Jo Jo Gunne - Jo Jo Gunne

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Review Text From the ashes of the multifaceted jazz/psych/rock combo Spirit rose Jo Jo Gunne. The band's personnel included Jay Ferguson (keyboards/lead vocals), Mark Andes (bass/vocals), his brother Matthew Andes (guitar/vocals), and Curly Smith (drums/vocals). Their self-titled debut would be the only release from this lineup as well as arguably the strongest of the four efforts to bear the Jo Jo Gunne moniker. Commencing with the upbeat pop of "Run Run Run," this album builds upon Ferguson's well-established melodic tradition, which is immeasurably enhanced by the power trio's aggressive instrumentation and arrangements. Sides such as "Shake That Fat," "I Make Love," and "99 Days" epitomize the heavy boogie rock of the early '70s. While Matthew Andes' contributions are a far cry from the flashy fretwork of Jimmy Page, he ably manages some solid leads and equally memorable riffs, such as the catchy introduction to "Babylon" or the laid-back "Flying Home" -- which could be mistaken for a long-lost Outlaws or Lynyrd Skynyrd tune. The band's versatility is continually evident throughout, with the funky and soulful "Academy Award" suggesting the influence of Little Feat. The languid propulsion of "Take It Easy" -- which shouldn't be confused with the Jackson Browne composition -- develops nicely into a midtempo groover that is again driven by Andes' fluid guitar solos. Although Jo Jo Gunne would issue another three long-players, they would each feature a slightly different personnel, with Smith being the first to jump ship prior to the band's follow-up, Bite Down Hard (1973). In 2000 both LPs were compiled -- along with a trio of previously unissued bonus tracks from the Jo Jo Gunne (1972) sessions, onto the Asylum Recordings: Jo Jo Gunne + Bite Down Hard (2000) single-CD two-fer. In 2003 both titles also became available (sans bonus tracks) separately from Collectors' Choice Music. ~ Lindsay Planer

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