Mr. Bolin’s Lake Night Revival' is a long overdue tribute to the late
Tommy Bolin, solo artist and guitarist for 70’s bands such as Zephyr,
The James Gang, Moxy and Deep Purple. Sadly, the world was only
blessed with Bolin’s brilliance for a short time. Consumed by drug
abuse, Bolin died of an overdose in 1976. He was just 25 years old.
Fittingly, a portion of the proceeds from this project will benefit the Jackson Recovery Center, a drug and alcohol recovery facility in Bolin’s hometown of Sioux City, Iowa.
The release celebrates the musical compositions of Tommy’s rare and unreleased material and features an assortment of contributing artists such as Tesla drummer, Troy Lucketta, Dokken’s Jeff Pilson, Mr. Big’s Eric Martin, and Mr. Derek St. Holmes, among many others, including Bolin’s brother Johnnie. The lengthy 17-song CD includes a mix of blues numbers, light jazz, straight forward rocks tracks and poignant ballads, reflecting Bolin’s diverse songwriting talents. It’s reported that the raw material for the record originated from a reel of acoustic demos that was stashed in the back of an old amplifier, which whether true or not, does make for an intriguing story.
Bolin’s far-reaching influence is demonstrated by the sheer number of musicians who participated in this endearing project. It serves as a reminder that music has the ability to transcend time when the person(s) creating it truly understand the gift they were given and were passionate enough to share it with the world. Review by Tracey Lukasik
"Tommy Bolin made his mark with The James Gang, Deep Purple and a successful solo career. Unfortunately, he died well before his time, a victim to drug and alcohol addiction. Bolin, a long time favorite among rock guitar players, left a large legacy of recorded material, however, he also left many pieces of music unfinished – that is until now.
Under the auspice of Executive Producer Bill Schenk, an all-star cast was put together and the artists were asked to interpret Bolin’s final works and record them. Among those taking part are Van McLain and Ronnie Platt of Shooting Star, former Rainbow vocalist Doogie White, ex-Ted Nugent band guitarist and vocalist Derek St. Holmes, Boston’s Kimberley Dahme, Zebra’s Randy Jackson, Michael Schenker Band singer Robin Mcauley and ex-Dokken bass player Jeff Pilson. The result is an interesting encyclopedia of music based on the various styles of rock, jazz and blues that came from a place deep inside Bolin’s soul.
“Glory Train” is a wonderful blues/rock song blasted out by Doogie White while “Gypsy Moon” shows Derek St. Holmes has much more vocal depth than he ever showed when singing “Stranglehold.” Shooting Star represents with “I Want You To Take Me There – Pale Angel” which is one of the highlights of the disc. Van McClain, as did all the participants on the CD, took the project seriously and gave 110%. Also donating time, talent and managerial and production duties to the project were Tommy’s brother, Johnny Bolin and Telsa’s Troy Luccketta. Part of the proceeds of the CD’s sales will be donated to the Jackson Recovery Center."
Various Artists Mister Bolin’s Late Night Revival Record Label: Rainbow Foundation Review by Sal Serio September 2010
"At the time of Tommy Bolin’s tragic late 1976 drug overdose, the musician had a large cache of new songs recorded as demos. The new “Mister Bolin’s Late Night Revival” compilation asks “What If”… The concept is: “What if the guitar hotshot sought help for his addictions, and lived to release this material in full ensemble album form?” Not coincidentally, some of the proceeds from this project will go to Jackson Recovery Center, a rehab facility in Bolin’s hometown of Sioux City, Iowa.
An overwhelming early 80’s poppy metal sound hangs on many of the performances, which perhaps is appropriate. Had Bolin lived to complete a couple more album releases, he’d have been staring at a musical future in the 80s decade, when metal poofed up it’s hair, added synthesizers, and huge pop choruses. Considering that vocalists from Rainbow, Foreigner, and Mr. Big are featured on the CD, the 80s connection is apparent. However, appearances by several Christian rock artists is not as obvious an association.
