The Best of the James Gang [Repertoire]
is the way a career overview should be -- two discs jammed to the limit with the group's hits and strong album cuts. Joe Walsh and company put the "power" in "power trio" as they supplied a smattering of releases from 1969-1971 that were custom-made to be cranked on eight-track while cruising in a Camaro. Walsh's woefully underrated talent for penning some of rock's all-time greatest riffs is evident throughout, especially on the group's two best known tracks, "Walk Away" and "Funk #49," while quite a few lesser-known tracks ("I Don't Have the Time," "Woman") rock just as hard. Additionally, Walsh's chicken-pickin' guitar playing in "Asshtonpark" sounds like a dry run for his later work as part of the Eagles
, while the group's melodic and softer side is showcased on tracks like "Take a Look Around." And unlike most other James Gang compilations, this set goes beyond the Joe Walsh years, as tracks from both the Domenic Troiano
and Tommy Bolin eras are touched upon. The Bolin-era tracks will undoubtedly prove to be the set's big surprise to fans familiar with just the Walsh Gang, especially on such exceptional tracks as "The Devil Is Singing Our Song," "Standing in the Rain," and "Summer Breezes," all of which would be classic rock radio staples in a perfect world. For a thorough look at the James Gang, The Best of the James Gang [Repertoire]
is highly recommended.