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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...Oh Yeah! AAGH! AAGH!" - The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get by JOE WALSH (2009 USA 'Audio Fidelity' CD Remaster)
As a war-weary veteran of nearly 1600 reviews across 8 years of Amazon and Blog postings - like many music fans purchasing remastered CDs - I grow tired of record companies and their blurbs about 'meticulous transfers' and 'painstaking restoration'... So it was with a certain amount of gonad-holding trepidation that I approached the latest Audiophile reissue of one of my...
Published on 17 Jan. 2010 by Mark Barry

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Only 2 good tracks on this album but ok service was good and it came on time.
Published 9 months ago by Barry Bate


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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...Oh Yeah! AAGH! AAGH!" - The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get by JOE WALSH (2009 USA 'Audio Fidelity' CD Remaster), 17 Jan. 2010
By 
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
As a war-weary veteran of nearly 1600 reviews across 8 years of Amazon and Blog postings - like many music fans purchasing remastered CDs - I grow tired of record companies and their blurbs about 'meticulous transfers' and 'painstaking restoration'... So it was with a certain amount of gonad-holding trepidation that I approached the latest Audiophile reissue of one of my favourite Joe Walsh albums.

But I'm so glad that I bought this because `seriously accomplished transfer' jumps to mind. I'm properly blown away - I really am. But to the voice-box details first...

Original Produced by Joe Walsh and BILL SZYMCZYK - the musicians were:
JOE WALSH - Lead Guitar, Lead Vocals, Keyboard and Synthesiser
JOE VITALE - Drums, Flute, Vocals, Keyboards & Synthesiser
ROCKE GRACE - Keyboards and Vocals
KENNY PASSARELLI - Bass and Vocals
Guests:
JOE LALA - Percussion
CLYDIE KING and VENETTA FIELDS - Backing Vocals

1. Rocky Mountain Way
2. Book Ends
3. Wolf
4. Midnight Moodies
5. Happy Ways
6. Meadows [Side 2]
7. Dreams
8. Days Gone By
9. Daydream (Prayer)

His second solo vinyl album "The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get." was originally released September 1973 in the USA on Dunhill/ABC DSX-50140 and on Probe SPBA 6275 in the UK in October 1973. This US-only 24 KT + Gold CD (HDCD encoded) on Audio Fidelity AFZ 059 (Barcode 780014205928) is a December 2009 straightforward reissue of that Seventies rock classic (36:10 minutes). Engineer and disc-cutter KEVIN GRAY (over 150 credits to his name) has remastered the original first generation tapes using AF's "analogue to digital converter" system. Without any further 'sonic manipulation', the disc is then cut in 'real time' to get the very best sound achievable.

The inlay is placed behind the CD in the card wrap - some people have found that this left it with indentation on other AF releases - all I can say is that it hasn't done so here. Other buyers have also complained about the AF version of The Cars "Heartbeat City" - songs that were segued together on the original LP were clumsily separated with jarring breaks on the CD reissue - again not so here. Rocke Grace's funky flute instrumental "Midnight Moodies" segues into the crystal clear bass opening of "Happy Ways" and while the rock of "Meadows" fades out, the drum and cymbal count of "Dreams" sneaks in so sweetly - there are no gaps - the transition to each is seamless and beautifully handled.

The outer card wrap is numbered on the rear (a limited edition of 3000), the fold-out inlay reproduces the outer and inner gatefold artwork of the original US sleeve (pictures Side 1 and 2 of the Dunhill/ABC labels too), but disappointingly doesn't have any further liner notes nor historical appreciation (this is something AF really should address). But as ever, the real fireworks on a release like this, lies in the sound...

Having been a rabid fan of this album for over 35 years and having parted with a hefty wad of cash to acquire this Audiophile CD, the temptation of course is to 'hear' stuff because you desperately want to. But that's a no-brainer with AFZ 059. The sonic improvement is so absolute and so obvious as to render that argument completely mute. The reproduction is clean, muscular and staggeringly detailed. Every instrument seems to be `there' all of a sudden - especially on the lethal double of Vitale's "Bookends" followed by Walsh's "Wolf" - the synth on the first pounds out of the speakers, while the spacious echo of Walsh's guitar on the second sounds glorious - just huge.

The album's opener "Rocky Mountain Way" was always going to be a sonic tester for this reissue - and it doesn't disappoint - guitar riffage everywhere - drums and bass so sweetly complimenting - it's astonishingly clean and full of power. "Happy Ways" was written by Kenny Passarelli and Joe Lala's lifelong friend BERNARD "BUDDY" ZOLOTH (of Blues Image fame) and it has Latin-based acoustic guitars that are so Stephen Stills' Manassas - the sonic clarity is simple breathtaking on it. The flanged guitar of "Days Gone By" coupled with the flute and keyboards - again wonderfully vibrant. There's a keyboard flourish about one minute into "Dreams" which literally made me stop in my tracks - gorgeous clarity - then it rocks about 2:18 and I'm blubbering like a fool. The album finishes with the quiet piano of "Daydream (Prayer)" which is perhaps the prettiest song on here - the girly vocals of King and Fields now so beautifully clear.

I own the AF versions of "Montrose" by Montrose and "A Nod Is As Good As A Wink..." by Faces and thought them great in some ways, but slightly underwhelming in others - not so on "Smoker". The words "meticulous transfer" actually do apply here because every single second of every single song screams it. If I met Kevin Gray on the street, I'd shake his hand, pat his kids on the forehead and stick a medal on his chest.

Joe Walsh talks babble at the beginning of "Meadows" and eventually screams "Oh Yeah! AAGH! AAGH!" On thrilling to this fabulous CD reissue, I now know exactly what he means. A stunning job done...

