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CD REVIEW: ACE FREHLEY – Origins Vol. 1

| 12 April 2016 | Reply

Promo Image

Label: eOne Music

Release Date: April 15, 2016

Rating: 9.5/10

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

Let’s start this review with the fact that I am a lifelong KISS fan.  Can I listen objectively? I can and have in the past when reviewing other projects by bands I love, including KISS.  This disc of covers is less of a covers disc from me, as I am not thoroughly familiar with “classic” rock and the like.  That said, I think just about everybody has heard the disc opener “White Room” from Cream.  This track has a lot of the nuances of the original, but has definitely been touched by Ace, from the vocals to the guitars.  This is a cool rendition of the track that keeps the spirit of the original intact while allowing Frehley to put his own style into the sound of the guitar, while drummer Scot Coogan adds his own vocals at the bridges.  The Rolling Stones “Street Fighting Man” rolls through next and this is another tune I am familiar with, as I dig the Stones.  This is a cool version that takes a straight-forward approach to the track, as opposed to muscled versions I have heard previously. This song runs in the same vein as Ace’s take on “2000 Man” and suits his playing style and vocals.  “Fire And Water” from Free is a track KISS fans everywhere are waiting to hear, as Paul Stanley lends his vocals on this great track.  Frehley’s guitars are played to perfection with tons of feeling and melody, especially at the bridge, and the vocals are some of the best Stanley has offered up in years, in my opinion.  This track is an awesome addition to the disc and one of the better songs on the collection.  “Bring It On Home” from Willie Dixon and made hugely successful by Led Zeppelin is another shining moment on the disc.  The guitars are top notch, the pounding drums keep the groove, and Scot Coogan’s vocals add to the song’s feel.  This is a cover done right – something old and something new swirled together.  KISS’ “Parasite” is the first of three tracks Ace covered from his previous band.  Frehley and his band have performed this track live for years, but this studio version showcases his current take on the original, with additional guitar work from self-proclaimed KISS fan John 5.  The solos are some of the best on the disc, with Ace demonstrating some of his best playing of his career, while wrapping his hands around his past.  Another KISS track, “Cold Gin” is one of the first songs Ace wrote while in the band and even sang the second chorus during the reunion and subsequent tours while he was back in the band.  While good and classic, I would have rather heard him re-record a different track from his KISS days.  This track features Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready.

Jimi Hendrix’s “Spanish Castle Magic” is up next, and while I have heard the track, I am not a big Hendrix fan, so this is not something I am overly familiar with.  The guitars are solid and feature fret work from Ace and special guest John 5.  The vocals aren’t anything stellar, but are par for the course as far as Frehley is concerned.  “Emerald” from Thin Lizzy is one of those songs that I had never heard before running through this collection.  Featuring the guitar work of Slash alongside Slash, the guitars are the high point of this track, as the song itself isn’t one that I would go back and listen to on its own.  “Wild Thing” is a track that anyone who listened to heard rock and metal in the 80’s should be familiar with, thanks to Sam Kinison.  Originally recorded by The Troggs, this updated version features lead vocals and lead guitar duties being shared by Frehley and Lita Ford, who sounds great on this track.  Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride” is a track that most rock fans are familiar with.  I have never been a big fan of this song, and this version doesn’t add anything to the song for me.  The drums and percussion take us back to the groove of the original, while the guitars are heavier and ‘Ace-i-fied’, especially at the solo and bridge.  “Till The End Of The Day” from The Kinks is a track I had never heard before, but the vibe of the song fits what Ace is doing on this disc.  The guitars are cool and add a fun Ace vibe to the song, especially at the bridge.  The real surprise on this disc, other than the addition of Paul Stanley on another track, is the inclusion of the 1982 KISS track “Rock N Roll Hell” from Creatures Of The Night.  Ace had nothing to do with the original version, other than being pictured on the disc and doing press tours to promote the disc when it was being released.  This version is very similar to the original version, with a different take on the guitar solos thrown in for good measure.  This is another song that shines on this release and allows Ace to step up and show off his guitar work as well as vocals.

​​​Tracklisting: White Room – Street Fighting Man – Spanish Castle Magic – Fire And Water – Emerald – Bring It On Home – Wild Thing – Parasite – Magic Carpet Ride – Cold Gin – Till The End Of The Day – Rock N Roll Hell

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Todd ‘ToddStar’ Jolicoeur

Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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