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Frank Marino Tribute "Secondhand Smoke" REVIEWS

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What is your favorite track on Secondhand Smoke?

In My Ways - George Lynch
7
10%
Dragonfly - Karl Cochran
5
7%
Stay With Me - John Norum
12
17%
It's Begun To Rain - Audley Freed
7
10%
He's Calling - Jennifer Batten
10
14%
Poppy - Rick Ray
4
6%
Babylon Revisited - Jeff Cloud
4
6%
Try For Freedom - Ronnie Montrose
10
14%
The Answer - Randy Hansen
8
11%
The World Anthem - James Byrd
5
7%
 
Total votes: 72
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Jag
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re: Frank Marino Tribute "Secondhand Smoke" REVIEW

Post by Jag » Tue Dec 20, 2005 1:30 am

Got it yesterday, spinning it for the fifth time right now... My impressions, so far:

Really good album! There's nothing crappy on this cd, I it like all way through. Well, except maybe for the vocals on Try for freedom who just doesn't appeal to me. Sounds uninspired.

The coolest parts:

Audley Freed - It's Begun To Rain. I really like the vibe of this, love those guitars during the chorus. Shame about the missing jazzpiece at the end, though...

Jennifer Batten - He's Calling. At first I didn't know what to think of this, with all that electronic stuff going on... But this one grows each time I listen to it, and now I find it to be amazingly cool. Very psychedelic. A future favourite! :)

Randy Hansen - The Answer. Randy´s the only one that really touches the cool vibe and the feel of Marinos original recordings, I would say. And with Randy Hansen being Randy Hansen, there's a slight feel here and there of Hendrix covering Frank Marino! That is just too cool! :)

James Byrd - The World Anthem. Wow... There's a few moments on this one where I first get afraid that he's going to overplay and kill this masterpiece - but each time he calms down and does the tune justice. I really like what he does here, and each time I hear it I have to sit back and listen without any interference. Very, very good stuff...

So that's it. The two tracks that stand out the most are to me the ones by Jennifer Batten and James Byrd. The vote on the poll goes to... James Byrd.

Thanks Willy, you did an excellent job!
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re: Frank Marino Tribute "Secondhand Smoke" REVIEW

Post by Dregoth » Tue Dec 20, 2005 5:46 am

I got mine today, and I dig it :headbanger . My supreme favourites so far is Stay With Me, Try For Freedom, Poppy and The Answer. Im not "so" into Jennifer Batten`s version of He`s Calling. Maybe it will grow in time though. All in all I think it`s a very well crafted album, and I know ill play it a LOT :mrgreen: .

Thank you Willy for the time and effort you must have putt into this, not to mention the musicans who played on it.
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re: Frank Marino Tribute "Secondhand Smoke" REVIEW

Post by Ze Finnish Line » Tue Dec 20, 2005 9:17 am

Oh yeah, got my two copies today in good condition. Just cranking the first tune... Sounds promising... :D

Actually, I got two shipments today which were both autographed by Willy... Another one didn't contain Marino and was from UK though... How's that possible... Hehehe... Nice try my English buddy :winky

Couldn't ask for better Xmas pressies :!:

:headbanger

...reviews coming up later...
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re: Frank Marino Tribute "Secondhand Smoke" REVIEW

Post by JaminJim » Tue Dec 20, 2005 10:00 am

I.G.M.
Will listen to for a couple days and get back with you. Great packaging!!
Sweet Mother McCree, stir my grits and toss my jambalaya
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re: Frank Marino Tribute "Secondhand Smoke" REVIEW

Post by JoeR » Tue Dec 20, 2005 10:35 am

I recieved the CD yesterday and gave it a couple of listens. At first it was refreshing to hear such differences from the original versions. It was obvious that the artists had intentionally tried to make it sound differently that the original. The artists all tried to make the songs sound more contemporary which I feel did not always work, I don't want to site any examples right now. Most of the vocals sounded good for the most part, but no where near Frank's. As for the guitar playing, they all used that contemporary sound and style. The guitar techniques were excellent. As for the guitar sounds, they sounded like generic crap. WTF are delays now out of vogue. Is switching sound patches in a song also out of vogue. Why is everyone so afraid to sound different. The guitar sounds were very boxy and focused as opposed to sounding more open. Everyone sounds as if they playing a LesPaul or a quacky Strato with scratchy distortion, following each other like a herd of sheep sound wise.

