Wednesday, December 14, 2022

James Gang - Straight Shooter / Passin' Thru (1972 us / canada, funky country classic rock, 2004 remaster)

The rock’n’roll city of Cleveland really rocked in the company of the James Gang, the local heroes who rode the American bestsellers from the late 1960s through to the mid-1970s. Now most often remembered as the band in which Joe Walsh made his reputation, they were much more besides, as a tally of 11 chart albums underlines. The fifth of those, Straight Shooter, entered Billboard’s Top LPs survey on March 18, 1972.

The band came together in 1966, but didn’t release their first disc, Yer’ Album, until early 1969. Throughout that year, their profile continued to build, until the record entered the chart that November. Their next three releases, James Gang Rides Again, Thirds and Live In Concert, would all eventually go gold.

Then came Walsh’s departure, to form Barnstorm and move on to the solo albums that eventually led to him becoming a member of the Eagles. The two remaining James Gang members, bassist Dale Peters and drummer Jim Fox, replaced Walsh with not one, but two new players. Roy Kenner joined as chief vocalist, and Domenic Troiano became the new guitar figurehead and occasional lead singer. Both arrived from the Canadian band Bush.

Kenner and Troiano had an immediate impact on the group’s songwriting, composing four songs on Straight Shooter together. Troiano wrote another on his own, and they collaborated with Peters on three more. After this album, Troiano was on his way again, to join the Guess Who, replaced in the James Gang by Tommy Bolin, later to become part of the mid-1970s Deep Purple line-up.

Meanwhile, Straight Shooter edged into the Billboard chart at No.197, but went on to a No.58 peak. The magazine’s review noted that despite Walsh’s departure, “it has all the strengths of their previous efforts. Roy Kenner’s vocal stylings exceed the common degree of musicianship. Instrumentally they have sustained their former level of excitement.”

"Passin'" Thru is the fifth studio album by James Gang, released in October 1972, and their final album released on ABC Records (catalog no. ABCX 760). The band moved to Atco Records the next year. The scene shown on the album's cover is of East Main Street in Bismarck, North Dakota in the 1880s.
by Paul Sexton, March 18, 2022
1. Madness - 3:12
2. Kick Back Man - 4:52
3. Get Her Back Again - 2:46 
4. Looking For My Lady - 2:53
5. Getting Old (Domenic Troiano) - 3:45
6. I'll Tell You Why (Dale Peters, Domenic Troiano) - 3:53
7. Hairy Hypochondriac (Dale Peters, Domenic Troiano, Roy Kenner) - 2:55
8. Let Me Come Home (Dale Peters, Domenic Troiano) - 5:00
9. My Door Is Open (Dale Peters, Domenic Troiano, Roy Kenner) - 5:56
10.Ain't Seen Nothing Yet (Roy Kenner) - 3:03
11.One Way Street (Domenic Troiano) - 4:35
12.Had Enough (Roy Kenner) - 2:59
13.Up To Yourself (Domenic Troiano) - 2:42
14.Everybody Needs A Hero - 6:03
15.Run Run Run - 3:44
16.Things I Want To Say To You (Domenic Troiano) - 3:40
17.Out Of Control (Domenic Troiano) - 3:38
18.Drifting Girl - 5:07
All songs by Domenic Troiano, Roy Kenner except where noted
Tracks 1-9 from "Straight Shooter" LP 1972
Tracks 10-18 from "Passin' Thru" LP 1972

James Gang
*Roy Kenner - Lead Vocals, Percussion
*Domenic Troiano - Guitars, Vocals
*Dale Peters - Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals, Percussion
*Jim Fox - Drums, Backing Vocals, Percussion, Keyboards
*Sheldon Kurland - Violin (Tracks 1-9)
*Glen Spreen - Strings (Tracks 1-9)
*David Briggs - Piano (Tracks 10-18)
*Charlie Mccoy - Harmonica (Tracks 10-18)
*Weldon Myrick - Pedal Steel Guitar (Tracks 10-18)
*Craig Sapphin - All Strings, Arrangements (Tracks 10-18)
*William D. "Smitty" Smith - Piano, Organ, Harpsichord (Tracks 10-18)

1969  James Gang - Yer' Album (Japan SHM remaster)
1970  James Gang - Rides Again (2010 SHM remaster)