PS: see also my reviews for the Hip-O Select version of his 1972 debut album "Barnstorm" and BOTH the 2004 Japanese Card Repro and the 2009 Japanese SHM CD versions of his 3rd album "So What" from 1974...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars JOE, GUITARIST SUPREME!!, 25 Oct. 2014
This review is from: The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get (Audio CD)
I first heard Joe in the summer of 1970 when a late night radio show closed with a great track.This blew me away and next day I rang up the radio show, possibly CHUM, and asked them what was that great track.They said ''Lost Woman' by the James Gang.Next day I went out and bought the LP and since that day Joe and I have been 'married'!!!!He might be THE complete guitarist as there is nothing ,it seems, he can't do ! I miss his use of the talk-box and feel he should 'slide' a bit more, but these are minor gripes! I find his later stuff takes a lot more time to pentrate my brain but I assiduously buy it anyway.I only ever saw him once at the Lyceum in 1970/1? but would drop everything to see him again, should he ever tour on his own. This album is his tour -de-force really and he pulls out ALL the stops.Its about time he did another live album as it has been way too long since his last one.I've found you can't go wrong with JOE!!!!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, 20 Dec. 2007
By 
Julian Stevens (BRISTOL, UK United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get (Audio CD)
His undisputed classic, brimming with that magic combination of everything coming together ~ the compositions, the playing, the singing and the whole feel of it. Really, this album should have been credited to the Joe Walsh Band rather than just JW, as it was definitely a group effort in all respects, not least compositionally, rather than a solo project (which is probably why none of its successors has been as good). That aside, it's one of those albums with several great numbers such as Rocky Mountain Way and Meadows and that ingredient X ~ atmosphere. A must have ~ if you were around in 1973, of course.

Nowadays, Mr Walsh has left behind the appearance he sported for a few years, namely short hair and rimless spectacles perched atop his big nose, but he's still a fine and respected guitarist, despite that unfortunately thin and whiny nasal voice, which seems to have become even more so with the passage of time. However, that doesn't intrude much here as he didn't overstretch himself and vocal duties are shared with other members of the band. The original transcript to CD is good enough that digital remastering is unlikely to improve it much (and the DR version copsts rather a lot of money). But you never know, so if I ever saw a copy at a reasonable price, I'd probably snap it up on sight.

Buy this one along with its predecessor Barnstorm and its successor So What and you have the classic Joe Walsh trilogy. If not, Smoker in its own right is a classic of its time and genre by any measure, even if JW seems to perform Rocky Mountain Way at every possible opportunity as if it were his own composition which, it has to be said, it isn't.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His last great LP, 3 Nov. 2003
This review is from: The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get (Audio CD)
Joe walsh is one of those artists who are well known for one of two numbers that are not entirely representative of their material. One of these tunes, Rocky Mountain Way, with its bluesy guitar licks and famous 'voice box' solo kicks off this, Joe's second offering.
In fact this and his first release the 1972 'Barnstorm', are actually the fruits of a trio including Joe, Joe Vitale and Kenny Pasarelli. Its a highly eclectic affair with a quality of musicanship and arrangements sadly missing in today's heavily marketed and largely univentive rock scene.
Those who know Joe's earlier work with the James Gang and the Barnstorm lp will know he has a lighter more melodic almost country rock side. There is evidence of this on the acoustic guitar echoes of 'wolf' and the closing (almost gospel) 'Daydream prayer'.
The real gems of the LP involve Joe's guitar with the brilliant joe vitale who as well as being a superb drummer, also plays flute and piano. His flute work alongside Joe's riffs on the instrumental 'midnight moodies' and particularly 'days gone by' are stunning.
Overall this lp as a laid back and very wistful feel and Joe's heavy chords make only an occasional impact. The best cut, 'Meadows' (continuing the frontier feel of Barnstorm)shows just how godd Joe's acoustic work can be.
This was Joe's last really good lp. 'So What' has some good moments, but this one has the consistency.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of his best and overlooked in the wake of his becoming an ..., 23 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get (Audio CD)
One of his best and overlooked in the wake of his becoming an Eagle. It's all here, from the stomping swaggering rock majesty that he is well known for, through to the much more subtle pieces he ought to be more well known for. As good as anything by The James Gang and every home really should have a copy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars i like all joe walshes music he is another great musician ..., 19 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get (Audio CD)
i like all joe walshes music he is another great musician from that era when there was alot of great people around in that soppy time of glam rock the only band i liked who came through all that tripe were roxy music so it was a big blessing for us hippies to hear men like joe walsh and rory gallagher
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5.0 out of 5 stars Joe goes on, 9 July 2014
By 
Mr. Graham Hort "Alf" (Plymouth) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get (Audio CD)
A very pleasant album and worth collecting if you don't have it already.
I first saw Joe with the James Gang supporting the Who in Liverpool around 1969 and was stunned at his ability. If you want all out guitar then this isn't it. This is a fine collection of beautifully crafted tunes
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joe's a genius!, 2 Jun. 2010
This review is from: The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get (Audio CD)
I've just listened to this album it in its entirety for the first time in about 20 years having lost the original vinyl somewhere along the way. I'd forgotten how rocking and surprisingly beautiful it is... Joe's guitar is on fire and his songs are by turns powerful and transcendental. The man's a genius (or at least he touched genius with this album!) Buy it and be amazed!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very good quality and good protective packaging, 13 Dec. 2014
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This went down very, very well. Very good quality and good protective packaging. Arrived on time with a day to spare !
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 9 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get (Audio CD)
GOOD ENOUGH ALBUM BUT STILL 'SO WHAT MY FAVOURITE, AND ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH NEXT.....
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