Forgotten series: J. Geils Band – Blow Your Face Out (1976)

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Came across an article about J. Geils. Not the band, but the guitar player. At that point, he was just a ‘regular guy,’ living out in Groton, Massachusetts. And though he’d been long-retired from the rock scene (the last bit of real Geils Band activity at that point was 1999’s reunion tour), he’d been active in music, even releasing a solo jazz record (gotta track that one down).

Strangely enough (or not, if you’re familiar with my penchant for musical reminiscing), the J. Geils band reminds me of a lunch counter at a drug store.

During my first year of high school I was lucky enough to have the school day begin around 11:30. Carrabec High (North Anson, Maine … not quite the ‘middle of nowhere’, but close enough) was overcrowded and had to run split sessions. This meant that I could indulge my teen self by sleeping to 9:30 or so, showering, and then walking down the hill to take the bus. The walk (about 3/4 of a mile, not uphill both ways) took me to Taylor’s Drug Store, your typical small-town drug/variety store with lunch counter. There we would sit eating microwaved hamburgers, washing ’em down with cherry cokes (coffee cokes too, weird but good).

At the end of one of the aisles near the lunch counter there was a stand-up wire display rack containing rock record albums. For months and months, I looked at the cover of the spooky Geils record Nightmares. Never bought it though. At the time, “Give It To Me” (from Bloodshot) was getting a lot of airplay (back when radio didn’t suck via stations WTOS (The Top of Sugarloaf) and WBLM). The version of that song was probably coming from the live record Blow Your Face Out. Once they started playing “Musta Got Lost,” I was hooked.

For years (until the Sanctuary and Love Stinks era) I listened to nothing but the live records (this one and Full House). They’re just too much fun: blues, funk, soul, heck … even a little comedy.

If you think the J. Geils band was all about “Centerfold” you owe it to yourself to check ’em out when they were truly at the top of their hip-shakin’ game.

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
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