CD Review: Vanilla Fudge – Spirit of '67

CD Review: Vanilla Fudge  Spirit of '67
Cleopatra Records
All Access Rating: B+

Vanilla Fudge - Spirit of '67
Slowing the Supremes' hit "You Keep Me Hangin' On" to an agonized, lysergic crawl was a stroke of genius for Vanilla Fudge, as it dragged their eponymous debut collection of heavy, acid-rock covers of Beatles' classics and '60s R&B remakes up the charts in 1967.

All these years later, a reinvigorated Vanilla Fudge seeks to recapture the Spirit of '67 with a similar approach on a lively and refreshingly reverent album of reworked versions of some of that year's most popular and enduring classics.

Sounding rich and vibrant, Spirit of '67 – out via Cleopatra Records – serves up the strong, signature vocal harmonies, thick Hammond organ swirls, altered arrangements and thundering drums of Carmine Appice Vanilla Fudge is known for, as the Who's "I Can See For Miles" morphs into a dynamic, psychedelic funk workout, the Doors' "Break On Through (To The Other Side)" is perfumed with the exotic, Middle Eastern tones of Zeppelin's "Kashmir" and "Gimme Some Lovin'" becomes a bluesy stomp. And yet, what's missing is that sense of originality and innovation that made that first Vanilla Fudge LP such a breath of fresh air, the gloomy temperament of the band's work of yesteryear having mostly dissipated. Fudge's moods on Spirit of '67 are as varied as the uniquely different passages they carve into these well-loved songs.

Still sunny and radiant, though less joyful and buoyant, the Monkees' "I'm a Believer" brakes to more of a mid-tempo groove, while "Ruby Tuesday" And "Whiter Shade of Pale" assume different shapes, trading haunting atmospherics for more powerful, fleshed-out instrumentation. In "The Letter," lush piano parts give way to a more raucous mid-section, channeling the raw emotions of its lyrics. The spirit is still willing with Vanilla Fudge.
– Peter Lindblad 

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