Album review: TOMMY BOLIN – Shake The Devil The Lost Sessions

TOMMY BOLIN - Shake The Devil The Lost Sessions

Cleopatra Records [Release date 12.02.21]

As Dave Thompson’s notes make clear, based on a recent interview with Tommy Bolin’s brother Johnnie, the latest “lost sessions” have been something of a holy grail amongst fans.

After Bolin’s premature death in December 1976 he’d left over 60 tape reel boxes and over the years some of that material has appeared, notably as “Tommy Bolin Archives” in 1996 and 1998.

But fans wanted to know whether anything remained from the ‘Private Eyes’ sessions. They understood that, unusually, this album was composed in the studio and therefore there were no demos or pre-recordings.  This is not exactly true, as several solo demos appeared on the archival Naked Volume II set in 2002.

Fast forward to 2020 and a tape reel emerges which revealed demos and alternate takes for songs that would appear on ‘Private Eyes,’ presumably studio session outtakes.

The second solo album was recorded in June 1976 and released in September that year.  It was more song-based and less varied than its predecessor ‘Teaser’ and Bolin used a different set of musicians rather than seasoned sessioners, notwithstanding Carmine Appice on drums.

Of the twelve tracks there are three versions of ‘Gypsy Soul’ and two instrumental takes on ‘Someday Will Bring Our Love Home’ whilst ‘Tommy’s Instrumental’ is a previously unheard jam with Norma Jean Bell (ex- Frank Zappa) on sax.

This album can only be of major interest to hardened Bolin fans, and for completism, they are mainly alternate versions and work in progress.  The tape quality is not exactly high definition but in the main this is an intriguing curio.  It can only reiterate Bolin’s talent that was snuffed out too young.  He didn’t even make the 27 Club.  ***

Review by David Randall

The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk Sunday 21 February, 16:00 EST, 21:00 GMT

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David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 7 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at for that week.

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