As we’re starting to see, Ludlow Avenue is being transformed into an art gallery devoted to great music.
The mural that went up this week is the second in a series of seven to appear on the street. Seven different artists chose to paint murals of a musician or band who played the Ludlow Garage in either its earliest incarnation or more recently.
The mural that appeared on the side of Gaslight Bar & Grill earlier this year portrays Captain Beefheart, whose bizarre-sounding music stood out even in the late 60s and 70s, when he first started to make records.
The new mural, which appears outside Habanero’s and was painted by John Maggard, depicts the James Gang. If you don’t know the drummer Jim Fox or the bassist Dale Peters from the band, you probably know the group’s vocalist, lead guitarist, and main songwriter, Joe Walsh, who after the James Gang folded embarked on a successful solo career and then joined the Eagles.
By the time the James Gang performed a four-night stint at the Ludlow Garage (December 31, 1969–January 3 1970), the trio was a national act with an album on a major label and good press courtesy of the Who’s Pete Townsend. They were also a popular regional act based in Cleveland.
While many people associate Joe Walsh with his solo career and his work with the Eagles, the music he made with the James Gang should not be overlooked. At times sounding like a power trio and at other times performing warm acoustic ballads, the trio released three memorable studio albums plus a live LP recorded at Carnegie Hall.
Released in July of 1970, the group’s second studio album, Rides Again, belongs in every classic rock collection. Their biggest hits, “Funk 49” and “Walk Away,” are still played on the radio.
And the live LP is loud, crunchy rock and roll at its finest. Listen to this version of “Stop” and imagine this same trio in the more intimate setting of the Ludlow Garage.