CD Reviews

Tommy Bolin - 'Teaser Deluxe' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     May 17, 2011    
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To call this the 'deluxe' version of such a great record is something of a misnomer.

Hmmm ... I'm a bit stuck with this one. First things first, I absolutely love Tommy Bolin's 'Teaser' album. I think it's an eclectic work of genius and love every note on it from start to finish. What I really wanted was for the album to be remastered. The CD version is old and quiet, it needs some serious pep to bring some sparkle back to such a magnificent record. When I saw 'Teaser' deluxe was coming out, I thought it would be like the Rainbow or Black Sabbath deluxe editions, with a remastered disc and maybe some out-takes or bonus stuff on disc two. Bring it on! But then I discovered that it isn't that at all.

What this version of 'Teaser' is, is something else. Greg Hampton (producer of the Tommy Bolin 'Whips And Roses' CDs) has put together an album containing alternate versions of all the tracks that appeared on the original 'Teaser' album. Apparently the material was remixed from original multi-track tapes. This is where I have a problem. I'm so used to the proper studio version of 'Teaser' that these cleaned up demos, alternate takes, whatever you want to call them, don't do it for me. The production work on them to master them is very good, but it's also raw sounding. There's a couple of lyrics here and there which differ to the versions on the proper 'Teaser' - for example Tommy sings "She pulls her vodka and grapefruit tight" in 'Savannah Woman' which doesn't fit at all - no wonder it was changed to "gin and tonic" on the proper version. Also, the finale of 'Dreamer' misses Glenn Hughes badly, and as for 'Lotus'... dear me, Tommy vocals are panned left and right with a horrible effect on them which renders them completely unintelligible. No comparison to the finished version.

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Most of the songs are longer than the finished 'Teaser' counterparts, some dramatically so. It's cool to hear Tommy stretch out on some of them - for example 'The Grind' has a couple of minutes more playing than the original, and it highlights once again what a brilliant player he was. But some of them are over the top - does 'Wild Dogs' really need to clock in at almost fourteen minutes, compared to the original album version which is a mere 4:40? Does this version of 'Lotus' need to be three times longer than its original album counterpart? Not for me, as good as Tommy's extended soloing is, it kills the song for my tastes. There are an additional two tracks, two versions of 'Crazed Fandango' which is basically a jazz jam with a rock riff. It's good, but not to the point where I couldn't believe how it had been left off the original 'Teaser'.

I guess if you love Tommy and want to hear more great examples of his work, then get this. For me though, none of these versions top the ones on the fantastic original album, and in the case of 'Lotus' it's nowhere near. All I wanted was the original album to be remastered - this would have been a terrific bonus disk for it, but to call this the 'deluxe' version of such a great record, when it is in fact an entirely different set of recordings, is something of a misnomer as far as I'm concerned.

James Gaden

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Comments (1)add comment

Karl-Heinz said:

Yes it's right. The title is misleading. And I also would like to have a proper remaster of the original album. But as far as I know, the original reels are lost.

But, it they had call "Teaser alternative".

This is an extraordinary album. I love the long versions with fantstic guitar and vocals. Great produced. Fantastic alternative versions. Most versions VERY different to the original versions, which makes it really interesting. If you call it demos, it don't really fit, because it is no garage sound. It's really hot....

There will be no new songs from Tommy, so I'm glad that the family shared these jewels with the fans.

If this would be a double with the original album and these outtakes, than it would be a holy grail.

June 11, 2012
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