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'Teaser' 40th Anniversary Edition (3LP + 2CD)
Out Now

Joe Geesin

joe geesin

tommy bolin

Guitarist Tommy Bolin is best known for his work with Deep Purple, on their 1975 album 'Come Taste The Band' (their last before they split), as well as his work with Zephyr and The James Gang. And while that Deep Purple album is considered a nadir, it is grossly underrated and is tainted by the subsequent tour, where issues and legacy destruction (oft drug related) would result in the band's split.

He also released two solo solo albums, either side of his Deep Purple tenure, both to much critical acclaim. His debut solo, 'Teaser', was originally issued in 1975 and this 40th Anniversary Vinyl Edition is the complete works, issued as 3 LPs with a bonus 2CD Best Of Live.

Born in Iowa in 1951, he later moved to Boulder, Colorado. He played in a lot of local bands, including American Standard, before forming the blues rock band Ethereal Zephyr in 1969, still in his teens. Shortening their name to Zephyr when signing to the Probe label. After two albums, Bolin formed the jazz/blues/rock band Energy who, like Zephyr and many of Bolin's work, have had much released posthumously.

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In 1973 Bolin joined The James Gang, a band Joe Walsh had previously played with, as well as recording with Billy Cobham. After two albums with TJG, he left to undertake session work, which included Alphonse Mouzon and Moxy, as well as touring with Carmine Appice and The Good Rats.

1975 saw the recording of this album, 'Teaser', that featured an all-star cast.

And, to note, the three LP is NOT the album as was originally released. Across the three discs we get fifteen tracks (the original LP had nine), and in addition to the bonus tracks not on the original and some live in-the-studio jams, several of the original LP tracks are alternate takes/edits/mixes, and are extended. These versions have all been previously released, across the 'Whips & Roses' compilation, 'From The Archives Vol 1' and the 'Ultimate Teaser' 3CD.

tommy bolin

The set opens with the title track, that features some a solid driving riff and bursts of sharp shrill slide guitar; the vocals are good but not as solid or high in the mix as to really do justice. It's a bluesy soulful number that exemplifies Bolin's work and is a good opener.

The sixteen minute 'Flyin' Fingers' completes side one, kicking off with some spaced guitar picking that builds in a jam rock with jazzy funk influences. Hawkwind meets Deep Purple for a funk lounge jam anyone? Don't let that put you off, nor the segment of Weather Report's 'Cucumber Slumber'; while the rhythms are easy, the guitar work is excellent.

Side two features a thirteen minute version of 'Wild Dogs' (under five minutes on the original LP). It starts off gently and builds to a solid hard rock number. Again this becomes a jam and the guitar work and outstanding solo is fabulous. It is almost Allman Brothes-esque. A track to sit back, close your eyes and sip the malt whiskey to.

'Cookoo' follows, a rough n' ready number with soul influences – still rocks hard though.

Disc two side one opens with 'Chameleon', another gentle workout that features a range of styles, that flow together neatly through Bolin's guitar. 'Lotus' is another track from the original album, here expanded from four to eleven minutes.

Side two opens with 'The Grind', a fine rocky number with an infectious groove that hints at the funkier side of Peter Frampton. Fine guitar work too. 'Crazed Fandango' is another rock groove number with some interesting effects too. I personally love this track. This side two runs to about eleven minutes – scope for another track or two on there.

Disc three side one opens with 'People People', a gentle American Rock number, and 'Smooth Fandango' follows on from its crazed namesake nicely, in a more lounge filmscore fashion. Some crazed piano layered on the rhythms work well. 'Marching Power' (was he trying to tell us something?) completes the side in a much more energetic fashion. Jan Hammer's signature keyboards are standout here – bringing a hint of Jeff Beck Group's 'Live' with him here.

Side two kicks off with the slightly darker 'Homeward Strut', followed by 'Dreamer', featuring a contractually uncredited Glenn Hughes. 'Savannah Woman' has another mix of interesting rhythms in a gentle fashion and the eleven minute 'Oriental Sky' closes in a classic jam rock way.

The album features a host of names, including Phil Collins, Stanley Sheldon, saxophonist David Sanborn and drummer Jeff Porcaro. And what a lovely album it is (studio outtake or otherwise).

On hearing Bolin's 1973 work with Billy Cobham, members of Deep Purple invited Bolin to try out with Blackmore having just left the band. He duly did, and Purple's 'Come Taste The Band' was released the same year.

That meant that promotion for 'Teaser' was limited, and the album didn't do as well as it could or should have.

That said, some gigs were played, and have been extensive archived. From shows at My Fathers Place, Northern Lights & Albany, Ebbets Field, and the Energy KBPI Broadcast, we get seventeen tracks across two CDs that show just how good Bolin was on stage, when he wasn't chemically inhibited.

'Marching Power' and 'Post Toastee' both run to thirteen minutes and other arrangements work incredibly well. The bands on show all perform with aplomb.

This is a fantastic package; three heavy duty LPs in individual sleeves and a 2CD in a gatefold card sleeve, and a large booklet all in a 12" box. Now THAT's a package.

All I would say is that there is scope for a lot more. And with so many jams and alternate takes, it would be nice to have included the original album as released at the time as well, on LP or CD.

Either way, packaging to match the music.

Bolin's work with Deep Purple, on record and on stage, has been well documented, as has his heroin, alcohol and cocaine fuelled death. Post Purple he did manage one more solo album, 'Private Eyes', which I sincerely hope gets the same treatment as this one.

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