Various Artists – A Classic Rock Salute To The Doors – Light My Fire (2014)

FrontCover1.jpgSouthern California-based Purple Pyramid Records and producer, instrumentalist Billy Sherwood raised the bar with this tribute to The Doors by convening a star-studded cast, featuring classic rockers performing with progressive rock luminaries. And the jazz contingent is onboard, evidenced by jazz guitar great Larry Coryell appearing with Focus keyboardist Thijs Van Leer on “Love Me Two Times.”

When I first broke the seal on this recording and perused the personnel listing I was delighted yet partly suspicious, fearing this would be an unbalanced project and/or a riffing contest framed on The Doors songbook. Such is not the case. Thus, Todd Rundgren performing alongside Captain Beeheart Magic Band guitarist Zoot Horn Rollo and Yes keyboardist Geoff Downes signify one of many rather unlikely, yet markedly productive and enticing state of affairs. It’s a varied set, where all the vocalists retain their signature chops and modus operandi. Although one unremitting factor is centered on their penchant for extracting the force-field of The Doors’ vocalist Jim Morrison’s commanding delivery.

The production’s stunning sound quality yields additional bonus points and should warm the hearts of audiophiles. Ultimately, each rendition of The Doors’ songbook is imbued with the musicians’ idiosyncratic niceties amid a plethora of shrewdly placed dynamics, layered keys and guitar shadings. They inject distinct characteristics but don’t sacrifice The Doors’ core song-forms. Hence, disparate musical personalities uncannily attain an accord on many fronts by imparting a sense of ownership and camaraderie, whether or not they were recording tracks in the same studio at the same time.

FourMusicians

It’s easy to discern that Sherwood and associates maximized the talents and style of each artist’s strengths, juxtaposed by strong soloing spots and the obligatory personal touches that many of us would anticipate. Van Leer helps give “Love Me Two Times ” a modern uplift by instilling some good old Hammond-B3 organ style boogie rock, abetted by Coryell’s Texas blues patterns and hard rock phrasings. Moreover, guitar hero Leslie West (Mountain) does what he does best via his emphatically thick vocals, coupled with sinuous slide guitar leads atop Rod Piazza’s harmonica notes, as they punch it out on this husky finger-snapping spin on “Roadhouse Blues.”

Tony Kaye (Yes) uses a synth emulated electric piano sound during “Riders On The Storm” and Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer) preludes “People Are Strange” with stride piano clusters and synths alongside time-honored session ace, guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter’s deft acoustic guitar work. Yet rockabilly vocalist Robert Gordon croons through “Touch Me” with the resonance and machismo of Morrison, complemented by pumping rhythms and Nik Turner’s (Hawkwind) swirling sax notes and prog rock keyboard great Jordan Rudess’ spiraling notes. Whereas, Rundgren tenders a pop-ish and clement outlook on The Doors’ swaggering and bluesy torch piece “Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar).

The Doors01

Highlights are thriving components, especially when infamous Yes alumni, guitarist Steve Howe and keyboardist Rick Wakeman delve into an extended call and response motif, spanning rock, jazz and classical nuances in the bridge section of “Light My Fire.” Here, Ian Gillan provides the antithesis of what we’d expect, considering his high-impact vocals with Deep Purple, as he counterbalances the soloists with a care-free and straightforward rendering of the familiar choruses. Indeed, this tribute endeavor covers all the bases and then some. It’s not to be overlooked. Kudos to the production team for bestowing their rather enlightening plan of attack as it’s quite apparent that a lot of thought prefaced the onset of this astonishing alignment of rock’s past and present rock stars. (by Glen Astarita)

First off readers let me say that I do not like cover bands, cover albums, tribute albums and compilation albums. I have always felt they should be considered a separate genre and that they usually do a disservice to the original composers and bands. After listening to “A Classic Rock Salute To The Doors” though I am rethinking those thoughts. It is hard to cover every song here, there are 16 of their greatest hits, so I will try to give an over view of what I think is important. I will leave the final decision up to you as to how good it really is after you listen to it.

