J. E FELL | Carterville, Illinois United States | 04/07/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many people are only familiar with the J. Geils Band after they switched record labels to EMI and became more commercial. Hits from this period such as "Love Stinks", "Centerfold" and "Freeze-Frame" are included here but the focus of this 2 cd set is their earlier Atlantic recordings. The earlier recordings from this Boston band were a combination of blues/soul cover tunes and gritty Rolling Stones like original tunes. This earlier period is my favorite. The first disc contains songs only from the Atlantic period. Among the rarities are the non-lp covers of Little Walter's "Dead Presidents", The Supremes "Where Did Our Love Go", and the Marathons "Peanut Butter". The first disc also includes their two biggest hits of the period the live show stopper "Must Of Got Lost" and the Reggae influenced "Give It To Me". The rest of the first disc contains non hit singles and essential album tracks of the period. "The first half of the second disc contains live tracks from their 3 live albums. The second half contains singles and album tracks from their more well-known EMI period. The live tracks illustrate how much fun the band could be in concert. Supercharged versions of "Wait", "First I Look At The Purse" and "Must Of Got Lost" with Peter Wolf's into wrap illustrate this fact. Another fact immediately evident on this set is that Magic Dick is one of the greatest white blues harmonica players bar none. Witness his playing on "Whammer Jammer" and "It Ain't What You Do (It's How You Do It). The band was great at putting emotion into all their cover tunes and their choices of tunes to cover were excellent. I have a couple of minor quibbles. Three of the singles on the first disc are presented in edited versions instead of their full length versions. No cuts from the lp "Ladies Invited" were included in the set. Two of my favorites "Back To Get Ya" from the "Bloodshot" album and the live version of Eddie Floyd's "Raise Your Hand" were left off the compilation. However this set still provides an extensive anthology of one of the best blues rock bands of the seventies."
Kim Fletcher | Pattaya, Chonburi Thailand | 11/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ella and I do not often review greatest hits albums, but for this amazing collection from the career of the J. Geils Band we are going to make an exception. 5 stars are hard enough to get, but a greatest hits collection with 5 stars only happens once in a blue moon. Ten Years After got a 5 star review for their collection Essential, but that was it.
So what's the fuss about 'Houseparty'? Well, let's just say that if you don't find yourself jumping up and down to every track that's on this 38 song, 2 disc set then you have just got no rock 'n' roll in your soul. This was the sort of music that is played constantly at the famous Tahitian Queen Rock 'n' Roll Happy Hour, and why do people go to Tahitian Queen Happy Hour? It's to have a good time, and this is music to have a good time to.
History tells us that the year 1967 was all incense, peppermints, kaftans, beads, lots of vegetables, paisley shirts, people finishing sentences with the word man, and being so laid back they fell over themselves. But those lazy, hazy, crazy, daze of way off also produced one of the world's wildest, finest, all-time great, hard-driven rhythm and blues show bands that were ever put on this planet to entertain. For the next 15 years and 14 albums and what must of been a million gigs, the J. Geils Band, in the words of their front man Peter Wolf, "felt obligated to give 100% of ourselves to our audience. We were a bunch of guys who had the passion and wanted to share it". Where else do you get that commitment from a band? They were together for those 15 years without one change in line-up - unheard of in the unstable world of rock 'n' roll. When it came time to go they just left at the top.
This collection, with it's informative 52-page booklet, has songs from all 14 albums, but is not in chronological order, allowing the compiler to put all the great studio cuts from the debut album in 1970 on the first disc ,through to `Surrender'from their 1977 album `Monkey Island'. That includes the hit `Must Of Got Love' (no12, 1974) and all the great covers such as Willie Dixon's 'Dead Presidents'.
Then disc two kicks off with10 tracks from the three live albums that the J. Geils Band released in their career, Live - Full House (1972), Live - Blow Your Face Out (1976), and Showtime (1982). These songs really give you a feel of what it must of been like at a full blown J. Geils Band concert. It's all there.
'Whammer Jammer' gives Magic Dick a chance to live up to his name on his harmonica solo number and most of the songs give J. Geils' a chance to run his furious guitar solos. All with the rock solid support from the rhythm section of Danny Klein and Stephen Jo Bladd, and the wall of sound that was put out by the keyboards of Seth Justman (he was also producer and arranger for the band in the second half of their career). Peter Wolf's in-between song raps are left in place, and his vocal performance on 'First I Look At The Purse' would leave anybody breathless.
If this was not enough, late in their lifespan the band had a resurgence in popularity, which brought their music to a whole new generation of fans with the release of the album 'Freeze Frame'. It reached the top of the album charts over Christmas 1981, spending four weeks at number one and a total of 70 weeks in the charts.
