Tommy Bolin -"Teaser Redux" CD Review (Samson Records) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tommy Bolin -"Teaser Redux" CD Review (Samson Records)

Tommy Bolin -'Teaser Redux' CD ReviewWhile guitarist Tommy Bolin has yet to obtain the posthumous, “larger than life” profile of Jimi Hendrix, similar to the Hendrix catalog, there have been a steady stream of live and studio archival material from Tommy Bolin’s various projects released over the past decade. In a recent MetalSuck interview, producer/custodian of the Bolin archives Greg Hampton was asked to compare Bolin’s guitar playing against guitarists of his day: “Definitely one of the greats, no doubt. He was definitely as good as those guys, as the Jimmy Pages and the Jeff Becks. A lot of people thought he was supposed to be heir to the whole Hendrix thing, because of his versatility. He never got a chance to get to that point.

This latest release, Teaser Redux, is a collection of alternate takes from the June – July ’75 sessions that resulted in Bolin’s hallmark solo debut Teaser (originally released on the Nemporer imprint and strangely out of print for years). I have a number of friends who play guitar and the older ones still ‘worship’ Bolin’s playing as he lays down fluid leads and intricate solos across a variety of style that range from reggae to Latin to jazz fusion. Teaser Redux is a loose and relaxed run-through of all of the tracks that ultimately ended up on Teaser along with two versions of “Crazed Fandango” (a Teaser outtake; I believe both versions were previously released on the Whips & Roses compilations).

Where it gets interesting is that most of the Teaser tracks are extended versions and the running time of the original disc has been extended by 23 minutes. While most of the tracks have been extended by a minute or two, the real bonus is that the running time of “Wild Dogs” and “Lotus” has more than doubled. “Wild Dogs” features some brilliant guitar work on the extended portion and Bolin goes into a mid-song solo after asking “Why do you keep playing the parts I don’t sing on?” and then following this with scat guide vocals.

While a domestic release of the CD version of Teaser continues to ‘spin’ in legal limbo (…I’ve heard the sound on the Japanese import isn’t that good), Teaser Redux is a worthy stop-gap. Long-time Bolin fans will likely find these demos/working versions worth picking up as well.

Tommy Bolin