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Zephyr - 'Zephyr' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/aa/f2/8f/zephyr-zephyr-26-1445544404.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     October 22, 2015    
 
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For Bolin collectors and fanatics, the chance to have this album re-mastered will probably feel like Christmas just came early.

There can be few musicians who had such a short career yet had so much of it plundered and released, rehashed, repackaged, re-released again... I'm talking here about the late Tommy Bolin. Unsurprisingly, I discovered him via his short but impressive stint in Deep Purple, and it led me to check out his solo work, in particular his diverse and utterly brilliant 'Teaser' album. Masses of stuff have come out from the vaults since then, and this release gives Bolin fans a chance to check out the record he made with his first major band way back in 1969.

Zephyr was a five-piece consisting of Bolin on guitar, vocalist Candy Givens, David Givens on bass, John Faris on piano and flute and Robbie Chamberlain on drums. The music is an eclectic mix, with 'Sail On' meandering for seven minutes through a 1960s Pop vibe, to the Blues work out of 'Sun's A Risin'' and the breezy, organ drenched 'Raindrops'. 'Boom-Ba-Boom' is a short, 'Green Onions'-like instrumental, while 'Cross The River' gets your feet tapping.

From a personal point of view, the material is a mixed bag and very of its time, and while Bolin's playing is distinctive and worth hearing, I was constantly distracted by the vocals of Givens, who had a tendency to shout and screech her way through some parts. If you can get past that, or were a fan of the band originally, you'll surely appreciate the massive sound improvements made by Givens who has had the album re-mixed and re-mastered. He was never happy with the band's sound, which he felt lacked focus due to producer Bill Halverson working on the album late at night and falling asleep at the controls!

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The re-mastering process also resulted in some outtakes being unearthed, so Bolin connoisseurs will enjoy the fact that there are four additional tracks added to the original nine. These include some live material and a band jam which, while not pristine studio quality (as there is plenty of tape hiss present), have a bootleg feel to them which kind of endears you to them as lost gems.

For me, Bolin's guitar work, while excellent, is not enough for me to return to this album often. For Bolin collectors and fanatics, the chance to have this album re-mastered with bonus tracks weighing in at eighty minutes will probably feel like Christmas just came early.

James Gaden

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