‘Outrider’ is the title of the first and only studio album by ex-Led Zeppelin virtuoso English guitarist James ‘Jimmy’ Patrick Page which was released on 18 June 1988 through Geffen Records. This album marked a contractual change in Page’s career, as the English guitarist had never worked with another label other than Atlantic Records/Swan Song Records since 1969.
Page recorded the material for this studio album at his property in the picturesque English village of The Sol, in Cookham, Berkshire. ‘Outrider’ was initially intended to be a double studio album but, due to an unforeseen unfortunate incident during the early period of recordings for the LP, Page’s house in The Sol was plundered by a group of thieves who, among other items, had stolen the demo tapes for the album which have been recorded up to that point in time. Consequently, the LP is a normal studio release.
Former Led Zeppelin bandmate and lead vocalist Robert Plant performed vocals on one of the tracks on the album, more specifically on ‘The Only One’ whereas Jason Bonham, the son of great English drummer John Bonham who was also a Led Zeppelin member, played drums and also provided percussion.
Overall, the album boasts of a beautiful and enchanting blues rock, instrumental rock, and hard rock sound and it has a total length of 39 minutes and 50 seconds. Retrospectively, years later, Jimmy Page stated the following on ‘Outrider’:
Outrider’s all right. It’s demo-like compared with those overproduced albums that came out at the time. It didn’t do very well—doesn’t matter—but I did tour. I was playing music on that tour going right back to The Yardbirds. Jason [Bonham] was the drummer on that tour.
In critical regards, the reviews for the album varied from 5 stars to favourable and even unfavourable. Allmusic only gave it two stars, Chicago Tribune marked it as unfavourable, Collector’s Guide to Heavy Metal only gave it 4 out of 10 stars, Kerrang! gave it the highest mark of all, more specifically 5 out of 5 stars, whilst Rolling Stone gave it 2 out of 5 and Spin just graded it favourable.
Apart from Robert Plant, English singer and guitarist John Miles as well as blue-eyed soul, blues rock, and R&B English legend Chris Farlowe were also vocal guests on the record.
The track list of the album is the following one:
- Wasting My Time (written by Jimmy Page and John Miles, with John Miles on lead vocals);
- Wanna Make Love (written by Jimmy Page and John Miles, with John Miles on lead vocals);
- Writes of Winter (written by Jimmy Page, instrumental song);
- The Only One (written by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, with Robert Plant on lead vocals);
- Liquid Mercury (written by Jimmy Page, instrumental song);
- Hummingbird (originally written by Leon Russell, with Chris Farlowe on lead vocals);
- Emerald Eyes (written by Jimmy Page, instrumental song);
- Prison Blues (written by Jimmy Page and Chris Farlowe, with Chris Farlowe on lead vocals);
- Blues Anthem (If I Cannot Have Your Love…) (written by Jimmy Page and Chris Farlowe, with Chris Farlowe on lead vocals).
As you can clearly notice above, Farlowe performs vocals on three songs, Miles on two, and Plant on one whereas the rest of the songs (namely 3) are purely instrumental.
The recording personnel was as follows:
- Jimmy Page – guitars, synthesizers, backing vocals, and production;
- Tony Franklin – bass guitar on one track;
- Felix Krish – bass guitar on five tracks;
- Durban Laverde – bass guitar on three tracks;
- Chris Farlowe – lead vocals on three tracks;
- John Miles – lead vocals on two tracks;
- Robert Plant – lead vocals on one track;
- Barriemore Barlow – drums and percussion on two tracks;
- Jason Bonham – drums and percussion.
The technical personnel was as follows:
- Peter Ashworth – photography;
- Dick Beetham – assistant engineering;
- Steve Horyland – assistant engineering;
- JL – artowkr and cover co-ordination;
- George Marino – mastering at Sterling Sound in New York City;
- Leif Mases – engineering and mixing.
The album also charted quite well in Europe, North America, and Australia. It produced three singles as follows:
- Wasting My Time;
- The Only One;
- Prison Blues.
In the USA, the album sold over 500,000 copies, being certified Gold by the RIAA while Kerrang! ranked it 16 in its Albums of 1988 top. The accompanying tour of the album unfolded on British and American soil between September and November 1988.
On a personal note, I regularly listened and re-listened to this particular studio album since my teenage onwards and it had a very interesting impact on me while I was an away BSc student in digital media. My most favourite songs from the album are ‘Wasting My Time’, Writes of Winter’, ‘Liquid Mercury’, ‘Hummingbird’, and ‘Emerald Eyes’. Below you can integrally listen to the album via Youtube and also watch a related interview on it (an EPK more specifically; i.e. ‘Electronic Press Kit’. I truly hope you’ll like it! All the best, much health, take care, stay safe, many blessings, and great peace your way! God bless you and keep on listening to instrumental rock and classic rock and, implicitly, to Jimmy Page!
Documentation sources and external links:
- Outrider on www.wikipedia.org (in English)