9 Songs, 32 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

1973’s Bang represented yet another new beginning for the resilient James Gang. Domenic Troiano replaced Joe Walsh, and when Troiano left, drummer Jim Fox replaced him with Tommy Bolin, who had found minimal success with the Colorado-based outfit Zephyr. A guitar phenom, Bolin very much returned the Gang to Walsh’s original vision for the group, and Bolin’s second and final album as leader — 1974’s Miami — even reprises the cover motif of the group’s legendary Rides Again LP. “Cruisin’ Down the Highway,” “Do It (The Way You Do It),” “Wildfire” and “Summer Breezes” don’t pack the punch of “Funk #49,” but they are nonetheless grade-A slabs of muscle-car clout. The cover art’s eerie reversal of Rides Again — what once was white is now black, and there is a pink flamingo stamped in the center, as if to signify a modicum of tropical sleaze — is apt. The hippie dream of the Gang’s early years has given way to the brooding undertones of “Sleepwalker” and “Head Above Water,” in which vocalist Roy Kenner exhorts the listener to “try to keep your head above the water” as the music descends into a torrent of swampy guitar.

EDITORS’ NOTES

1973’s Bang represented yet another new beginning for the resilient James Gang. Domenic Troiano replaced Joe Walsh, and when Troiano left, drummer Jim Fox replaced him with Tommy Bolin, who had found minimal success with the Colorado-based outfit Zephyr. A guitar phenom, Bolin very much returned the Gang to Walsh’s original vision for the group, and Bolin’s second and final album as leader — 1974’s Miami — even reprises the cover motif of the group’s legendary Rides Again LP. “Cruisin’ Down the Highway,” “Do It (The Way You Do It),” “Wildfire” and “Summer Breezes” don’t pack the punch of “Funk #49,” but they are nonetheless grade-A slabs of muscle-car clout. The cover art’s eerie reversal of Rides Again — what once was white is now black, and there is a pink flamingo stamped in the center, as if to signify a modicum of tropical sleaze — is apt. The hippie dream of the Gang’s early years has given way to the brooding undertones of “Sleepwalker” and “Head Above Water,” in which vocalist Roy Kenner exhorts the listener to “try to keep your head above the water” as the music descends into a torrent of swampy guitar.

TITLE TIME

More By James Gang

You May Also Like