Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

1976 – Part 5.1: James Gang – Jesse Come Home

It’s the last studio album by James Gang, released in 1976. Joe Walsh was 5 years into his Eagles slot and the band had continued on with a variety of line-up changes.

Their first album in 1969 was recorded as a power trio consisting of Joe Walsh (guitars, lead vocals), Tom Kriss (bass), and Jim Fox (drums). One of my favourite guitarists Tommy Bolin recorded two albums with the Gang called “Bang!” (released in 1973) and “Miami” (released in 1974) before he accepted the Deep Purple offer.

Only drummer Jim Fox remains. This album is the only one recorded with lead guitarist Bob Webb and keyboardist Phil Giallombardo. Giallombardo was in the Gang’s first ever line up with Fox, however he had left prior to the recording of their first album.

The cover features an atmospheric painting of the folk hero riding off into the sunset, an image which fans had identified as evidence that the band had known this album to be its last.

The players on this album are Bob Webb on guitars and lead vocals on three tracks, Phil Giallombardo on keyboards and lead vocals on the other 6 tracks, Dale Peters on bass guitar and Jim Fox on drums.

I Need Love

Written by keyboardist and co-vocalist Phil Giallombardo.

A simple syncopated bass and kick drum groove starts off the song. It’s almost funky but I feel like its hard rock.

The vocal melodies are overused.

Some of the critics said that the playing is uninspired but these guys can play and groove as evidenced here.

Another Year

Written by guitarist and co-vocalist Bob Webb. It’s a typical 70’s cut, with a dreamy acoustic guitar shimmering with some emotive leads that remind me of “While My Guitar Gently Sleeps”.

Feelin’ Alright

Written by the band, it’s also the most streamed track at 196,915 streams on Spotify. Press play to hear the lead break.

Peasant Song

Written by Phil Giallombardo, it’s a piano ballad with strings and this song feels like a bad Hollywood movie soundtrack, and it doesn’t connect at all.

Hollywood Dream

Written by Bob Webb and I like the rhythm and groove of the blues. It’s almost metal and its forgotten at 46,590 streams on Spotify.

Love Hurts

Written by Andrew Gold who was an American multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and record producer. He played on a lot of albums from other artists and wrote songs for artists as well. He died in 2011 at age 59 from heart failure.

It’s is an overused title.

The piano is back again, so far removed from the funk and blues of what the band was known for.

It’s a skip for me.

Pick Up The Pizzas

An instrumental track written by Bob Webb. A terrible title for one of the best riffs on the album. Press play and enjoy another forgotten track.

Stealin’ The Show

When Bob Webb writes a track there is guitar on it. On this one the acoustic guitar is back and Bad Company comes to mind.

When I Was A Sailor

The closer, at 6 plus minutes long and written by keyboardist Phil Giallombardo. This song is more Styx than James Gang.

The album is forgotten, with most songs being streamed less than 50,000 times. Especially when you compare those numbers to the Joe Walsh penned tunes like “Funk #49” with 47.382 million streams on Spotify and “Walk Away” with 29.297 million streams.

In the end, this album is just a bunch of musicians who wanted a record deal. Unfortunately for them, it was under the name of James Gang, which would always be known as Joe Walsh’s band, even though he wasn’t a founder. But the label still saw value in the project, however they also pulled the plug on it after the album stiffed.

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