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Saturday, June 07, 2008


Submersing myself in the Replacements took me to the Mid West. A lot of great music came from middle America. In fact, probably more so than the left and right coats. One of the giants of Rock that came out of the in between states is Joe Walsh. I'd go so far as to say that Joe and the 'Mats have quite a bit in common.

Born in Kansas, Joe grew up in Columbus, Ohio. He started playing in bands in the Cleveland area while attending Kent State. In 1969 he landed a gig in the already established local act, The James Gang.

Joe quickly became the major force within the band as it became obvious that he was a fucking genius.

Three studio LPs, and a live record were released over the next two years including 'James Gang Rides Again' which features the classic 'Funk 49', and 'Thirds' which includes 'Walk Away'.

It had become Joe's band, but the band didn't think so. Joe left.

Joe put together Barnstorm with bassist Kenny Passarelli and drummer Joe Vitale in 1972, and released their eponymous debut. 'Barnstorm' was hit-less, though 'Mother Says' is included on Joe's first greatest hits package. It's a hard record to find. I don't own it. I wish I did.

Passarelli and Vitale stuck with Joe as he dropped the band moniker, and in 1973 they released the career making 'The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get'.

Everyone should own 'The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get."

'Rocky Mountain Way', 'Meadows', and 'Dreams' are highlights from a fantastically good Rock record. Joe's uncanny simpatico with the studio environment is only rivaled by the likes of Pink Floyd and Steely Dan.

'So What' followed in 1974. Joined by the evil twins Don and Glen among other friends, Joe delivered another great Rock record. Though the hits 'Turn to Stone', and 'Time Out' found airplay on the Joe friendly FM radio, it wasn't as successful as it's predecessor.

A live record followed, 'You Can't Argue With a Sick Mind', in 1975. It's okay. It should be better.

Then Don and Glen called, and Joe joined the Eagles.

The result was 'Hotel California'. Joe's contributions are evident. He lifted the band to another level, although the sole Joe Walsh composition, 'Pretty Maids All In a Row' is kinda weak in comparison to both the rest of the record, and Joe's solo work.

Joe must have been saving his good songs because his 1978 solo LP, '....But Seriously Now Folks', is a towering feat of sonic genius.

Back with his core band of Passarelli and Vitale, and long-time producer Bill Szymczk (who Joe brought to Don and Glen), Joe put together a perfect record. Every song is great, you'll never lift the needle until the side ends. The best thing about '....But Seriously Now Folks' is not the hilarious cover art, not the mind blowing classic hit 'Life's Been Good', nor is it the truly awe-inspiring guitar work; it's the fact that the record sounds like it was a lot of fun to make. It is certainly a lot of fun to listen to.

Meantime, Don and Glen were still working on the follow up to 'Hotel California'. Joe's tune was done well before 'The Long Run' was. 'In the City' was first heard on the soundtrack to the movie 'Warriors' in 1979. The rest of 'The Long Run' was a belabored effort, but it did produce a mess of hit songs as it was supposed to do.

The Eagles broke up in 1981, the same year that Joe released 'There Goes the Neighborhood'.

'There Goes the Neighborhood' is a lost great Joe record. Much of his post Eagles career isn't given much consideration, which is sad because, like this record, there is a lot of wonderful stuff. 'Life of Illusion' dominates the record, but the whole is listenable, and 'Down on the Farm' is a delight.

Around this time Joe starts to show the inevitable signs of too much good times. A legendary bon vivant, Joe was notorious for displays of public, and private intoxication. It had been a concern for some time. Joe is not stupid, he knew he was the problem he had, so he hired a martial arts expert and body guard who's sole responsibility was to take Joe's drugs way from him. Joe got a hold of himself, and the Kung Fu dude went to work with Belushi.

In 1982 Joe put out 'You Bough It, You Name It'. The album is just not very good. It has it's moments, like on the opening track, 'I Can Play That Rock and Roll', which features the lyric:

"You can check out any time you like

Just call me Joe"


'I.L.B.T.s' is fun. Joe tells us that he likes big tits.

"I like 'em for lunch

Or a noon-time snack

I like tits for breakfast

Big tit attack"

On 'Space Age Whiz Kids' Joe breaks down the effect video games have on society. ......I think.

Joe seems to have taken some well spent time off before the 1985 release of 'The Confessor'.

Much more focused, 'The Confessor' shows a Joe Walsh back on top of his game. The epic title tracks starts off the record, and though the remainder doesn't meet the bar set by 'The Confessor', it's a much improved and listenable record.

I987's 'Got Any Gum' followed, and then Joe took it easy until 'Ordinary Average Guy' in 1991.

In the mid-90's Don and Glen called again. Since then he's been fairly busy with both the Eagles and Joe Walsh projects.

Joe claims to have never had a job other than musician.

Joe is the only guitar player who can play both guitar parts of 'Dear Prudence' simultaneously. He claims he was too stoned to realize that there were two guitar parts.

Many years ago, he did "Desperado" on Howard. Using only a Casio keyboard, he managed to create something beautiful and horrible simultaneously.. His voice sounds like he is 90, but it works...
There is something about about Joe.
sadly, everything i own of Joe's work is on vinyl and out east

i need to change that
I remember the Desperafo on Howard - very intense.

Funk 49 Jackson, Funk 49.


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