RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

The James Gang – Bang/Miami
BGO Records
http://www.bgo-records.com/albums/bgocd1172-bang-miami

Rating: C+

Bang, originally released in 1973 and Miami, originally released in 1974, are most known as the James Gang albums that first featured guitar virtuoso Tommy Bolin. 

Most might think this is when Bolin replaced original James Gang guitarist Joe Walsh.  Then, most would be incorrect.  Bolin replaced Domenic Troiano, who had replaced Walsh.  Bolin came in to the Gang, and for a couple of years, flirted with greatness.  If Bolin had not jumped-ship two years later to join Deep Purple, The James Gang may have settled into a great groove, as Bolin was just coming into his own.

BGO Records has released these two albums on one set, and this release is really a testament to the guitarist Bolin.  His playing is top notch, and it is a great time capsule into the short life and career of the talented axe-man.  However, the issue here is that without Joe Walsh, The James Gang were not so much of a gang as they were just a group of guys jamming-out. 

Miami features great guitar playing, which shows the promise Bolin held in the future of the group.  The actual songs just don’t hold up to the test of time, unfortunately. 

These are not bad albums by a long shot, but to rank them more than just average, or in the case of Miami, slightly above average, is just not fair to the normal rock fan.  Bolin fans will have a different take on this review, which shows my point that these are more historically valid albums that showcase a space in time for both the band and, more importantly, the much too short career of Tommy Bolin. 

Tracklist

BANG:

Standing In The Rain
The Devil Is Singing Our Song
Must Be Love
Alexis
Ride The Wind
Got No Time For Trouble
Rather Be Alone With You (A.K.A. Song For Dale)
From Another Time
Mystery

MIAMI:
Cruisin’ Down The Highway
Do It
Wildfire
Sleepwalker
Miami Two-Step
Praylude / Red Skies
Spanish Lover
Summer Breezes
Head Above The Water

By Jeb Wright

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