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Tesla: Real to Reel 2

Tesla recently toured in support of their covers album Real To Reel for what was billed as The Electric Summer Jam tour and while the package for the release had room for two CD's, the second disk was only available for those fans who attended a show and paid for a full price ticket. Since there was no way possible for everyone who wanted to attend to do so the band decided to make CD 2 available to them as well and based on the tracks presented I am sure glad that they did. The second part of Real To Reel continues along the same lines as the first CD and offers up the bands very faithful takes on Rock classics from the seventies. Having enjoyed part one quite a bit I expected to be impressed all the more by the tunes the band would focus on for this one. The musical push back in time begins with a smooth version of Mott The Hoople's "All The Young Dudes" and this is one of those tracks that I felt Tesla handled as if it were there own and they did a lot of the same for Bad Company's "Shooting Star". These two tracks have remained high on my own Classic Rock favorites list and thanks to Tesla shall be once again dug out of the CD collection and uploaded to the music player. "I Want To Take You Higher" is the perfect companion tune to disk one's "Ball Of Confusion" as it brings the Soul side to the front once again. The Rolling Stones track was fun but those songs generally are. I would have loved to hear a more obscure Jagger/Richards composition get delivered but that's not what they ended up doing and instead gave us "Street Fighting Man", at least the band didn't take the easy route of "Brown Sugar" or "Satisfaction". I found it very interesting to hear the guys do an Alice Cooper tune for the typical Blues Rock of Tesla never really called to mind the Master of Shock Rock, but they did him justice on it with "Is It My Body". As you let the CD run you find the likes of Aerosmith, Montrose and even Lynryd Skynrd being brought to the table and while they did a really good job on those ones I was hardly surprised to hear those particular tracks since they just seem tailored to the existing Tesla sound. My other favorites included the ZZ Top staple "Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers" as this is a perfect bar tune and anyone who ever hung out with their friends and tossed some back as a Rock band jammed onstage would have to agree with me on that. I also enjoyed their take on the Peter Frampton classic "Do You Feel Like We Do" as this is an incredible song, but the downside for me was that the band did the track with the same length as Frampton did on his live blockbuster Frampton Comes Alive. At almost fourteen minutes in length I felt it had Tesla sacrificing the chance to offer up another two songs to the listener. They close the release with Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" and it's a rousing way to close out on such a release. The band shows just how heavy they can be on this Metal classic and should be advised to add this to their live set list since it will definitely get the audience wilder than ever. As the CD finished up I was surprised that they didn't choose to re-record their very well known version of "Signs". It would have been a nice touch but either way kudos to Keith, Hannon, Wheat, Luccketa and Rude for bringing the seventies back to life on a pair of releases that offer a fond look back on a simpler time in music history. Given the amount of bands that are doing cover albums these days I was very pleased with these at the end of the day and felt they were among the better offerings. My hope is that they eventually package the two together with the booklets and perhaps even revisit this kind of release again in the future. The seventies sure have a lot of music that hasn't been redone so what could it hurt. This is also released on the band's own Tesla Electric Company Recordings label.

White I am sure that most of the bands fans already own the first part of this release, and knowing full well what Rock & Roll gems were included there I'm going to send this out just once for the stragglers who might be reading this and scratching their heads as they exclaim "Tesla did a covers album??!!!!". If this is you for any reason then here are the tunes that Tesla tried their hand at for the first part of the collection: Space Truckin', Walk Away, Hand Me Down Blues, Bad Reputation, Thank You, I've Got A Feeling, Day Of The Eagle, Ball Of Confusion, Rock Bottom, Stealin', Bell Bottom Blues, Honky Tonk Women, & Dear Mr. Fantasy. If you don't know who did these songs originally then I suggest you read the other review or simply trust us for saying it rocks and go order a copy immediately. You will be glad you did.

Track Listing
1. All The Young Dudes – Mott The Hoople
2. Make It Last - Montrose
3. Shooting Star – Bad Company
4. Not Fragile – Bachman Turner Overdrive
5. Street Fighting Man – Rolling Stones
6. Is It My Body – Alice Cooper
7. I Want To Take You Higher – Sly & The Family Stone
8. Do You Feel Like We Do – Peter Frampton
9. Beer Drinkers And Hellraisers – ZZ Top
10. Seasons Of Wither - Aerosmith
11. Saturday Night Special – Lynryd Skynrd
12. War Pigs – Black Sabbath

Added: February 7th 2008
Reviewer: Ken Pierce
Related Link: Tesla Website
Hits: 2182
Language: english

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Tesla: Real to Reel 2
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2008-02-07 16:34:29
My Score:

If Def Leppard, Styx and even Poison can record an album of classic rock songs originally performed by other artists, why the hell can't Tesla? In fact, it can be argued that Tesla — which reunited in 2000 after a six-year hiatus — is better suited to a project like Real to Reel than most bands. After all, the group's blue-collar reputation can be linked more closely to The Rolling Stones ("Street Fighting Man"), Bad Company ("Shooting Star"), ZZ Top ("Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers"), Lynyrd Skynyrd ("Saturday Night Special") and Aerosmith ("Seasons of Wither") than Poison's neon-pink hair metal. Plus, Tesla always seemed a bit out of step with current trends, anyway.

On this second volume of covers (originally only available at Tesla gigs throughout 2007 and now released for consumption by the general public), Tesla picks up right where the band left off on the first volume. Some of the selections here (Montrose's "Make It Last" and Alice Cooper's "Is It My Body") aren't as strong as, say, Traffic's "Dear Mr. Fantasy," Led Zeppelin's "Thank You" or The Temptations' "Ball of Confusion" from the first Real to Reel collection. But Tesla nevertheless "Tesla-fys" every cover tune it lays down while still remaining respectful to the originals. And by recording these songs live in the studio through a Neve console directly to Ampex 456 analog tape, the band injects layers of warmth and intimacy. Guitarist Dave Rude, it should be noted, does an admirable job replacing Tommy Skeoch. And vocalist Jeff Keith's shriek may be gone, but he's still able to channel Ozzy Osbourne on Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" and Ian Hunter on Mott the Hoople's "All the Young Dudes."

If only all cover albums were this satisfying…

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