The Doors02
I was fortunate enough to see ‘The Doors’, 3 times, once at Cobo Hall in Detroit. They were a very unassuming band with almost no equipment. They used no special effects, fireworks, light shows or anything other than themselves, a few instruments and only a couple amps and speakers. The stage was pretty empty even by the standards of the 1960’s. What they lacked in equipment they made up by how tight and cohesive they were as a group when they were all in sync with each other and halfway sober. Jim Morrison usually took all eyes off the other 3 members but make no mistake that without them Jim Morrison would probably have become another undiscovered rock star.

Several of the guests on this album most likely knew ‘The Doors’ back in the day and are by all rights are ‘Superstars’ themselves. More than 42 of rock’s greatest classic ‘Superstars’ showed up to play on this album. That’s a lot of “tribute” to any person or group and shows the love and respect they all had for ‘The Doors’ and their music. By my count there are at least 7 tribute albums out there for ‘The Doors’ but from where I sit this is probably the only one that should matter.

The album starts off with one of my favorites, ‘LA Woman’. From their 6th, album released in 1971, ‘LA Woman’. Jami Jamison, Ted Turner and Patrick Moraz do an admirable job of covering this tune. The guitar work, Ted Turner I am assuming, gives an old favorite a different twist.

I could go into much more detail on more songs off this album but since space is limited I will just give some observations here. This is certainly an album to help introduce anyone who has never heard ‘The Doors’ before to their greatness. After listening to it I guarantee they will hunger for the original music just to hear who these 4 guys, who cut out a slice of rock history for themselves, really were.

Booklet

The guitar work on every song is clean, precise and shredded, something that Robby Kriegers “fingerstyle” guitar playing did not allow him to do. Not that Robby Krieger wasn’t great, he was just not as technical since “fingerstyle“ playing is better suited to Flamenco and Folk Music. It’s probably the most notable difference in all of the tunes here.

Conspicuous by its absence here though is ‘The Unknown Soldier’ which could have easily replaced the version of ‘People Are Strange’ with David Johansen and Billy Sherwood. This is the only song I really felt did not belong among the 16 cuts on this album.

The closing song is my all time favorite and appropriately is, ‘The End’, featuring Pat Travers and Jimmy Greenspoon. Listening to this version gave me goose bumps and almost brought tears to my eyes. The depth is so different but not nearly as dark as the original. I think you’ll find yourself listening to it over and over again! (Mike Langford)

One of the finest tribute albums ever !

Biggest

Personnel:

Jimi Jamison: vocals (1); Patrick Moraz: keyboards (1); Ted Turner: guitars (1); Scott Connor: drums (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 16); Billy Sherwood: bass (all tracks), guitar, piano, synths (8), drums, keyboards (12); Lou Gramm: vocals (2); Thijs Van Leer: keyboards (2); Larry Coryell: guitar (2); Leslie West: guitar, vocals (3); Brian Augur: Hammond B-3 organ (3); Rod Piazza: harmonica (3); Mark Stein: vocals, Hammond B-3 organ (4); Mick Box: guitar (4); Joe Lynn Turner: vocals (5); Tony Kaye: Hammond B-3 organ (5); Steve Cropper: guitar (5); Edgar Winter: vocals (6); Chris Spedding: guitar (6); Keith Emerson: acoustic 7 ft. grand piano and original Moog, modular synthesizer (7); Jeff “Skunk” Baxter: acoustic guitar (7); Joel Druckman: acoustic upright bass (7); David Johansen: vocals (8); Robert Gordon: vocals (9); Jordan Rudess: keyboards (9); Steve Morse: guitar (9); Nik Turner: saxophone (9); Adam Hamilton: drums (9); Graham Bonnet: vocals (10); Christopher North: Hammond organ & Leslie (10); Steve Hillage: guitar (10); Ken Hensley: vocals, Hammond B-3 organ (11); Roye Albrighton: guitar (11); Eric Martin: vocals (12); Elliot Easton: lead and Spanish guitars (12); Todd Rundgren: vocals (13); Geoff Downes: keyboards (13); Zoot Horn Rollo: guitars (13); Mark Farner: vocals, guitar (14); Chick Churchill: keyboards (14); Glenn Grossman: drums (14); Ian Gillian: vocal (15); Rick Wakeman: keyboards (15); Steve Howe: guitar (15); Ricky Joyce: drums (15); Pat Travers: vocals, guitar (16); Jimmy Greenspan: keyboards (16).

