I’ve written before about an artist that I thought was underrated. Of course, that artist was Hanson. Today’s is a little closer to what I’d call River Rock and Roll.
Russ Ballard was the lead singer of Argent, but all in all, he was more of a songwriter than a singer, though he didn’t write Argent’s biggest hit “Hold Your Head Up”. He did write a lot of songs that you’re probably familiar with, though. Among them:
- Winning (Santana)
- New York Groove (Ace Frehley)
- God Gave Rock and Roll to You (Argent, Kiss, Petra)
- Since You Been Gone (Rainbow)
- You Can Do Magic (America)
- Liar (Three Dog Night)
- Hey Jude (Beatles)
OK, just kidding about that last one! But as you can see, he’s pretty good with the pen.
The album that got me into him was his At The Third Stroke. I discovered it hidden in the library back when I was working in college radio. Even though I have to admit that some of the lyrics are a little on the lame side, the tunes and production more than make up for it! There’s a lot of great guitar work all the way through. And it ends with a pair of songs that run together, which is a weakness of mine. I used to close out my show with those songs more often than my boss cared for. When you’re not getting paid, you’re more inclined to take chances.
Anyway, it’s still one of my favorite albums. Great for throwing on the turntable when it’s bitter cold out.