ACE FREHLEY – ORIGINS VOL 1 (2016)
Release Date: 15 April 2016
℗ 2016 Entertainment One
- White Room
- Street Fighting Man
- Spanish Castle Magic (feat. John 5)
- Fire and Water (feat. Paul Stanley)
- Emerald (feat. Slash)
- Bring It On Home
- Wild Thing (feat. Lita Ford)
- Parasite (feat. John 5)
- Magic Carpet Ride
- Cold Gin (feat. Mike McCready)
- Till the End of the Day
- Rock and Roll Hell
Following the success of his 2014 release Space Invader, and subsequently gracing stages the world over for fans to make the pilgrimage and pay homage to one of the most iconic rockers in history, Ace Frehley takes us aboard the starship, backward in time to celebrate his influences. The release of Vol 1 certainly is suggestive of the possibility of future releases, but keep the mystery say I, and let’s just enjoy the first for a while. And enjoy you will.
This is one of those rare releases that consists of significant multidirectional appeal. Aging rockers can sit back and enjoy a rock icon celebrating the hits of yesteryear sprinkled with the freshness of his own unique edge. Guitarists the world over can spin the endless riffs again and again drawing influence from a master. This album is one you can put on at a party and let the familiarity of tunes accompany the social intercourse typical of gatherings. You can revel in the marvellous contributions of guests during selected serenades. One can simply soak up the latest release of a fan favourite and simply enjoy the superb work of a rock archetype. Hell, you can also get dressed to the nines in sparkling rock apparel, paint your face in ceremonial reverence to your favourite Kiss character, wield air guitar aloft and scream with glee in accompaniment to the first recording featuring Ace and Paul Stanley in almost two decades. The applications of this work seem so limitless that it fast appears essential to a rock music collection.
Having spent a little time with the man, I am content to simply continue on with our conversations as regards rock history and influences by means of the medium of communication in which Ace is most fluent, powerful, compelling and articulate. The language of guitar. Needless to say, but I anticipate the gems adorning this article of rock regalia will have more than its fair share of airtime from my speakers.
Ace launches us into this album with a sensational, and somehow uplifting rendition of White Room, originally purveyed by Cream. Brilliantly true to the original protagonists but with all the majesty of any Ace Frehley performance, it oozes reference to the former. The solos send you soaring with overtones of rock reminiscence.
Now could the Rolling Stones possibly be omitted from a rockers list of influences? Ace says ‘nay’ with a truly blistering version of Street Fighting Man and if the Jagger-esque vocals don’t hook you the solos certainly will. In the same spirit, Ace resurrects the brilliance of Jimi Hendrix with Spanish Castle Magic. Epic, just epic. No! Fucking sensational. One can visualise the pair on stage together in celebration of one another’s finery, with an assembled stage front mass going nuts in bewildered awe. The worship continues with a visit back to British rock royalty Free and a truly astounding performance of Fire And Water. Just an amazing performance and unmistakably historic with Paul Stanley and Ace together again. It genuinely finds one reflecting upon how much media beat up of bad blood is based upon accuracy, and considering the quality that is invented fantasy an alternate agenda. This may be a moderate hop from that typical of a Kiss form character, but the vocals delivered will give traditional fans an absolute treat. A visit straight back to any number of past classics demonstrative of vocal finery, albeit to something a little different. Sorry, just repeating for the Kiss fans… Now brace yourselves for a historical moment indeed as we hear Paul Stanley and Ace Frehley together again on one track.
Now, I must throw hands skyward and be perfectly sincere in my feelings of trepidation as we approach one of the finest creations of my beloved Thin Lizzy. I was fearful that this may not sit well with my uncompromising, yet steadfast dedication to Thin Lizzy and irrational, jealous guardianship of Phil’s Lynott’s memory. And really, who am I to feel this way? I should not have been concerned in the slightest, as the first three notes and vocal dedication to the original characters find harmony in my aural canals and weighty heart. The burden is lifted. Reverence to Thin Lizzy and the track, but moreover a magical and scarcely believable homage to the story line and historical content made manifest in song. How a mere mortal can replicate the grandeur with a guitar, escapes belief. Oh yes, a momentary lapse in concentration. This is a Spaceman after all. Little wonder. But the realisation takes the heights of unbridled excitement to new heights as you realise this is not the work of one man. The monumental glory of this track is further enhanced by the unmistakable skill afforded by the one and the only Slash. What a sensational treat. Bravura gentlemen.
The sensational delivery continues with Bring It On Home sure to bring the goosebumps to the surface. Amazing stuff and the track sequence as a mid-album change of pace is simply superb.
A further hallmark of this incredible collection is the appearance of the archetypical Wild Thing herself, Lita Ford. This is just perfect. Legendary rockers jamming to an absolute classic by The Troggs. Makes you feel like a fly on the wall of one of the rare rock moments as a couple of rockers just do their thing. Not too polished and not too perfect. Just jamming. Just perfect.
John 5 brings his magic to fold with a tremendous delivery of Parasite, I suspect finally delivered true to the vision when originally penned. Blistering solos bring this track into something larger than life.
Steppenwolf are fittingly represented as we are blessed with a Magic Carpet Ride that will knock your socks off, and send them floating back earthward. This is just before Ace belts out a sensational reclamation of Cold Gin. Simply amazing and vastly significant. The very first recording of Ace providing the vocals for both Cold Gin and Parasite, both of which he co-wrote back in the day, but now performs in brilliant style.
Till The End Of The Day is modernised marginally and freshened up, but still true to the unique style of The Kinks, before a tremendous rendition of Rock And Roll Hell brings this remarkable collection to a close. And all too soon.
This amazing collection with sensational contributions from characters like Mike McCready, Slash, Lita Ford, Rob Zombie and John 5 adds to the already vast appeal. Will there be a Volume 2, 3 or 4? Who knows? What I can assure you of is that after a listen to this gargantuan behemoth of inspirational appeal, you too will want more. I absolutely love this collection for a vast range of reasons, but primarily because the contents make up a component of that essential to Ace’s development and career. Simply put, that alone makes it essential listening. Its sheer magnificence is a bonus that will keep just on delivering for your pleasure.