The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get is the second studio album by the American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Joe Walsh. The album was released in 1973, on the label ABC-Dunhill in the United States, and United Kingdom, and it was also released on Probe Records in Germany. It proved to be Walsh's commercial breakthrough, largely on the strength of the Top 40 hit single, "Rocky Mountain Way", which helped propel the album into the Top 10.
On this album, Walsh shares the vocals and songwriting with the other three members of Barnstorm; drummer/multi-instrumentalist Joe Vitale, bassist Kenny Passarelli, and new member, keyboardist Rocke Grace. As a result, a variety of styles are explored on this album. There are elements of blues, jazz, folk, pop, and even Caribbean music.
After the success of this album, Barnstorm disbanded, and Walsh continued making albums as a solo artist.
Best known for introducing the world to "Rocky Mountain Way", this album is much more enjoyable than its hit opening track. Joe Vitale packs a punch with "Midnight Moodies", giving a performance not really delivered on albums outside the Chicago or BS&T genre. Certainly an unexpected treat for a Joe Walsh set. Or so we would believe. There are other surprises from the young Clown Prince of rock. "Happy Ways" is not a Cuban send up but a solid attempt to inject rock into the Cuban beat, and, of course, Vitale is there to provide that beat. Don't consider the others as cast offs. "Meadow" ranks with top Walsh songs while "Wolf", "Book Ends", and "Dreams" are authentic Walsh and not merely period pieces. Finally, "Days Gone By" is Walsh at his bittersweet best. You can find "RMW" on all compilations, but you miss the variety and depth of early solo Walsh if you miss this entire album.
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