After criss-crossing the country countless times as both a headlining club band and an arena support act, The J. Geils Band finally hit the big leagues here on their first platinum-selling album. The entire 1973 effort is swathed in R&B, soul, and road-hardened rock ’n’ roll. It opens with a sweltering cover of The Showstoppers' “(It Ain’t Nothin’ but A) House Party,” cuts left into the very Van Morrison–esque “Make Up Your Mind,” and charges into the funky harmonica shouter “Back to Get Ya” (“Scramble my eggs, honey, c’mon!”). The roadhouse rockers “Struttin’ with My Baby,” “Hold Your Loving," and “Southside Shuffle” impart some chaff with the blues, and “Start All Over Again” sort of slows things up, sounding like a Rolling Stones cover of Arthur Alexander. The album closes on the catchy “Give It to Me,” which was one of the earliest reggae-influenced tunes to crack the American Top 40. The album demonstrates how gifted frontman Peter Wolf was the blackest-sounding white belter in America in those days. And it’s obvious that all six band members had mad love affairs with the music that originated around the Mississippi Delta.

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