Fuzz Acid & Flowers: Jim Fox, who'd had a short stint on drums with Tom King's Starfires, formed the James Gang in 1966 with Tom Criss on bass (younger brother of Starfires' bassist Richie), Ron Silverman on guitar (replaced by Bill Jeric) and Phil Gialombardo (later of the Choir) on keyboards. After more comings and goings a suitable lead guitarist was found in Glenn Schwartz. Joe Walsh had formed the original Measles while at Kent State University, and would have short stays with other local outfits including the Turnkeys before replacing Schwartz (who'd turn up in California with Pacific Gas And Electric). When Jeric and Gialombardo left in 1968, the band was ready to fold. During this crisis-period Walsh teamed up with Gialombardo and Jim Bonfanti (ex-Choir, later in the Raspberries) in a very short-lived group called Pie. Fate intervened in the non-appearance of a fill-in member when the James Gangwere supporting Cream at the Grande Ballroom, forcing them to perform as a trio. They went down so well that they were encouraged to stay together.
Yer' Album from Fox, Criss and Walsh was equally encouraging, a mix of heavy rock mingled with lighter moments, both thoughtful and witty. By their second album Criss' place was occupied by Dale Peters, from Cleveland acid-rockers The Case Of E.T.Hooley, and the James Gang rode on with growing confidence. For fans of late-60s/early-70s power-rock trios, this group is recommended listening. Not content to stick in a hard riffin' heavy metal groove, their varied repertoire gave Walsh's considerable guitar talents full reign. He soon started to garner admiration and recognition from established guitar heroes and critics alike. This resulted in a support slot with the Who due to the patronage of Pete Townshend. His deserved rise to stardom precipitated a departure to go solo after the first four fine LPs, whose finest moments are collected on Best Of The James Gang and Sixteen Greatest Hits. The James Gang rode on without their star axeman, recruiting Canadians Domenic Troiano and Roy Kenner, but without Walsh their momentous rise was starting to falter. After Passin' Thru, Troiano left and was replaced by talented ex-Zephyr and Energy guitarist Tommy Bolin on the recommendation of Walsh. Bolin lasted for the Bang and Miami albums before joining Deep Purple in 1974. At this point the James Gang disbanded only to reform in 1975, but they were never to reach the same heights again. Walsh continued to enjoy increasing commercial success and critical acclaim. His guitar style is almost instantly recognisable, plus a dry drawling vocal style that may not appeal to some but lends itself well to a healthy vein of wit that permeates much of his work. He was supported by various musicians, sometimes known as the 'Barnstormers', after his first solo LP and who included Kenny Passarelli, Rocke Grace and Joe Vitale - the latter had known Walsh from the Measles. Inexplicably to many, Walsh put his solo career to one side for a while in favour of joining super-smoothie-rock giants the Eagles. ~ (Max Waller)
"Walk Away" – 3:32
"Yadig?" (Jim Fox, Dale Peters, Joe Walsh) – 2:32
"Things I Could Be" (Fox) – 4:18
"Dreamin' In The Country" (Peters) – 2:59
"It's All The Same" – 4:13
"Midnight Man" – 3:29
"Again" – 4:04
"White Man/Black Man" (Peters) – 5:38
"Live My Life Again" (Fox) – 5:25
All songs by Joe Walsh, except where noted.
Joe Walsh – lead, rhythm and slide guitars, Pedal steel, piano, electric piano, keyboards, sound effects, organ, vocals, "train wreck" (noted on the album cover; this reference is to the mulitple cascading and heavily distorted guitars at the end of "Walk Away")
Dale Peters – bass guitars, percussion, vocals
Jim Fox – drums, percussion, vibraphone, keyboards, organ, vocals,
Bob Webb – guitars, backing vocals
Tom Baker – horns
Mary Sterpka – backing vocals on "Midnight Man"
The Sweet Inspirations – backing vocals on "White Man/Black Man"
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