Unfortunatly this is not a CD that I will be listening to again and probably be relegated to the collection bin.
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re: Frank Marino Tribute "Secondhand Smoke" REVIEW

Post by Ze Finnish Line » Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:56 am

Alright, after listening it for 3 times in a row now I have found my favorite track. Actually it clearly sounded the best for me in the first go already. So, my favorite is Audley's version of "It's Begun To Rain" and not the least by Alvin's vocals, which are great as well. I really like the atmosphere in this version. I'm just wondering if any version of this particular song would sound great... :P

Norum's version of Stay With Me and Montroses version of Try For Freedom have also caught my ear so far. Randy's version of The Answer is ok by guitars and vocals but the drums sound a bit weird. Especially the snare...

I like Rick's idea to add the soprano sax (or whatever that is) is great. But I sense some problems with the timing or something in this version? If I was Rick I'd try an acoustic version of this with acoustic guitar and that sax or whatever it is. You know, rework it straight to a jazz version in the same deal... That might work out very well! Or not... :P
However, that "reed" solo thing worked great on that song.

Jennifer's version is a bit hard to handle... He's Calling is one of my least favorite Marino tracks and Jennifer's version sounds alot like Steve Vai meets Jeff Beck to me. Not necessarely in the best meaning... BUT, however, I give full credits to Jennifer for the bravery. That's what the most cover versions in every tribute album lack anyway. And Jennifer's aproach definately doesn't lack any of that. And great guitar playing without any doubts as well.
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re: Frank Marino Tribute "Secondhand Smoke" REVIEW

Post by fatherofseven » Tue Dec 20, 2005 1:43 pm

I have listened to it a couple of times today after I floated back from the mailbox. Jennifer Battens version of He's Calling is awesome! I love it. Byrd's version of The World Anthem is cool too; what is amusing to me is how obviously influenced he is by Uli as well. His sustained bends sound like Uli almost uncannily. So now we know the truth. It wasn't Yngwie and it wasn't ULi who started Neoclassical shred....it was Frank.

The other tracks are all good but those two really stand out for me. Of the others I would say It's Begun To Rain sits best with me. The only criticism I have of the disc is I'm not on it. :D

Anyway, first impressions aside, I salute you Willy for a totally class act. Very well done indeed. Also a big sulute to ALL of the musicians. Well done!
Last edited by fatherofseven on Tue Dec 20, 2005 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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re: Frank Marino Tribute "Secondhand Smoke" REVIEW

Post by Ze Finnish Line » Tue Dec 20, 2005 1:46 pm

Oh yeah, I forgot to thank Willy...

Thanks man! For the site and your efforts. I can't even imagine how much blood and tears this tribute project must have taken...

You're my hero... :P
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re: Frank Marino Tribute "Secondhand Smoke" REVIEW

Post by blahmcduh » Tue Dec 20, 2005 6:00 pm

I have no previous knowledge of the work of anyone on this disc, except for Ronnie Montrose. Of course, I know that Rick Ray frequently posts here but I don’t think I’ve heard him or his band play before.

Before I start, let me say that I tried to stay away from direct comparisons to the original versions done by Frank. My intent was to approach it as if this was a new CD of new music – but, obviously, that was not easy, and in some cases impossible, to do. The bottom line is that everyone who played on this disc is obviously a pro and the performances and production efforts prove that fact.

