Thursday, April 13, 2017

The J.Geils Band - 1973 - Ladies Invited

The J.Geils Band 
Ladies Invited

01. Did You No Wrong 4:08
02. I Can't Go On 5:05
03. Lay Your Good Thing Down 4:36
04. That's Why I'm Thinking Of You 3:14
05. No Doubt About It 3:50
06. The Lady Makes Demands 4:22
07. My Baby Don't Love Me 3:43
08. Diddyboppin' 3:32
09. Take A Chance (On Romance) 3:41
10. Chimes 5:05

Bass – Daniel Klein
Guitar – J. Geils
Harmonica [Harp] – Magic Dick
Keyboards, Vocals – Seth Justman
Percussion, Vocals – Stephen Jo Bladd
Vocals – Peter Wolf

Reflective foil outer sleeve with custom (artwork) inner
Recorded at The Hit Factory, N.Y.C.

The J. Geils Band were coming off their biggest album yet (Bloodshot, which hit the Top Ten on the Billboard album charts) when Ladies Invited appeared in 1973. It didn't reach the same level of sale (peaking at number 51) and none of the songs became AOR staples. Despite this, the record is solidly entertaining Geils, full of jumping party tunes and heart-punching ballads all composed by the band itself. As usual the up-tempo songs are the best: "Did You No Wrong" is a dynamic rocker with some blistering J. Geils guitar work, "I Can't Go On" is a full-out funky jam, and "Lay Your Good Thing Down" is fine blue-eyed soul with slick hipster vocals from Peter Wolf. The ballads here show a level of emotion and commitment that you might not expect: "My Baby Don't Love Me" is a countrified, tear-in-my-beer weeper with aching harmony vocals from Seth Justman, "Chimes" is an atmospheric, paranoid tune with great dynamics and a vocal from Wolf that veers between intimate and over-the-top howling, and probably best of all is the laid-back, Stonesy "That's Why I'm Thinking of You." It is really a shock that none of these songs caught on with AOR programmers. The only one that got a few spins was "No Doubt About It," and it is the album's highlight, a low-down and nasty blues rocker featuring the one and only Magic Dick getting down on his lickin' stick. That and stuff like the driving "Take a Chance (On Romance)" and the corny but fun "Diddyboppin'" should have been blasting out of radios up and down the strip, in high-school parking lots, and on the beach -- basically everywhere AOR sounds the best. Don't let anyone tell you that Ladies Invited is one of Geils' lesser works. It is just one of the band's overlooked works that deserve a second listen.