Artist: Tesla  
   Title: Real To Real
   Label: Tesla Electric Light Company Recordings Inc.

Over the years there have been a great many covers album released by the various record labels with their bands paying homage to their heroes.  Some have been good, some bad.  Now the trend seems to be for bands to do their own cover albums with Jorn Lande, Poison and Shaw/Blades all doing cover albums this year and another band to pay homage to their hero’s are Sacramento’s own Tesla, a band that simply refuse to lay down and die. 

I was a great fan of their come back album ‘Into The Now’ and when I heard they were doing a covers album instead of an album of original material, I was a little wary of this being the final nail in the coffin for the band.  I was shocked by firstly the songs picked for the 'Real To Reel' album and secondly by the way the band have put their own spin on these classics without losing any of their original splendour.

The first thing you do when you pick up a covers album is you peruse the track listing to see if they've covered a personal favourite of yours and perhaps put this track on straight away to see what it sounds like.  I for one have done this with more than one track and I can tell you all the new renditions are superb, with Jeff Keith showing the versatility of his vocals as he captures the mood of the original recordings without trying to come across as a Karaoke singer.

Things get underway with Deep Purple’s ‘Space Truckin’ and straight away the band have it nailed with Troy Luccketta hitting it note perfect as he emulates Ian Paices original drums to a tee and Frank Hannon and Dave Rude doing their best Ritchie Blackmore.

The nostalgia trip continues with The James Gangs ‘ Walk Away’, another stirring rendition as is the next one 'Guess Who’s Hand Me Down World’, before things really pick up as Keith and the boys pay tribute to a couple of the worlds best rock songs Thin Lizzy’s ‘Bad Reputation’ and Led Zeppelin’s ‘Thank You’, both great covers.

Then the unforgivable to many, a Beatles cover 'I've Got A Feeling'.  Well covering the Beatles is like covering Elvis, if you're gonna do it you better do it well and they do just that.  This may not be one of the more recognisable Beatles songs but the band did it proud.

The album also boasts a couple of my all time favourite tracks and I wasn’t disappointed with the excellent Robin Trower  (the first band I saw live) song ‘Day Of The Eagle’ and the Temptations ‘Ball of Confusion’, which leads the way nicely to one of my all time favourite songs UFO’s ‘Rock Bottom’.  The song selection is mixed with both well known classics and some a little more obscure, which makes this album something very special.  Things just get better as they ripped through ‘Bell Bottom Blues’ the Derek And The Dominoes classic with Dave Rude and Hannon mastering even Clapton’s grace, but track of the album has to be the cover of the Rolling Stones ‘Honky Tonk Woman' with Keith matching Jagger’s gravel tones.

The album closes with Traffic’s ‘Dear Mr Fantasy’ which rounds off a really great covers album and with the band doing a 'Real To Reel 2', which apparently will only be available to those showing up at their live shows, it further boasts covers from Alice Cooper, Mott The Hoople, Montrose, ZZ Top and Peter Frampton to name but a few.  A few copies of which are sure to find their way onto Ebay very shortly for those not available for those shows.

 

Tracklisting:

1. Space Truckin'
2. Walk Away
3. Hand Me down World
4. Bad Reputation 
5. Thank You
6. I've Got A Feeling
7. Day Of The Eagle
8. Ball Of Confusion
9. Rock Bottom
10. Stealin'
11. Bell Bottom Blues
12. Honky Tonk Women
13. Dear Mr. Fantasy
                   

 

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