Taking their name from a Chuck Berry song, Californian rock band Jo Jo Gunne was formed in 1971 by Jay Anderson and Mark Andes, respectively lead vocalist and bass player with the legendary Spirit, one of Los Angeles’ most influential bands.
In 1972 they had a hit single on both sides of the Atlantic with the infectious Run Run Run.
The band went on to record four albums in a boogie-rock vein, Jo Jo Gunne, Bite Down Hard, Jumping The Gun and So Where’s The Show, all now released on this double-CD package.
Tracks include Read Meat, Monkey Music, High School Drool, Shake That Fat, I’m Your Shoe and, yes, Big Busted Bombshell From Bermuda.
This Californian rock band were formed by bassist Mark Andes and keyboard ace Jay Ferguson after they left the legendary Spirit in 1971, and the future seemed rosy for Jo Jo Gunne when one of the tracks from their debut album set, Run Run Run, soared into the higher reaches of the charts on both sides of the Atlantic a year or so later. They singularly failed to capitalise on this slice of good fortune however, although the quartet did record four fine albums for David Geffen’s Asylum label before they gave up the ghost in 1975.Their entire recorded output has now been shoehorned into this punchy 2CD package, giving a new generation of listeners an opportunity to enjoy the band’s refreshingly direct and uncomplicated sound.
Borrowing their name from a Chuck Berry song about a meddlesome monkey, Jo Jo Gunne were signed to David Geffen’s Asylum label as an antidote to the singer-songwriter types of the early 70s. They soon dispensed with any of the esoteric directions favoured by Jay Ferguson and Mark Andes in their previous life as members of Spirit.
Taking brother Matt Andes and drummer Curly Smith along for company, Jo Jo stared out of a hot rod looking every inch like bronzed Californian stoner gods on their 1972 debut, a brisk affair kicked into gear by the catchy Run Run Run, which gave them immediate chart gratification. Boasting a slick and greasy biker tempo, that single also proved to be their crowning moment, though co-producer Tom Dowd coaxed decent performances elsewhere, especially on Ferguson’s piano-driven Barstow Blue Eyes.
Bite Down Hard struggled to retain similar momentum; frequent changes in personnel and the tasteless artwork for Jumpin’ The Gunne backfired on the band. Their 1974 swansong depicted them as latecomers to the glam rock ball and lazy tracks such as S&M Blvd didn’t suit them. A case of too much too fast, too little thereafter – Jo Jo ran out of gas.