“Whips and Roses” by Tommy Bolin

Artist: Tommy Bolin
Title: “Whips and Roses”
Label: SPV Records
Release Date: 4/25/2006
Genre: Rock
Rating: 4/5

Tommy Bolin’s “Whips and Roses” is a collection of previously unreleased material from his 1975 album “Teaser”. It features newly discovered takes from songs found on Teaser as well as several instrumental jams released for the first time on this CD. This collection gives an interesting glimpse into the playing of Tommy Bolin. Bolin had an influential career that was cut short at the age of 25 due to a drug overdose. Probably most known for his stellar playing on Billy Cobham’s “Spectrum” album, which included Bolin on Guitar, Billy Cobham of Mahavishnu Orchestra on drums, Leland Sklar on bass and Jan Hammer (also of Mahavishnu Orchestra) on keyboards and synthesizers. This was a fusion masterpiece that influenced Jeff Beck’s “Wired”, and “Blow by Blow”. In 1973, Bolin became Joe Walsh’s replacement in the James Gang where he had two records with this band: “Bang!” in 1973 and “Miami” in 1974. In 1975, Bolin replaced Ritchie Blackmore in Deep Purple and appeared on the studio album “Come Taste the Band”.

“Whips and Roses” contains outtakes that show the potential and creativity of Bolin’s playing and songwriting. Kicking off with a solid riff rocker “Teaser”, shows that Bolin’s outtakes can be more powerful than most other artist’s releases. The next track “Fandango” is a rock fusion jam deluxe while the third song “Wild Dogs”, shows that Bolin could write an anthemic rock tune even though it does get into some extended jamming showcasing his slide playing as well as his blend of blues and jazz. The recording quality varies from track to track based on where they are taken from. Some of the jams like “Blowin’ Your Cookies” have a lo-fi live sound to them but they still showcase Bolin’s talent and vision as a guitarist and musician.

While not spotless, “Whips and Roses”, is a fine addition for a any Bolin’s fan collection. It is also a fine showcase of a talent that was cut short far too early in life.

Track Listing:
1. Teaser
2. Fandango
3. Wild Dogs
4. Cookoo
5. Savannah Woman
6. Marching Powder
7. Flyin’ Fingers
8. Dreamer
9. Just Don’t Fall Down
10. Blowin’ Your Cookies

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

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