Sunday, July 31, 2022

Joy - Thunderfoot (1972 us, extraordinary prog jazz rock with a country feel)

Ι've seen this obscurity listed under the name 'Thunderfoot' with the album entitled "Joy", but it's actually the other way around.  There's also at least one on line reference that has these guys peed as playing jazz!  Regardless, this early 1970s five piece is pretty obscure.  I've looked through various references, but there simply isn't much information to be found on them.  Based on the fact their album was recorded in Shreveport, Louisiana I'm guessing they were from the area, but who really knows.  

With a line up consisting of drummer Ralph DeSimone, lead guitarist Bob Di Piero, bass player Don Di Piero, singer Billy Joe Shina and keyboardist Ralph Vitello, the group was signed by the Louisiana based Paula label, debuting with the single 'Get Outta My Mind' b/w 'Your Mama'.

Self-produced, 1970's "Thunderfoot" is interesting for a couple of reasons, least of all that fact it's unlike anything else I've heard on Paula Records.  While most Paula associated acts I've heard sport a pop or blue-eyed soul sound (John Fred, The Uniques), Joy are out and out rockers.  Featuring all original material, tracks such as 'Cross Country Woman', 'Things Are Gonna Be Alright' and the three section suite 'Hasufel' offered up a mix of hard rock and progressive moves.

Shina had a nice voice and the band's guitar and keyboard attack generated more than its share of successes.  Highlights included the opener 'Mother Nature', 'Cross Countty Woman' and 'Brothers'.  On the down side, nothing here really jumped out at you and after awhile it all began to blend together.

At least two of the members seem to have stayed in music.  Bob Di Piero's a well known country songwriter and was a member of the short lived country band Billy Hill. Vitello became a sessions player working with the likes of Nanci Griffith.  He's also done production work.
1. Mother Nature (Ralph Vitello, Ralph DeSimone) - 3:01
2. Sea Green Symphony (Bob Di Piero, Don Di Piero) - 3:34
3. Your Friend and Mine (Bob Di Piero) - 4:51
4. Dreams (Billy Joe Shina, Ralph Vitello, Ralph DeSimone, Bob Di Piero, Don Di Piero) - 2:35
5. Cross Country Woman (Billy Joe Shina, Ralph Vitello) - 3:41
6. Ride the World (Billy Joe Shina, Ralph Vitello) - 3:40
7. Things Are Gonna Be Alright (Ralph Vitello, Ralph DeSimone, Billy Joe Shina) - 3:41
8. Ragged Old Man (Billy Joe Shina, Ralph Vitello) - 4:22
9. Brothers (Bob Di Piero, Don Di Piero) - 2:37
10.Hasufel (Ralph Vitello, Ralph DeSimone, Bob Di Piero, Don Di Piero) - 3:27
.a.Sky Bound
.b.The Journey

*Ralph DeSimone - Drums, Percussion
*Bob Di Piero - Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
*Don Di Piero - Bass
*Billy Joe Shina - Lead Vocals, Percussion
*Ralph Vitello - Keyboards, Guitar