Firefall: Friends And Family (Sunset Blvd Records) – Album Review
Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
I have such fond memories of Firefall from the mid 70s. They were one of those bands that truly defined an era, and their music continues to transport me back in time. The melodic tunes and soothing vocals of Firefall were a staple on AM radio during those years, and their songs served as the perfect soundtrack to many moments in my life. I vividly recall long summer vacations spent with family, where road trips were accompanied by the timeless tunes of Firefall. Whether it was “You Are The Woman“, “Just Remember I Love You“, or “Strange Way” their music resonated with people of all ages and backgrounds.
One memory that stands out is riding the bus every morning greeted by the familiar sounds of Firefall through the speakers. As we embarked on our daily commute, the catchy melodies and uplifting lyrics set a positive tone for the day ahead. It was a time when music had this incredible power to bring people together, and Firefall’s music embodied that spirit perfectly.
Another memory that stands out is summer vacations in Wildwood, New Jersey during the late 70s. The place we stayed at had a habit of playing all those soft rock hits of the era at full volume over the PA system. The familiar sounds of Firefall and their contemporaries would fill the air, creating that perfect late 70’s polyester ambiance.
And then there were the carpools. Piling into the car, Firefall’s music played in the background, fostering a sense of joy. We would sing along to every word. It seemed like no matter where we were headed, Firefall’s music added something a little extra to the journey.
Looking back, it’s incredible to think that I hadn’t heard these songs in a good 30 years. Yet when I recently listened to them again, I found myself effortlessly singing along, word for word, as if the songs had never left my memory. They truly left an indelible mark on me.
Fast forward to today…. Friends And Family is a new collection of cover songs from Firefall. It’s not your garden variety cover album. In fact, some of the tracks are deep cuts that weren’t big hits. This is a collection of songs that hold special meaning to Jock Bartley, co-founder and current member of Firefall. There songs were curated because of friendships that were forged through relentless touring or playing in bands with the artists themselves.
There are three songs on this collection – “I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better” (The Byrds), “Ooh Las Vegas” (Gram Parsons), and “Colorado” (The Flying Burrito Brothers) – that require additional explanation. The roots run very deep. Chris Hillman, who was a founding member of the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers as well as a friend and collaborator with the legend that was Gram Parsons, produced Firefall’s first demos. Also, drummer Michael Clark from Spokane, Washington who played with the Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers, was the drummer for Firefall from 1974 through 1980.
Some of the other notable songs on this fun collection include Long Train Runnin‘ (The Doobie Brothers), Can’t You See (Marshall Tucker Band), Angry Eyes (Loggins and Messina), and Chest Fever(The Band). Any well rounded music collection contains those essential albums that are a must have but there also has to be those good time albums that convert any moment into an instant party. Friends And Family is in the latter category. An album that contains well executed and great sounding songs to get the party started.