Happy Anniversary: The J. Geils Band, “Live” – Full House
42 years ago today, The J. Geils Band released the first live album of their career, an effort which would provide them with their gold album and increase their profile to the point where, the next time around, they’d find themselves with their first top-10 album.
“Live” – Full House inspired annoyance amongst know-it-all poker fans, who were quick to observe that the five cards pictured on the cover – the jack of spades, the jack of diamonds, the jack of clubs, the king of spades, and the queen of hearts – do not, in fact, constitute a full house. On the other hand, it’s a live album performed in front of a sold-out crowd, a.k.a. a full house, and the queen is winking, so we’re pretty sure she’s in on the joke…even if some too-serious poker aficionados weren’t.
Recorded during The J. Geils Band’s April 21 and 22 shows at the Cinderella Ballroom in Detroit, the album consists of a grand total of eight tracks: six from the band’s self-titled debut (“Cruisin’ for a Love,” “Hard Drivin’ Man,” “Serves You Right to Suffer,” “Homework,” “First I Look at the Purse,” “Pack Fair”), two from their sophomore effort, The Morning After (“Whammer Jammer” and “Looking for a Love”). Although the album didn’t score any hit singles, it nonetheless found airplay through “Looking for a Love,” the studio version of which had given the band their first top-40 hit the previous year, and when the band released their first best-of collection in 1979, it was the live version of the song from Full House that earned inclusion.
“Live” – Full House wasn’t the last concert album from The J. Geils Band (it would be followed by 1976’s Blow Your Face Out and 1982’s Showtime!), and of the three they released over the course of their career, it wasn’t even their most commercially successful (that honor belongs to Blow Your Face Out, which hit #40), but if you’re looking for a hot and sweaty document of the band at their rawest and most rockin’, then Full House is the only way to go.