14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...Oh Yeah! AAGHH! AAGHH!"
As a war-weary veteran of some 300+ reviews across 2 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
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Showing its age ...
An album that I meant to buy when it was first released and have never got round to doing so until now. Almost wish I hadn't bothered. My life would not be incomplete without it. It's a museum pice, gathwering dust on a shelf in some back rrom. Was it ever cutting-edge?
Published 11 months ago by Chris Williams
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...Oh Yeah! AAGHH! AAGHH!",
As a war-weary veteran of some 300+ reviews across 2 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 did - because this is truly one of the most BEAUTIFUL and ACCOMPLISHED transfers of music that I've ever heard. I'm properly blown away, I really am.
But to the 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
JOE LALA - Percussion
CLYDIE KING and VENETTA FIELDS - Backing Vocals
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 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! AAAGHH! AAGHH!" On thrilling to this fabulous CD reissue, I now know exactly what he means.
A stunning job done - and up there with the best reissues of 2009.
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.
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His last great LP,
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.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic,
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.
4.0 out of 5 stars eagles fans only,
just get a collection of all joes work in the james gang solo eagles and listen to a unique sublime talent ,without joe in 77 the eagles would have ended.Charisma?the charisma lennon had that made the beatles..loved you on the one show,not being baited by that slimy little prick.love yer mate
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought for my husband,
Bought for my husband, his choice, not my type of music but he loves it so my job is done!!
5.0 out of 5 stars SO good,
Great mix of tracks (this was, of course, a collaboration) If you're fifty something, you've got to get this as it has stood the test of time
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Joe,
This review is from: The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get (MP3 Download)
I bought the LP back in the 1970's and loved it then and love it now. Classic layed back rock.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joe's a genius!,
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!
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The More you Play The Happier You Get,
Like one of the other reviewers, I bought this when it first came out in the 70's, on plastic then tape, (for the car). The C.D. is just as fresh now as then, fantastic sound. There are not many artists whose albums you can play over and over again but Joe Walsh songs are as evergreen as Fleetwood Mac with Rumours e.g..(Didn't he and Stevie Nicks.......thats another story !)"Barnstorm", "So What", and "But Seriously Folks" are just as good. Try his new album, "Analogue Man", he can still write them.
7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rocky Mountain Daydream,
By A Customer
Much has been said about Joe's "strangulated weasel" voice, but he does produce some treasures and classics. It has to be said, in between some vin ordinaires.
The opening track on this collection, "Rocky Mountain Way",is a classic in its way. Strong but not too heavy rock with a captivating hearbeat. Listen to it a few times and his guitar "voice tube" bits, can even stop grating.
He can sometimes sink into schmaltz, like the next track "Book Ends", but with enough musical bite to compensate.
Some Eagle-like notes at the start of "Wolf" shows how Mr. Frey and the rest thought he could fit in well.
Is he being serious with "Midnight Moodies". Yes, serious as jazz.
At this point the album is drifting a bit into dreamland "Happy Ways" should be the sole property of the Hare Krishna fellowship. Not in any way decrying their musical nous, of course.
"Meadows" starts with a boogie scream, then jogs along quite nicely into its pastoral blue skied poetry.
A gradual fade, for the rest of the collection, into Hippy/Poppy reflections and dreams is ok with me, but where is the real Joe Walsh?
I don't know. I'm just and ordinary average....
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