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JAMES GANG 'Straight Shooter/Passin' Thru'
BGO BGOCD662 (2005)

This two-on-one covers two classic albums from 1972/3. Named after the infamous outlaws Frank and Jesse James, the band was centred around drummer Jim Fox and famous for onetime featuring guitarists Joe Walsh and Tommy Bolin. These two albums sit in-between the Walsh/Bolin years. With 6 stringer Dominic Troiana doing a fine job on both albums.

Kicking off with Straight Shooterís 'Madness' we get a heavy sound with strong funk and soul sound, almost as if they were an influence on the mid/late 70s Deep Purple. Some strong bass allows the guitar some freedom too. 'Get Her Back Again' is more acoustic and doesnít work so well, but 'Looking For My Lady' gets things back on track, and the heaviness there makes the funk work extremely well.

A couple more poor acoustic tracks make what could have been a strong album slightly inconsistent.

Moving on to Passiní Thru, with opener 'Ainít Seen Nothing Yet' is more upbeat, with the (uncredited) piano making for a vast improvement in sound. Still with funk leanings, the album seems to flow more smoothly than the previous album, and itís more consistent too.

A nice package, but no extras, and the detailed notes seem to concentrate on the pre-history than these two albums themselves. A must have for fans, but the more casual listener would be better advised to track down the Walsh or Bolin years.

***

Review by Joe Geesin

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly


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JOE GEESIN

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