“They're dancin' on the ceiling' they're dancin' on the floor People everywhere coming through the door”
Fifty years ago, in April of 1973, Boston’s J.Geils Band released Bloodshot, their third album. It was Geils’ first effort to enter the top ten on the Billboard 200. The lead track was “(Ain’t Nothing But A) House Party.” Originally cut by The Showstoppers, the song was a 1968 regional favorite in the Philadelphia area.
This was not the first R&B cover to hit the charts for J.Geils. Peter Wolf, their lead singer, was an avid fan/collector of soul and R&B records. Many of the band’s early successes were remakes of treasures culled from his record collection.
“Lookin’ For a Love” was a #8 R&B hit for the Valentinos (featuring Bobby Womack) in 1962. J.Geils took the song to #39 in 1971. “First I Look At the Purse,” co-written by Smokey Robinson, was a 1965 hit for The Contours. It was recorded and prominently featured on Geils’ Live Full House album in 1972.
That was the same year I got to see Geils live at Staples Auditorium, Westport CT. My good friend / monster bass player Gary Ray joined me a few other friends I don't remember their names. What a show that was!
Bloodshot was produced by former Navy sonar operator Bill Szymczyk. His most memorable work is with the Eagles, producing their many hit records in the 1970s. Other credits include The Who, James Gang, and Elvin Bishop.
Bloodshot (pressed on red vinyl) captures their trademark blues-rock vibe. The closing track, “Give It To Me,” shows what happens when you mix reggae and R&B. By this time (1973), popular music was well acquainted with the likes of Bob Marley and Toots and the Maytals. No doubt Geils couldn't resist combining a touch of reggae with their urban grit and groove.
It would take the band another 5 or 6 albums to reach the pinnacle of their career. Love Stinks (1980) reached #18 on the Billboard 200, was followed by Freeze Frame (1981) which spent four weeks at the top of the album charts and yielded their biggest chartbuster, 1982’s #1 “Centerfold.”
“All you gotta do is move Every time you feel that groove
It ain't nothin but a party It ain't nothin but a houseparty”