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Thread: A Celebration(?) of "Got Any Gum" (1987)

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    Out on the Border RamboIV's Avatar
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    Default A Celebration(?) of "Got Any Gum" (1987)

    This is a bit late, but Joe Walsh's much overlooked album Got Any Gum turned 30 this past Halloween!

    Obviously this record was not a highlight of Joe Walsh's career, but I think it has a few redeeming tracks! The two singles "The Radio Song" and "In My Car" are both a lot of fun. To be honest, "The Radio Song" is probably my favorite Joe Walsh music video. Great opening with Wolfman Jack!

    I also think "Half of the Time" is worth a listen.

    Walsh recorded the album at Ardent Studios in Memphis, TN. I happened to visit Memphis this year, and as luck would have it, I had to time to pass by both Ardent and "Playhouse on the Square" which is the new name of the old Memphian Theatre that is featured on the album cover of Got Any Gum. Fun!

    Here's a photo of me outside Ardent:


    And outside of the old theater:


    Looks a lot better on the record:


    Also in Memphis, there are some photos of Joe on display the Rock'n'Soul Museum, taken around the time he recorded this album.


    Walsh was severe alcoholic when he recorded Got Any Gum, so some of the promotional interviews he does during that time are a bit cringe-y. Although I think he comes off rather funny in this one with Letterman.

    Anyway, Joe doesn't really acknowledge this album in current concerts or interviews, but that doesn't mean we have to pretend it doesn't exist! Certainly not his best work, but it's not completely without value either.

    Happy 30th to Got Any Gum!
    "City streets don't have much pity,
    When you're down, that's where you'll stay..."
    -Joe Walsh

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    Out on the Border RamboIV's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Celebration(?) of "Got Any Gum" (1987)

    Also, I hope no one minds me hijacking this thread, but I was hoping to garner some more responses for another project I'm working on.

    As some of you may know, I produce a rock'n'roll based YouTube show called "Play That Rock'n'Roll", which you can check out here. In my last episode, I recruited some of you Eagles experts for information on Don Felder's Airborne! The goal of these episodes is to discover how and why the albums didn't sell/are not remembered/are disliked/etc. I was hoping I could ask for your help again!

    Basically I am looking for any and all information about Got Any Gum. Trivia, fun facts, interviews, videos, articles, reviews from the time, etc. If any of you know anything interesting about this record, please post it here!

    Once the video is complete, I'll post it here on this forum! Thanks in advance for your help!
    "City streets don't have much pity,
    When you're down, that's where you'll stay..."
    -Joe Walsh

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    Default Re: A Celebration(?) of "Got Any Gum" (1987)

    When Got Any Gum came out in 1987, I was a fully established UK Walsh fan. I'd bought all his previous solo albums, all his, The James Gang and Eagles albums, plus many which Joe made a significant contribution, such as Dan Fogelberg, Jay Ferguson, Ringo Starr, John Entwhistle and Joe Vitale, among others.

    Before Joe's previous album. The Confessor, I would have said that Joe was incapable of putting out a bad album but I really didn't enjoy listening to The Confessor. I accepted yhat his best days were now behind him and despite recent, impressive contributions to hit albums by Steve Winwood and Richard Marx, I wasn't expecting great things from Got Any Gum.

    Got Any Gum was Joe's final album aimed at the vinyl market, which meant, it was two sides that added up to about 40 minutes of music and unless you bought the individual singles, you listened to all of side A ( The Radio Song, Fun, In My Car, Malibu & Half Of The Time) or all of side B (Got Any Gum, Up To Me, No Peace In The Jungle, Memory Lane & Time) rather than pulling out individual tracks . To save wear and tear on the much valued vinyl disc, I would have recorded the entire album on to one side of a C90 cassette (45 minutes), probably filling up the empty tape with a non album track such as Big Country from The Great Outdoors soundtrack. I would listen to that cassette constantly until I knew every note of the album.

    I listened to Got Any Gum again today to see of it stirred any memories but I realized that I no longer see Joe's career as a series of albums. Since it's release, I've listened to the tracks on Got Any Gum constantly but one or two at a time rather than as a complete album.

    There were things I disliked about the album; the intro to The Radio Song, particularly that horrible 80s keyboard sound that runs through the whole album, Joe's worst ever guitar solo (Up To Me), the inclusion of a sax solo! (No Peace In The Jungle). Mark Rivera is great with Billy Joel but Walsh fans want to hear Joe play guitar not be replaced by a saxophonist. The unfortunate combination of thunderous drums, acoustic guitar and lashings of talk box on Half Of The Time.

    Whatever happened to Joe's tasteful subtlety?. I, of course, blamed all this on producer Terry Manning, how I longed for a Bill Szymczyk production.

    Track by Track

    The Radio Song - Nice little pop song with a token guitar solo, fine vocal from Joe. Backing vocals are JD Souther and Jimi Jamison (lead singer with Survivor)

    Fun - Recycling a great early 70s Joe Vitale riff (Shoot 'Em Up) which Vitale has subsequently recycled again for (Get The Shovel And Dig The Hole) Joe declares, kinda shallowly "If something ain't fun why do it?". in his Life's Been Good, rock star, court jester guise again.

    In My Car - Despite the keyboards, I like this uptempo pop jaunt a lot. It's a considerable improvement on Ringo Starr's original from his Old Wave album.
    I've noticed on the Allmusic website (https://www.allmusic.com/album/got-any-gum-mw0000196228) that the original 4 writers (Foster, Goody, Walsh and Starkey) has grown to seven (Mo Foster / Kim Goody / Eugene Landy / Morgan / Richard Starkey / Joe Walsh / Brian Wilson). I wonder if someone has suggested that it was subconsciously stolen from a The Beach Boys track?

    Malibu - When my brother said he liked this, he became the first, and remains the only, person I've heard make reference to this track. It is pretty unremarkable. Joe's done better, Joe's done worse. It's almost irrelevant beyond the confines of the album running order. Malibu is a second co-write for Joe Vitale who, like Bill Szymczyk, is noticeably absent from this album.

    Half Of The Time - Out of the blue, Joe performed this song live many years after it was released so I reckon that he has some affection for it. I'm sure there is a great song in there underneath the overbearing production.
    Lyrically shares the same lineage as Split Decision and Two Sides To Every Story

    Got Any Gum? - Really just the drone (with backwards guitar and miscellaneous sounds) introduction to Up To Me. I'm surprised that it's listed as a separate track but it does give album producer, Terry Manning a co-writing credit.

    Up To Me - Joe's guitar solos are invariably the highlight of any Walsh track. In my opinion Up To Me is the exception. I still quite like it though. Having two different choruses is kinda neat.

    No Peace In The Jungle - Almost all Joe's album contain a cover. I'm not sure if this track is a cover but it is not a Walsh original. It was written by Tommy Dean, has a great Walsh vocal and has a keyboard riff that turns up unexpectedly on Eagles, 2007 album, Long Road Out Of Eden, (Last Good Time In Town). NPITJ has some great percussion although it sounds programmed rather than performed.

    Memory Lane - A lovely gentle Walsh piano waltz, with Eaglish vocal harmonies arranged by JD Souther

    Time - Again, a track that doesn't do or say much on it's own but makes a wonderful album closer. There are a couple of guitar licks that sound familiar but Joe's slide solo is as tasteful and unpretentious as he's ever been.

    I couldn't see Got Any Gum luring back any Walsh fans who had deserted him after The Confessor but I thought it'd keep me interested until his next album.

    Thanks for shining a light on Joe's music RamboIV. I'm not sure if Joe's 80s output would have turned me into a Walsh fan but I'm glad I stuck through it.

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