Sounds UK, June 24th, 1976 – By Giovani Dadomo.
STRAIGHT UP – anybody comes round my house sniffling and moaning about the present and future of rock and roll gets slapped into the nearest armchair.
And then? I ties ‘em up.
And then? I tape a pair of headphones to their everlovin’ ears.
And then? I switch on the record player.
And then? And then?
Then i let ‘em have it with four sides of live dynamite from Boston’s sweetest sextet. And then, when their feet’s all a-twitch and their face is all scrunched up with one of those loopy smiles like they had all they can get and they can’t take any more but still they know they haven’t had enough, I flash a mean grin in their direction. And then I reload my changer and blitz them four sides more of live rock ‘n’ roll heaven, this time courtesy of the Motor City’s meanest machinist, Mr Bob Seger.
J.Geils’ boys made their first and perhaps strongest impression on the world of records and recording with a remarkably vital first album back in 1971. What they were doing was playing 90mph rhythm ‘n’ blues that took a bunch of black music standards from the days when black music was perhaps the only living sassed ‘em up, kicked ‘em in the ass, and presented them to the world via one of the hottest live acts since Joan of Arc.
Plus they proved they could also provide original material of a similar calibre c/o the partnership between demon vocalist Peter Wolf and keyboard whizz Seth Justman. Many said they were hotter than the Glimmer Twins even, and a lot of the time that was spot on true. Six more long-players followed, of which a previous ‘live’ effort, Full House was regarded by many as their finest hour. Personally I didn’t find this to be strictly true, having enjoyed all of their recordings with almost equal abandon.
But anyway, the critics’ early enthusiasm cooled and it begun to look like Geils and Co. would never really be the headline news originally promised. Which is no real tragedy I suppose, as they must’ve put quite a few Dollars in the bank over the past few years.
So…….. no prediction as regards the long-range effects of Blow Your Face Out on a global basis. But i do know this – either if you never heard of the J.Geils Band before today or even if you have all their previous work heaped on you shelves there’s no way you won’t get one hell of a kickeroonie from this little family pack.
In the front line you got Mr Wolf, arguably the finest white nigger of the C20th with a throat that sounds like it was lined with quicklime at age five and with a pre-song rap style that would leave even ‘the rapper’ himself, Mr. Bobby Womack, tongue-tied in admiration. Then you got Mr Geils’ gee-tar, a veritable peer among axes as it alternates short, crisp solos with chunky rhythm work that, despite its full-bodied power is as nimble as those dancing hippopotami in Walt Disney’s ‘Fantasia’.
And not forgetting the great Magic Dick, almost single handedly keeping the harmonica alive in these dark, synthetic days. The already-mentioned Justman provides piano and organ – like Geils he skips easily from lead to rhythm and back again. No virtuosos perhaps but an essential ingredient to JGB’s distinctive sounds superb. And as for the rhythm section of Danny Klein and Stephan Jo Bladd they are, as they say in the funny papers, tighter than the proverbial gnat’s arse stretched over the Albert Hall.
Together these chaps make the kind of rock ‘n’ roll other bands only write songs about. Recorded over a couple of evenings last November in their Boston hometown, Blow Your Face Out is currently Number One in my J.Geils Band LP Chart. I think it’ll stay there a hell of a long time. (*****)