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Ace Frehley - 'Origins Vol. 1' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     August 18, 2016    
 
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Kiss fans will lap this up, though there is little to entice a casual fan curious about this legend.

Historically, covers albums are hit and miss; they rarely add much to the original, and after one spin generally get tucked away to gather dust. This collection from former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley may possibly be an exception to the rule.

'White Room' (Cream) has Frehley putting his distinctive spaced-out vocals to great use; the guitar playing has a real force to it, and only the drum work lets it down. Both The Rolling Stones' 'Street Fighting Man' and Jimi Hendrix's 'Spanish Castle Magic' remind us of the roots of Frehley's playing. He tackles both with slick precision; the spoken-word vocal on the latter gives the song a new flavour, although guest John 5 offers little. The song that really knocks things out of the ring is 'Magic Carpet Ride' (Steppenwolf); the choppy guitars and trippy vocal effect mix together and sound like a bunch of drug-damaged cadets on a space mission. The misfires are The Troggs' 'Wild Thing' (featuring Lita Ford) which just sounds like a lame pub band and, despite having Slash as guest guitarist, Thin Lizzy's' Emerald' lacks the originals finesse.

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Kiss fans might be interested in Frehley revisiting his past, but 'Parasite' (featuring John 5 again) and' Cold Gin' (with Pearl Jam's Mike McCready) tread so close to the originals that they offer nothing fresh - new takes on Kiss' 'Talk To Me' or 'Dark Light' (without their eighties production) would've been better received. Scot Coogan supplies a superb lead vocal on Led Zeppelin's 'Bring On Home', while Frehley is left to play some seductive guitar.

Tackling 'Rock 'N' Roll Hell' by Kiss is a masterstroke; it originally featured on 'Creatures Of The Night', and although Frehley's face may have adorned the cover, he had little or nothing to do with this album having left the Kiss ranks by then. The classic big drum sound that Eric Carr made famous is retained, with a much improved guitar solo to the original. If Gene Simmons had sung, as was rumoured, then this would have been even more special. Fortunately, Ace Frehley did manage to get Paul Stanley to add his charismatic voice to 'Fire And Water' (Free). It's a joy to hear both these Kiss legends on song again, and is one of the golden nuggets on offer.

Kiss fans will lap this up, though there is little to entice a casual fan curious about this legend.

Ray Paul

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