Wednesday, April 02, 2008

J Geils Band - The J Geils Band

The debut release of the fabulous J. Geils Band was uncreatively titled The J. Geils Band but that was all that was uncreative about this release! While not as manic as their live shows, this was a terrific blast of updated, white-boy Boston blues and r’n’b! They even look way cool in their greased-hair/leather-jacketed cover pix.

I had heard most of these tunes in a live setting before I got this album, so many of them seem a little slow to me, but the intensity is still there. Opening with “Wait”, you get to hear all of their trademarks – Magic Dick’s remarkable harmonica playing, Geils’ super guitar, Justman’s cool keys, Wolf’s raw vocals and the perfect rhythm section of Bladd and Klein.

“Icebreaker” is a fun guitar/harp duet instrumental that allows each to strut their stuff and Seth even gets a hip little organ solo, too! Another fine groove is “Cruisin’ For a Love” that jumps into the drivin’ “Hard Drivin’ Man”. Their piece de resistance for this album is certainly their slow but ferocious take on John Lee Hooker’s “Serves You Right To Suffer”, which showcases each man’s many talents – powerful stuff!

One of my faves has always been their version of “Homework” by Otis Rush – terrific tune, great arrangement, prefect playing and singing and a rave-up ending! This blasts into the wonderful “First I Look at the Purse”, Smokey Robinson’s paen to materialism. I can’t count how many bands have taken this arrangement for their own, whether it be LA bluesmen Top Jimmy and the Rhythm Pigs of punk’n’rollers Nashville Pussy. Damn near perfect – only surpassed by their live version on Full House!

“What’s Your Hurry” is a good pop tune which is follows by the slow, bluesy ballad “On Borrowed Time” before they jack it up again with Walter Price’s “Pack Fair and Square”. This is a hand-clapping mover that would take some serious will power to sit still for!

The record closes with another instrumental, Albert Collins’ “Sno Cone”, keeping the groove going right to the end! More phenomenal playing by the whole crew!

A super debut, though not nearly as great as they would get! Well worth owning, though!