Ace Frehley - Origins Vol.1

Ace Frehley Origins Vol.1 cover
Ace Frehley
Origins Vol.1
Entertainment One Music
Do I even need to mention who Ace Frehley – (original KISS guitarist and solo artist) is? No, not really… but I guess I’d need to mention that he’s now been inducted into the RnR hall of fame (big effin deal) and that he’s announced the imminent release of a “covers” album, unimaginably entitled “Origins Vol 1”, which obviously threatens that a “Vol 2” might follow if this sells well enough. Obviously doing a covers albums is something a band/artist “could do” if they really wanted to pay tribute to a big influence, or if they thought that they covered some tune, “particularly well” or in some interesting fashion. I sincerely doubt that space Ace’s selections are at best “expected” a bunch of rock classics, that he sort of performs well enough, sort of adapting to his style sufficiently, while not straying all that much from them with the aid of some “friends” on occasion.
“White Room” originally by Cream is a fine track and while the rendition is quite decent, Ace’s vocal is rather dull. Ring Of Fire, who feature Yngwie Malmsteen, Dokken etc alumnus and vocalist extraordinaire Mark Boals, have done a helluva of a cover of this ole tune, one so good that it even rivals the original as it’s one slight bit tighter.
Rolling Stone’s “Street Fighting Man” is probably a bit better, but I guess I‘d like a little less ‘verb on the vox.
Hendrix wasn’t a great vocalist, and neither is Ace, on “Spanish Castle Magic” but enlisting the aid of one John 5 (solo, DLR, Rob Zombie etc) he does a quite decent job on this one.
On “Fire and Water” originally by Free, he’s joined by none other than former KISS band-mate Paul Stanley on a rather tasteful take on this classic number and thankfully they don’t go for that other “one” song on the album that everyone knows! Allright now? :D (pun intended)…
“Emerald” sounds like a bit of an unlikely choice, and GNR’s Slash is also enlisted as an aide on this one. While the late Phillo wasn’t the best of singers out there, Ace is even less convincing. This is something I might have played live or at a rehearsal, but recording for posterity? Oh at least get a guy who’s Irish or who could provide a fitting vocal.
Choosing to cover “Bring It on Home” from Zeppelin’s “II” is another “odd” choice, but on the other hand, it works out a little better than I expected it to, with Ace’s vocal being a bit more energetic and not that lazy as it might be elsewhere. It’s not perfect, but it’s got the right vibe, y’know!?
Weirdly enough Lita Ford handles most of “Wild Thing” originally by The Troggs, with Ace only doing some backing stuff on it… because of the difference in their voices, this sounds a little “messy” at best, with Ford sounding rather unconvincing, despite trying her best to get a sultry performance going… it’s not as “crazy” and explosive as the original and that’s saying a whole lot…
Ha – who’d expect that KISS’s “Parasite” would get the treatment? Originally his own composition, he was also meant to sing it, but because at the time he was unsure of his singing ability, we all know it as it ended up being performed by Gene. Well here, Ace with a bit of help from John 5 again, sort of provides you with a “what-if” version of it. It ain’t bad, but I guess Gene’s vocal is meaner and more to the point.
Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride” is a bit “funky” anyway, but I dunno what puts me off, on Ace’s take of it… probably the vocal, not being “ace” (excuse the pun).
Surprise – surprise Ace cover’s another Gene sung, KISS original that he wrote; this time it’s “Cold Gin” with the aid of Pearl Jam’s Mike McCreedy (wtf!). It’s better than his attempt on “Parasite”, but still no match for the original.
I suppose Kinks semi classic “Till The End of the Day” is a number that fits Ace’s style better and it’s one of the better renditions, other than the KISS and the some of the “guest” tracks.
Lastly, Ace goes for yet another KISS tune this time “Rock N Roll Hell” from “Creatures...”, an album he had little to no involvement in. It’s a fair “take” I guess, but 3 KISS songs? Well, I guess… next up might be a KISS cover’s album! Heh.
Decent enough song selection and OK performances throughout, however don’t make this album anything “essential”… probably more of another curio for the KISS freaks out there. By the virtue of what they are, “covers” albums almost always are sort of scrapping the bottom of the barrel. I might get it for cheap, later, or pass on it altogether.