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Vanilla Fudge - Mystery CD (album) cover

MYSTERY

Vanilla Fudge

 

Proto-Prog

2.06 | 21 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Mysteriously anonymous

Vanilla Fudge were pioneers of heavy prog rock, their forte being to take classic songs and rework them in their own distinctive style. The band had a pretty short life, playing their (then) final concert in March 1970 then disbanding.

Some twelve years later the band got back together for the release of a "Best of" collection, and in 1984 a reunion album, "Mystery" was released. The "mystery" though is in fact what happened to the real Vanilla Fudge? Mark Stein appears to have traded in his organ for a synthesiser, devoid of a swell pedal. Gone completely is the distinctive Hammond organ driven sound, to be replaced by AOR/Melodic rock in the style of Styx or Survivor.

The opening track, "Golden age of dreams" sets the mood for the album, being a rather light pop based song, with a repetitive chorus. Indeed "My world is empty" also has a repetitive chant that Grand Funk Railroad would have been proud of. Track after track could be lifted straight from any album by Styx, Foreigner, etc. Even the slower title track fails to provide anything exciting or original, and "Under suspicion" sound like little more than a pale cover version of Survivor's "Eye of the tiger".

The only real saving grace is the cover of Dionne Warwick's "Walk on by" (written by Bacharach and David). This is much more like the old Vanilla Fudge. Yes it's still got the synthesisers in place of the Hammond, but at least it's slowed down and "heavy".

It's not that the music here is actually bad, but it is very anonymous, and (other than "Walk on by") bears no relation to what we had come to expect of the band in their heyday. There were any number of bands already making this type of music, and Vanilla Fudge offered nothing original to differentiate themselves from the pack.

"J Toad" is listed as guest guitarist on two tracks, this apparently is a cameo appearance by Jeff Beck. Of these, his work on "My world is empty" is one of the few highlights of the album.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |

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