The Cove, this is more my zone, what a track! That sinister intro..

(Emphatically) I said to Joe “ I want this to be as dark as possible..” and it’s my song about the dolphins

Oh is it? This is adding up now

It’s a song about the killing of the dolphins that happens in Japan every year. Over four months they kill over a thousand dolphins. Bring them in to the cove and kill them. There’s going to be an HD video for this song, to maximise its impact. It will hit, trust me on that.

The Crow – there’s a dirty bass tone on..is that the box you showed me? (Glenn nods) I like the ascending bridge with the piano on this. Four or five albums in, you should be slowing down, yet this record has tougher moments than the previous ones!

Yeah..The Crow is a very vicious track. It’s ballsy, really ballsy.

Wanderlust – it has a real nobility about it. Jason sounds really upbeat on this  

It’s one of my favourite songs. Jason and I always speak afterwards about the albums and he called me one day and said “ I love Wanderlust..” privately it’s one of our own favourites, y’know. By the time that Joe and I wrote that song we knew we were going to have a great album.

Air-punching stuff – you opening with that then?

Well..you never know with us! Man, there’s so many things you can open with. Not a bad idea, Pete!

Love Remains – I’ve written down ‘beautiful’. Clouds of music. One of the best vocals here. The coda’s great. Could be a great male-female duet  

Hmm yes there’s definitely a female side to the high chorus (sings it clearly) and Kevin said “ Can you sing it in natural voice? “ to which I explained that it then wouldn’t mean what I wanted it to mean. It won’t be sensitive enough. I don’t fight with him..

(Chiding) You do a bit!

Yes!! (Laughs) We don’t argue ..we discuss.

Awake – sounding like you’re off on an adventure  

It’s a song about coming back and never resting on my laurels. It’s just about being alive. Pacing into the moment. Joe came up with that guitar figure

Clever as it doesn’t dominate the song  

Yes! And when the two vocals come in …very Jack and Eric.

My favourite Cream song – and it’s Pete Brown’s I found when talking to him – is Dance The Night Away…those two voices!!  

I hear ya, man.

We get to When The Morning Comes..  

My Big Daddy voice..

The guitar solo is pure Paul Kossof    

Of course! Look , we wrote these songs at my house and as we’re writing Joe goes into what he feels is right and without even talking to each other, we both know where it’s going. Every now and again it’s yes, we’re going into the Free territory, that groove. From writing those kind of chords, he just knows where I’m headed  ..

Andy always said to me “I will find the groove.”

Andy Fraser was the greatest white bass player of all time..he was a one-off

Is this project still on the ascendant, for you?

It is. So much so we’re talking No. 5. I think we’ve found ourselves now.

Pete Sargeant

Black Country Communion
Black Country Communion


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Black Country Communion
Black Country Communion

(Thanks Glenn)

Feature Image Photo Credit: Neil Zlozower

Derek Sherinan Photo Credit: Rick Gould

All Other Photos Credit: Christie Goodwin

You can watch the official music video for ‘The Last Song For My Resting Place’ in this article.

Black Country Communion’s fourth studio album ‘BCCIV’ is out now on Mascot Records/Mascot Label Group.

For more information visit the band’s official website here: http://bit.ly/2zgmUvP

In addition, Black Country Communion will be performing two exclusive concerts in Europe during January 2018 to support the release of their new album. Details are below:

Black Country Communion

Tuesday 2nd January 2018 – Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, West Midlands, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2sSi9C8

Thursday 4th January 2018 – Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2lcviCJ