I like the Eagles. No, really. Their hits package has pride of place in my collection (somewhere) and their latest CD is waiting to be heard (someday). Before he joined them, though, guitarist Joe Walsh was leader of an outfit called Barnstorm, which boasted two stellar instrumentalists in Kenny Passarelli, Joe Vitale and Walsh himself. Their second album, The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get (yeah, I don’t understand the title either) contained a stonking riff-monster called Rocky Mountain Way (FF 1976 #28), written
by the whole band, which just about cracked the UK Top 40. Walsh’s vocals are at one point processed through a talk box (an effect the gauche Peter Frampton would later use: let Joe tell you how he made one here), and the lead riff is played on two guitars simultaneously.
It’s a wonder that Sly Stone never sued, then, because this track apparently bears close similarities to (i.e. rips off) a song on Sly’s 1969 Stand! album called Sex Machine (well, that’s what Wikipedia tells me anyway). No matter, because this track is a belter that can bring out the air guitar in the best of us.
Walsh’s entry to the Eagles was probably the best thing that happened to them: if he hadn’t done so, would we have had the banging, slashing Life In The Fast Lane? I don’t think so: we would probably have had more country pap like Lyin’ Eyes. God help us. (Mind you, Peel did play Hotel California and loved singing along to Last Resort. True.)
Joe Walsh, Rocky Mountain Way