For details see booklet

BackCover1.jpg

Tracklist:
01. Jimi Jamison, Ted Turner, Patrick Moraz: L.A. Woman 7.28
02. Lou Gramm, Thijs van Leer, Larry Coryell: Love Me Two Times 3.21
03. Leslie West, Brian Auger, Rod Piazza: Roadhouse Blues 4.06
04. Mark Stein, Mick Box: Love Her Madly 3.26
05. Joe Lynn Turner, Tony Kaye, Steve Cropper: Riders On The Storm 6.19
06. Edgar Winter, Chris Spedding: The Crystal Ship 2.44
07. Keith Emerson, Jeff ‘Skunk’ Baxter, Joel Druckman: Intro (People Are Strange) 3.58
08. David Johansen, Billy Sherwood: People Are Strange 2.21
09. Robert Gordon, Jordan Rudess, Steve Morse, Nik Turner: Touch Me 3.49
10. Graham Bonnet, Christopher North, Steve Hillage: The Soft Parade 8.04
11. Ken Hensley, Roye Albrighton: Hello, I Love You 2.39
12. Eric Martin, Elliot Easton: Spanish Caravan 2.54
13. Todd Rundgren, Geoff Downes, Wake: Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar) 3.26
14. Mark Farner, Chick Churchill: Break On Through (To the Other Side) 2.51
15. Ian Gillan, Rick Wakeman, Steve Howe: Light My Fire 7.00
16. Pat Travers, Jimmy Greenspoon: The End 11.23

All songs written by Jim Morrison – John Densmore – Ray Manzarek – Robby Krieger
except:
06.: written by Jim Morrison &
13.: written by Kurt Weil – Bertolt Brecht

CD1.jpg

*
**

Gillan – Magic (1982)

FrontCover1.JPGMagic is an album by British rock band Gillan, their final collaboration, released in October 1982. It features eight original songs, mostly co-written by Ian Gillan and Colin Towns, and a cover of Stevie Wonder’s 1973 hit single “Living For The City”. This cover was released as a 7″ single, in both picture-bag and picture-disc editions, and was accompanied by a promotional video.

Although the album was generally accepted by Gillan’s staunch UK following, it failed to achieve the chart success of Glory Road or Future Shock, peaking at No. 17 in the UK chart.

Magic was reissued in 1989 and in 2007 with seven bonus tracks, including cover versions and B-sides. (by wikipedia)

The final release of original material from Ian Gillan’s second project to bare his name, Gillan’s Magic was originally issued in 1982 by Virgin Records. The label also reissued the disc in 1988 with seven extra tracks, including covers and B-sides. As the group was winding down, their sound was softened a bit on Magic. The LP was generally accepted by Gillan’s staunch U.K. following; however, it failed to achieve the chart success of Glory Road. After opening with two incredible hard-rockers — “What’s the Matter” and “Bluesy Blue Sea” — Magic loses its edge. Moderated cuts like “Driving Me Wild” and “You’re So Right” have potential, but stall during unimaginative choruses.

Gillan

There are even a few straight keyboard pop moments on the inexplicable “Long Gone” that couldn’t have pleased older fans. This song in particular flirts with new wave, a heretic move from a co-creator of “Smoke on the Water.” The first single issued from Magic, Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City” is a spectacular flop. That, along with the bonus cover material (“Helter Skelter” and “Smokestack Lightning”), prove that Gillan’s powerful but quirky scream is exclusively suited for the classically influenced but catchy hard rock that made Deep Purple a platinum success. (by Jason Anderson)

BackCover1.JPG

Personnel:
Janick Gers (guitar)
Ian Gillan (vocals, harmonica)
John McCoy (bass)
Colin Towns (keyboards)
Mick Underwood (drums)

