I get a new turntable and dust off some old records. Vinyl Tap #53:
It was in ancient history, four thousand B.C.Back up in the jungle in a coconut treeHanging on a branch up under the sunWas a meddlesome monkey named Jo Jo Gunne...--"Jo Jo Gunne," Chuck Berry
It wasn’t ancient history, of course. It seemed a much more primitive era, really, when groups like Foghatsaurus and Grand Funk Triceratops roamed the land. Within the primordial mist evolved Jo Jo Gunne as they epitomized the album rock and boogie sound of the period, though imbuing any arena rock inclinations with an accessibility and melodic spirit and heart.
And Spirit and Heart, for that matter - evoking associative sensations of the groups that Gunners Jay Ferguson and Mark Andes left to form the 1971-75 Jo Jo — the jazz/psych/rock-oriented Spirit — and the band Mark Andes eventually joined, the pop/rock juggernaut Heart. Rounding out the roster for the 1972 self-titled Jo Jo Gunne debut — there would be four more albums with shifting personnel changes — is Matthew Andes, brother of Mark, and Curley Smith. (A 2005 reunion album, Big Chain, is also included for these latter purposes, though it’s a half and half mix of new tracks and old songs re-recorded.)
The infectiousness and brisk pace of “Run, Run, Run,” kicks off the album, and soon becomes one of those songs that will be run, run, running through your head indefinitely, carried along by a slide guitar and background vocals stuck on stupid: “Doo doo doo / Doo doo doo doo / Run run run / Run run run…” Repeat and rinse, and add in, sparingly, lead vocalist Ferguson to interject, say, a carpe diem freak-out greeting: “Welcome to the party / we’re all just papers in the wind,” and you have yourself a Top 40 American hit. Top 10 in England, which might be an indicator of reverse stiff-upper-lipability in the face of American pop boogie superiority.