Hamilton Journal News August 16 1973
Joe Thursday. August It, 1973 Journal-.N'fews. Hamilton. Ohio Page 37 where / am now' joe Walsh is fortunate to be acclaimed a master of rock music's most common instrument, the guitar. While lead guitarist for the Cleveland-based James Gang, he earned a reputation strong enough to be recognized by many of his piers in the business, as well as by his fans. Peter Townshend of the Who, is just one of many who regard Joe Walsh as their favorite contemporary guitarist. The years with the James Gang were productive ones for Joe's career. Of the group's four top-selling albums, three were gold records. However, last year, Joe pulled out from the band as a result of several Rick Flynn's Music Scene JOE WALSH factors, including some distasteful compromises that he was forced to comply with. Most of all, though, was the fact that the James Gang's direction in music was not where Joe wanted to be. When he left the group, the impression received by the other two members was that Joe was departing to Colorado to rest up and attempt his first solo album. The truth of the matter is that Joe knew exactly what he wanted to do in Colorado, and it wasn't to rest. Bill'Szymcyk, who produced for the old James Gang as well as for such artists as B. B. King, also was there to help him reach his goals. Six months later, it was completed. "Barnstorm," his first solo LP, was different from anything he had produced before. It was a slow, mellow, type of sound that seemed non-existant during his tenure with the old James Gang. With all of this out of his system, Joe went on to recruit his friends together and form a band" by the ratings perpetuate TV reruns same name of his first solo LP. The group's first album, which is Walsh's second solo recording, is, by far, Joe's finest recording to date. "Barnstorm," consisting of Joe Vitale on percussion, percussion, flute, and synthesiser; Rocke Grace on piano; Tom Stevenson on organ and synthesizer; and Kenny Passareili on bass, seems to be the perfect vehicle for Walsh to convey the finest music of his career. The group's newest album, "The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get," is quite different from the first "barnstorm" LP. It is full fo the faster, high- powered style of music that Walsh is noted for. Walsh is noted for. At the same time, (here are several spots in the album where Joe Vitale's flute creates a quiet, carefree type of musical atmosphere. Then, within seconds, he switches over to timpani drums and roars out the thundering sounds of a totally symphonic composition. Vitale's extensive percussion work, even down to his minor work on such instruments as finger cymbals, certainly doesn't go unnoticed. The diversified talents of the rest of the band are one more reason why Joe Walsh's second solo album is destined for gold. "Rocky Mountain Way," the band's current single, is one of the classic Walsh tunes. The guitar work is superb, especially during the song's peak, in which Joe uses the old "tube talk" method of throwing his voice, while, at the same time, performing the identical identical notes on the guitar. Then after the clear tube is released from Joe's mouth, the slide guitar sends the scng merrily home. During a discussion with Tom Stevenson last Friday at Music Hall, I was able to inquire about the group's future. A new album will be forthcoming soon, and hopefully, Barnstorm as a group will be signed to a record label by then. Currently, only Walsh, not the band, is signed to a lable--ABC Records. Also, the band just completed the Midnight Special for NBC and will be going abroad soon. As a sweaty, performance-worn, Joe Walsh approached approached my corner of the dressing room, I couldn't help but comment to him on how far his music has come since the James Gang. "I'm certainly happy where I am now," he said, "in fact I'm super happy." That's just what a sold out audience was able to last Friday at Music Hall, the continuing story of a super happy guitarist from Cleveland.