Jimmy Page for me and many rock fans is inspirational guitar player and musical visionary. The sheer excitement he could create on a guitar, the variety of styles tackled and the ability to conjure up memorable riffs and compositions mark him apart from most of the competition.Sad to say, 'Outrider' doesn't do the great man full justice. The instrumentals, particularly 'Emerald Eyes' and 'Liquid Mercury' are outstanding and would be good enough to fit on to any Zep album. But facts are facts, most of the rest is fairly mundane.The album opener 'Wasting My Time' features the sort of riff and crunching chord sequence that could wake the dead. Lyrically and vocally though matters are not quite of the same hue- not so much bad as a little routine. While most bands would be proud to be associated with an album of this type,we unfairly or not, expect more from Jimmy Page.
The problem with the album as I see it is that it is a little to monochrome and disjointed. Having three vocalists does not give a sense of continuity. The blues tunes are rather too limp and uninspired to hold the attention.'Prison Blues' is far too formulaic to be anything but a 12 bar grind,even though Jimmy does come up with the sort of electrifying solo that we would associate from some of the blues -rock items on the Zep's first album. Elsewhere ,guitar playing wise Jimmy produces some rather tasty solos,witness his sinuous efforts on 'hummingbird' and his lovely bends on 'Emerald Eyes', but great playing is no substitute for composition or sophisticated arrangements.
I rather like 'Outrider' but even in my most uncritical moments, I know this is a flawed effort.Jimmy remains a great guitar player. He needs to get to work with people who share his vision, rather then ad-hoc journeymen, however talented.