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Vanilla Fudge - Near The Beginning CD (album) cover


Vanilla Fudge



3.30 | 55 ratings

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erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Nowadays the USA band Vanila Fudge is a bit forgotten and unknown within the world of progressive rock. It seems that their captivating progressive blend of rock, soul and psychedelia doesn't appeal to most of the (younger) progheads. But in the second half of the sixties Vanilla Fudge was a highly acclaimed band, both by public and the press. Famous progrock acts with their heydays in the seventies like Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and even Yes pointed at Vanilla Fudge as an important source of inspiration. The story of Vanilla Fudge started in the New York-area when Mark Stein (organ and lead vocals) and Tim Bogert (bass guitar) played in a band called Rick Martin & The Showmen. When Mark and Tim listened to the popular band The Rascals they were so impressed by the hot R&B covers with floods of Hammond B3 organ that they decided to form their own band named The Pigeons. Together with Rick Martin's drummer Joey Brennan and new guitarist Vinnie Martell they started rehearsing and playing but Brennan was replaced by Carmine Appice who played one night at the same place as The Pigeons and he was simply asked to join The Pigeons. At about the same time The Pigeons decided to change their name into Vanilla Fudge (after the nickname of the female singer of The Unspoken Word, she liked ice cream very much). And also a bidding war started to contract them because the band was very promising. Eventually Vanilla Fudge signed (in july '67) with Atco Records, a division of the famous Atlantic label. They became darlings of the underground radio and so their first album went to #6 in the charts! To stop the posible desmise of the band Atco re-released the first single You Keep Me Hangin' On and hoped for the best. The single climbed to #6, a real surprise for Vanilla Fudge and Atco. Vanilla Fudge became the headliner at the end of the sixties in the USA, bands like Led Zeppelin, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Deep Purple and Canned Heat opened for them! Vanilla Fudgge played also together with Cream and Jimi Hendrix. My favorite Vanilla Fudge album is their fourth entitled "Near the beginning": everything between soul, rock, blues, classic, symphonic and gospel is in their compositions, loaded with excellent, very Hendrix inspired guitarplay (lots of wah-wah), powerful floods of Hammond organ, strong vocals and a splendid, very dynamic rhythm- section. Side one contains 2 covers (Junior Walker & The All-Stars hit "Shotgun" and "Some Velvet Morning" of Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazlewood) and side two contains the 20 minute live track" Break Song", the alternating highlight featuring lots of great soli. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY ONE OF THE BEST PROGROCK ALBUMS BUT DON'T EXPECT PROG IN THE VEIN OF ELP, GENESIS OR YES!!! By the way, the DVD "Rockin' The Sixties (Ed Sullivan's R&R Classics) features an amazing powerful rendition of their hit "You keep me hanging on", RECOMMENDED!!
erik neuteboom | 5/5 |


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