One standout track is “Evening Rain” by Christina Sanchez, featuring a flamenco sounding guitar solo reminiscent of Bolin’s own “Savannah Woman” or “Gypsy Soul”. Another is “Slow Driver” with smokin’ hot lead guitar provided by Bolin’s contemporary John Bartle, and sung with conviction by Boston’s Kimberley Dahme."
"SIOUX CITY — The theme of new beginnings frames this weekend’s Tommy Bolin Music Festival. As in years past, the rock guitarist’s friends and former bandmates will play. But the purpose this year comes to amend his stigmatized legacy by helping others. (Find the lineup and times here.)
“Tommy’s alcoholism and drug abuse was a disease. He was sick. There was nowhere for him to turn, especially at that time,” said Bill Schenk, a Chicago producer and Bolin family friend. “There are songs where he is openly struggling with the compulsion, predicting he has the sickness.” A song by the former Deep Purple guitarist has set the event’s theme for the past 10 years. Thoughts of “Shake the Devil” evolved into this year’s idea of new beginnings.
In addition to live music, this weekend’s event is a pre-release for
“Mr. Bolin’s Lake Night Revival.” The album is a collection of Tommy Bolin’s unfinished work completed
by classic rockers. The disc’s national release comes this fall, and
will be promoted through an addiction awareness campaign.
“I love my brother. I feel like he was short-changed at a young age,” said drummer Johnny Bolin of Sioux City.
Tommy Bolin died of a drug overdose in December 1976 while on tour in Miami. His last shows included opening for Peter Frampton and Jeff Beck. Tommy Bolin was 25. Proceeds from the new album will to go Jackson House, a drug and alcohol recovery center in Sioux City. The “new” material comes from a reel of acoustic demos stashed in the back of an amplifier. “The idea is to rehab Tommy’s image and legacy,” said Schenk, who is producing the album. The 17-track release is four years in the making, and includes jazz and soul elements in addition to hard rock and power ballads.
Contributing to the recording are members of Boston, Dokken, Rainbow, Alcatraz, Mr. Big, The R. Kelly Band and The Ted Nugent Band, and others. Money raised at this weekend’s event will go to the Sioux City Public Museum, which is scheduled to reopen late this year at the new Fourth Street location downtown. The museum has displayed Tommy Bolin pieces in the past, and may include a permanent exhibit in the new space with suits, records and guitars, Johnny Bolin said. Tommy Bolin was a member of Zephyr (1969-1971), The James Gang (1973-1974), Deep Purple (1975-1976).
Although his professional career spanned about 10 years, Tommy Bolin left behind an extensive catalog that includes about a dozen solo albums, and more compilations, live and group recordings.
First of all, many will ask, “Who is Mr. Bolin, and why are we reviving him?”
Well, the answer is he was billed by the music industry (when we had one) as the next Jimi Hendrix. But, he made the ultimate career move and died. However, he left us BEFORE hitting critical mass and breaking through.
In Tommy Bolin’s short 25 years, he flaunted musical guitar chops inspiring Jeff Beck to go fusion. He had the songwriting ability to have Joe Walsh give him the James Gang. And, he had the rock charisma to land the gunslinger position left vacant by Richie Blackmore in Deep Purple. After two solo records Bolin succumbed to a multiple drug overdose in a Miami hotel room.
That should be the end of his story—but, it’s not. Several years later a number of acoustic demos were found in the back of Tommy’s amp. These songs turned out to be tuneful gems you could whistle while you work. Classic rock artists who finished these tunes seemed to breathe new life into these dirges and resurrect Tommy’s spirit for one last CD.
“There Gonna Let Me Die” has the grand metal vocalizing of Doogie White. This cut is scary..in that it deals with “the devil trying to drive a spike through his arm.” I mean, Tommy needs that arm to play, and since he could not, Jeff Coleman, Glen Hughes’ ax man, had to. Ironically enough, Jeff sounds like a Bolin-Blackmore blend.
“You’re No Angel” is Trans Am rock. If it was 1979, this tune would be on every hotrod’s FM dial as sure as fry boots would kick to this catchy number featuring the pipes of Mr. Big’s Eric Martin. The guitars are timeless, melodic, ripping.
