Saturday, August 17, 2013

CD Review: Lost Tommy Bolin Recordings Get New Life On "Whirlwind"

American guitarist Tommy Bolin was at the center of some of the most incredible rock moments in the seventies. He was a founding member of the band Zephyr, who opened for Led Zeppelin in the early seventies. Bolin would move on to be an influential part of The James Gang and Deep Purple, before going solo in 1976. His career would be cut short because of a heron overdose after performing a show with Peter Frampton and Jeff Beck.
Now, Cleopatra Records is releasing a two-disc set of rare, unreleased recordings from Tommy Bolin's solo and band career. The new set entitled "Whirlwind" brings together 18-songs that would become highlights of Tommy's solo albums.
The first disc contains eleven songs beginning with the loose, instrumental "Cucumber Jam." While most of the songs are instrumentals, you get an appreciation as to how good of a guitarist Tommy Bolin was. His playing on "Hoka-Hay!" and on "Rock -A-Bye" show where Tommy's heart was prior to joining The James Gang. The first disc also contains a couple of songs that he was working on for his third solo album, the blazing instrumental "Dungeon" and the seventies funk-sounding "Gotta Dance." A couple of the highlights are the solo acoustic "Don't Worry 'Bout Cash" and the smooth, lead vocals of The James Gang song, "Alexis."
The second disc starts off with the instrumental version of "Red Skies" as Tommy's guitar does all the talking. A great 1972 acoustic demo of "Way It's Always Been"  and a raw recording of "Leave Other People Alone" shows us some insight into Tommy's writing process. The highlight of the second disc and probably the entire set is the original 26-minute instrumental "Marching Bag" which ended up as the 4-minute "Marching Powder" on Tommy's debut solo album "Teaser."
This two-disc set will also be released as a 2-LP gatefold vinyl set and in a limited edition deluxe box set which includes the two CDs along with 4 color postcards, a Tommy Bolan signature guitar pick, a collectible patch and a pin. For more information on this exciting new release, please check out

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