ABCS 688 Yer' Album
Produced by Bill Szymczyk
Released on March 29, 1969
US CHART POSITION #83
Find it at GEMM
ABCS 688 cover
[high resolution scan]

K ronomyth 1.0: THE JAMES MARSHALL GANG. The James Gang were a psychedelic blues power trio modeled more on Hendrix than Cream, but lacking the high-stakes skills of either outfit. Their debut album, produced by a young Bill Szymczyk, is typical of the psychedelic rock albums from the period: studio in-jokes, spoken asides, incorporeal interludes, inscrutable lyrics and some blistering blues-rock guitar to ground it all. Although the Gang was founded by Jim Fox, Joe Walsh is their focal point: he sings, plays guitar and organ, writes most of the original material and is at least a level above the ability of Fox or bassist Tom Kriss in terms of chops. Honestly, most of the bands in this genre/timespace (Steve Miller, Rhinoceros, Steppenwolf, Vanilla Fudge, etc.) were too busy burning incense to the blues-rock gods of their elevated imaginations to make consistently good music and too high to notice the difference between experimentation and mental masturbation. Not surprisingly, The James Gang are most effective here when they stop trying to construct their own stairway to hippie heaven and let Walsh jam off of other people’s platforms. Buffalo Springfield’s “Bluebird,” Yardbirds’ “Lost Woman” and 12 minutes of a seemingly unstoppable Walsh joined by Jerry Ragavoy on his “Stop” are highlights of Yer’ Album. The originals aren’t bad (“Collage,” “Funk #48,” “I Don’t Have The Time,” “Fred”), but after forty years they’ve deservedly settled into the substrata of psychedelic rock, where their fungal pungency is more suitable for growing mushrooms than building temples of legend. That said, the inspired soloing on “Stop” clearly warranted an encore. Rather than a lost rock classic (as some would have you believe), this is simply the dirt and dust of lost ages, notable mostly as an early and ambitious flight from a pair (Walsh, Szymczyk) who would rise to greater heights with Eagles. [Super secret squirrel note: "hidden" spoken messages appear at the end of side one ("Turn me over") and side two ("Play me again") if you let the needle go to the end.]

TRACK LISTING

  1. TUNING PART ONE    (Jim Fox/Bert De Coteaux/Bill Szymczyk)    0:39
  2. TAKE A LOOK AROUND    (Joe Walsh)    6:20
  3. FUNK #48    (Joe Walsh/Jim Fox/Tom Kriss)    2:47
  4. BLUEBIRD    (Stephen Stills)    6:01
  5. LOST WOMAN    (Chris Dreja/Jeff Beck/Keith Relf/James McCarthy/Paul Samwell-Smith)    9:06
  6. STONE RAP    (Joe Walsh/Jim Fox/Tom Kriss/Bill Szymczyk)    0:59
  7. COLLAGE    (Joe Walsh/Patrick Cullie)    4:03
  8. I DON'T HAVE THE TIME    (Joe Walsh/Jim Fox)    2:50
  9. WRAPCITY IN ENGLISH    (Joe Walsh)    0:57
  10. FRED    (Joe Walsh)    4:11
  11. STOP    (Jerry Ragavoy/Mort Schuman)    12:00

    Arrangments by The James Gang and BIll Szymczyk

CREDITS

JIM FOX -- drums, guitar, vocals, piano introduction
TOM KRISS -- bass, good vibes, and cheek flute
JOE WALSH -- guitars, keyboards and vocals, underwater piano
Bert "Super Charts" De Coteaux -- string arrangements
Jerry "Rags" Ragavoy -- piano (11)
Bill Szymczyk -- organ, maracas, sound, engineer, photos
Byron Goto -- cover design, photo collage
Henry Epstein -- cover design
Ladimer Jeric -- inside left cover art
Gary Finn -- inside right cover art

return to THE JAMES GANG discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US March 29, 1969 Bluesway LP BLS-6034  
JPN 1969 Probe LP IPP-80747 gatefold cover
US 1971 ABC LP ABCS 688 gatefold cover
US   EMI Stateside LP SSL-10295  
UK   Beat Goes On LP BGOLP-60  
US 1992 One Way CD ONE-22052  
JPN 2009 Universal CD UICY-94058 SHMCD remaster

 

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