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Vanilla Fudge - Vanilla Fudge [Aka:You Keep Me Hanging On] CD (album) cover


Vanilla Fudge



3.64 | 106 ratings

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4 stars Although Vanilla Fudge's debut is made up entirely of cover versions, the powerful foursome's uniquely heavy sound would nevertheless make headlines for all the right reasons upon the album's 1967 release, capturing the imaginations of rock fans across the globe by dint of being one of the first groups to showcase a sonic style that would, over the years, develop into the commercially-lucrative heavy rock and heavy metal genre's that would be popularised by the likes of Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden and Metallica as the decades wore on. The group, whose line-up featured a quartet of seriously capable musicians - Mark Stein(vocals, organ, keyboards), Carmine Appice(drums), Tim Bogert(bass) and Vince Martell(guitar) - were formed in late '66 and issued their self-titled debut a year later, just as the strains of psychedelia were starting to dominate the pop landscape upon both sides of the Atlantic ocean. Whilst many fledgling groups dealt solely in cover versions during their formative years, Vanilla Fudge's decision to dedicate an entire LP to other people's songs initially seemed rather pointless - almost lazy - until, that is, you actually heard exactly how they interpreted songs by the likes The Beatles('Day Tripper' & 'Eleanor Rigby'), Curtis Mayfield('You Keep Me Hanging On') and Sonny Bono ('Bang, Bang'). Instead of meandering through facsimile versions, the group stretched out every chord, amped-up the bass tracks into triple-thickness, added crushing guitar riffs to the mix where possible and gave each track a daring new slant that mutated them into very different creations that were virtually unrecognisable from their original forms. The storming rock version of Mayfield's classic 'You Keep Me Hanging On' is probably the track the works best, though it is closely followed by an almost mystical re-working of The Beatles 'Eleanor Rigby', a track that finds guitarist Martell and organist Stein working in almost perfect harmony. As a covers album, 'Vanilla Fudge' is virtually unique in it's ability to breathe new life into classic songs whilst simulteneously overhauling them, and the group's penchant for muscular sounds would briefly make them one of the premier American acts of the late 1960's. Alongside San Diego's Iron Butterfly, Vanilla Fudge were forging a fresh new rock 'n' roll path that made much of the poppy and fey material of the previous ten years seem childish and lightweight in comparison. This debut album is highly recommended to those fans who appreciate the heavier side of psychedelia, and the groups later albums, which featured mainly original material, are also worth seeking out(bar the bizarre sophomore album 'The Beat Goes On') for those who find The Doors or Jefferson Airplane a little too girly. Rock on. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2011

stefro | 4/5 |


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