REAL TO REEL 2
Released in 2007 (Tesla Electric Company)
01. All The Young Dudes
02. Make It Last
03. Shooting Star
04. Not Fragile
05. Street Fighting Man
06. Is It My Body
07. I Want To Take You Higher
08. Do You Feel Like We Do
09. Beer Drinkers And Hell Raisers
10. Seasons Of Wither
11. Saturday Night Special
12. War Pigs
Jeff Keith – vocals
Frank Hannon – guitar
Dave Rude – guitar
Brian Wheat – bass
Troy Luccketta – drums
Produced by Tesla and Tom Zutaut.
Engineered by Michael Rosen.
I know. The last thing you want to read about is another covers album. After all, covers albums are done by bands that can’t sell their own material, are at a creative impasse and want to take refuge in songs that have already proven popular with the public, right? And what fan wants to wallow in that kind of artistic pea soup with them?
Sorry to disappoint you, but Tesla‘s Reel 2, the second disc in the Real To Reel covers set, is the result of no such circumstances. Although it appears they are jumping on the bandwagon with their peers, this is an honest musical endeavor and not merely an attempt to stay relevant. In typical Tesla style, this is a solid, no-frills production where the music is the most important thing. It looks like they’ve learned quite a bit from the heroes to which they pay tribute.
The disc features straightforward and in-your-face 70’s tunes played much like the originals. Jeff Keith‘s voice shines on all of them, particularly “Seasons Of Wither” (Aerosmith), “Make It Last” (Montrose) and “War Pigs” (Black Sabbath). “Not Fragile” (BTO) is the perfect song for those who like to be drawn in by thick opening riffs and swept away by a deep rhythm, skillfully provided by bassist Brian Wheat and drummer Troy Luccketta. A refreshing inclusion is “I Want to Take You Higher” (Sly And The Family Stone), this is a great fusion of funk and rock that maintains the booty-shaking groove and trade-off lead vocals of the original and adds a healthy dose of guitars by Frank Hannon and Dave Rude.
The remaining tracks are impressive renditions as well. From the gentle “All The Young Dudes” (Mott The Hoople) and “Shooting Star” (Bad Company), along the epic anthem “Do You Feel Like We Do” (Peter Frampton) to the freight train “Beer Drinkers And Hell Raisers” (ZZ Top), with all of the raspy vocals and crunchy jams in between, it is evident that Tesla is still at the top of their game.
So do what is necessary to become the proud owner of a covers album that does what it’s supposed to do; honor rock legends while adding your band’s personal flavor to those classic tunes. The formula seems simple enough, yet not many understand it. Tesla seems to have taken good notes and studied hard in order to easily pass the test. But then again, they had excellent teachers.
Reviewed by Nikki for Sleaze Roxx, October 2007.