As a native of Columbus OH, I had the privledge of seeing the James Gang BEFORE this album was released--it was my first concert, in the old World Theater on High St. near OSU. Jow Walsh has been my favorite rock musician ever since.
I won't talk about the individual songs--other reviewers have done a great job of that. But I wanted to point out a few things about this record that others have not mentioned, or may not be aware of.
First, just one reviewer pointed out that the vinyl version has, in the very inner groove, the phrase "turn me over" on side 1 and "play me again" on side 2. This shows Joe's clever nature coming through early. If the turntable goes to the last groove, these phrases are repeated until the needle is lifted.
Or could that have been Bill Szymczyk, the record's producer? That's the guy Joe has the exchange with on "Stone Rap". Wanna buy a duck? Of course, Bill went on to produce for many big time artists, including the Eagles and The Who. Was it also Bill's idea to have a backward guitar riff in the opening of "Bluebird"? Or was that Joe? How about the words that serve as preamble to Funk #48 (which in my opinion is better than #49)?
Some reviewers commented on the bass work. The bass player on Yer Album was Tom Kriss, who was replaced (quit the band? I don't know) before Rides Again. I think Kriss is as good as Entwistle (who, by the way, had Joe play guitar on at least one of his solo albums). Kriss and bandmates understood (as did The Who) that a bass guitar is a GUITAR and can play a second lead line. Indeed, that's the way Jimmy Fox played the drums.
Finally, it is interesting to note that the pictures of the band members on the cover were taken in Kent, OH, next to the bridge over the Cuyahoga River (yes, the one of "catches on fire" fame). Joe was a student at Kent State for a while, and although I don't think he was taking classes at the time, he was present on campus when the National Guard opened fire and killed 4 and wounded several others. (See the inside liner of "So What" for a photo).
Thanks for reading this!