The title of the album is Then and Now, and a sticker on the front of the CD's jewel box proclaims, "The greatest hits! The best collection ever! Includes 3 new songs!" The clear implication to the potential buyer is that this Vanilla Fudge album contains the original 1960s recordings of such hits as "You Keep Me Hangin' On," along with three recently recorded tracks. But that is not the case. Then and Now is an entirely newly recorded album on which the 2004 edition of Vanilla Fudge -- bassist Tim Bogert, guitarist Vince Martell, drummer Carmine Appice, and organist Bill Pascali (replacing original member Mark Stein) -- re-creates its versions of songs that appeared on its Atco Records albums and singles of the '60s. (On one track, "Need Love," Martell is replaced by Teddy Rondinelli, as the San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra backs the band in a live recording.) The three new songs are the 1979 Rod Stewart hit "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" (which Appice co-wrote with Stewart while working as his drummer) and, oddly, versions of two hits by turn-of-the-21st-century boy bands, *NSYNC's "Tearin' Up My Heart" and the Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way." The performances are true to the Vanilla Fudge style, with slowed tempos, quotes from classical and traditional themes, and lengthy improvisation (eight of the 12 tracks run over six minutes), and the album certainly demonstrates that, almost 40 years into their career, the bandmembers retain their rock & roll chops admirably. But this is still an album of re-recordings packaged in such a way that the average fan could buy it mistakenly thinking it contained the original recordings.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann