Vanilla Fudge

Vanilla Fudge [1967]

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In a debut consisting of covers, nobody could accuse Vanilla Fudge of bad taste in their repertoire; with stoned-out, slowed-down versions of such then-recent classics as "Ticket to Ride," "Eleanor Rigby," and "People Get Ready," they were setting the bar rather high for themselves. Even the one suspect choice -- Sonny Bono's "Bang Bang" -- turns out to be rivaled only by Mott the Hoople's version of "Laugh at Me" in putting Bono's songwriting in the kindest possible light. Most of the tracks here share a common structure of a disjointed warm-up jam, a Hammond-heavy dirge of harmonized vocals at the center, and a final flat-out jam. Still, some succeed better than others: "You Keep Me Hanging On" has a wonderfully hammered-out drum part, and "She's Not There" boasts some truly groovy organ jams. While the pattern can sound repetitive today, each song still works as a time capsule of American psychedelia.

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