Booklet1.JPG

Tracklist:
01. What’s The Matter (Gillan/McCoy/Gers) 3.32
02. Bluesy Blue Sea (Gillan/Gers) 4.51
03. Caught In A Trap (Gillan/Towns) 3.35
04. Long Gone (Gillan/Towns) 3.57
05. Driving Me Wild (Gillan/Towns) 3.01
06. Demon Driver (Gillan/Towns) 7.16
07. Living A Lie (Gillan/Towns) 4.27
08. You’re So Right (Gillan/McCoy) 2.55
09. Living For The City (Wonder) 4.28
10. Demon Driver (reprise) (Gillan/Towns) 0.45
+
11. Breaking Chains (Gillan/Gers) 3.28
12. Fiji (Gillan/McCoy) 5.21
13. Purple Sky (Gillan/McCoy) 3.24
14. South Africa (Marsden) 4.03
15. John (Gillan) 4.44
16. South Africa (12″ extended version) (Marsden) 7.18
17. Helter Skelter (Lennon/McCartney) 3.26
18. Smokestack Lightning (Burnett) 4.10

Labels

*
**

TheInlets

Gillan – Glory Road (+ For Gillan Fans Only LP) (1980)

FrontCover1Glory Road is the third album by the British rock band Gillan, released in October 1980. The album reached No. 3 in the UK album charts.

The US version of the album had a slightly different running order and included “Your Mother Was Right” instead of “Sleeping on the Job”. The original UK album came with a free album called For Gillan Fans Only. “Unchain Your Brain” has been re-recorded, and released on Ian Gillan’s 2006 release Gillan’s Inn. A different version of “Trying to Get to You” can be heard on Gillan’s album Cherkazoo and Other Stories.

Glory Road came as a limited edition double LP, and contained the free LP For Gillan Fans Only. When Glory Road was eventually released on CD, most of the For Gillan Fans Only material was included as bonus tracks. However, “Higher and Higher”, “Egg Timer (Vice Versa)” and “Harry Lime Theme” failed to make it to CD until the 2CD 2007 Edsel remaster, which contains both the album and the whole of ‘For Gillan Fans Only’. This latter release also has retrospective comments by Ian Gillan and the original artwork, plus pictures of various single picture-sleeves. (by wikipedia)

IanGillanLike Mr. Universe, Glory Road put to shame many of the albums Deep Purple recorded after Ian Gillan’s departure. Play this album next to Purple’s post-Gillan 1975 release Come Taste the Band, and it becomes clear just how superior some of Gillan’s solo albums were. Those who like Gillan for melodic yet blistering heavy metal won’t be disappointed by “Sleeping on the Job,” “Unchain Your Brain,” and other inspired, high-octane rockers. A few years later, Gillan would experiment with elements of jazz fusion and R&B/funk, but on Glory Road it is his love of metal and balls-to-the-wall rock that wins out. Next to Mr. Universe, this was Gillan’s best studio date. (by Alex Henderson)

GillanPersonnel:
Ian Gillan (vocals, harmonica)
John McCoy (bass)
Bernie Tormé (guitar, vocals on 15.)
Colin Towns (keyboards, flute, vocals on 18.)
Mick Underwood (drums)

Inlet04ATracklist:
01. Unchain Your Brain (Gillan/Tormé/McCoy) 3.11
02. Are You Sure? Gillan/Tormé/McCoy) – 4:05
03. Time And Again (Gillan/Tormé/McCoy) – 5:05
04. No Easy Way (Gillan/Tormé/McCoy) – 6:34
05. Sleeping On The Job (Gillan/Towns) 3.11
06. On The Rocks (Gillan/Towns) 6.39
07. If You Believe Me (Gillan/McCoy/Tormé/Underwood) 7.33
08. Running, White Face, City Boy (Towns) 3.11
09. Nervous (Gillan/Towns) 3.44
+
10. Higher And Higher (Gillan/Tormé/McCoy) 3.42
11. Your Mother Was Right (Gillan/Towns) 7.23
12. Redwatch (Bernie Tormé/Underwood) 3.42
13. Abbey Of Thelema (Gillan/Towns) 6.06
14. Trying To Get To You (R.M.McCoy/Singleton) 3.17
15. Come Tomorrow 2:52 (McCoy/Tormé) 2.52
16. Dragon’s Tongue (Towns) 5.32
17. Post-Fade Brain Damage (Gillan/Tormé/McCoy) 6.03
18. Egg Timer (Vice Versa) (Samson/Thunderstick/Aylmer/Bruce) 7.11
19. Harry Lime Theme (Karas) 9.27

LabelD1* (LP 1)
** (LP 1)

* (LP 2 + artwork)
** (LP 2 + artwork)