Saturday, April 15, 2017

J. Geils (1946 - 2017)

J. Geils 4th studio LP was released in very cool red vinyl
Sadly, there is more unmelodic news from the music world and that is because it has now enshrined John Warren Geils Jr. (J. Geils) into Rock 'n Roll Heaven.

Geils was the guitarist in The J. Geils Band, a really fun, blues-rock, sextet from Boston who never took themselves too seriously because they understood what they were: a very good party band.

The band had several huge hits and, unusually for a veteran outfit, their bigger ones came later in their career, after the group shifted to a more polished sound to fit into the synthesized 80s. While it was true that Geils and the gang lost some of their earthiness during the "Freeze Frame"/"Centerfold"/"Love Stinks" era they never totally abandoned their rabble rousing sense of humor and therein lied their success.

Despite their big hits in the late innings the band was at their best in the early 70s when they scored with "Lookin' For A Love," and "Must Of Got Lost" along with one of my favorite live albums, Full House (1972).

A large part of the band's party hardy atmosphere centered around one of rock's best frontmen, the speed talking Peter Wolf, and the man with the wild, white man afro, Richard "Magic Dick" Salwitz. The harmonica player was often the featured instrumentalist on many of the group's tracks.

After the band broke up Wolf went on to have a successful solo career while Geils turned to automobile racing before making a blues album with Salwitz. Later he recorded two fine, straight-ahead jazz CDs. Jazz, as it turned out, was the guitarist's first love but he never believed he was good enough to play it. Both of those albums proved him wrong.

The band has been nominated several times for the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame but they have yet to be elected. It would be just like those Cleveland manipulators to vote the Boston boys in now. It wouldn't be the first time the hall waited until a prominent band member left us before their groups were voted in a couple of years too late. Just ask Mike Smith of The Dave Clark Five and Chris Squire of Yes if you can discover a way to contact them.


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