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Jukka Tolonen - On The Rocky Road - A Retrospective 1971 - 1997 CD (album) cover

ON THE ROCKY ROAD - A RETROSPECTIVE 1971 - 1997

Jukka Tolonen

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Matti
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The premier Finnish guitar hero (of the 70's at least) JUKKA TOLONEN needs no introduction. Speaking of his compilations, this 2CD set is the only one I'm familiar with, so I can't compare it to others, but nevertheless I have quite mixed feelings about it.

There are various ways to make a compilation, concerning the track choices and the quantitative representation of the albums, and the running order too. Even though I normally prefer a chronological approach, I'm not complaining about the way it's broken here within each disc. The 1st CD [66:15] contains material from the albums Tolonen! (71), Summer Games (73), The Hook (74), Hysterica (75) and A Passenger to Paramaribo (77). Five strong albums, all of which could have been represented more heavily. Curiously even the liner notes mention how the four first solo albums are THE classics.

The 2nd CD [66:12] is compiled from notably weaker and musically very varied albums between the years 1979-1996. Maybe seven albums or so, and each represented with multiple tracks. (To illustrate my point, imagine a Gentle Giant compilation in which the 1st CD thinly covers the first five awesome albums and the 2nd CD contains only material from the later poor albums. Their magnificent 2CD compilation "The Edge of Twilight" contains only five classic albums nearly completely.)

This Tolonen compilation emphasizes the many-sided nature of the guitarist's output, and how he's a superb guitarist in whatever kind of music. The problem is that anyone regarding the early fusion albums to be the main interest (as every JT connoisseur is guaranteed to do) will find a lot of stuff in the latter CD terribly uninteresting and boring. At least I do. More or less straight-forward, totally unoriginal guitar rock, often with vocals -- also by Tolonen himself who certainly is no strong as a vocalist -- and even some reggae tunes. I haven't listened to his 80's/90's albums, but in the light of the choices here, several of them wouldn't have deserved this much representation. The guitar heroics take over the composing and arranging values.

Also the visual looks are ather cheap. The 1st CD alone could be worth 3½ stars (there's a 13-minute waste of space and not all choices are the best possible), but especially in a prog site the second CD lowers my rating to mere two stars. I'm being rather merciless and over-critical, I know...

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Posted Thursday, November 12, 2015 | Review Permalink

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