James Griffin

Band members                             Related acts

- James Griffin (RIP 2005) -- vocals, guitar, keyboards


  supporting musicians:

- Curtis Amy -- guitar

- Michael Botts (RIP 2005) -- drums 

- Jeff Baxter -- guitar 

- Jim Horn -- horns

- Mike Iseberg -- horns

- Larry Knechtel ((RIP 2009) -- bass, guitar, keyboards 

- Russ Kunkel -- drums 

- Denny Lardin -- guitar

- John Miles -- guitar

- Leland Sklar -- bass 




- Black Tie

- Bread

- Griffin and Sylvester

- The Remingtons





Genre: pop

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Breakin' Up Is Easy

Company: Polydor

Catalog: PD 6018

Country/State: Cinncinatti, Ohio

Grade (cover/record): VG+/ VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve; original lyric inner sleeve; cut top corner; DJ sticker on over

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6027

Price: $20.00


No doubt about it, the late James Griffin deserved far wider recognition than he garnered during his recording career - most of the recognition he did get coming from his role with soft rock superstars Bread.


Having left Bread in 1972, Griffin's sophomore effort was released in 1974.  Credited to 'Griffin & Co.', "Breaking Up Is Easy" was co-produced by Griffin and longtime Bread cohort Robb Royer. At least to my ears, most of these ten tracks bore more than a passing resemblance to a Bread album.  Blame it on the fact Griffin handled many of the lead vocals for Bread so I've always associated him with that entity, or perhaps it had something to do with the over-abundance of ballads.  'Course the fact he was backed by Bread alumni Royer, Michael Botts and Larry Knechtel probably also contributed to the familiar sound.  That means how you feel about Bread is going to color your opinion about this set.  There was clearly a certain irony in that statement.  As Bread fans know, frustrated with David Gates' front man status in Bread and the group's soft-rock image,  two years down the road and he suddenly seemed intent on out-doing Gates in the soft rock genre.  Exemplified by material like the title track, 'She Knows' and 'You'll Get Along', three quarters of these songs were lush, radio-friendly country-rock styled ballads that would have easily fit on a Bread album.  The good news is that made the rock and pop exceptions like the first and last parts of 'Father and Son' and 'Love You Till the Cows Come Home' even more enjoyable.  


Sadly, only 61, Griffin died of cancer in January 2005.


"Breaking Up Is Easy" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Breaking Up Is Easy  (James Griffin) - 3:55 rating: ** stars 

'Breaking Up Is Easy' was a lush, heavily orchestrated, Bread-styled ballad.  Quite commercial and likely to appeal to Bread fans, the song's most interesting quality came in the form of Griffin's vocal.  While Gates was widely recognized as Bread's lead singer (he handled virtually all of their radio hits), Griffin actually had the better voice and that instrument was on full display here.  The title track was pulled as the leadoff single:

- 1974's 'Breaking Up Is Easy' b/w 'Melody Maker' (Polydor catalog number PD 14213)

2.) Someday  (James Griffin) - 2:35 rating: *** stars

'Someday' was a pretty country-rock ballad that a band like Poco would have killed to have written.  Sweet melody and a wonderful, breezy vocal from Griffin - it should have been a massive hit.  

3.) Love You Till the Cows Come Home  (James Griffin) - 3:00 rating: **** stars

The goofy title always makes me smile.  Folks tend to remember Bread for the ballads, but the fact of the matter is each of their albums contained a couple of rockers - many penned by Griffin.  'Love You Till the Cows Come Home' served that purpose on this set.  A first-rate country-rocker (emphasis on rock), this one showcased Griffin's talents as lead guitarist with the man turning in some nice slide moves on Telecaster.  This would have been a far better choice as a single than any of the three ballads Polydor tapped.   

4.) She Knows  (James Griffin) - 2:38  rating: ** stars 

'Sickly sweet, She Knows' sure sounded like a David Gates product ...  Yech.   Poor choice for a single.


- 1974's 'She Knows' b/w 'Beachwood Band' (Polydor catalog number PD 14236)


YouTube has a clip of Griffin playing the song on the BBC's The Old Grey Whistle Test television program: JAMES GRIFFIN (1974) - The Old Grey Whistle Test ("She Knows") (youtube.com)





5.) Father and Son  (James Griffin) - 4:20 rating: **** stars

As one of the isolated up-tempo numbers (well at least the first and last sections), 'Father and Son' was a pleasant change of pace.  Yeah, it retained Griffin's penchant for sensitive singer/songwriter moves, but it was an interesting lyric and the song did have a rock edge with a cool, jazzy lead guitar and even some tasty horn charts ...   The opening section has always reminded me of Jimmy Webb's 'McArthur's Park.'


(side 2)
1.) You'll Get Along  (James Griffin) - 5:14
rating: *** stars 

A Firefall-styled country-rock ballad, 'You'll Get Along' was pretty, but ultimately forgettable.  The best part of the track came in the form of the mid-section fuzz guitar solo.  Actually the flute reminded me of something out of The Marshall Tucker Band catalog.  I'll give it an extra star for that reason/

2.) Life Line  (James Griffin) - 3:40  rating: ** stars

Life Line' was another country-rock ballad.  With a prominent pedal steel guitar, this one was just way too country for my tastes.   

3.) Going Back To Boston  (James Griffin) - 3:42  rating: ** stars

You just know that a song with a title like 'Going Back To Boston' is going to be sensitive singer/songwriter fair and that's the case with this one.  Another David Gates-styled ballad ...  and what the hell was with the weird baroque-cum-circus music ending ?  

4.) Only Now  (James Griffin) - 2:36  rating: ** stars

Stringing four ballads back to back probably wasn't a great idea since no matter how good they were, they simply started to sound alike.  That was certainly the case by the time you got to 'Only Now'.  Please, please, please - how about a rocker ?  

5.) Love To Light the Way  (James Griffin) - 2:53  rating: ** stars

So why interrupt the flow?  'Love To Light the Way' made for five ballads in a row ...  Admittedly this was probably one of the stronger compositions on the album, but by this time who cared ?  Did I put on a David Gates album by mistake?