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Orchestral Fudge

Vanilla Fudge

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Album Review

Vanilla Fudge were a bit of a one trick pony in the late '60s, but it was a hell of a trick, and it turned what was essentially a cover band into a heavy-sounding, nearly prog rock outfit, all driven by the world-class rhythm section of Carmine Appice on drums and Tim Bogert on bass. The Fudge sound template was set in 1967 when they recorded a cough syrup-slow version of the Supremes' "Keep Me Hangin' On" that was full of an ominous, relentless tension, and the song became a huge hit when it was released a second time in 1968. A band built deliberately on bombastic pretension, it should probably come as no surprise that a rejuvenated Fudge have now issued a new album of their classic tracks, including, of course, a fresh version of "Keep Me Hangin' On," accompanied by a full orchestra, and it actually works more than it doesn't, and when it doesn't work, it isn't the orchestra's fault. The problem with this band has always been a lack of striking material, and when the song they've chosen to dose with heaviness fails to support the sonic infrastructure, orchestra and all, it can seem like much ado about not much at all. That said, the new version of "Keep Me Hangin' On" still sounds wonderfully ominous, powerful, and huge, and it's hard to resist Fudge's steroid-injected blow-up take on Junior Walker's "Shotgun," which is based on a riff so sturdy that nothing could possibly bring it to its knees. The album ends in embarrassment, though, with the band's version of "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy," a song Appice wrote for Rod Stewart back in the 1970s, and Fudge's rendition of it pulls off the impossible. It actually makes Stewart's version sound classy and elegant, an accomplishment that is nothing short of amazing.

Biography

Formed: 1966 in New York, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Vanilla Fudge was one of the few American links between psychedelia and what soon became heavy metal. While the band did record original material, they were best-known for their loud, heavy, slowed-down arrangements of contemporary pop songs, blowing them up to epic proportions and bathing them in a trippy, distorted haze. Originally, Vanilla Fudge was a blue-eyed soul cover band called the Electric Pigeons, who formed in Long Island, New York, in 1965. Organist Mark Stein, bassist Tim Bogert, and...
Full bio
Orchestral Fudge, Vanilla Fudge
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