'Fast' Enough For You

In the fall, Frank Black said with a chuckle that he was mulling whether to release "a lean and mean record with 11 songs on it, or a self-indulgent opus with everything."

In the fall, Frank Black said with a chuckle that he was mulling whether to release "a lean and mean record with 11 songs on it, or a self-indulgent opus with everything." The latter approach has won out on the 27-song "Fastman/Raiderman," the follow-up to 2005's country-tinged "Honeycomb," which debuted at No. 11 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart.

Among the musicians that lent a hand on the Back Porch/EMI set were Steve Cropper, Spooner Oldham, the Band's Levon Helm, Bad Company's Simon Kirke, Cheap Trick's Tom Petersson, Al Kooper and Rich Gilbert, a member of Black's one-time solo band, the Catholics.

Throughout, Black sounds just as comfortable and confident cutting back-porch versions of Irish folk classics ("Dirty Old Town"), sultry New Orleans swamp-rock ("Dog Sleep") and old-timey country send-offs ("Sad Man's Song") as he did bridging the gap from underground punk to grunge in the late '80s with the Pixies.

Black didn't tour in support of "Honeycomb," but is planning to hit the road this summer for solo acoustic dates as a headliner and opening for the Foo Fighters.