Since the release of 1996's stellar From the Archives, Vol. 1, it's understandable to say that Tommy Bolin Archives subsequently went a bit overboard (it seemed like they released every single piece of tape they could get their hands on -- regardless of the sound quality). But when Tommy's younger brother, John Bolin, discovered a box full of forgotten tapes, the finest archival release since Archives, Vol. 1 was in place -- 2006's Whips and Roses. Featuring both strong alternate takes of Teaser classics and several previously unheard instrumental jams, Whips and Roses is unquestionably the best-sounding Bolin CD ever released (the project's producer, Greg Hampton, should certainly be commended). New versions of the hard-rocking "Teaser" and the Wes Montgomery-esque "Savannah Woman" come close to matching the officially released versions (adding grit to the playing improves the sometimes too-smooth sounds of Teaser). And out of the instrumentals, a killer take of "Crazed Fandango" (titled here as simply "Fandango") and "Cookoo" (which contains traces of the Teaser instrumental "Homeward Strut") are certainly standouts. It's rare that a compilation of outtakes could serve as a fine introduction for the new fan, but the material on Whips and Roses is so strong that it comes close to accomplishing this feat. A fine sampling of one of rock's all-time great guitarists.
Whips and Roses Review
by Greg Prato