Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The J. Geils Band – Ladies Invited

This 1973 release from the fabulous J. Geils Band did show a growth from their basic blues/R’n’B background, but still reflects plenty of their influences and is still a terrific record!

“Did You No Wrong” opens with an R’n’B feel, but definitely with more of a pop aesthetic to the sound. “I Can’t Go On” is a syncopated minor key plea with their standard trademarks, such as a great Magic Dick harp solo and fine keys by Seth Justman, but with “Lay Your Good Thing Down”, they are back into their groove – a danceable raver that would get you movin’ no matter what!

“That’s Why I’m Thinking of You” is a slow ballad but “No Doubt About It” is energetic in almost a be-bop kinda way, with cool guitar lines, starts and stops and a fine beat.

The whole band is in top form for this entire record. Magic Dick shows the lessons he learned from the greats such as Little Walter, J. Geils is a master of blues guitar, Seth Justman rocks the keys, and Daniel Klein and Stephen Jo Bladd form a rock-solid rhythm.

They run through a few changes in “The Lady Makes Demands”, from keyboard ballad, to mid-tempo r’n’b to a final semi-rave-up. But, “My Baby Don’t Love Me” is a truly uncharacteristic slow ballad – not one of their best. They get silly but in a fun way with “Diddyboppin’” another syncopated beat that highlights Peter Wolf’s DJ-rhyme/raps.

The energy returns with “Take a Chance (On Romance)” – a fine R’n’B workout – and then comes the closer, the sublime “Chimes”. This is their finest piece of moodiness and a stand-out from their Blow Your Face Out live record. This is a slow, minor-key tune that builds into a keyboard-dominated chorus before dropping back for the verses. The tension continues throughout, as Magic Dick comes in with an over-driven harp solo followed by some fantastic lines by Geils. Definitely not standard J. Geils fare, but still amazing.

All in all not their best effort, but I love pretty much all of their 70’s albums and this one is no exception!