The single from the album 'Centrefold' also hit the number one spot, and the title track, when released as a single, went top 5.
Don't you just love a happy ending? When it was time to go the boys packed their bags and exited stage left. I leave you with the words of Peter Kay, always the J. Geils Band's spokesperson, a band named after the guitarist, not the vocalist with the shades.
"The J. Geils Band was a real American band - six guys with a love of music. Really feeling blessed that we were able to prevail and keep going. We were no frills, no tricks, just hard, sweaty Rock 'n' Roll. And when we hit the stage it was Showtime!"
Whammered by Mott The Dog Jammered by Ella Crew "
You don't like this...you got no soul
M. Hotovy | 03/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I remember when I got my first glimpse of the J. Geils Band. It was Don Kirshner's Rock Concert on ABC late one weekend night. Here it all was - rock 'n roll, blues, soul, charisma, energy and a flat-out dead-on sprint by a little band from Boston to absolutley (as they phrased it) blow your face out. I was speechless. I waited in front of Homer's Records in Omaha the very next morning until they opened and immediately purchased "Full House," easily one of the finest live LP's of all time. I've remained in the tank for this best American white boy soul/blues band of all time ever since. Wisely, this anthology kicks off disc 2 with 10 live recordings pulled from three live LP's J. Geils Band released in their 17 year career. I dare anyone to take a listen to this material and find me any other live act performing today this tight - this good. To be brutally fair, this collection is not absolutely perfect. I've always loved "Back to Get Ya" which is not here, but that aside, this is damn good save for one small pet peeve. Even anthologists as good as Rhino still get it wrong and include "single edit" versions of a few tunes. BIG CLUE - WE'RE NOT LISTENING TO THIS STUFF ON THE RADIO, SO LOSE THE EDITED VERSIONS AND GIVE US THE FULL RECORDINGS OF WHAT THE ARTISTS ENVISIONED IN THE FIRST PLACE. Please, treat yourself, you won't be disappointed. And if you get off to this stuff, chase down some of Peter Wolf's solo work as well as Magic Dick and J. Geils throwback blues work on Rounder records. "
A COMPILATION THAT DOES JUSTICE TO A WHITE HOT BAND!
PETER XUEREB | SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES Australia | 01/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My first exposure to the J. Geils Band was a film clip on TV sometime in the early 70's. Magic Dick was burning up the stage on his harp and the band was locked in tight. I don't remember what the song was but it left an impression. So I delved deeper and "Live-Full House" was my first Geils LP. I was hooked. This was a white band playing great, gritty & honest rhythm & blues/soul. They pre-dated the Blues Brothers concept by a good few years and carved a solid & deservedly long career in the process. Most people will know "Centerfold" & "Freeze Frame" but those tracks DON'T represent the real psyche of the J.Geils Band. Rather it's their long Atlantic legacy that defines them and ultimately it was a truly appropriate record label for these guys to be on back then considering it's rich R & B history (Otis/Pickett/Carla/Aretha/Booker T. etc.).
What we have is a typically thorough Rhino compilation that does justice to the Geils legacy. "Whammer Jammer", "Musta Got Lost", "First I Look At The Purse", "Homework", "Love-Itis" and "Detroit Breakdown" are among the many key live and album tracks included. That's the point though. The J. Geils Band weren't a singles band and the hits were few and far between. In an era of sappy pop, progressive and heavy rock bands, disco and eventually punk, they supplied us with some of the most smokin' "black music" ever performed by a white band.
Up until now we've only had insuffient single CD "Best Of's" that barely scratched the surface in telling this band's story. That is until this, the best compilation covering their career, surfaced. If you want a great starting point or just want to relive some hot music, this is the place to be. You won't regret it!!"
Rock Harmonica At It's Very Best...And A Hot Band To Boot!
peter krampert | eharmonica.net | 02/17/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"During the 1970's there were a lot of hot bands that filled arenas and were just a lot of fun to listen to. The best of them for shear good-time-party-down music was the J. Geils Band. You just simply can't stand still with these guys. They blow the roof off the joint.An amazing amalgam, J. Geils was named after their guitar player, the songs were mostly written by their keyboard player, another guy, Peter Wolf fronted the group and their harmonica player, Magic Dick was the featured instrumentalist. Nail that down with a drums and bass rhythm section and you've got one heck of a party band.This CD represents an excellent selection of their best music, not just the hits. With the exeption of a shortened version of "Give It To Me", the album is pretty much everything you could ask for from a J. Geils compilation disc set. It's a load of fun to listen to.I definitely recommend this one."