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Mott’s CD review
by Lang Reid
we get closer to the end of the year, one’s thoughts immediately go into
replay, wondering whether this year was better or worse than previous ones.
Published this year by Pearson International the “Time Almanac with
Information Please” (ISBN 1-933405-49-X) it is a weighty tome of almost 1000
pages and billed as the world’s greatest fact finder, as you would expect of
any half-decent almanac.
The subjects covered by the book include current events, disasters,
entertainment, people, calendar and holidays, astronomy and space,
geography, sports, world statistics and countries, headline history,
environment, flags, etc., etc., etc. It also has separate sections on US
government and history and US states, cities and statistics.
I found the section on world statistics and countries to be very
interesting. Did you know that Thailand is the 19th most populous country in
the world? This is after China and India, both with populations over one
billion, and even behind Vietnam and Ethiopia, but in front of France, the
UK, and Korea. We are also mentioned (rather ingloriously) in the perception
of corruption, rated 59th, level pegging with Cuba and Trinidad and Tobago!
However, we are still better than Lebanon (#83), Cambodia (#130) and
Bangladesh (#158), but not as transparent as Estonia (#27), Malaysia (#39)
or even El Salvador (#51). The section on the history of the various nations
has tried to be up to date, but the military coup in Thailand missed the
cut. Perhaps next year!
For the fear of flying travelers, there are two complete pages of aircraft
crashes, but these were only the ones where more than 150 people perished.
There were crashes in many countries and various airlines; however, when
looking at other fatalities, I would suggest that you do not buy a ticket in
any Indian trains. Well that is what the statistics would indicate.
America again seems to be the only country that has had its crime statistics
included, and with 137.9 forcible rapes per 100,000 inhabitants, it looks as
if Cleveland Ohio is a good place not to take your wife on vacation.
The calendar and holidays section does not include all the Thai holidays,
which could probably have taken up half the book, with the only one
mentioned being the King’s birthday on December 5.
The section on space travel states that George W Bush is planning an
expedition to Mars. Many people hope he will be on it.
At B. 495 it is certainly a bargain as far as pages per baht is concerned,
but for me there were too many pages of American information. For example, I
am not convinced that the ‘world’ is getting breathless about getting the
results of American college basketball, back to 1939, when Oregon won, if
you are wondering. In that same basket put the Lady Byng award for
sportsmanship in the American National Hockey League. The world’s fastest
fact finder, for my money, should give me more of world facts, something
this publication does not do. However, if you are American and a follower of
American college basketball, it will afford you many happy hours of fact
Mott's CD Reviews:
Mott the Dog
Edited by Meow the Cat
Whips and Roses
5 Stars *****
In the early Seventies Tommy Bolin was the ultimate Rock Star/Guitarist. As
an artist his skills were right up there with the greats. His star burned
very brightly and was extinguished way too early.
Born in Sioux City, Iowa, U.S.A., dropping out of school at the age of
sixteen (there was far too much talent contained in that body to be trussed
up in the education system), he moved to Denver where he at first joined a
band called American Standard before quickly being enticed away to form the
freeform jazz/rock band Zephyr. Zephyr released two albums of psychedelic
tinged music with Tommy Bolin playing some very impressive guitar.
Leaving Zephyr behind in 1971 Tommy Bolin joined Energy, who although they
did not have a record contract as such soon built up a huge reputation on
the live circuit. During this time Tommy Bolin did the sessions for the
Billy Cobham album Spectrum, and as soon as this album was released in 1973
the world of rock music could no longer ignore this precocious talent.
Tommy Bolin then left Energy to replace Joe Walsh in the James Gang. Now,
although this was a huge rung up the ladder of fame and glory, it was still
an unexpected move as the James Gang was really just a straight ahead rock
‘n’ roll band, a very good rock ‘n’ roll band, but really Tommy Bolin’s
talents were a little under used in this situation. Must have been great fun
though, as the James Gang used lots of pyrotechnics, dry ice, and a lot of
lighting, with the stage show requiring a lot of running around and throwing
shapes. Whilst with the James Gang, Tommy Bolin appeared on two albums
‘Bang’ (1973) and Miami (1974) with Tommy Bolin having a hand in writing
most of the songs, and jolly fine albums they are too.
After the James Gang, Tommy Bolin did some session work, and then when
Ritchie Blackmore left Deep Purple, Tommy Bolin at the tender age of 23 was
invited to join as his replacement. Deep Purple at the time was still one of
the biggest names in Rock ‘n’ Roll. At the same time Tommy Bolin had been
offered a solo recording contract, and such was the ability and confidence
of the man that he decided to accept both offers. So whilst recording his
upcoming solo album Teaser, which was released in November 1975, Tommy Bolin
was also rehearsing with Deep Purple, and recording with them a new album
‘Come Taste the Band’ released in October of 1975. Tommy Bolin wrote all the
songs on his solo album, and had a hand in writing most of the songs on the
Deep Purple album.
