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Funk #49

  • KORD-0108
  • Released July, 1970
  • by James Gang
  • from James Gang Rides Again
James Gang's "Funk #49" represents the platonic ideal of a classic rock song. The trio of Jim Fox, Dale Peters and a pre-Eagles Joe Walsh turned what was originally a spontaneous soundcheck jam into a monster groove, and while "Funk #49" might not have the cultural clout of a "Free Bird" or a "Stairway to Heaven," it endures across the decades as a bonafide AOR standard.Read more...

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  • Vocals, Backing Vocals, Electric Guitar, Percussion
    Fender Telecaster
  • Backing Vocals, Percussion, Drums
  • Backing Vocals, Bass, Percussion


Partial list of percussion instruments utilized by Walsh, Peters and Fox during "Funk #49's" breakdown:

Bongos, Congas, Shakers, Cowbell, Blocks, Vibraslap, Güira

From the original album liner notes:

"Made Loud To Be Played Loud"

I think "Rides Again" was our best album. We were touring a lot at that time and we were playing really well together. All of us were on the same wavelength. Joe was at the top of his form and was doing amazing things with his guitar. We were so busy that we didn't have time to write many songs so we found ourselves sitting in the studio looking at each other and saying, "Here we are, now what?" I remember that the mood was good, and our producer Bill Szymczyk was willing to try anything, so we let the tape roll and started jamming. A few days later we had "Funk #49," "The Bomber," and "Woman," songs that turned into great live concert tunes. Bill used to play the tunes back in the control room at ear shattering volume and we really got psyched! We even blew up the brand new playback speakers at The Record Plant in Los Angeles during the break in "The Bomber"! (Can't take these guys anywhere!). During that time Joe had some beautiful acoustic songs that he had come up with, so we decided to make "Rides Again" half electric and half acoustic. One of my favorite Joe acoustic tunes was "Garden Gate." An absolute gem. We felt very free musically during this album and that feeling led to some really inventive playing. We made "The Bomber" into a musical suite and put our versions of "Bolero" and "Cast Your Fate To The Wind" right in the middle of it. Pretty exciting at the time! All in all, a great time and an album that we knew would be really good.

– Dale Peters

Recording "Rides Again" was a completely different feeling from the first album. By the time we began preparing for this one, we had some modest success with "Yer' Album," and I believe we felt some pressure to make this one GREAT! We had been touring fairly relentlessly and had not taken the necessary time to prepare an album's worth of new material. However, deadlines loomed, and when we went to Los Angeles to begin the new album at The Record Plant, we had only "Funk #49" ready to go. The Record Plant was brand new – I don't think anyone had used it yet, and man, was it state-of-the-art! It was the coolest studio we had ever seen, right down to the hot tub!

It was a terrific atmosphere in which to create, and we did manage to get down a number of basic tracks before we had to hit the road again. I remember recording the basic track for "The Bomber." I also recall taking a few hours off one night to go out to a club on the Sunset Strip to hear our old guitarist, Glen Schwartz, and his band, Pacific Gas And Electric. The opener that night was Poco. They were brand new and we loved them. We had finished a track for the album that was screaming for a steel guitar part ("There I Go Again"), and we went right onto the stage to convince Rusty Young to come by the studio and play it for us! I also fondly recall cutting the track "Ashes, The Rain And I." No drums, yet still a favorite of mine!! I contributed by lying face down on the floor between Joe and Dale.

I also recall the cover shoot for "Rides Again." Again, no cover budget, but our road manager, Tom Wright, was a fine photographer. We were on the road, playing a small club in western Massachusetts. In those days, we had no money for hotels, so we were staying with a band we met in Cleveland once. They had a huge house they shared with a motorcycle gang, and we were welcome there. One morning, Tom was in the mood to take some photos and he kept eyeing those beautiful bikes. But it was January, and we were all hesitant to ask the bikers if we could take their bikes out into a foot of snow. Tom finally asked and they were excited to be a part of the shoot. We were blown away when they started the bikes right there in the living room and rode them right off the front porch into the snow! To this day, I love that photo!

– Jim Fox

"Rides Again" was a logical extension of "Yer' Album," in that the band was in a very creative phase and we had been introduced to the world of record production by B.S. The spontaneous performance ability was still there (i.e.: "Funk #49"), but we were also laying basic tracks, overdubbing, and editing stuff together to makes "pieces" of music like "The Bomber." Also, we were in Los Angeles a lot in Studio A in the Record Plant on 3rd Street, and I spent a lot of time in complete awe of the people in Studios B & C (Stevie Wonder, etc.). This was a very favorite time in my life. Playing live and recording full time.

– Joe Walsh

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