When I listened to the first few bars of “In My Ways”, I decided that, if the rest of the songs sounded as “professional” as this one, this could be a very interesting CD. I thought this first cut had a good “solid” sound to it with some good guitar playing by George Lynch and a good job on the vocals by the bass player. Also, even though the liner notes seem to indicate the drumming was done by a synthesizer, it sounded pretty real to me.

The main guitar riff of “Dragonfly” seemed a bit too “out front” or something to me. It almost sounded like a pre-recorded loop. However, the soloing by Karl Cochran was pretty impressive. Also, I guess that’s him singing – pretty good voice.

Well, I can’t help but compare this version of “Stay With Me” to Frank’s version because it is so much like it. I almost did a double take on this one – what? … is this “The Power of Rock & Roll” CD? Oh, no, that’s right, it’s “Secondhand Smoke!” OK, John Norum’s soloing style is a little different from Frank’s but not all that much different and he plays really great, IMO. John and his group did a great job on this song and it’s one of my favorite cuts from the CD.

Although I don’t normally care for “slow” songs, the group that did “It’s Begun To Rain” really did a great job on this version. Smooth playing and a great tone by Audley Freed, soulful singing by Alvin Youngblood Hart (who occasionally posts here), and good support from the keyboard and rhythm section make for a nice selection.

Oh my goodness! When I first played “He’s Calling” (one of my favorite songs by Frank), I was a little shocked! But, the more I play it, the more I like it. It reminds me of a cross between Middle Eastern and African tribal music. It’s easily the most “original” sounding piece on the CD. Jennifer Batten did a great job putting this song together and she’s no slouch on the guitar either! (suggestion: if you don’t already like this cut, put it on and CRANK the volume – it might grow on you – it did me!)

I’ll have to say that Rick Ray is really brave to tackle one of Frank’s show pieces – “Poppy!” What I liked most about this cut was Rick’s soloing, his guitar tone and the addition of the woodwind (or whatever) solo – nice touch!

Jeff Cloud’s version of “Babylon Revisited” is another cut that has an original “feel” to it – minus the vocals of the FMMR version, of course. And, having Dave Goode on drums surely didn’t hurt. Some nice licks from Jeff on the guitar.

I will have to say that I was a little disappointed in “Try For Freedom.” Ronnie Montrose has always been one of my favorite rock guitarists and he didn’t seem to really “cut loose” on this song. It’s not that he does a bad job. The song sounds great, the playing is good, and the vocals are nice. It’s just that, for Ronnie’s style of playing (at least, of what I remember from the 3 or 4 albums of his that I owned), I would have chosen a different song for him to “show his stuff!”

Although I was not familiar with Randy Hansen, I did take a look at his website a while back because of another thread elsewhere on the message board. IMO, you can definitely hear the Hendrix influence in his playing and singing. “The Answer” is another FMMR song that I like a lot and Randy does a good job on it. The only thing that I really didn’t like about this version was the drum sound – synthesized, right?

“The World Anthem” is not one of my favorite FMMR songs. That doesn’t mean that I don’t like it. It has to do with the “slow song” thing – I like more upbeat, rockin’ stuff! Anyway, I thought James Byrd did a nice job on this with some original touches and some mean “shredding” that might cause Yngwie and Steve Vai to take notice!

For my favorite, it boiled down to “Stay With Me” and “He’s Calling”. I’m going to vote for “He’s Calling” just because it was such an original approach. Nice job, Jennifer. :clap :clap
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re: Frank Marino Tribute "Secondhand Smoke" REVIEW

Post by Ze Finnish Line » Wed Dec 21, 2005 11:52 pm

Who would have guessed that we will have Datsun and the Japanese in this tribute cd thread. Well, on the other hand, the tribute itself is a Secondhand Smoke so I guess they go hand in hand pretty well... :lol:

Oh yeah, forgot to mention that I also liked the vintage look of the cd. I think I haven't seen that idea used before.
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