The J. Geils Band
Peter Wolf (voc); Seth Justman (p, org); Magic Dick (hca); Danny Klein (b); Stephen Bladd (dr, voc)
Written by Peter Wolf (A1, A4, B3, B4), Seth Justman (A1, B3, B4), Jerome Geils (A2, A4), Juke Joint Jimmy (A3), John Lee Hooker (A5), Al Perkins (B1), Dave Clark (B1), Otis Rush (B1), Robert Rogers (B2), Smokey Robinson (B2), Walter Price (B5), Albert Collins (B6)
1 LP, standard sleeve
Original analog Master tape : YES
Heavy Press : 180g
Record color : black
Speed : 33 RPM
Size : 12'’
Record Press : Pallas
Label : Speakers Corner
Original Label : Atlantic
Recording: August 1970 at A&R Studios, New York, by Jay Messina
Production: Dave Crawford & Brad Shapiro
Originally released in 1970
Reissued in 2018
Side A :
- Ice Breaker (For The Big "M")
- Cruisin' For A Love
- Hard Drivin' Man
- Serves You Right To Suffer
Side B :
- First I Look At The Purse
- What's Your Hurry
- On Borrowed Time
- Pack Fair And Square
« The J. Geils Band's self-titled debut serves notice that rock & roll wasn't dead in 1970 despite the best efforts of the singer/songwriter brigade. Though it sounds a bit reserved in the light of the albums that followed, compared to the majority of bands on the scene, it was a nonstop blast of energy, fun, and sweat. Featuring the hipster jive of singer Peter Wolf, the amazing afro and harp chops of Magic Dick, the fret-burning work of J. Geils, and the jack of many trades Seth Justman (keys, compositions, backing vocals), the Geils Band rips through some classic blues by the likes of Otis Rush ("Homework"), Walter Price ("Pack Fair and Square"), and John Lee Hooker (a slow-burning "Serves You Right to Suffer"), old Motown gems ("First I Look at the Purse"), and originals that stand up well next to the covers ("Wait," "What's Your Hurry," and future live favorite "Hard Drivin' Man"). A nice mix of nostalgia, intensity, and bar band excitement, the album serves as fair warning that the Geils Band was on the scene and was ready to bring back the good-time spirit of the juke joint, the abandon of the early rock & roll scene, and the high energy of the late-'60s concert halls. » AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra
« Originally an acoustic blues band out of Worcester Mass in the late 60’s, The J Geils Band became “the” rock band of Boston. When the group assembled its classic lineup (J Geils/guitar; Peter Wolf/ vocals;Seth Justman/piano, organ; Richard “Magic Dick” Salwitz/harmonica; Danny Klein/bass and Stephen Bladd/drums), they were on their way to stardom. Their gritty version of rhythm & blues-inspired rock (that included soul and doo wop) connected with audiences and their rock and roll counterpoints. Their commercial breakthrough occurred on the 1973 album, Bloodshot which featured the single “Give It To Me”. In 1975, Nightmares…And Other Tales From The Vinyl Jungle produced another hit, “Must Of Got Lost”. The singles increases commercial exposure, and launched them as the opening act for The Rolling Stones, Peter Frampton and Rod Stewart. J Geils Band’s live performances became legendary, fueled by the antics of Peter Wolf’s “microphone vaulting” and a “lead harp” player (Magic Dick). In an unlikely turn of events, this “everyman’s band” became hugely successful in the 1980’s. Radio and MTV-friendly songs like “Freeze Frame”, “Love Stinks” and “Angel In The Centerfold” cemented their legacy. This popular acceptance led to fame, but as with most bands, they disbanded. While there were occasional reunions, the seminal days of the J Geil Bands were over.
Speakers Corner has released a 180-gram vinyl upgrade of the Atlantic debut of J Geils Band. In barely over 33 minutes, the tough-as-nails musical distillation of rhythm and blues is given new life. While the band doesn’t necessarily break new ground, their version of blues rock is effective. Side One opens with a Wolf/Justman composition, “Wait”. It is straight-ahead blues. The vaunted lead harp (Magic Mike) and gritty vocals tell the tale. There is a call & response and foot stomp. The original material stands up to the covers on this album. An instrumental “Ice-Breaker” exudes a Memphis-style r & b vibe. Geils has a sizzling guitar solo, and is followed by Magic Dick and Seth Justman on organ. Concise (a mere 2:15), it epitomizes the roots of band. “Cruisin’ For A Love” feels like Chicago blues with a New York City lyrical context. A piercing harp and blues piano lead into Geil’s searing distorted guitar solo. On “Hard Drivin’ Man”, the group adopts an accelerated tempo in a country blues romp. Things get down and nasty on John Lee Hooker’s “Serves You Right To Suffer”. Wolf’s lower-register vocals and phrasing are an obvious shout out to John Lee. Again, Magic Dick contributes a slow-burning solo, and Geils’ run is incendiary. At 5:01 it is the longest cut on the album). It showcases a pedigree, developed from jamming in a lot of bars.
Side Two continues the tribute to blues legends with a rollicking cover of Otis Rush’ “Homework”. injecting blues dialect into adolescence (“ Can’t do my homework anymore”) is amusing, and Wolf’s raw vocals sell it. Geil’s unleashes another ripping solo. Back to vintage soul, The Contours’ clever hit, “First I Look At The Purse” (co-written by Smokey Robinson) features great vocal harmonies, back beat and the classic harp/guitar sound. Wolf has an affinity for soul music and it is palpable on his singing. “What’s Your Hurry” (another original) emulates 60’s soul with stylish electric guitar hooks and a cowbell. There is a discernible fuller sound. “On Borrowed Time” is almost like a vintage Stax recording with a slowed-down, pulsating arrangement. The band connects with 50’s Rock & Roll spirit on “Pack Fair And Square”. it is explosive with the attitude of original rockers like Bill Haley, or Jerry Lee Lewis. As usual, Magic Dick blows the house away on harp. The finale is a second instrumental, Albert Collins’ “Sno-Cone”. Geils, Magic and Justman (great organ fills) percolate and drummer Bladd gets a well-deserved solo.
J Geils Band was an auspicious debut. Their musical craftsmanship is prominent. The vinyl upgrade is excellent, with a centered mix that showcases the unfiltered power of a hard-driving Rock “N” Soul band. A unique combination of electric guitar, organ (and piano at times) and harmonica perfectly frame the emotional vocals. » Robbie Gerson, Audiophile Audition, Mar 12, 2019
In the wake of Woodstock and the flight of impassioned music groups to the perhaps most fertile, colourful but also somewhat intellectual decade of rock’n’roll, Jerome Geils had clearly found his musical niche. There are not many bands that could entertain unpretentiously, he stated and let loose with his sextet under his own name to create brash, extrovert rock. The amalgamation of authentic blues and showy rock’n’roll, fed with a fervid veneration of such blues greats as Muddy Waters, Junior Wells and Chuck Berry was so compelling that the group could easily have passed as a black band.
Black, earthy and with casually interposed phrases on the befitting harmonica, the Geils Band gives their premiere in the world of the blues with "Waits". In the very next number ("Ice Breaker") the keyboarder Seth Justman hots up the action with a meaty organ groove while 'Magic' Dick Salwitz gives his utmost on his blues harp with top notes and unbelievable bursts of fire coming from the realms of rhythm & blues. Not to forget the boss, who launches powerful riffs and chordal cascades on his guitar. Friends of honest, down-to-earth music from this era shouldn’t miss out on this debut album.
AllMusic : 4.5 / 5 , Discogs : Rate Your Music :