Reviews roundup – Bonfire vs. Rat Scabies vs. Eliza Neal vs. Greenrose Faire
There are covers albums and there are covers albums. This is the latter as the German melodic rockers take on 32 tracks across 2 discs. That’s right people. 32 bleeding tracks!
It’s safe to say that it’s easy to spot where their influences lie as they kick off with three Toto tracks, then a handful of Rainbow tunes, followed by three from Survivor and three from UFO. Then it’s time for some Deep Purple and Queensryche before three (3!) Robin Beck songs. So they do like their melodic rock. No surprises there. I’m guessing that this breakdown was due to the confirmed performers for the Bonfire And Legends tour which should have been rolling through Germany right now. A tour which had booked Bobby Kimball, Joe Lynn Turner, Phil Mogg, Geoff Tate and Robin Beck amongst others. It certainly explains why this has been rushed out a mere six months after their excellent “Temple of Lies” album.
If you make it to the end they finish up with three songs from the legendary sixties East German rock band Puhdys. And the lucky Germans would have been halfway through experiencing the tour but unfortunately it was cancelled halfway through due to Hans Ziller falling ill. For shame. Does it work as a standalone album. Um, sort of. They don’t do anything new with the songs and I’m sure if it had been intended to be a standalone record there would have been considerably fewer songs on it.
But Bonfire are an exceptionally talented band so they don’t make a pigs ear of any of these. It’s when they head off into covering less well known numbers like ‘Love Don’t Lie’ from House Of Lords. and ‘Heavy Metal Breakdown’ from Grave Digger that you start to pay proper attention. Mind you James Christian and Chris Boltendahl were booked for the tour as well.
It’s a shame that it all fell through as this should have been a highlight of their lengthy career. Buy it, rip it and make your own compilation.
P.H.D (Prison, Hospital, Debt)
Apparently the recording of this started about 12 years back. So that’s one song per year. Nice work if you can get it.
Seems like Mr Scabies wants folk to know that he was more than just the drummer in That Band, so here he’s playing drums, guitar, keyboards and cigar box guitar. He’s got a couple of different singers in, none of whom are much cop which may be why the majority of the album is instrumental. He certainly knows how to rock out. As well as jazz it up, go all psych (baby) and even a bit trancey. In order that’s ‘My Wrist Hurts’, a cover of the old jazz standard ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’, ‘Floydian Slip’ (natch) and ‘Floating’.
And it just goes to show what a talented musician he is. It’s a rerr treat of an album which is completely over the place an d a bit off the wall. Which is exactly how you would have imagined a Rat Scabies solo album would be. It’s a shame things are so far gone because some of these tunes would have scrubbed up nicely with lyrics and a pancake faced vocalist. Never mind, just sit back and enjoy.
Love Dr. Love
We like Eliza Neals round our way. You’re always guaranteed some good time blues rocking when she puts in an appearance.
And that continues on this new single. Yes. A single. Two versions of ‘Love Dr. Love separated by a mere twenty seconds. But it’s three and half minutes (twice) well spent as she goes a bit New Orleans on a horn enhanced party of a tune.
She’s got a great voice and shows here that she can get her fonk on with the best of them. A wee surprise and a bit of a treat.
No video for this tune so here’s an oldie but goodie.
Riders In The Night
To Finlandia! For some Celtic folk rock. Which is fine by me as a) I’m Celtic (well Hibs but never mind) and b) I like rock. Sorted.
Album number four from the Finnish band and they seem fair pleased that it’s the first time they’ve recorded an album without a lineup change! Oh, and that they’ve squeezed in a bass solo. Never mind. But they are very good at what they do. Musically it wouldn’t come as a surprise to fans of Blackmore’s Night but, thankfully, Salla Rimmi is a better singer than that there Candice.
The band seem to be revelling in their sound as their is a definite feeling of enjoyment permeating the grooves. For sure, it’s probably a bit too ballad heavy for the latent metalhead within but when they get a bit jaunty and fiddle happy then it certainly gets the foot tapping. They’re also happy to throw in a sea shanty (‘Never Walk Alone’) and a fine bit of jigging on ‘Cold Winds Are Rising’. With violin, bouzouki and mandolin augmenting the basic rock band and a few good sing along moments, this is a sound that should get more than a few beers downed when they next host their own Medieval Folk Festival. A hey nonny no treat.
St Columba’s Hospice Tribute Fund for Linda Hamilton