Reviewer Dr. Wesley Britton: Dr. Britton is the author of four non-fiction books on espionage in literature and the media. Starting in fall 2015, his new six-book science fiction series, The Beta-Earth Chronicles, debuted via BearManor Media. For seven years, he was co-host of online radio’s Dave White Presents where he contributed interviews with a host of entertainment insiders. Before his retirement in 2016, Dr. Britton taught English at Harrisburg Area Community College. Learn more about Dr. Britton at his WEBSITE
Musicians: The J. Geils BandFormat: Multiple Formats, Color, Live, NTSC
Musicians: The J. Geils Band
Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Live, NTSC
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
For many, The J. Geils Band is best remembered for their 1981 Freeze Frame which included their hits "Freeze Frame," "Centerfold," and the immortal "Love Stinks." But before all that, the band had spent a decade knocking out some of the most down-and-dirty blues rock of the '70s. Arguably, this era was best captured, at least in terms of studio work, on 1973's Bloodshot which included "Ain't Nothing But a House Party," "Southside Shuffle," and the hit, "Give It To Me."
Following Bloodshot, the group released a series of medium selling LPs until They again rose up the charts with 1978's Sanctuary. This was the album they were promoting when they were filmed and recorded at the Grugahalle in Essen on April 21st 1979 for the German TV series, Rockpalast. Now, as part of their ongoing series of newly remastered Rockplast releases, Eagle Rock Entertainment is now issuing House Party Live in Germany as a two-disc DVD and CD set and as a digital download.
Without question, "House Party" is an apt title for what J. Geils Band pumped out for concertgoers during their heyday. The players included the mainstays of the group featuring principal songwriters Seth Justman (keyboards) and Peter Wolf (vocals), along with J. Geils (guitar), Danny Klein (bass), Stephen Jo Bladd (drums), and Magic Dick (Richard Salwitz) on harmonica.
From start to finish, the J. Geils barroom formula is on full hyperdrive on House Party, opening with tracks from Sanctuary including the title cut, "Jus’ Can’t Stop Me," and "I Could Hurt You." On every track, Magic Dick's wheezy harp provided most of the lead lines, a key characteristic of the group's sound. Along the way, Geils provided distinctive guitar lines on "One Last Kiss," the lead single from Sanctuary, and Justin is showcased on the slowest song of the set, the Piano-based ballad, "Teresa."
After the Sanctuary tracks, the band went back in time with songs like their remakes of The Valentinos' "Lookin' for a Love" and The Supremes' "Where Did Our Love Go." The band rocks out on their signature tunes, "Ain't Nothin' But a House Party" and, of course, the extended "Give It To Me." While never known for long instrumental jams, the guys show off their blues roots on "Whammer Jammer," another kick-ass performance from Mr. Magic Dick.
The J. Geils Band, in those days, wasn't known for large-scale, arena rock settings, musical virtuosity, or anything at all that could be called "smooth." Naturally, their rough edges were displayed by design, and that design was to provide a very good time for all comers. As demonstrated on the 14 song set of the 68 minute Rockpalast show, the J. Geils Band liked to play at a break-neck, non-stop speed that won't surprise any of their fans already familiar with the live albums the group released back in the day. It's not a classic, magical moment in the group's history, but should please J. Geils' completists. Party on, Garth!