Sea Of Tranquility

The Web Source for Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal & Jazz-Fusion
  Search   in       
Main Menu

Jammer, Joe: Headway

Chicago guitarist/vocalist Joe Wright might not be a household name, but he's been an integral part of the music scene for over four decades. Originally the guitar tech for Led Zeppelin during the early '70s while he was just a teenager, Joe was given the nickname 'Joe Jammer' by none other than Jimmy Page, and the name stuck. After Page became too busy with the success of Zeppelin, Jammer took over the mantle of most used session guitarist in London, working on over 150 recordings during a 10 year span that saw him appear on albums by Mick Jagger, Ringo Starr, Jerry Lee Lewis, and many others. Joe also was asked to join the original line-up of Aerosmith, and appeared on the original stage show of Tommy at the Rainbow in London. Initially signed to a solo deal by EMI in 1973, the guitarist recorded his first album with mild success, but had big plans for his second release, Headway, which featured drummer Mitch Mitchell (Jimi Hendrix Experience), bassist John Gustafson ( The Big Three, Ian Gillan Band, Roxy Music, Quatermass, Hard Stuff), vocalist Johnny Contardo (Sha Na Na), keyboard player Jean Roussel (Cat Stevens), Brother James on percussion, and Poli Palmer on vibes & flute. Unfortunately, the album was never released, until now thanks to the folks at AngelAir Records.

Listening to Headway, you can only shake your head and think about the complete missed opportunity that this never saw the light of day back in 1974. Could Jammer's visa issues that made the prospect of touring impossible and the labels' subsequent disinterest in the album have been overcome to get the album released to the public? We'll never know, but thankfully it's out now to finally be enjoyed. Headway is a memorable, fun album that mixes funk, jazz, blues, hard rock, and pop, not too far from what the Jeff Beck Group where doing at the same time. Jammer's tasty guitar licks permeate the album, but are never showy, the rhythms have tons of groove, and vocals strong, and the keyboards give plenty of texture and color. Just check out that funky clavinet and gritty guitar work on the upbeat "Cool Breeze", a must hear for any fan of Jeff Beck or Tommy Bolin, and jazz-fusion lovers will totally dig "Axe me Another (Don't Lose Your Head)". Of course, if you want to hear Jammer's skills in the hard rock realm, check out the blistering "The Watcher Laments" (along with some stellar Hammond organ courtesy of Roussel), the groove laden ripper "Can't Yer Catch?", or the mix of pop and heavy rock on the catchy "It Wasn't Meant To be" for plenty of tasty licks.

AngelAir gives you the whole story of Joe Jammer and the album in the informative booklet, but it's the high class music that's the main attraction here. From start to finish, this is superb funk/jazz/rock/pop music that should have been huge back in 1974. The story of Joe Jammer didn't end here though, as he went on to great success with Olympic Runners and Nobody's Business later in the '70s, and to this day continues to record & gig around London.

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing
1. Broken Little Pieces
2. Can't Yer Catch?
3. Alive Another Day
4. Afraid To Make A Friend
5. It Wasn't Meant To be
6. Travellin'
7. One For The Road
8. Cool Breeze
9. Axe me Another (Don't Lose Your Head)
10. The Watcher Laments
11. Not Tonight

Added: January 9th 2017
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Artist @ AngelAir Records
Hits: 3388
Language: english

[ Printer Friendly Page Printer Friendly Page ]
[ Send to a Friend Send to a Friend ]


[ Back to the Reviews Index | Post Comment ]

» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Jammer, Joe: Headway
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2017-01-09 21:48:08
My Score:

American borne guitarist Joe Jammer started in the business in his late teens with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, The Who and Led Zeppelin, acting as a drum roadie for John Bonham and then as a guitar tech for Jimmy Page. It was Jammer's ties to Led Zeppelin that forged his musical path, catching the ear of Zeppelin's manager Peter Grant. Jammer developed a close relationship with Jimmy Page who directed work his way helping to shape the musician into one of London's premier session guitarists.

Jammer released his solo debut in 1973 titled Bad News. Work on a follow up ensued but that that album never saw the light of day until decades later with the help of Angel Air Records. At the time when the album was originally recorded Jammer ran into visa problems which were not sorted out in time for the album to be released as he was not allowed back into England, hence the album remained in limbo. Fast forward to a couple years ago and her mother's house in Chicago where Jammer found his old recordings of Headway, his sophomore album.

For those inkling for some new '70s material you are listening to the right disc. This is rock/pop music of the time heavily influenced by R&B and even a little funk. Take the first tune "Broken Little Pieces" and its silky smooth rhythms and funky bass line. On the catchy "Can't Yer Catch?" Jammer's leads show more finesse amidst another funky groove. Other rockers include the grittier "It Wasn't Meant To Be" where the guitar tone has a little more bite and the excellent "Travellin" featuring the most imaginative guitar work on the disc. There are also a few ballads most notably the poignant "Alive Another Day" and the equally pretty "Afraid To Make A Friend", if a tad more saccharine. "Not Tonight" ends the disc on a real high featuring slow burning guitar and a generally moodier vibe.

While Headway isn't an instant '70s classic it's a damn fine album and a real lost gem. Back in the day this would have found a much greater audience for many reasons but for those in the know Headway should take you back to the good old days.

» Reader Comments:

Jammer, Joe: Headway
Posted by Beverly Guth on 2015-11-14 00:41:31
My Score:

I still can not believe uour incrediblel wonderful history coming from th south side!

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
For information regarding where to send CD promos and advertising, please see our FAQ page.
If you have questions or comments, please Contact Us.
Please see our Policies Page for Site Usage, Privacy, and Copyright Policies.

All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all other content Sea of Tranquility

SoT is Hosted by