Tony Reed - The Lost Chronicles of Heavy Rock Volume 1
Cover Albums by their very nature are inevitably a contractual commitment or a band that has run out of inspiration trying to make smash and grab from fans.
Musically it can go one of two ways. It can be a glorious celebration of bands roots and influences. Metallica's whole Garage Days/Garage Inc project is case in point. Such a high water mark in this kind of endeavor some of the songs remain in Metallic's live set to this day. I'm sure |Brian Tatler thanks his lucky stars they covered so many Diamond Head songs and it must have helped with the mortgage payments.
However in most cases it goes other way and is a horrible, horrible exercise in uninspired self indulgence. Worst example is Ozzy - Under Cover. From the terrible supposed to be a pun title to the bland track choice it isn't even good enough for bargain bin and an insult to call it land fill fodder. "All the Young Dudes" "Sunshine of your Love" "Rocky Mountain Way" are all more horrible than you are imagining but the total butchering of "Sympathy for the Devil" has to be heard to be unbelived.
Which Brings us to Tony Reed. This is unusual for definite. The title lays out his stall for this project. To record early hard rock songs ranging from 1969 - 1973 note for note seemed a bit pointless till I looked at it with bit more detail.
The first thing that struck me was sheer amount of time he has spent recording this. Three years between 2011-2014 underlined this was real Labour of Love and to even make more of a point that it was done from place of pure passion He is giving away album as free download from Bandcamp.
Yep you heard that right. FREE MUSIC!!!!
The Next thing I looked at was track list. No tired covers of Sabbath or Zep. Not even a Purple or Hendrix in sight. These are the lost or near forgotten architects of heavy Rock. Even the names known to fans of this music He went for least obvious choice possible. the For Example Rush "Garden Road" I'm not much of a fan but even for hardcore fans this is an obscure song by any standards. Another one is King Crimson "Court of the Crimson King" How many bad covers of "20th Century Schizoid Man" are knocking about? (Ozzy again wins prize for worst cover of this ever). The rest of the track list from bands like Fanny Adams, Bloodrock, Wishbone Ash, etc may be known to hard rock fans but his song choices here are not. To be fair Pentagram's beloved "Forever my Queen" is well known in doom hound circles but outside of that circle it's pretty obscure.
Despite the diverse artists covered here the whole project has a vibe that took me a few plays to hear and its Clutch. This is a very very good thing indeed. This album kicks with groove and swing. The fact that Tony Reed played every instrument on album is a very impressive feat.
This album, It does not sound like a bunch of covers cobbled together, rather a sounds like a band totally in sync with each other and playing out of their skins. It feels like it is sequenced for maximum impact with an "A" side and a "B" side It even has mid album ballad in form of Atomic Rooster's " Nobody Else" It flows with such skill it is a delight from top to bottom.
Tony Reed has said album is titled Vol.1 for a reason . If the quality of Vol.2 is this high I for one can't wait to hear it.
As I said this is a free download from Bandcamp (Link below) but for Vinyl collectors there is a limited edition pressing of it that comes with CD with 6 bonus tracks from Listenable Records. I grabbed copy and it is beautifully packaged with sleve notes on every track by Tony Reed......Other than that go to