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Ace Frehley - Origins Vol. 1

Ace Frehley
Origins Vol. 1
by Johnny Jackal at 18 July 2016, 10:44 AM

It’s an honour and a privilege to review on album by the likes of Ace Frehley. The legendary lead guitarist from KISS. Two years after releasing an album that was really well received by the critics, he gets out a compilation of cover songs of artists that inspired him to be a musician. The first song is ‘’White Room’’ by CREAM. This is a much heavier cover than the original. It’s very high energy and Ace is in fine form. The production is top notch. It’s very close to the original but it’s a bit faster and it has take Heavy Metal Vibe.

The second song is ‘’Street Fighting Man’’ by ROLLING STONES. Another cover that is far heavier than its predecessor. The vocals aren’t too fancy and lacks the energy and charisma of Mick Jagger unfortunately. I feel Ace was going through the motions on this one. It’s good, not great. The third song is ‘’Spanish Castle Magic’’ by JIMI HENDRIX. It has solid guitar work from underrated talent JOHN 5. We all know he was in mediocre bands but the guy has incredible chops. The guy can shred like the best of them, don’t be fooled by his weird appearance, the guy is awesome. This is probably the most underrated (yup, that word again) JIMI HENDRIX song. I felt the vocals were uneven and were missing some energy. I felt the YNGWIE MALMSTEEN cover was way better than this one.

The fourth song is ‘’Fire and Water’’ by FREE. This is very, very close to the original. A very obscure song by FREE, something I listened to for the very first time today. I knew a few songs of their short career but not this one. It’s a reunion of sorts between Paul Stanley and Ace Frehley, they were bickering these last few years and finally buried the hatchet. The magic is still there and both KISS members do a rocking job on the first single of this compilation.The fifth song is ‘’Emerald’’ by THIN LIZZY. We all know about ‘’The Boys are Back in Town’’, ‘’Cowboy Song’’ or ‘’Jailbreak’’. ‘’Emerald’’ is a very underrated song from the band from Ireland. There is a lot of hidden gems in their catalog. Ace Frehley channels his Phil Lynott on this one and does a tremendous job on the vocals. Slash is the guest guitarist on this one and does some really fine shredding.

The sixth song is ‘’Bring it On Home’’ by LED ZEPPELIN. This is far more bluesy than the original (LED ZEPPELIN did a cover of this song back in the 70’s). Ace tries to do his Robert Plant imitation and does a mighty fine job of it. Check out the original, it’s something that a lot of us forgot about in their storied career. The seventh song is ‘’Wild Thing’’ by THE TROGGS. The female vocals are provided by none other than Lita Ford. Whoa, I haven’t heard that name in a while. She still has a lot of voice left in her and she adds another twist to this eternal rock classic. It’s very true to the original but nothing mind-blowing.

The eighth song is ‘’Parasite’’ by KISS. While I’ll be damned, a KISS cover! Ace Frehley does three KISS covers on this compilation. It’s a bit heavier than the original and when you think of Ace in KISS, you usually think of this classic. It’s awesome to listen to a new version of it in 2016.The ninth song is ‘’Magic Carpet Ride’’ by STEPPENWOLF. Ace is on fire on this one and you feel he was really motivated when he recorded this song. The vocals might be the weak point on this one but all of the arrangements of this classic make up for it big time. Ace seems to have had a lot of thing recording this and it shows.

The tenth song is ‘’Cold Gin’’ by KISS. It’s another KISS Cover! He sticks to his guns on this one and it’s as good as the day it was recorded back in the day. Ace seems to be revitalized and reenergized when he recorded his three KISS Covers. Another stellar cover. Mike McCready from PEARL JAM does some really fine work on this one. The eleventh song is ‘’Till the End of the World’’ by THE KINKS. It’s a forgotten KINKS song. It’s the shortest song of the album. It’s a pretty standard cover and I also feel he is going through the motions vocally. As for the guitar work, it’s still top notch and much better than the original.

The last song is ‘’Rock and Roll Hell’’ by KISS. The last song is the most epic! ‘’Creatures of the Night’’ was and is considered by many to be the best album of the group. It’s pretty much the heaviest as well. Ace does a fine job on this one and you can tell the song was very dear and true to his heart. We all remember the cheesier KISS songs but this album was a real departure from some of the more commercial they did. It’s very true to the original and a nice way to finish the compilation. A very interesting covers albums that is worth your time and money.
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. White Room (Cream Cover)
2. Street Fighting Man (Rolling Stones Cover)
3. Spanish Castle Magic (Jimi Hendrix Cover) Feat. John 5
4. Fire and Water (Free Cover) Feat. Paul Stanley
5. Emerald (Thin Lizzy Cover) Feat. Slash
6. Bring it On Home (Led Zeppelin Cover)
7. Wild Thing (The Troggs Cover) Feat. Lita Ford
8. Parasite (Kiss Cover) Feat. John 5
9. Magic Carpet Ride (Steppenwolf Cover)
10. Cold Gin (Kiss Cover) Feat. Mike McCready
11. Till the End of the Day (The Kinks Cover)
12. Rock N Roll Hell (Kiss Cover)
Ace Frehley – Lead Vocals and Guitars
Matt Starr - Drums
Scot Coogan – Drums
Warren Huart – Harmony Lead Guitar
Chris Wyse - Bass
Ray Brandis - Percussion
Record Label: SPV / Steamhammer Records


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Edited 02 August 2021

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