joe walshThe inspiration for today’s Album Of The Week is thanks to comedian and Podcaster Marc Maron who hosts the show WTF with Marc Maron. One of the guests that Marc had on the show was legendary guitar player Joe Walsh who is best known for being in the James Gang, solo, and The Eagles. Marc talked about his love for the first time he had heard Rocky Mountain Way and so I figured that I would cover the very album it’s on which is titled The Smoker You Drink The Player You Get which is a play on the expression “The higher you get the better you play!” When Joe left the James Gang, he started a group called the Barnstorm when he moved to Colorado. The band made up of Walsh (Vocals/Guitar), Kenny Passarelli (Bass Guitar), Joe Vitale (Drums), and Rocke Grace (Keyboards) played on Joe’s first two albums and left after the success of this record. The album was a huge success for Joe as it reached number six on the Billboard Pop Charts and it eventually went Gold in the US and silver in the UK all on the back of the single Rocky Mountain Way which was a top 40 hit.

JOE_WALSH_THE+SMOKER+YOU+DRINK,+THE+PLAYER+YOU+GET-130499b1. Rocky Mountain Way– One of the coolest rock songs ever recorded that featured Joe playing the Talk Box. Ultimately the song is about his experience in Colorado, but Joe has said this before, “I’m living in Colorado and I’m mowing the lawn. I look up and there’s the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains and there’s snow on them in the summer. And it knocked me back because it was just beautiful. And I thought, ‘Well I have committed. I’m already in Colorado and it’s too late to regret the James Gang. The Rocky Mountain way is better than the way I had, because the music was better.’ I got the words. Bam!” 5/5

2. Book Ends– This is one of the tracks on the album that Joe Vitale sings on as he is talking about the good ole days. I love the overall vibe of the track as it has a little bit of a Beatles feel to it like a Hey Jude. 4.5/5

3. Wolf– I love the melodic beginning of this track because it sets the tone for the rest of the track in this very dark tale of life and the tribulations that we go through to live while the rich (wolf) get richer. 5/5

4. Midnight Moodies– A very cool instrumental track that features a mixture of instruments as the band flexes their muscle like a flute in the track. He may have gotten the influence from Jethro Tull on that part. 4.5/5

5. Happy Ways– This is the only track on the album that Kenny Passarelli sings lead vocals on. I love the bass intro in the beginning to go along with the War style music with the Caribbean influence. 4.5/5

joe_walsh_the_smoker_you_drink_24ktgdrem09_back.jpg6. Meadows– A little scat singing and screaming from Joe kicks off this cool rock track that has a similar feel to Deep Purple’s Women From Tokyo. 4.5/5

7. Dreams– The beginning of the song starts with some piano playing an effect that sounds like a clock is ticking in a track that talks about being a dreamer, taking care of a woman, and giving knowledge to people. 4/5

8. Days Gone By– This is the other track that Joe Vitale sings on that talks about how you need to live your life before you start wondering where it has all gone. 4.5/5

9. Day Dream (Prayer)– The last track on the album that starts with some piano and lyrically it only has four lines. The track has a very Pink Floyd vibe with the organs and the harmonies that are being sung. 4/5

My Final Thoughts– You could definitely tell that Joe was heavily influenced by what was around him at the time. He says in the interview with Marc Maron that he was influenced by everyone that he had met and learned some tricks from this guy, etc. My favorite tracks on the album are Rocky Mountain Way and Wolf. I didn’t dislike any of the tracks, but if I had to pick a least favorite it would be Dreams. I am giving the album 4.5 stars out of five for a final grade.

 

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