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James Gang

If you're from the Midwest and have what it takes, you can bank on it taking a good three to four years longer to make it than if you were from the South or West Coast. The heartland is the "I Can't Get No Respect" black hole of the Rock world.

Typically, the James Gang's guitar oriented, Midwest rooted sound, never caught on in a big way except in their native land, but they had talent. Or at least a talented guitarist/vocalist, Joe Walsh. Bassist Tom Kriss (replaced by Dale Peters in '70), drummer Jimmy Fox, guitarist Glen Schwartz (guitar) and Walsh rose out of Cleveland in the late '60s. Schwartz soon packed it in and the James Gang continued as a trio.

They came up with two searing classics, "Funk #49" and "Walk Away" (both released in '70). Walsh left in '71 to start Barnstorm. A brief a solo career was undertaken ("Life's Been Go To Me So Far" and "Rocky Mountain Way") before he signed on with the Eagles. Dominic Trojano was recruited but he didn't last long. Tommy Bolin, a perpetual second stringer, came next. Bolin eventually left the James Gang to replace Ritchie Blackmore in Deep Purple for some undistinguished recordings. The James Gang pulled the plug in '76.

James Gang Discography


1969 Yer' Album
1970 James Gang Rides Again
1971 Thirds
1971 James Gang Live In Concert
1972 Passin' Thru
1972 Straight Shooter
1973 The Best Of Featuring Joe Walsh
1973 Bang
1973 15 Greatest Hits
1974 Miami
1975 Newborn
1976 Jesse Come Home

"Best Of The James Gang" gives you "Funk #49" and "Walk Away" plus "The Bomber." "Sixteen Greatest Hits" (the title's a stretch to say the least) is the most solid compilation. "Rides Again" with "Funk #49" is the group's best album. Also, anything without Walsh is not worth the time.

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