Tommy Bolin

The Bottom Shelf, Vol. 1

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The Bottom Shelf is an excellent companion piece to Rhino's odds-and-ends collection From the Archives. It's comprised of different tracks, for the most part, and follows the same formula as the Rhino release (combining demos with live takes, never before released). And although the material isn't as stellar as that of its predecessor, it still contains plenty of worthwhile Tommy Bolin compositions. Included is a loose, jamming cover of Bob Marley's "Burnin' & Lootin'," with Tommy accompanied only by bassist Stanley Sheldon. The album also contains more of the great "home demos" that made From the Archives such a success. "Untitled 2" is a desolate instrumental that features just Tommy on both guitar and Moog synthesizer. "You're No Angel -- Version 2" could have been a hit for Tommy if it was completed, and both "Journey" and "Oh Carol" are highlighted by Bolin's inspired guitar playing. Other highlights include the jazzy Billy Cobham-penned "Stratus" (Tommy played on the original) with guests Carmine Appice and the Good Rats, and the early-'70s classic rock sounds of "Luka Roo," performed by Bolin's band Energy, who played shows often and wrote a good amount of songs, but never released any albums. An excellent addition to any Tommy Bolin fan's collection.

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