Jo Jo Gunne

Jo Jo Gunne

The L.A. rock band Jo Jo Gunne formed after singer/guitarist/keyboardist Jay Ferguson (future solo star of “Thunder Island” fame) and bassist Mark Andes (later of Firefall and Heart) had split from the much-lauded band Spirit (who’d just released the trailblazing Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus) for greener pastures. So, yes, this 1972 debut is littered with the era’s FM-radio signposts. There’s Little Feat–style boogie (“Babylon,” “99 Days,” “Academy Award”), shirts-off, beer-drinking anthems (“I Make Love,” “Barstow Blue Eyes”), a motor speedway rock ballad (“Flying Home”), and the same kind of melodious stoner angst that made Spirit songs great (“Shake That Fat” and “Run Run Run,” the band’s sole Top 40 hit). But what makes this album is the spare, every-note-carries-weight arrangements of guitar, bass, and drums (and occasional piano), as well as the big choruses and unexpected wry cultural references that see Ferguson delivering lines like “With her hair like Hedy Lamarr … she’s a stone-cold diver” with all the swagger of Jim Dandy or David Lee Roth.

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