“Meaning Of Love” has Dokken’s Jeff Pilsen on vocals. Jeff has the pipes of a rock god, especially if you like the idea of a man’s man getting tender, then tough. The song has tension and release histrionics. Rhythm guitars eventually build to symphonic crescendos and then, soften to ethereal textures. The keys, in quiet moments, conjure up Brian Eno adding a modern edge to the disc.
“Celebration” is performed by Randy Jackson, not of Idle, but, of Zebra. He chimes in with an early 70’s approach to texture. His vocals recount both Plant and Lennon. Rachel Barton plays a Bach student’s violin for emotional impact while a Les Paul pans across the speakers making my I-pod reproduce the headphone bliss of yesteryear.
“Tears and Turpentine” is a number with the ambition of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”. Thus, it goes from a chesty ballad to a power chorus twice. The slide and synth lead provide for an adventurous solo. It rises and falls back to haunting intimacy and then approaches a final firework guitar/vocal vamp that might make Tommy’s pulse begin anew.
Tommy wrote for variety. There is a smooth jazz cut, sung by Christina Sanchez from the R. Kelly Band. It also employs Django Reinhardt type soloing similar to Tommy’s original demo.
Jump Back has an aggressive and catchy rhythm guitar you would find on a UFO record. Wayne Finley from MSG provides the 6-string power, while Randy Rhode’s brother Kelly, pumps the organ throughout the mix. This song has 90’s type backing vocals through speakers. This echos Finn from Waysted’s best moments, propelled by phase guitar augmentation as if Tom Morello is a hidden guest.
There is a Marvin Gaye sounding rave up called, “Gypsy Moon”. This cut features Derek St. Holmes of “Stranglehold” fame. The acoustic rhythm guitar backing is like America with a Tex Mex feel— so we call the band Baja. And, a Santana type lead quickens the heart.
Kimberly Dahme of Boston sings a song called “Slowdriver”. It sounds like “Black Velvet” part two. When a man comes onto a woman it is cliché. When a woman comes on to a man he spills his drink. Kimberly, and the sexy slide guitar behind her, could break a few glasses when played at a saloon near you.
Less known names make an impact as well. Hi-Fi Superstar’s “It’s Up To You” is like the Archie’s trying to be the Smashing Pumpkins. The song is that catchy--with hipper melodies and instrumentation of course. Michael Sean’s “Road To Walk” is an anthem about rock excess with a modern meets classic rock sound . The 77’s seem like the Stones trying to be Little Feat.
This record is a modern mood ring. Classic ideas brought by modern engineering. The songs have hooks and come from a day when writers agonized over their lines. You get an evergreen quality to songs that modern players make their own while tipping their hat to guitar innovations Tommy Bolin helped pioneer. So, if this CD can’t revive the ghost—then, what can?
Track Listing 1. They’re Gonna Let Me Die (Doogie White) 2. You’re No Angel (Eric Martin) 3. Meaning of Love (Jeff Pilson) 4. Celebration (Randy Jackson) 5. Tears & Turpentine (Brandon Reid Allen) 6. Evening Rain (Cristina Sanchez) 7. I Want You To Take Me There (Pale Angel) (Van McLain & Ronnie Platt of Shooting Star) 8. Jump Back (No Sky Today feat. Fin Muir) 9. Glory Train (Doogie White feat. Rex Carroll) 10. Gypsy Moon (Derek St. Holmes) 11. Road to Walk (The Michael Sean Affair) 12. It’s Up To You (HiFi Superstar) 13. Slowdriver (Kimberly Dahme) 14. Blues Gonna Take Me Away (Robin McAuley) 15. Long Way to Go (The 77’s) 16. Feel It’s Time For Love (A Gain of Ten) 17. Love is a Bandit (John Kelly Gannett)
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Bill Schenk
CREATIVE CONSULTANTS: John Schenk and Johnnie Bolin
PRODUCERS: Chuck Giacinto, Christopher Peterson, Randy Jackson, Van McLain,
John Kelly Gannett, Joe Viers, Troy Luccketta, Wayne Findlay, Michael Roe, Glen Mikes and Keith Semple.