During the1970’s I worked for a local Sam Goody music store. I remember selling albums by Pure Prairie League, Firefall and Atlanta Rhythm Section. Friday night I got to see all three in person. Each group has original members combined with some more recent members, but that didn’t matter as all were fantastic musicians and the songs sounded exactly as I remembered them as each band rocked the house.
Pure Prairie League came out first. They consisted of two guitars, drums and a pedal steel guitar. They did a 45 minute set, as did all the bands, and were very melodic and energetic. They ended their set with a rousing and exact version of their hit “Aimee.” The lead singer asked the audience how many remembered the hit when it first came out in the 70’s. When half the audience cheered he said, “Gee you all look so different. :D.
Following Pure Prairie League Firefall came out. The consisted of five pieces; three guitars, drums and a saxophonist who also altered on keyboards, harmonica and flute. They were the best of the three and so talented. They did long instrumental solos that really wailed and rocked without being obnoxious or overbearing. The lead singer Jack Bartley and guitarist Mark Andes were exceptionally great as was his rhythm guitarist and drummer. At one point their keyboardist did solo performances on saxophone and a tremendous interaction on flute with the drummer which got a rousing cheer and standing ovation. Lead singer Jack Bartley announced that they were recently inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame which got a big cheer.
Jack Bartly displayed some great humor introducing their hit songs saying, “You may not know of Firefall, but if you go into any doctor’s office you hear this next song.” The band then broke pout with their hit “You Are The Woman.” 😀 They also performed their hit song “Just Remember I Love You.”
Following Firefall, Atlanta Rhythm Section came out. After a brief instrumental they broke out with their hit song “Spooky.” Rodney Justo is lead singer and he and Dean Daughtry on Keyboards are the only original members now, as five former members are now deceased, but they also have sensational musicians with them. Rodney related how they once played in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where it was 35 below zero. He said only 25 people showed up and he told the band,”If 25 people show up in 35 below weather they deserve the best damn show ever,” which they did.
My only critique about ARS was that although the musicians and songs were very good they seemed to lack the positive upbeat energy the other two bands had. Check out the links below for valuable information and updates on the histories of these great bands and their personnel.