Teaser is a fantastic album that played today stands the test of time. It is
definitely a rock album, but not the same sort of heavy rock played by Deep
Purple. The Deep Purple album is also a good album but not the sort of album
that you would expect from Deep Purple (far better though than their
terrible previous album the contemptible ‘Stormbringer’). The trouble was
that the mark four Deep Purple had divided into warring factions. The two
original members, drummer Ian Paice and keyboard player Jon Lord, were still
into playing hard rock and dare I say it, were a little older (this is all
irrelevant really as the band members were all still all in their twenties).
David Coverdale who had been scooped from obscurity two years before, but
was essentially a blues singer. Glenn Hughes on bass and vocals had come
from funk rock band ‘Trapeze’ and was determinedly pushing Deep Purple in a
funky direction as well as harboring hopes of becoming lead vocalist too.
When you drop the young talented Tommy Bolin into this mix, it is time to
light the blue touch paper and stand back.
With the albums waiting for release Deep Purple embarked on a massive world
tour encompassing Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, America,
and finally Europe. The set list comprised of Deep Purple standards with a
couple of new songs thrown in, and even for a time some of Tommy Bolin’s
solo efforts. But everywhere they went all people wanted to talk about was
what had happened to the previous guitar player, putting the young Tommy
Bolin under enormous pressure.
Deep Purple though still had great drawing power and were therefore in a
position to take advantage of all the excesses of the rock ‘n’ roll
lifestyle. Tommy Bolin was a party animal and what is a party animal
supposed to do under those conditions? Party! By the time the band got to
Japan they realized they had a serious problem with their new guitarist. The
gigs in Japan were a disaster, and although things were straightened out for
the American leg of the tour, the evil ways were back by the time the band
came to play Britain, where during Tommy Bolin’s solo spot at Wembley the
poor guy just froze. As soon as the tour was over the band broke up and for
eight years there was no Deep Purple, until the mark 2 line up got back
Meanwhile Tommy Bolin got a new Tommy Bolin Band back together again,
recorded another fabulous album ‘Private Eyes’ and went back on the road
again. But unfortunately the dye had been cast and on 4th December of that
year Tommy Bolin passed away after a gig in Miami Florida. He was only 25.
Thirty years later his music still lives on. In 1989 there was a marvelous
double CD box set called ‘The Ultimate’ released with tracks from all over
his career. Such was the brilliance of the man that there have been regular
releases from the archives over the years all of them worthy of your
In 2005 we were given this collection of ‘Whips and Roses’. The music is
stunning. Tommy Bolin’s singing and guitar playing is simply jaw droppingly
good. The album opens with a rockin’ version of ‘Teaser’ which fairly rocks
out of your speakers whilst retaining that trademark Bolin funky backbeat. A
lot of the other songs are works in progress for the Teaser album; this does
not mean that they are inferior versions. In fact, I think every song on
this album is absolutely at its zenith, and the title of the songs is
Second track on the album is ‘Fandango’, which was called ‘Crazed Fandango’
when the studio version was released. ‘Cookoo’ is a jam based on the Tommy
Bolin classic ‘Homeward Strut’, but boy what a jam. The version of ‘Wild
Dogs’ on this album is the best I have ever heard, and is worth the price of
the album alone. Starting with its downbeat vocals of a drifter on the road,
before Tommy makes the six strings howl as the song builds to a shattering
climax. Why this song has not been covered by other bands I do not know, but
somebody like Bon Jovi could do a cracking version.
There is also Jeff Cooks beautiful ballad Dreamer here. Tommy Bolin must
have burnt his fingers, his playing is so fast on ‘Marching Powder’. You can
almost hear the sweat running down the fret board. The fifteen minutes of
Flyin’ Fingers speaks for itself. The album finishes with two jam workouts
with Tommy Bolin letting the music carry him away. ‘Just Don’t Fall Down’
clocks in at nearly eleven exciting minutes, the aptly titled ‘Blowin’ Your
Cookies’ was recorded the night before Tommy Bolin passed away, when Tommy
got up and played with the house band at his hotel in Miami. It is a twelve
minute drop into what was obviously a longer jam, but the guitar work is
staggeringly good. There is no information on who played what on what track
as most of these recordings have been taken from unmarked boxes, but whoever
they were they were very good.
The album comes with a fine booklet with some informed liner notes by Simon
Robinson. The production was handled by Greg Hampton in association with
Tommy Bolin’s brother John. The work they have done should be applauded. A
second volume of ‘Whips and Roses’ is promised for early 2007, I personally
will look forward to that.
Just Don’t Fall Down
Blowin’ Your Cookies
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