(Is it really classic rock if they don’t play it on the radio?? If not, then I’m breakin’ out of that mold!)

Title: The Bomber

Artist: James Gang

Album: Rides Again

Year Released: 1970

What It Is: A multi-part tour de force that highlights all of Joe Walsh’s strengths (ok, not the talk box, but still). He does a great job on slide in the early middle of the song (after the first few verses) and then works through ‘Bolero’ and ‘Cast Your Fate To The Wind’ before going back to the main thrust of the song (called ‘Closet Queen’).

Riffage / Hookage: Oh yeah, there’s some great riffage from Walsh, of course.

Cowbell?: Nah. Jim Fox is an OK drummer, but the consensus was that he and bassist Dale Peters was holding Walsh back. (That really wasn’t the case, since Walsh’s pre-Eagles solo records could’ve easily been James Gang albums.)

Words Of Wisdom:“A closet queen, the bus stop’s dream, she wants to shake my hand
I don’t want to be there, she decides she can
It’s Apple Dan, he’s just the man to pick fruit off your branches
I can’t sleep, and we can’t keep this cattle on my ranches”

Joe’s young protagonist isn’t quite ready for the real world. Well, at least the real bus-stop world.

Mixology Report: Especially for the rockists and those who enjoy multi-part semi-epics. Oh, and guitars!

Top Five Genius Results: Time Out – Joe Walsh (no, really!)
Whisky Train – Procol Harum (coming soon, if I can find a good clip)
Never In My Life – Mountain
Sin’s A Good Man’s Brother – Grand Funk (the lyrics are, um, interesting…and yes Mark Farner is trying to be serious.)
Sookie Sookie – Steppenwolf

For The Good Of The Order: Fox really, really wanted this band to hold together. As I said in an earlier post, Glenn Schwartz was the original guitarist, and when he left, Walsh came on board. Then the original bassists (Tom Kriss) left right before this album was recorded and Peters took his place. When Walsh left a year later, Dominic Troiano jumped on board before moving to The Guess Who to replace one of the guys who replaced Randy Bachmann. So Fox, Peters and new vocalist Roy Kenner added Tommy Bolin for a couple of records before Bolin left to replace Ritchie Blackmore in Deep Purple. Still Fox didn’t give up, hiring more and more folks for two more records that no one listened to, bought, or cared about. Finally, in 1976, they quit. And no, this isn’t an Eric Idle Monty Python sketch…

Here’s a live one of Walsh & Co doing this tune for French TV, followed by an interview which unfortunately is dubbed over in French.

I do realize that the song starts shambly and Walsh has mike problems (but you can see his guitar wizardry), so here’s a still clip with the tune…