Joe Walsh/Barnstorn's Barnstorm (1972)


This is perhaps the most 70s record of the 1970s – talented guitarist gets frustrated with band, breaks up band, calls stoned friends he jammed with before he joined recently broken-up band, relocates new family to granola-covered mountains of Colorado, writes proggy folk music, records bird noises to match synths, releases under-appreciated masterpiece, becomes frustrated with how record label is marketing the album, eventually joins the Eagles because fuck it cocaine and diapers ain’t free.

And what is left in the wake of this jagged trajectory is singular dad rock for new fathers who used to swear by pulling out.

The closest kin to this is Graham Nash’s Songs for Beginners – the records share anthemic songwriting with few choruses, riding brief post-high clarity which shrinks the world to a few hundred square feet. It’s the off-the-grid worldview that makes records like these appealing, the impulse to walk past your car into the woods behind the Super Target. You find a stick on the ground, swing it like a sword at the tall grass before you break it over the thicker branch of a young pine tree. The crack of the wood hangs in the air a moment longer than you expected, you look for a new stick. Maybe I can find a frog.   

It’s over too quickly, of course, because you don’t really know how to want this forever. You walk back to your car. You leave the mountains, you move to LA. You look back even though you’re not supposed to, think, “We were happy here.”

You join the Eagles. 

— Ghil Scraw

Phil Shaw