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Review | Teaser Deluxe
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Teaser Deluxe
Tommy Bolin

Reviewed by David Streeten March 2011

I am suprised how good Deluxe is. I guess part of the problem for me is that I’m so familiar with all of the songs, that it would take some pretty inspired playing to win me over, but win me over it does. While songs like ‘The Grind, Dreamer’ and ‘People People’ remain close to the originals, it’s the funkier moments that really shine. The funky middle section of ‘Teaser’ is given more room to breathe and I like the looser feel of ‘Homeward Strut’. The extended solo on ‘Wild Dogs’ is a welcome surprise, but standout track for me is ‘Lotus’. Apart from the vocal treatment which almost render them unrecognisable (lost in a sea of reverb), the extended back section is sublime. I always hated the rapid fade on the original, it was teasingly (haha) cut short, not so on ‘Deluxe’. The groove is so infectious and seems to bring out the best in all players involved. Whereas Bolin solos in a more traditional (albeit fantastic) ‘rock’ manner in Wild Dogs, the looser reggae beat of Lotus allows him more room for inventiveness and he weaves in and out of the groove with some blistering runs alternated by more subtle passages. I think this is one of the better, more consistent releases from the Bolin camp, it really showcases how good the original album was and it’s a joy to hear these new alternate takes. It’s up there with the CTTB rerelease and the Mk 4 rehearsals.
Listening to the fresh, energetic playing here and comparing it to his live work a year later shows how how rapid and dramatic his fall from grace was.

 

Teaser Deluxe
Tommy Bolin

Reviewed by Sal Serio, March 2011

Sometimes the next best thing is all we can hope for. Even better is when the next best thing exceeds expectations. This is the case with the new CD release of unreleased recordings by late guitar virtuoso Tommy Bolin.

Bolin made his mark in the early to mid 70s by playing some completely mind blowing lead guitar on Billy Cobham’s Spectrum and Deep Purple’s Come Taste the Band. Fans of the musician’s meaty chops and dizzying triplets were pleasantly surprised by his subsequent solo records, which showed more expressive range and beautifully delivered vocals. The first of these albums, 1975’s Teaser, has never been released on CD form domestically, and the import issues have been sorely lacking in sonic quality. The last this reporter heard, Sony/Universal didn’t feel the project would generate enough return to make its reissue a priority.

Therefore, 35 years after its release, the new Teaser Deluxe project, spearheaded by Greg Hampton with the blessing of Johnnie Bolin, is truly a reason to rejoice. Hampton has unearthed previously unheard multi-tracks of the Teaser sessions, and brought alternate takes of those tracks up to 21st century audio standards.

Originally, Bolin envisioned the Teaser project to be half instrumental, half vocal, but management shied away from featuring too many instrumentals. This new CD brings back some of Bolin’s vision, with the inclusion of two outtakes of the far-out jazz metal romp “Crazed Fandango”. One version displays the soaring saxophone of David Sanborn, while the other features more piano and guitar. Additionally, some songs which were closer to the four minute mark on the 1975 release now run well over eleven minutes in length, giving Bolin room to stretch out his frenetic soloing. The extended jamming functions better on the smoother “Lotus” than on the straight-ahead rock of “Wild Dogs,” but both are intriguing to compare to the final LP edits. Also of interest is the inclusion of Bolin singing along to some of the lead parts in “Wild Dogs” and “Savannah Woman”.

Attention should also be given to the addition of intro riffs counting off “Homeward Strut” and “Marching Powder,” which gives the listener a little teaser of sorts before the song as it’s known materializes. In some cases, such as the rhythm guitar flanging on “Homeward Strut,” subtleties are brought to light that were lost, or simply not present, on the 1975 LP.

Teaser Deluxe is a must for anyone who enjoys sincere rock and roll with diversified flavors. I’m thankful that these aural treats can be tasted once again.

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