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Monday, July 18, 2011
RJ Vealey, Run For Cover, Atlanta Rhythm Section
Listening to:Doraville, ARS
Reading:Believing Brain
Weather:thunderstorm, sticky
Man, there's nothing quite as tasty to me as that special jazz-flavored style of southern vocal pop rock from the 70's. Think Atlanta Rhythm Section, Allman Bros, Orleans, even Little Feat. There's something uniquely luscious to me about those tunes, the arrangements, the hot vocals, crunchy guitars, double leads. To me it sounds particularly influenced by some of those chaps from across the pond, like Thin Lizzy, Fleetwood Mac, and others. Nobody can play a rolling 12/8 like these bands, especially ARS.

I put on an ARS greatest hits album pretty frequently when I'm either in the car on a long trip or in the house looking at a stack of scrubbing to do. That stuff winds me up, those triple division of the beat tunes give me a good energy shot. And then those sweet melodies give me plenty of room to harmonize.

One of my undergrad classmates played drums for ARS, his name was RJ Vealey. He was a year or two ahead of me, I think. We didn't hang out together as much as find ourselves in the same places at the same times a lot. And I was a bit of a groupie for the jazz band he was in Run For Cover. That band also included a wicked guitar player who I remember only as JT who was also a drummer, and Craig Shields on sax (I had the mad hots for him)O, and on occasional vocals Dave can't remember his name but he was also a drummer, too. I remember they used to do various jazz tunes with which I was mostly unfamiliar but found them groovy, and a smattering of other stuff.

The smattering included People People by the late fuckin great Tommy Bolin. I couldn't get enough of that song. I stumbled across a used copy of the record Teaser at a flea market during that era and I played the hell out of that album. From there it wasn't a far leap for me to Mahavishnu Orchestra and then Weather Report and Return to Forever and whatnot.

But it took me a while to find my way to ARS. I remember those radio hits, and I really enjoyed them. But I never reached out and bought a record of theirs until years later, years after college. Not sure what happened, but I think it was Champagne Jam that did it. I can't get enough of that fine-ass song. Everything about it, the spirit of the party, the melody, the chord structure, the cool arrangement, that crunchy ripping guitar sound, outstanding vocals, and those tasty little details of the vocal arrangement that just gitcha, the way they slightly change up the rhythm on the chorus when he comes back.

I think it was after I heard about RJ's death (heart attack after a show, just 37 yrs old) that I took a closer listen to that stuff. I'm sorry I never got to see them with RJ behind the kit, he was a pretty sophisticated drummer, as I remember him.


permalink posted by cat 10:15 PM

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Comments:
Due to computer problems over the last few months I seemed to have lost you, but now I've found you again and I'm SO Happy! Champagne Jam was THE BEST!!!!!
Just had to throw that in there... Cya, Cat!
 
Glad you're back, Willie!! Champagne Jam, indeed.
 
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RJ Vealey, Run For Cover, Atlanta Rhythm Section
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