Joe Walsh – You Can’t Argue With A Sick Mind

Joe Walsh’s 1976 live album, “You Can’t Argue With A Sick Mind” was one for the fans – a live memento of Joe Walsh’s past hits with a hint of what was to come.

With five jamming renditions of Joe Walsh’s biggest hits, this album really couldn’t miss. Add to that, Joes extended solos as well as the solos from his top-notch band, which included Eagles member Don Felder on a second guitar, and you get an album that’s meant to be cranked up.

And speaking of the Eagles, for some perfect vocal harmonies on “Help Me Through the Night, Joe is joined by two other members of that band; Don Henley, Glen Frey. The crowd loved it. Apparently Joe Walsh did too. He joined the Eagles shortly after “You Can’t Argue With A Sick Mind” was released.

Sweet – Desolation Boulevard

Are you ready Steve? Uh-huh
Andy? Yeah
Mick? Okay
Alright fellas, let’s go-o-o-o-o-o!

I can’t imagine Sweet’s third album, “Desolation Boulevard” without the song “Ballroom Blitz” kicking things off. But if you bought the album in the UK or Europe, that’s what you got. Or should I say, what you didn’t get.

In the UK and Europe, “Desolation Boulevard” opened up with “The 6-Teens”, the second song on the version that what was released in Japan, Canada, and the US. It’s not a bad song, but it’s no “Ballroom Blitz”

In a trade-off, the UK and Europe got the song “Turn it Down” and an extended version of “Fox on the Run”. Personally, I think the US, Japan, and Canada got the better deal, even though I do like the longer version of “Fox on the Run” better. I mean, “Turn it Down” is a good song and all that, but hey – and I’m sorry for repeating myself here – it’s no “Ballroom Blitz”.

Jethro Tull – War Child

“War Child”, the seventh album from Jethro Tull, was originally planned to be a double album soundtrack to a black comedy of the same name. When the band couldn’t find a studio to financially back the film, the more ambitious project was scrapped and the album was trimmed back to a single record. The result was a record that has a bit more lyrical humor than prior Tull albums.

The story of the film, and of the album, to a lesser degree, revolved around a teenage girl who dies and in the afterlife has encounters with three shrewd businessmen who are actually avatars of Lucifer, St. Peter, and God.

“War Child” was received harshly by most music critics, but that didn’t stop it from debuting at the number 2 spot on the Billboard charts and earning the band another gold record. The album contains one of Jethro Tull’s biggest hits, “Bungle in the Jungle”. It also has what is quite possibly my favorite Jethro Tull song, “Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day”.

Jefferson Starship – Freedom At Point Zero

I remember reading or listening to an interview where one of the members of Jefferson Starship was asked about accusations of “Freedom at Point Zero” trying to sound like Journey, Styx, Foreigner, and Kansas – bands accused of being “corporate rock” for the music industry.

There was no denial or apology in the answer, which was in essence, “Those are some of our favorite bands.”

I remember thinking, those are some of my favorite bands too.

‘Nuff said.

Bob Welch – French Kiss

Bob Welch released French Kiss, his debut solo album, in 1974. Before that, he was the person most responsible for transitioning Fleetwood Mac from an edgy blues band to more melodic rock and roll superstars. Yet he was not inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the rest of the band.

Welch joined Fleetwood Mac as their rhythm guitarist in 1971, when Jeremy Spencer and lead guitarist Peter Green left the group. Almost immediately, Welch’s musical opinions clashed with Fleetwood Mac’s remaining guitarist Danny Kirwan. A year and a half later Kirwin was fired for his alcohol abuse and increasingly volatile behavior. Although Welch’s influence had already started a metamorphosis in Fleetwood Mac’s sound, the change became much more pronounced once Bob Welch had more creative input.

Bob Welch left Fleetwood Mac in 1974 to pursue other musical interests. He was replaced by Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. With the new lineup, Fleetwood Mac continued on with the musical style Bob Welch was significant in helping them forge.

Although Bob Welch was not one of the original founding members of Fleetwood Mac and left the group just before they had their greatest commercial success, I think it was unfair for the RRHoF to not have included him in the roster of Fleetwood Mac band members to be inducted. Fleetwood Mac would have probably never transitioned into the superstar band they became without Bob Welch.

Elton John – Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player

Elton John had so many great albums that anyone with a decent sized record collection is going to have more than one album by him. I guess my collection is no exception.

