James Griffin - Breakin' Up Is Easy

EricEric USA
edited December 2022 in Year-1974

Fed up with David Gates hogging the spotlight in Bread, guitarist James Griffin left in 1972, returning a couple years later with one heck of a solo album.

James Griffin - Breakin
ARTIST: James Griffin
ALBUM: Breakin' Up Is Easy
LABEL: Polydor
SERIAL: PD-6018
YEAR: 1974

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA Flag
LINEUP: James Griffin - lead & backing vocals, guitars * Robb Royer - guitar, piano, keyboards * Larry Knechtel - bass, keyboards * Jeff Baxter - slide guitar, pedal steel * Lee Sklar - bass * Russ Kunkel, Mike Botts - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Breakin' Up Is Easy * 02 Someday * 03 Love You Till The Cows Come Home * 04 She Knows * 05 Father And Son * 06 You'll Get Along * 07 Lifeline * 08 Goin' Back To Boston * 09 Only Now * 10 Love To Light The Way

Background

Fed up with David Gates hogging the spotlight in Bread, guitarist James Griffin left the band in 1972, returning a couple years later with one heck of a solo album.

Aided by his former band mates Robb Royer who co-produced 'Breakin' Up Is Easy' with Griffin, Larry Knechtel and Mike Botts, it failed to do much business despite two singles pulled from the record. Now apparently Griffin released two further solo albums none of which I've heard or seen, while squeezing in a short-lived 1976 Bread reunion and kept busy with various projects well up to his untimely death in 2005.

The Songs

Part of Griffin's problem with Bread was the band's soft rock direction and having been held back from rocking it up so it's somewhat of a surprise this record leans towards the same style. Griffin's vocals are as good if not better than David Gates while the album weaves between mid-tempo country rock and free 'n easy balladry as only the early '70s could produce.

Highlights include the dramatic 'Breakin' Up Is Easy' with a gorgeous string arrangement provided by Marty Paich who adds his orchestral magic throughout the album. The humorously titled rocker 'Love You Till The Cows Come Home' sounds like something The Eagles or Poco would take a stab at while 'She Knows' would have fit beautifully on any Bread album.

'Father And Son' takes on an almost progressive tone moving from country boogie and orchestral pop to Rare Earth styled jazz rock in just four and a half minutes and is easily the coolest song here.. Side two doesn't quite move me in the same way although 'Goin' Back To Boston' with its baroque middle eight is simply breathtaking, leaving me wondering if his other albums reached the same heights.

In Summary

A non- LP single 'How Do You Say Goodbye' was released in late 1974, but like the previous two 45's, it failed to chart and having heard the song, is difficult to understand. Still, 'Breakin' Up Is Easy' should leave no doubt James Griffin was a huge part of the Bread sound and they were never quite the same after he left. A shame he never found the solo success he so richly deserved.


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