Almost fourty years past the debut of Beck-Bogert-Appice blues supergroup, the “Vanilla Fudge” rhythm section reinvent, to a certain extent, the formula this time
featuring Spanish guitar sensation Javier Vargas. Lead vocals on the album are handled by Appice’s bandmate from “King Kobra”, Paul Shortino.
It has to be clear that as much of a blues influence there might be on “VBA”, this is primarily a hard rock album, as you will probably be able to make out from the track list. For that matter, “VBA” seems not to be a vehicle for musical experimentation, instead it feel like the four musicians came together to record a number of well known hard rock songs and have a good time with it without extending the length of each song. All instruments are granted a thick production with each player’s characteristic trademark sound while complemented at parts by a horn section.
On a personal level, beyond the legendary rhythm section and the up-and-coming guitarist which are the obvious protagonists on the release, one has to give credit to Paul Shortino as he once again puts a lot of feeling in his singing; really listening to him sing “You keep me hanging on” is something else and, as expected, he equally delivers on the ballad “Tonight is the night” while the addition of the melodic “Surrender” is refreshingly surprising.
Overall VBA is a very enjoyable blues-hard rock album that is crafted in such a way to appeal to an audience beyond the blues enthusiasts. “VBA” is intense, heavy and more melodic that one would expect; a satisfactory purchase for those who enjoyed the latest “King Kobra” album and the “Guitar Zeus” project.
01. Lady (Beck, Bogert, Appice)
02. Surrender (Cheap Trick)
03. Right On (Ray Barretto)
04. Parisienne Walkways (G.Moore & P.Lynott)
05. You Keep Me Hangin’ On (Vanilla Fudge)
06. Soul Of Love (Paul Rodgers)
07. Black Night (Deep Purple)
08. It?s A Long Way To The Top [If You Wanna Rock N Roll] (AC/DC)
09. Tonight Is The Night (Rod Stewart)
10. Over My Shoulder (Mike and The Mechanics)
Vargas, Bogert & Appice feat. Paul Shortino – V.B.A. (2011)
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