82804-2 Monkey Island
Produced by The J. Geils Band
Released on June 9, 1977
US CHART POSITION #51
Find it at GEMM
82804-2 cover
[high resolution scan]

K ronomyth 9.0: PRIMATE GEILS. I bought this disc because I thought it might be a concept album about monkeys. It’s not. So if you’re thinking of writing a concept album and know a thing or two about monkeys, the field is still wide open. Monkey Island is generally regarded as one of Geils’ better efforts. It contains the ballad “You’re The Only One” (a minor hit), a swell remake of The Marvelows’ “I Do” and seven more solid tracks of R&B-based rock & roll that some have compared to The Rolling Stones (not my comparison) and which I would file alongside Mott the Hoople, Graham Parker, Steve Miller Band, Blue Oyster Cult and the smarter 70s rock bands who respected their R&B roots. Up to this point, my connection to The J. Geils Band consisted of countless hours spent listening to Freeze-Frame and a compulsion to say the words “Love Stinks” in a low voice whenever the aforementioned song is playing on the radio. After listening to Monkey Island, I’m beginning to understand why rock critics liked these guys. They’re musicians’ musicians, they write good songs in a variety of styles, they pay homage where it’s due (how many rock bands would invite Cissy Houston to sing their opening track?) and their live energy spills over into the studio. In an era when most popular music was pre-fabricated crap, the working bands were the underdogs. The J. Geils Band was a working group whose songwriting was quickly catching up with their live performances. Songs like “Monkey Island,” “Surrender” and “Wreckage” are good (and different) ideas that are well executed, suggesting that The J. Geils Band had managed to break down the studio barriers that box in most working bands. Their last album on Atlantic and the only one credited to Geils (the group), Monkey Island may have found the band at a career crossroads, yet in retrospect it’s something of a missing link between the old R&B all stars and the consummate rock stars of Sanctuary, Love Stinks and Freeze-Frame.

82804-2 back sleeve
82804-2 back sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. SURRENDER
  2. YOU'RE THE ONLY ONE
  3. I DO    (Johnny Paden/Frank Paden/Jesse Smith/Willie Stephenson/Melvin Mason)
  4. SOMEBODY
  5. I'M FALLING
  6. MONKEY ISLAND
  7. I'M NOT ROUGH    (Louis Armstrong)
  8. SO GOOD
  9. WRECKAGE

    All songs written by Peter Wolf/Seth Justman unless noted. All songs arranged by The J. Geils Band.

CREDITS

STEPHEN JO BLADD -- percussion & vocals
J. GEILS -- guitars
SETH JUSTMAN -- keyboards & vocals
DANNY KLEIN -- bass
MAGIC DICK -- harmonicas, trumpet
PETER WOLF -- vocals
Evette Benton -- bakground voice (8)
Michael Brecker -- sax
Randy Brecker -- trumpet
Michelle Cobbs -- background voice (1,6)
Ron Cuber -- sax
Lew Del Gatto -- sax
Cissy Houston -- lead vocal (1)
Barbara Ingram -- background voice (8)
Arif Mardin -- strings conductor
Theresa V. Reed -- background voice (1,6)
Alan Rubin -- trumpet
Lew Soloff -- trumpet
G. Diane Sumler -- background voice (1,6)
Harriet Tharpe -- background voice (8)
Luther Vandross -- background voice (1,6)
Frank Vicari -- sax
Dave Thoener -- engineer
Peter Corriston -- album design
Alen MacWeeney -- photography

return to THE J. GEILS BAND discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US June 9, 1977 Atlantic LP/CS/8T SD/CS/TP 19103 gatefold cover
JPN 1977 Atlantic LP P-10388A  
US   Atlantic CD 19103-2  
US 1995 Atlantic CD 82804-2 digital remaster

 

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