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Live: Blow Your Face Out

The J. Geils Band

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Album Review

Double-album live sets came into vogue in 1976 after Peter Frampton's sales went through the roof for A&M, Bob Seger found fame with Live Bullet on Capitol, and the J. Geils Band released its second in-concert document in four years, Blow Your Face Out. There is great power in these grooves recorded over two nights, November 15 and November 19, at the now deconstructed Boston Garden and in Detroit at Cobo Hall. Here's the beautiful dilemma with the Geils band: Live: Full House, recorded in Detroit in April of 1972, contains five songs that became J. Geils standards, and none of them overlap on the 1982 EMI single live disc, Showtime, chock-full of their latter-day classics. Can you believe there is absolutely no overlap from the first or third live album on this double disc, which came in between (except for "Looking for a Love," uncredited, which they slip into the intro of "Houseparty" on side two)? The Rhino CD contains Jeff Tamarkin's liner notes, while the original Atlantic album has an exquisite gatefold chock-full of photos, and inner sleeves with priceless band memo stuff à la Grand Funk's Live Album. Sides one and two are great, and three and four are even better. "Detroit Breakdown" rocks and grooves, with tons of audience applause...Wolfy and the polished authority of his monologues are in command as the band oozes into "Chimes" from 1973's Ladies Invited. About three and a half minutes longer than the five-minute original, it is one of many highlights on this revealing pair of discs. A precursor to 1977's title track, "Monkey Island," "Chimes" gives this enigmatic band a chance to jam out slowly and lovingly over its groove. There is so much to this album: the Janis Joplin standard "Raise Your Hand" written by Eddie Floyd, Albert Collins' "Sno-Cone" from their first album, and "Truck Drivin' Man" beating Bachman-Turner Overdrive to the punch. B.B. King producer Bill Szymczyk does a masterful job bringing it all together, and the band photos on back look...roguish. "Must of Got Lost," "Where Did Our Love Go," and "Give It to Me" are here in all their glory, a different glory than the studio versions, on an album that should have done for Geils what Live Bullet and Frampton Comes Alive did for their respective artists. If only a legitimate release of their 1999 tour would be issued to stand next to this monster — during that tour they combined the best elements of all three of their previous live discs. The J. Geils Band is more important and influential than the boys have been given credit for. It will be the live documents that ensure they eventually get their due, and Blow Your Face Out is a very worthy component that can still frazzle speakers.

Customer Reviews

Geils at their best

This is J. Geils in the perfect presentation. I have seen them live five times and live is what they are all about. They have the ability to make a 15,000 arena feel like a club with 500 people. They were not so much the show but the house band and we all got invited. This is rowdy and out of control adventure from song one to the end. Particularly great are Shoot Your Shot, Where Dod Our Love Go? (listen for the real cool bass womps at the end), So Sharp, Detroit Breakdown, Chimes, Raise Your Hand, and Give It To Me. P Wolf is in command and the audience is amazing. I have never heard an audience so loud and into all the songs. Still makes me feel great when I hear it.

"Do ya wanna dance?!!" ~P. Wolf

Let's face it; there are, have been, and always will be performers and artists who must be been seen live to be fully appreciated. It's a fact. That being said, it's pretty easy to defend a mediocre band with such words. And the J Geils Band had often been dubbed as 'just another party band'. Even though they consistently played to packed houses, were a phenomenon in their home city of Boston, and considered Detroit their 2nd home, The J Geils Band had a hard time making it as a national success until 1980s "Love Stinks". And as commercially successful as that release was, that, along with their follow-up; "Freeze Frame" only crystalized them on mainstream radio as that; 'just another party band'. It didn't matter that they wrote their own material, or put on an amazing live show. ..and they did that in spades.

"Blow Your Face Out" captures The J Geils Band a few years earlier in their true element; Live performance.
And in spite of the fact that this double-album was released in 1976, it stands separate from the wave of 'Live' albums of the 70s. It's not a "Double-Live-Gonzo, Kiss-Alive!, Frampton-Comes!" kind of an album. It's more like a rhythm & blues barn-burner, or an old school rock & soul revue from the early 60s. Like Jerry Lee Lewis' legendary 1963 live show in Hamburg; more like a crime scene than a concert. Peter Wolf was an animal on the stage, vocally and physically. His dynamic energy and connection with his audience were more like those of Wilson Pickett or James Brown than anyone else. This was J Geils' true strength and even their calling card for over a decade.
'Blow Your Face Out' offers solid evidence that The J Geils Band was really meant to be seen to be heard. ..But it's also a testimony of just how great a so-called 'party band' can be. And it does beg the question; If Rock & Roll is good time music, why isn't this band in its Hall of Fame yet?

"Made Loud to Play Loud"

That's what it says on the gatefold jacket of the vinyl edition. As others have said, this, even more so than the also excellent album "Full House", really captures what they were all about. If all you know is "Centerfold" then you have no idea what this band was all about. Peter Wolf's classic jive rap intro to Musta Got Lost is a memorable snippet of his spontaneity (he blanks on the name Rapunzel but just rolls on) but it's the combination of Wolf's front-man presence with the crack musicianship honed by years on the road that made this band so special. Just download it.

Biography

Formed: 1967 in Boston, MA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The J. Geils Band was one of the most popular touring rock & roll bands in America during the '70s. Where their contemporaries were influenced by the heavy boogie of British blues-rock and the ear-splitting sonic adventures of psychedelia, the J. Geils Band was a bar band pure and simple, churning out greasy covers of obscure R&B, doo wop, and soul tunes, cutting them with a healthy dose of Stonesy swagger. While their muscular sound and the hyper jive of frontman Peter Wolf packed arenas...
Full Bio
Live: Blow Your Face Out, The J. Geils Band
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