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Thursday, March 5, 2009

J. Geils Band - s/t

Name: J. Geils Band
Album: S/T
Year: 1970
Style: Bluesy Pub Rock
Similar Bands: Blasters, Del Fuegos, Ace, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Rolling Stones
"One-Word" Review: Bluesy Dance Rock
Based Out Of: Boston, Mass
Label: Atlantic
J. Geils Band - Cover & Record
J. Geils Band - Back & Record

J. Geils Band (1970 )
  1. Wait 3.25
  2. Icebreaker (For the Big "M") 2.15
  3. Crusin For A Love 3:22
  4. Hard Driving Man 2:18
  5. Serves You Right To Suffer 5:01/
  6. Homework 2.45
  7. First I Look At The Purse 3.54
  8. What's your Hurry 2.44
  9. On Borrowed Time 3.03
  10. Pack Fair & Square 2.01
  11. Sno-Cone 3.24
Album Rating (1-10): 10

Members & Othe Bands:
Peter Wolf - Vox
Seth Justmam - Piano, Organ, Vox, Producer
Magic Dick - Harp, Harmonica, Trumpet (Bluestime)
J. Geils - Guitar (Bluestime)
Danny Klein - Bass
Stephen Bladd - Drums, Vox
Jay Messinam - Recording Engineer
Geoffrey Haslam - Remix Engineer
Stephan Paley - Photo
Lloyd Ziff - Album Design
Fred Lewis - Special Assistance
Dave Crawford - Producer
Brad Sharpiro - Producer

Unknown-ness: Now, this is one of those curious bands that I have definitely heard of, but never really heard them. I was familiar with their 80’s hits, however was never fully aware of their back catalogue and the completely different style. I’ve grown to love this debut album, and retrospectively, like I did with Thomas Dolby, I will review this album knowing I like it already. But when I got it, I had no idea it was good or bad, so it qualifies in that way. When I first saw it at the thrift store, I had a small inkling that they were more than “Centerfold” and “Love Stinks.” But I did not know how different it would be from what I knew or how good they used to be. So I bought the beat up, written on, once loved copy and took it home to check out. I was surly impressed and raved about them to my housemate who claimed that his parents liked them.

Album Review: “Wait” starts their debut record, with a barroom piano, bass and drumbeat and harmonica. The gritty vocals begin the bluesy tune. The call back response in the chorus hooks the song into your memory, as does its start and stop musical play. This is blues mixed with rock and roll oldies, and illustrates that sometimes, there ain’t much difference. This is one of those catchy songs that could potentially go on forever. But after a flurry of the harmonica over top of the vocals, the song fades. “Icebreaker (For the Big "M")” begins with a repetitively strummed single guitar note and the harmonica and guitar parallel each other musically. The harmonica and guitar separate and take turns in the spot light for this instrumental. The organ gets a chance to shine too, adding to the upbeat danceable bar bluse sound. The song winds down before it has a chance to get going, but the harmonica makes up for it in the next song “Crusin For A Love.” It is a basic storytelling blues number. The gruff, gravelly vocals drop off syllables when it seems appropriate and the instruments are given ample time to represent the melody. “Hard Driving Man” is a faster train engine like driving song. The chorus is repetitive and melodically breaks form from the steady chuggin’ verse rhythm. “Serves you Right to Suffer” gets down to the true blues; with its slow sulking bass and guitar accompaniment. The vocals are struck down, sullen and sadly deep and quiet. It slowly slinks along, and the harmonica is played representing the strain and inner emotional strife. The piano is repetitively beaten, and picks up the emotional mood, followed by guitar. The instrumental section takes up a good portion of the song, leaving the vocals to sound like sporadic fill-ins.

“Homework” is a blues cover done right by converting it through a classic rock filter. It possesses a slightly evil beat, and deep dirty vocals. This is going to be hard picking out a stand out track. This song is just a great, solid song. The sections are short and compact; there is no excess or indulgement. It is all tied up in a nice neat package. Next comes the oldie Motown cover “First I Look At The Purse.” They make it sound like they can covert any song into a great bar room rock song. The quick Motown ending sounds great as a rushed guitar and drums bring it to the fade out in the end. “What's your Hurry” sounds like another oldie, but is an original. It combined Motown and 50’s Rock N Roll, which makes it seeming to be able to fit in the movie “Stand By Me.” Such a solid song, again, this whole album is fantastic. The bluesy and gospel “On Borrowed Time” follows as the next original song. It is repetitive and drives home the theme of a blues crooner accepting his own end. It reminds me of the Stone’s “Time is on My Side.” “Pack Fair & Square” plays with its rockabilly beat, and feels like the song “Shake, Rattle and Roll.” A bongo-drum sound begins “Sno-Cone,” followed by the harmonica and guitar. Quickly the organ chimes in, making the danceable blues song fully fleshed out. A drum solo is planted near the end, just in time for all the instruments to come back and finish off the song, and subsequent album.

Stand-Out Track: Wait 

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