In a recent poll I conducted with the NRBQ Appreciation Society 1973's Workshop ranked right up there at the top among fans of this always listenable but impossible to pigeonhole band.
"I consider it like a sister album to (1972's) Scraps and I rank Scraps as one of the greatest albums ever made. So yeah Workshop is up there."
This is the big man, Al Anderson's, second album with the Q but the first one he could legally sing on. Workshop kicks off with "C'mon If You're Coming", a rocking version of the song Anderson recorded on his brilliant Vanguard Records solo. Let's listen to the solo version ( because most Workshop tunes can't be found on YouTube)
Other Workshop highlights are Joey Spampinato's sweet sounding "Mona", the Terry Adams rave up "R C Cola and a Moon Pie" and "Deaf, Dumb and Blind". Curiously the band's only charting single "Get That Gasoline Blues" ( US#70, 1974), never even came up in a spirited discussion about the album. Fans don't even want to think NRBQ ever flirted with stardom.
Workshop is the last album to feature drummer Tom Staley. When Staley failed to return to the stage for an encore, NRBQ fan Tom Ardolino was invited to fill in for the rest of the night. In 1974 the easy going Ardolino got the gig for good.
For the next two decades the classic NRBQ lineup developed a huge cult following. At a show I caught in New York in 1999, I'm pretty sure I recognized a few well known musicians but the only ones I talked to were members of Del Amitri. Ardolino died in in January of 2012.
By the way some joker on Amazon is trying to sell a used Japanese Workshop CD for $2,996.94.