The title to “Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player” came from a night of joking around Elton John had with Groucho Marx. At one point during the evening Groucho, in good fun, ripped into Elton pretty well. In retort, Elton John blurted out”hey, don’t shoot me, I’m only the piano player”. As a nod to that evening there’s a poster to a Marx Brothers’ movie in the background of the album’s theater marquee designed album cover.

Typical to many Elton John’s albums from this era, “Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player” came with a bonus. Packaged in the gatefold album cover along with the record,was a 12 page booklet with a collection of photos and the lyrics yo the songs.

When it came out, “Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player” hit the top of the charts in both the US and the UK.
It also gave Elton John two more hit singles, “Daniel” and “Crocodile Rock”. “Midnight Creeper” is one of my personal favorites from this album. I still believe it could have easily been a third hit single.

Greta Van Fleet – Anthem Of The Peaceful Army

One of the things I really liked about Greta Van Fleet when I heard their first EP was that they sounded a lot like Led Zeppelin. One of the things I didn’t like about them is they sounded almost too much like Led Zeppelin. One of the things I really like about Greta Van Fleets first full length LP is that it doesn’t sound quite so much like Led Zeppelin.

Does “Anthem Of The Peaceful Army” remind me of a good Zeppelin album? Absolutely…at times. But it also has so many other influences, from so many classic rock bands I’m not even going to try to list them all. There is no doubt in my mind that had this album been released back in the ’70s. It would have been at the top of the AOR charts. Coming out in the 2010s, it’s like a breath of fresh air in the midst of the stench of the music factory’s pollution.

On “Anthem Of The Peaceful Army” Greta Van Fleet prove they are not a wannabe band by any stretch. I’m sure with how young they are, they grew up listening to their parents rock records – and they loved them. It’s still music they love listening to, so when they pick up their instruments, it’s the music they love to play. When they pick up a pen it’s in the songs they love to write.

As I listen to Greta Van Fleet’s “Anthem of the Peaceful Army” now, I’m listing to music influenced by bands that I love from the past, but I’m also listening to new music that I know I will still love in the future.

Gordon Lightfoot – Sundown

Gordon Lightfoot was more than just a Canadian singer/songwriter. He was a prolific poet and storyteller.

Although it doesn’t contain my favorite song by him, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”, “Sundown” is my favorite Gordon Lightfoot album. Besides, the title track on this album ranks a close second favorite.

“Sundown” is Gordon Lightfoot at his absolute best. His baritone voice is soothing and invigorating drawing you in to lyrics that tell stories of life and love and are perfectly suited to Lightfoot’s distinct brand of mostly acoustic Canadian folk rock.

Michael Stanley Band – Greatest Hints

Rock and roll is filled with stories of great bands that almost, but not quite broke out from local or regional fame into the national spotlight. The Michael Stanley Band was one of the greatest.

The Michael Stanley Band, or MSB as many of their fans called them for short, had no problem selling records throughout the midwest United States. They regularly sold out 20 thousand seat arenas around their hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. But outside of the heartland, the band remained forever relatively unknown.

I remember first hearing the Michael Stanley Band on Detroit radio in the late 1970s. I have to admit though, I never really took notice of MSB until the early 1980s, when a friend of mine who was from Cleveland played his hometown hero band for me when we were in the Army together. When I listened their records, I remember wondering why they never made it nationally; they had such a great sound. Listening to “Greatest Hints” now I’m wondering it again.

Billy Joel – The Bridge

Billy Joel was such a versatile artist, he never needed to change his style to keep having hit records. They were always universally appealing.

Like Billy Joel’s previous records, “The Bridge” was filled with a huge array of musical styles and influences. A few of those musical influences appear with Joel on this, his tenth studio album. Ray Charles adds his unmistakable bluesy piano and voice to the song “Baby Grand” and Steve Winwood’s Hammond B3 helps Joel cut loose on “Getting Closer”, the rocking closer on the album.

Surprisingly, neither of those two songs were hits off of “The Bridge”, although “Baby Grand” was released as the fourth single from it. I don’t think Billy Joel was too concerned about that song’s lackluster sales. “The Bridge” still gave the entertainer three top 20 hits with “Modern Woman”, “This Is the Time” and my personal favorite from the album, “A Matter of Trust”. That song will always have special meaning to me as I was getting over some trust issues I had at that time in my life. It was the reason I had to buy “The Bridge” when I first heard it.