Vanilla Fudge formed in the late 60's under the name of the Psychedelic Pigeons. The band was highly influenced by The Rascals another highly popular New York band. The Pigeons finally changed their name to Vanilla Fudge after some girl told them a story about how her grandfather had nicknamed her " Vanilla Fudge" because of her love for ice cream. The band then realized that Vanilla Fudge was the right name for them, because they saw that the name had two seperate meanings. The " Vanilla " part meant weird white psychedelic acid rock that had been made popular by acts such as: The Doors, Steppenwolf Blue Cheer and Jimi Hendrix. The " Fudge" part obviously meant black blues music that the band could mix in with their trademark psychedelic rock. Thus Vanilla Fudge, was born with Mark Stein playing the keyboards and handling the vocals, Tim Bogert playing the bass, Vinnie Mantrell on the electric guitar, and Carmine Appice on the drums. Vanilla Fudge had success with a slowed down version of Diana Ross and the Supreme's " You Keep me Hangin' on." To the majority of rock fans Vanilla Fudge was an innovative band that restructed popular songs and made them more " trippier." This album which I am about to review is an excellent assesment of the band's cover songs and original songs. I hope anybody reading this review realizes that while Vanilla Fudge excelled with an unseen precedent with their cover songs their original songs were of a great quality as well.
1. You Keep me hangin' on- " Set me free why don't you babe." " Get out of my life why don't you babe." " You really don't want me you just keep me hangin' on." " Why do you keep comin' around playin with my heart?" " Why don't you get out of my life, when seein' ya only breaks my heart again ?" Historonic vocals from Stein with a slow but powerful organ and an intense rhythm section that could take you right out of your shoes. Defintely a classic jam. 5/5.
2. Where is my mind- " Where is my mind?" Viscious organ and guitar riffs . " Reason looked at me as it would glow." " I felt a fire chilling in my mind below." Spirits laughed as one had told a joke." " I felt the light shine on my face and I awoke." " Where is my mind?" " When the band would sing off key it was a sign of the water in the fountain turning into wine." Loud melodic not abrasive , even though the song is sung with a forceful four part harmony. Somebody in the band was having a bad acid trip when they wrote this little diddy . 4/0.
3. The look of love- " The look of love is in your eyes." " The look your heart can't disguise." " Be mine tonight .'' " Let this just the start of many nights like this." " Let's take a lover's vow and seal it with a kiss." A sweeping romantic ballad that sounds alot smoother than the other two and alot more restrained as Stein's harmony infused voice gives us another great cover song from Vanilla Fudge. The organ and the bass give this song more of a soothing quality. 4/0.
4. Ticket to Ride- " I think i'm gonna be sad I think it's today." " The girl that's driving me mad is goin' away." " She said that livin' with me is bringin' her down." " She would never be free when I was around." " She's got a ticket to ride." " She's got a ticket to ride and she don't care." Our third cover on this c.d. but one much like the first song that is driven by a wild rockling rhythm section , a trippy acidic sounding organ and alot of beautiful harmony singing. Vanilla Fudge bring this song home. 5/5.
5. Come by day come by night- " Come by day come by night I'll be home." " Waiting wishing hoping wondering are you still my own." " Who would like to look inside of me." " What more can I do." " I'd like to look inside of you." "Won't you love me too." This time unlike track number three this is an original romantic ballad about a man who will do anything to be with his sweet lady love. Stein's singing is once again top notch but the song in itself needs more substinace in order to be a truly great song. 3/0.
6. Take me for a little while- " I've been tryin' to make you love me but everything I've tried just takes me furthrer from me." " You don't love me so you treat me cruel." " But no matter how you hurt me I'll always be a fool." A gospel like song that has exhilirating emotional intensity , great instrumentation by all musicians Stein's soulful vocals and the groups terrific harmonizing make this cover like the first one a classic. 5/5.
7. That's what makes a man- A loud guitar crunch and a synocapted drum roll open up this rousling rocker of a song. " Are your thoughts completely netural?" " Understand things when you can ?" " Are you dreaming are you sleeping on the ground on which you're leaving?" " That's what makes a man." Intense song with creepy otherworldly sounds but other wise a headbanging hardrocker of an almost apocalyptic type of composition done to ear piercing perfection. 4/5.
8. Season of the Witch- An eerie organ opens up this creepy crawly of a song. " When I look outside of my window." " What do I see?" " And when I look outside my window, so many different people to be." " That it's strange, you've got to pick up every stich two rabbits running in a ditch, the hippies out to make it rich." " Must be the season of the witch." A tale of supernatural going's on that has spooky harmonies and is all in all a strange derranged halloween song that will give you goosebumps as you listen to it. 4/0.
9. Shotgun- Pulsating electric guitars dynamic dronning drums open this song up. " Shotgun shoot it for your love now." " Do the jack blade baby." " Gotta put on your red dress." " Shoot em' before they run." The fourth cover song this time around is done with a manic pace that the lyrics are hard to understand but the band still delievers a great performance with this song which to my limited comprehension is either about : dancing , sex , or running away from a crazy nutcase with a shotgun 4/0.
