Vol III, Issue 16 – Take a look around (15 Aug 2018)

For the love of rock

Vol III, Issue 16 – Take a look around (15 Aug 2018)


Name of song– Take a look around

Band – James Gang

Album- Yer’ Album

Writer– Joe Walsh

Release year– 1969

Similar Artists- Eagles, Jackson Browne, Grand Funk Railroad, Foghat, The Edgar Winter Group

Take a look around

Reviewers- Bikash Shrestha/Nirab Kayastha

“James Gang” is a prototype classic rock band of the late sixties from Cleveland, Ohio. This is the band which gave name and fame to Joe Walsh, later of the Eagles and an accomplished solo artist. Formed in 1966 by drummer Jimmy Fox, along with Greg Grandillo (Guitars), Ronnie Silverman (Guitars), Tom Kriss (Vocals/bass) and Phil Giallombardo (Keyboards/vocals), the band had several line-up changes before their debut album. Joe Walsh had joined them in 1968 as fifth member of James Gang. However, Giallombardo quit and the quartet remained. In 1969, during their concert as opening band for “Cream”, Silverman too let them down at the last minute and walked out. Desperate for money, they performed as a trio and subsequently, they continued as trio as they liked their power packed trio sound. This line up was changed soon with replacement of Tom Kriss with Dale Peters. This line up produced their most famous second album “James Gang Rides Again.” Later on, they had several changes and produced some more albums during the seventies. But their unique sound and fame was credited to the era of power packed trio with Joe Walsh. With hit singles like “Funk #49”, “Walk away”, James Gang does deserve honorable mention in the rock world.

So the trio of James Gang (Fox, Kriss and Walsh) debuted in 1969 with the debut “Yer’ Album”. It did have solid rock numbers with amazing virtuosity of guitarist Joe Walsh. Although this album was less successful than its successor, it definitely established them as a solid trio force in the late sixties rock circle.

The opening track of their debut album, “Take a look around” is one of the most promising numbers with Joe Walsh at zenith of his mastery of guitars, lyrics as well as vocals. This song is actually a very unconventional rock song but it is a beautifully crafted solid rock number. It talks about one’s experience, life’s direction, and perhaps the ultimate philosophy of life – to move ahead. It is a song which would be a source of inspiration during our tough times and makes us feel optimistic towards future.

The song begins with melodious riff of Joe’s keyboards, Kriss’s bass and Fox’s beats. The song moves slowly with Joe’s sharp and unique voice. The song consists of two stanzas followed by the main chorus. The song repeats with the same format once more before a slight hiatus with the keyboards following the main riff. Then, slowly, and uniquely, Joe’s guitar solo mesmerizes us. This is a nice, slow and bluesy solo, so typical of Joe. Then the main riff starts again and the last stanzas are repeated. The song slowly fades away with the riff as well as Joe’s solo going in harmony with each other – truly an ecstasy to a rock enthusiast’s ears!!

Although “James Gang” produced only few albums, their most successful ones were produced uniquely by the power packed trio which is a rare feat among the rock bands. Although their singles did not chart, they did produce wonderful numbers! And as a rock fan, if you look around, you have to admit that their mark on the rock world is undoubtedly imprinted forever!!!

Happy listening!!

Resources– Wikipedia.org, Allmusic.com

Take a look around

You will never see me
Walking round feeling low
You will never hear, there
Goes a man who doesn’t know

Too many roads to walk
Too many things to do
Too many words to talk
Moments too few

I don’t think you know, though
You’ve been told a million times
It’s not clear to see unless
You read in between the lines

Look out your window
When did it start?
Nothing’s for certain
It’s just a part

If you’re feeling low, no
And your world comes tumbling down
If you see hard times, stop
Better take a look around

Good things must end
They never last
Look to tomorrow
Forget the past  Lyrics link – https://genius.com/The-james-gang-band-take-a-look-around-lyrics

Video link –

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