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Tommy Bolin - 'Whirlwind' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/06/aa/db/tommy-bolin-whirlwind-29-1388808384.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 04, 2014    
 
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A great entry into the world of Tommy Bolin.

Tommy Bolin is a household name (at least in rock households!) but is known really for only a handful of albums - Deep Purple's 'Come Taste The Band', the solo 'Teaser' and 'Spectrum' with Billy Cobham and Jan Hammer.

However, the length of his discography is extensive considering he sadly passed away at the age of only twenty five. 'Whirlwind' is a collection of songs from his days with Energy plus solo exploits before joining Deep Purple in 1975. The album does fill in a number of gaps between his stints with Energy and James Gang and contains unreleased or rare tracks which truly demonstrate his versatility. Apart from this being a collector's item for all things Deep Purple, this album (in fact it is a double CD) has some great tracks which would have made a solid and valid album if released in the mid-Seventies. My main issue is that the packaging does not make it clear which ones are the previously unreleased tracks, although I suspect they are the Energy session recordings.

A number of the tracks are essentially jazzy instrumental jams and include the 26 minute original version of 'Marching Powder' and the Native American inspired 'Hoka-Hay'. Bolin (and all the musicians involved) demonstrate total mastery of their instruments but the tracks need a lot of concentration on the listener's part. Easier listening is provided by the acoustic songs played and sung by Bolin such as 'Don't Worry About Cash' which demonstrates a totally different and very simplistic playing style.

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The most satisfying tracks are the ones which are more commercial such as the ballad 'Alexis' which is well sung by Bolin and the upbeat 'Rock-A-Bye', performed with Energy including great vocals from Jeff Cook who also supplied the album liner notes. The standout track for me is 'Sooner Or Later' with Mike Finnigan on vocals and is a song that would have fitted nicely on the Wizard's Convention album.

It would appear that many songs included have been available on previous compilation and rarities albums but there is probably enough new material here to get a Bolin collector interested. For a casual listener, this provides a great entry into the world of Tommy Bolin.

Rob McKenzie

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