10. Thoughts- A four pitched harmony screech opens this obviously meldodramtic mammoth of a song up. " The never ending thoughts and dreams are running through my mind it seems." " I'll never be the same again." Very dramatic with a wavy organ sound , roaring guitar riffs , Vanilla Fudge's first semi- confessional song about being bothered by thoughts and dreams that you can't comprehend and probably don't want to know about anyway. The song is either about being bugged to death by dark forebodings, going on an end all to end all acid trip or having a bad fall out with your girlfriend. Now that I think about it I have no earthly idea what this song is about but it is an awesome song. 4/5.
11. Faceless People- A moody organ opens up to what I can see is a truly confessional song. A middle eastern sounding guitar riff soars on by things start out slow but get progressively faster and louder. Somber sounding like a funeral just came through some unknown town. Sounds like a jam session for all the ages. " Travelling through the world." " All these different places." " Meeting different people without different faces." " What do they want , we'll never know cause we must go." " What do they want we can never be sure." " I don't think I'll find love forevermore." The guitar parts of this song knock your eyes right off your face as this song about being a lost and alienated person in the world grabs you at the gut and never let's go. Emotionalism at its finest. 5/5.
12. Good Good Lovin'- The guitar and everything else in this song sound like a cross between an electric motorcycle and an electric razor. " I want some good, good livin'." " I want some good , good livin'." " I want every man to have his right." I think for some odd reason that this song could be a call to the counterculture to stand up for their hippie ideals and beliefs. I first thought that this song would just be about sex but now I'm not sure, I am sure that Vanilla Fudge gets louder and louder as the C. D. progresses. This song is ok like " Come by day Come by night." it also needs more substinance. 3/0.
13. Some Velvet Morning- This song starts out in a starlting similarity to " Season of the Witch."but with more of an organ/ percussion interplay. The guitar sneaks up from out of nowhere to add a dramatic dynamic and heavy element to the mix. " Some velvet morning when I'm strange." " I'm gonna open up your game." " And let me tell about Theda and how she gave me life and how she made it end." " Some velvet morning." This song about hippie dippy day dreaming that was first sung by Nancy " These boots are made for walkin'" Sinatra would be a hippie's fantasy. I don't know what in the world the band is talkin' about but the choirboy like harmonies add a nice touch to an otherwise strange song. 3/0.
14. I Can't make it alone- All the instruments collide in unison to open up this " I am stupid man for treating you like trash." ballad. " Now you know me, you know how proud I am." " And what I'm going to tell you know won't be easy to say." " Before I left your side I was a happy man." " But I'm so lonely, since you've been away." " Baby it's so hard." " I tried and I know I can't make it on my own." This besides " Keep me hangin' on "has got to be my favorite Vanilla Fudge cover song. The emotional ressonance you expect to hear from a song like this is here every good element you expect to hear is here. A beautifully emotional song . 5/5.
15. Lord in the Country- " Deep in the backwoods I went walkin' one day." " No one to guide me so I lost my way." " Deep in the forest was a valley below." " Beautiful voices and it did my heart so." Now I know exactly what you're thinkin' how can a sex obsessed rock band know anything about Jesus H. Christ? The answer is they don't but the song is very gospelesque in its musical approach and even if Vanilla Fudge didn't recieve divine revelation ( Which I wouldn't care if they did or didn't because this is still a beautifully done song. ) I still appreciate the guts the band had for singing a song about God. Catchy , and all in all a masterpiece of a song. 5/5.
16. Need Love- " I need love, I need love,." " I need your love and your desire , gonna set your soul on fire." " I need love baby." " C'mon girl you know your gonna get it best believe your gonna get it." Alright I'll have the guall to say what you all are thinkin'. Vanilla Fudge are a bunch of blashphemous pagans . Yes they are, but I really don't think the band cares if they are seen that way at all. The message of this song is easy, Stein wants love and will get it any way possible. Stein also replaces his melodic voice with a banshee's scream of a howl ( Probably to imitate the guitar's howl and the drum's pounding punishing rhythm.) Very heavy song but it could be better. 3/0.
17. Street Walking Woman- A symbol crushing rhythm opens up this song which also has the added advantage of having a sleazy guitar riff to go along with. " I want your love for free." " But you won't give it to me." " You're nothing but a street walking woman." " I can't believe it's true I'm so turned on by you." " Hell I can't marry you when all you want's my money." Stein's torrid tale of his little fling with guess what a " whore" Geez guys y'all just gave Deep Purple a great idea for a song. Not that this is the first time a wild lead singer of a popular rock band has screamed for a sluts love. The song by its implied title is dirty, nasty and great not a classic tune but close enough. 4/0.
18. All in your mind- " In your mind you think I'm the who's to blame." " In your mind I'm not actin' the same." " But everybody has to know that I really, really love you so. " " Cause it's all in your mind." A very soulful song by Vanilla Fudge which is an excellent closer song for a band that is simply beyond belief in its musical and creative ability. 4/5.