Friday, June 9, 2017

Song of the Day: Billy Sedlmayr Digs Deep Into Classic Velvet Trou for Some Monster Tommy Bolin!

Posted By on Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 5:23 PM

Tommy Bolin, guitar hero. - COURTESY
  • courtesy
  • Tommy Bolin, guitar hero.

Tommy Bolin was a blistering guitar player who had mastered everything from '70s boogie rock to jazz fusion with real grace. He was an up and comer with a reputation and a personality, and he looked like a rock 'n' roll star, a chick magnet with feathers in his hair. He was an easy fit for sessions or band scenarios.

(His ear-bending work on drummer Billy Cobham's '73 album Spectrum was appreciated by his peers and fans of fusion.)

Quick backstory: Bolin moved from Sioux City, Iowa to Boulder, Colo. in his teens. He pieced together a pretty spectacular bar band called Zephyr that signed to a major label and with him put out two albums, both collectable now. In a seemingly odd pairing, James Gang hired Bolin (post Joe Walsh) and he appeared on their last two albums, which are underrated and both worth seeking out. Bang came in '73, and featured FM staples "Must Be Love" and Bolin's "Alexis." Miami came the next year. Bolin's strong-yet-tasteful playing and songwriting boosted the band and those albums.
r-1057030-1188682597.jpeg.jpg
He soon quit the James Gang and signed a solo deal with Nemperor records. His debut, Teaser, showcased him as a guitar hero with soulful range and heady songwriting chops. With help from his muso pals David Sanborn and Jan Hammer, among others, the album captured a funky, edgy sound. It really found him rising above the fray of the typical guitarist-for-hire who couldn't write music that moved people. It showed Bolin to be much more than some youthful virtuoso who traded in notes and riffs instead ideas and soul.  

A true Teaser diamond is its opener "People People," a reggae-tinged welcome to the listener. It's filled with musical intricacies and simple touching lyrics that are natural and rhythmic. A muscular saxophone wails inside the mix and drums and percussion clash about the chorus. Bolin croons and scats between the beat and his confidence is infectious. Teaser is Bolin's high-water mark, still sounds tough today.

He'd also join Deep Purple to fill Ritchie Blackmore's shoes—a feather in his cap he couldn't refuse because for whatever reason guitar slingers had to prove themselves a cut way above the rest.
He'd last one album with the Purple (the underwhelming Come Taste the Band). He regrouped to record his second and final album, Private Eyes, which featured the mighty "Poast Toastee" and other FM-radio staples. Sadly Tommy Bolin died in '76 of a drug overdose as he was fighting to hone his craft and stay alive.

Tommy Bolin remains a studied player not only because he was frighteningly good at a tender age, but also because he was a total original.  

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Today | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue
Guided Tea Tasting

Guided Tea Tasting @ Seven Cups

Fridays, 3-3:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

Staff Pick

Music, Wine and Good Spirits at 2017 Sonoita Wine Country Harvest Fest on August 26

Featuring live music all day long, food & art vendors, henna tattoo artists and more. KJV will… More

@ Kief-Joshua Vineyards Sat., Aug. 26, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 370 Elgin Road.

» More Picks

Submit an Event Listing

Popular Content

  1. In The Flesh: The Old Pueblo's Greatest Rapper, Big Meridox, Says Goodbye To Tucson in a Fitting Farewell at The Flycatcher (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  2. Ally Miller Chickens Out: Under Fire for 'White Pride' Comments, Supervisor Skips Today's Board Meeting (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  3. Bernie Needs a Home (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  4. Education Poll: Support For Charter Schools Down (And Other Results) (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  5. HOCO Fest 2017 Countdown: Willis Earl Beal (AKA Nobody) (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)

© 2017 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation