Monday, September 7, 2015

Tommy Bolin - 1989 "The Ultimate"

Thomas Richard "Tommy" Bolin (August 1, 1951 – December 4, 1976) was an American-born guitarist who played with Zephyr (from 1969 to 1971), The James Gang (from 1973 through 1974), and Deep Purple (from 1975 to 1976); in addition to maintaining a notable solo career.

Although guitarist Tommy Bolin died well before his time, he left a wide variety of scattered recordings behind (as both a session musician and permanent member of several rock bands). One of the more versatile guitarists of all-time, Bolin touched upon many different styles - blues rock, heavy metal, jazz fusion, and serene ballads, which are all on display on 1989's 2-CD boxset, The Ultimate. In addition to the music, the set comes with a large, gorgeous booklet chock full of pictures, plus a very detailed and informative biography. Disc 1 chronicles Bolin's early years, and while it contains several standouts (the amazing instrumental "Quadrant 4" with Billy Cobham, The James Gang's "Alexis" and "Standing In the Rain," etc.), the selections by his first band, Zephyr, and as a hired hand with a Zep-clone band called Moxy, have not aged well. Disc 2 proves to be more consistent, including tracks with jazz drummer Alphonse Mouzon ("Golden Rainbows," "Nitrogyclerin"), as part of Deep Purple's final '70s line-up ("Gettin' Tighter," "Owed to G"), and as a solo artist ("Dreamer," "Teaser," "Sweet Burgundy," "Shake the Devil," etc.). Although the set was out-of-print by the late-90's, 'The Ultimate' serves as a solid introduction to the talents of the great Tommy Bolin.

This is a grandly packaged retrospective of Tommy Bolin's work, and a must for collectors. It includes songs from Zephyr, The James Gang, Billy Cobham, Alphonse Mouzon, Moxy, Deep Purple, and Tommy's two Solo Ablums (Teaser and Private Eyes). There is also a previously unreleased accoustic version of "People, People" (called "Brother, Brother") that sets the stage for later releases of archived tapes. A wonderful biographical picture booklet accompanies this 2CD box set, which is heavily laden with trivia to bring back even the most ardent fan again and again to check over the facts and timelines.

1989 2-disc 12" x 12" Geffen Records CD box set with 24-page oversized booklet complete with photographs and history of Tommy Bolin's too-short music career, from Zephyr through jazz fusion and Deep Purple to two critically-acclaimed solo albums.

The Ultimate: The Best of Tommy Bolin (Geffen Records/1989) is a spectacular two-CD box set that highlights the recording career of the late Tommy Bolin. Unfortunately, substance abuse resulted in the tragic death of Bolin at a very young age. Tommy left the world prematurely, but before he passed-on, he left a his mark with inspired music that will live on forever. With a cosmic aura, and incredible fretboard prowess, many considered Bolin the successor to the legendary Jimi Hendrix.

Tommy's gifted work is well documented throughout this exceptional collection of diverse tracks that spans his short, but illustrious career. From his early efforts, to the very end, The Ultimate tells the story of Tommy Bolin's expressive song writing, and incredible guitar playing ability. Bolin's recordings with Zephyr, The James Gang, Deep Purple, plus sessions work and solo material, are included on the pair of discs from the Ultimate retrospective.  

The box set also includes a beautiful and detailed booklet, featuring Simon Robinson's liner notes, as well as numerous photographs that span Tommy Bolin's shortm but dynamic life. The cover shot of Tommy, performing in a haze of purple, while working the fretboard of his Fender Stratocaster is an incredible photograph that captures the Sioux City, Iowa native in full six-string-sting.

Tommy was comfortable playing hard rock, ballads, jazz, and funk. That fact is clearly evident throughout The Ultimate: The Best of Tommy Bolin. The legendary Tommy Bolin is missed in a major way, but one and all that heard his music were touched by magic.  

Tommy Bolin R.I.P.


Disc One:
1. ZEPHYR: Sail On
2. ZEPHYR: Cross the River
3. ZEPHYR: See My People Come Together
4. ZEPHYR: Showbizzy
5. JAMES GANG: Alexis
6. JAMES GANG: Standing in the Rain
7. JAMES GANG: Spanish Lover
9. BILLY COBHAM: Quadrant 4
10. MOXY: Train
11. MOXY: Time to Move On

Disc Two:
1. ALPHONSE MOUZON: Golden Rainbows
2. ALPHONSE MOUZON: Nitroglycerin
3. DEEP PURPLE: Gettin' Tighter
4. DEEP PURPLE: Owed to 'G'
5. DEEP PURPLE: You Keep On Moving
6. DEEP PURPLE: Wild Dogs
7. TOMMY BOLIN: Dreamer
8. TOMMY BOLIN: People, People
9. TOMMY BOLIN: Teaser
10. TOMMY BOLIN: Sweet Burgundy
11. TOMMY BOLIN: Shake the Devil
12. TOMMY BOLIN: Brother, Brother.


Glenn Hughes Bass Lee Sklar Bass Dale Peters Bass Reggie McBride Bass Terry Juric Bass WALLEZ Bass Henry E. Davis Bass VIOLONS DU ROY-QUEBEC Bass David Givens Bass Bill Wade Drums Jeff Pocaro Drums Ian Paice Drums Billy Cobham Drums Robbie Chamberlain Drums Bobby Berge Drums Alphonse Mouzon Drums Jim Fox Drums John Faris Flute Tommy Bolin Guitar Earl Johnson Guitar Buddy Caine Guitar Candy Givens Harmonica Mark Stein Keyboards Stanley Sheldon Keyboards Jan Hammer Keyboards John Faris Keyboards Tommy Bolin Keyboards David Foster Keyboards Jerry Peters Keyboards Jon Lord Keyboards Tommy Bolin Main Performer Bob Hall Percussion Rafael Cruz Percussion Norma Jean Bell Percussion Sammy Figueroa Percussion Norma Jean Bell Saxophone David Sanborn Saxophone Glenn Hughes Vocals Buzz Shearman Vocals Roy Kenner Vocals Candy Givens Vocals Tommy Bolin Vocals Dale Peters Vocals Reggie McBride Vocals David Givens Vocals David Coverdale Vocals Mark Stein Vocals WALLEZ Vocals Robbie Chamberlain Vocals

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