J. Geils Band
“Looking for a Love”
“Live” Full House, 1972
The Who may have used the phrase “Maximum R&B” on their handbills in the early days, but to my ears it’s the J. Geils Band who owned that moniker. This is funky hard driving rhythm and blues music, distilled through the prior decade of Isleys and Motown and Ike & Tina and garage rock. Recorded in the Boston band’s home away from home of Detroit, Michigan, “Live” Full Housewas their first live album and highest charting record to date; both their fans and the public quickly learned that this was a sound no studio could contain.
I think everyone should own this album, as well as 1976’s Blow Your Face Out (1982’s Showtime! is a solid document of the MTV era J. Geils Band, but that’s such a different beast). I could have picked any song from it at random and you’d hear the same mind-blowing band in full fire; heck, the opener, “First I Look at the Purse”, has you up and moving in the 15 seconds before Peter Wolf opens his mouth.
But I’m actually writing about this because a press release from 2010 won’t leave my mind. On June 28th of that year, Rhino records announced a 2 CD deluxe version to be released just a few short weeks later on August 2nd. It never happened. This is what it could have been:
This two-disc set contains The J. Geils Band’s April 21 and 22, 1972 concerts at the Cinderella Ballroom in their entirety, including the eight tracks featured on the original 1972 live album along with 23 unreleased performances. As a bonus, the set comes packaged with six playing cards, one for each member of the band.
Among the set’s 31 tracks are never-before heard versions of Albert Collins’ “Sno-Cone,” “Wait,” “Floyd’s Hotel” and “(Ain’t Nothing But A) House Party,” a song that would appear the following year on Bloodshot, the group’s most successful release during their decade with Atlantic Records.
I recently found out why. Apparently, Rhino and/or parent Warner Brothers (owner of Atlantic records, who released the original album) never consulted the band. Not long after the deluxe edition was supposed to have been released, Peter Wolf told The Insider that it “wasn’t authorized by us. What we did was pick the best stuff of the two evenings…They were calling it ‘Full House,’ and we responded by saying, ‘Wait a second. First of all, it would be nice if you’d contact us for consideration, artistically. Second of all, it’s not ‘Full House.’ This is not even the original album; it was just from those evenings. To call it ‘Full House’ is extremely misleading. And to not even ask for our participation and move forward without our participation is just very artistically insulting. So it’s been nixed.”
That, apparently, was the end of the discussion as nothing further has emerged.
I rarely make requests of bands and labels, but I need to hear these shows. An eight song album from a band this good is not enough. Make this happen folks. Please.