“Gold” (remaster) by Tesla

Artist: Tesla
Title: “Gold” (remaster)
Label: Universal Music
Release Date: 8/26/2008
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 4.5/5

Back when this band was considered a struggling up and comer I had to say that for whatever reason I just refused to pay attention to them despite a couple of my friends lauding their musical excellence when the group was doing tours with Def Leppard. Don’t look at me like that because there are a lot of you that also ignored the band and didn’t start paying attention until they made an appearance on MTV’s “Unplugged” and played the old time hit “Signs”. Let’s be honest here and say that while it was a cover, this was the song that woke the wider audience up for the band Tesla and thank you guys for being so forgiving of us. Truth be told this band is a no holds barred fantastic Rock and Roll outfit that had a lot of good material to be enjoyed and since they were more of a conventional band when compared to their peers of the day, their sound was somewhat lost on the audiences that were flocking to 80’s Melodic Metal rockers and Glam Bands. I guess the timing was a little wrong for them but then again there were fans and the band became one of those underground success stories. Those who followed them did so in earnest and taught a hard lesson to those who were just coming into the game for the 3rd quarter. I was glad that there was a “Gold” remastered collection to enjoy because it’s the perfect place to begin your journey if you were one of those latecomers and an excellent place to rest upon your laurels if you have been following the band for many, many years.

Listening to this collection is a treat because it shows you just how many incredible songs the band brought to the table and how solid, pure Heavy Rock and Roll was the bedrock upon which all of the other scattered genre classifications had been built upon. There is honesty to the bands delivery on track after track and songs like “Hang Tough”, “Modern Day Cowboy” and “Heaven’s Trail” are guaranteed to convince you of this bands grit. The interesting them about them was the overall diversity which we found in their stellar ballad-type songs like “Love Song” and their touching dedication to long lost friend Steve Clark with “Song And Emotion”. The hit of “Signs” from “Five Man Acoustical Jam” is here and it was that song that sent me looking backward into the band and hence enjoying their debut “Mechanical Resonance” and its follow up “The Great Radio Controversy”. Perhaps this collection will find you doing a bit of the same considering the amount of material from those releases that is here to enjoy. Clearly there was a lot happening from the beginning with this band who took their name after the Serbian scientist Nikola Tesla.

The band offers up a number of covers on the release and brings them into the modern day by offering their own spin but not affecting the original premise at all which was a pleasant surprise. Delivered are Jeff Beck’s “I Ain’t Superstitious”, Montrose’s “Rock The Nation”, and Robert Johnson’s “Love In Vain” which was not only covered by the Rolling Stones but also has never before been presented on a Tesla release before this collection. What is very clear also about the band which new listeners might be aware of as this spins is just how together the band sounds and how tightly they manage to work with their material. Singer Jeff Keith has a bluesy rasp that is unlike many other vocalists and just works for this kind of stuff very well. Twin guitar leads from Frank Hannon and Tommy Skeoch are often blazing and always inspire the couch potato to pick up their own air guitar. Rhythm and its keeping the groove in place never seemed to be a problem for bassist Brian Wheat and drummer Troy Luccketta who are locked in as song after song blast through your speakers.

For me the first CD of the 2CD set was the best but they do some serious good on the second part and begin with their defense of band founder Tesla with “Edison’s Medicine” and this is a decidedly tasty heavy track. It’s here we also get the bands track from the Arnold Schwarzenegger film “Last Action Hero” and while there was a lot of talented Rock and Metal on that films soundtrack the movie was met as a dismal failure and yet I still found it a lot of fun. There is a song about Skeoch who stepped aside from the band based on addictions that disrupted his creative flow and while a six year breakup did happen the band reunited back in 2000 and has been hard at work ever since with guitarist Dave Rude stepping in to join the roster. We only hear him on a couple of the tracks but he sounds like a good fit and as the presentations curtain gets drawn the guys show us their influences once again with an amazing version of Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You”. A booklet comes with this one and while offering a couple of cool photos the best part is the in-depth historical walk through that we get as liner notes. For me I view it as valuable information to enjoy while the CD plays if you are someone that can manage reading when some serious rock is playing a proper volume. You can’t go wrong with thirty two tracks from a bands career and there is hardly a dull moment to be found on this one. Truly, Tesla is “Gold” worthy of digging up in the music bins and being a cherished part of your collection.

Track Listing:
1. Comin’ Atcha Live
2. Ez Come Ez Go
3. Modern Day Cowboy
4. Getting’ Better
5. Rock Me To The Top
6. Little Suzi
7. Hang Tough
8. Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out)
9. Lazy Days, Crazy Nights
10. The Way It Is
11. Love Song
12. Love In Vain
13. I Ain’t Superstitious
14. Rock The Nation
15. Signs
16. Paradise
17. Children’s Heritage
18. Cotton Fields
19. Edison’s Medicine
20. Call It What You Want
21. Song And Emotion
22. What You Give
23. Mama’s Fool
24. Try So Hard
25. A lot To Lose
26. The Ocean
27. Last Action Hero
28. Steppin’ Over
29. Into The Now
30. Heaven Nine Eleven
31. Caught In A Dream
32. Thank You

Official Website: http://www.teslatheband.com

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