This whimsical, hippie-flavored first James Gang album is how Joe Walsh fell onto the national music scene. Although the band was founded by drummer Jim Fox, Walsh marked his territory quickly on “Yer’ Album” and eventually propelled the short-lived James Gang to a hit (“Funk #49″) on their second LP (1970’s “Rides Again”).
While “Yer’ Album” doesn’t have the tight focus of “Rides Again,” it gives notice of Walsh’s precise guitar stylings and his unique vocal timbre. The album meanders through several covers (including Stephen Stills’ excellent “Bluebird” and Jeff Beck’s “Lost Woman”), but it’s the trippy jams interwoven throughout that set the tone. (This trippiness is punctuated by bits of studio chatter left on the finished record, as well as some surprise stoner humor that plays out in the original LP’s trail-off grooves at the end of each side.)
Period stuff for sure (and perhaps a bit dated), yet “Yer’ Album” is indispensable as an insight into the developing genius of Walsh.
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