If you remember Firefall and their small string of hits (“You Are the Woman,” “Just Remember I Love You,” “Strange Way”) then you remember the distinctive guitar of Jock Bartley. In the later years of the ‘70s, Firefall ran with three superior Atlantic albums that included their self-titled debut, Luna Sea, and Elan. Although those three albums were not the only Firefall albums produced, those three are the most representative of the band at their height.
Guitarist Jock Bartley gets back into recording with his debut solo album, Blindside. It contains 13 songs that include the signature song that he wrote for a local Suicide Prevention Center to help raise awareness and to help it stay in working order. Eventually, it was adopted by Prevention center organizations nationwide. The song is “Call on Me”; the royalties from this song will be donated to causes that help. But the album has 12 other noticeable tracks that range from country rock, to blues, and to rock.
Blindside begins with its title track namesake, a Firefall-like tune. What you’ll enjoy is not only the strong songs found on this album but also the strong guitar playing of Jock Bartley. “You Need Love” serves up some of that bluesy rock, while “Goodhearted Man” has a country pop sound. “I Used to Say” borrows Bob Harris for the vocal work in what is an excellent blue/rock song. I love the Firefall-like “Baby I Will.” With the expanded 29-member band (The Mountain Stars Band), the songs’ sounds are rich. Of course, this band doesn’t boast the full membership on any one of the tracks, but their presence on any of the tracks are felt and heard.
The Mountain Stars Band includes many rock ‘n’ roll luminaries joining Jock Bartley on the recording of this album. Richie Furay (Poco/Buffalo Springfield), Rusty Young (Poco), John McEuen/Jimmie Fadden (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), Mark Andes (Spirit/Heart/Firefall), Steve Weinmeister/Chris Ball (Firefall), John Magne (Subdudes), Brian Nevin (Big Head Todd), Michael Travis (Stringcheese Incident), and Bob Harris (Zevon/Zappa/Axe) makes this quite an album of music.