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Author: Subject: Warren Haynes/ Hampton interview re: new Bolin tribute

World Class Peach





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  posted on 3/27/2012 at 08:57 PM
http://www.gibson.com/en-us/Lifestyle/Features/tommy-bolin-0327-2012/
 
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World Class Peach



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  posted on 3/27/2012 at 08:58 PM
Tommy Bolin Gets Tribute from Warren Haynes, Peter Frampton, Joe Bonamassa and Steve Lukather

by Ted Drozdowski

03.27.2012

Fitting for his status as a legendary American guitar hero, Tommy Bolin has continued to live on through his music. The latest new entry in his career – which ended via death by drug overdose on December 4, 1976, when Bolin was only 25 years old – is the just-released Great Gypsy Soul. And while the album does draw on tapes that Bolin left behind when he passed, Great Gypsy Soul puts a rare spin on the posthumous release cannon thanks to a pair of great guitar players influenced by Bolin: Gibson Les Paul Standard warrior Warren Haynes and the experimentalist/producer Greg Hampton.

The release blends unused tracks that Bolin cut for his debut solo album Teaser in July 1975 – just five months before his death – with newly recorded leads ‘n’ licks by a clutch of current guitar heroes including Derek Trucks, Steve Morse, Nels Cline, Peter Frampton, John Scofield, Brad Whitford, Sonny Landreth, Oz Noy, Steve Lukather and Joe Bonamassa.

Great Gypsy Soul started in 2004, when Hampton was producing the Bolin rarities collection Whips & Roses I & II. “As I cherry-picked though the live and studio recordings that became those two albums, I saw the potential for something really cohesive in the tapes that were left from the Teaser sessions – either uncompleted or alternate versions of the songs that made it to the album,” says Hampton, who first saw Bolin perform with Deep Purple during the group’s Come Taste the Band tour when he was 13.

The release of Whips & Roses sparked a revival of interest in Bolin and his legacy. After all, Bolin recorded just two solo albums before his death, although his performing history also includes a stint as the instrumental spark plug of the band Zephyr, taking over Ritchie Blackmore’s guitar seat in the original Deep Purple, bringing a dazzling level of pyrotechnics to Billy Cobham’s fusion-defining masterpiece Spectrum and live performances characterized by an artistic capacity that made him both a peer and influence to Jeff Beck.


After discussing the potential of the unearthed Teaser tapes with Bolin’s brother John, who oversees Tommy’s estate, Hampton made a call to his friend Warren Haynes.

“Warren was a fellow lifelong Tommy Bolin fan, and while I was producing Whips & Roses I’d been playing him some of the live tracks and outtakes,” Hampton explains, “but the Teaser tracks were truly special, and I knew when I suggested the idea of getting some of today’s greatest guitar players to add to them, he’d be excited.”

Warren signed on to the project immediately as co-producer and co-conspirator, and the two drafted a wishlist of guitar players they wanted to hear sparring and communing with Bolin.

“The artists we picked are all absolutely among the top three-percent of guitarists on the planet,” says Hampton. “They know how to play the notes, but also the spaces, so the album sounds really vital and alive. And they were all excited and available to do it, except for Jeff Beck, who had a schedule conflict. That was a shame because Jeff was one of the last people on the planet to hang out with Tommy. He opened for Jeff the night he died.”

Haynes adds that Great Gypsy Soul, which features Bolin playing a Gibson Explorer on its cover, is “very different from any other tribute record in the way that we took outtakes and alternate takes from the actual sessions that made up his two solo records and hand-picked the cast of players and singers to augment them.” No record labels, no corporate executives, no bean counters involved.

“Tommy gets more of the recognition he deserves in Europe and Japan,” Haynes says. “In America he’s not recognized as much partially due to the musical climate change that took place in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Like Jimi Hendrix, Duane Allman and Paul Kossoff, he was just getting started. Maybe this album will help people understand what an amazing contribution he made to music in such a short time.”

In several studios across the country, Haynes and Hampton cut tracks with their handpicked coterie. “The great thing about Warren is that he has an ability to talk to any player on an equal level, regardless of genre,” says Hampton, whose résumé includes producing compelling albums for a range of performers from Alice Cooper to Dr. John, as well as his own sonically exploratory bands.

Haynes also contributes his signature heavyweight slide ‘n’ licks blend to “Teaser,” filling the spaces around Bolin’s own riffing and clarion vocals. “For me, it was just playing according to the needs of the song and what he was doing,” Haynes says. For other players, like Steve Morse, who put his own sonic whammy on “Crazed Fandango,” “it felt a little weird, like playing with a ghost. He was there, but, of course, not there to really respond, so it required a different kind of concentration than I might use on a record with my own band.”

Cut for cut, the results are both elevating and bone crunching, starting with Gibson Les Paul Custom hero Peter Frampton’s keening licks on “The Grind” and continuing through John Scofield’s funky rip through “Savannah Woman” and Brad Whitford’s vicious, snarling leap into “Wild Dogs.” Steve Lukather’s turn in “Homeward Strut” was poignant, Hampton points out, because it not only paired him with Bolin but with his fellow Toto co-founder Jeff Porcaro, who played drums on the track and who died in 1992. And “Lotus” adds Black Country Communion mates Joe Bonamassa and Glenn Hughes, who laid down their Zeppelin-informed contribution in one take, augmented later by the sonic expressionism of the great improviser Nels Cline, from Wilco.

Cline and Hampton are Great Gypsy Soul’s true secret weapons. Most of their contributions appear on disc two, a bonus CD that stretches Bolin’s original tracks to the interstellar regions – which is exactly where experimenters Cline and Hampton do their most-inspired playing.

“Some of the most relaxed and organic performances on the album are on the second disc,” Hampton explains. “On ‘Flying Fingers,’ it’s Oz Noy and Nels doing some of the coolest soundscaping I’ve ever heard, and it locks perfectly with Tommy’s original conception. And the rest of the disc is ‘Marching Bag’ broken into four movements, blending amazing team-ups of guitarists with Bolin’s tracks. Hampton, Cline, John Scofield, slidemen Sonny Landreth and Derek Trucks, Lukather, Frampton, Haynes, Noy, Bonamassa, Whitford and Morse all play a role in the various combinations.

“For people who’ve never heard Tommy,” Hampton says, “this is going to be an eye-opener.”

 

Peach Master



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  posted on 3/27/2012 at 09:48 PM
Thanks for the link. The discs sound interesting.
 
 


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