Fresh off his world tour in support of his 2014 “Space Invaders” solo release, Ace Frehley is back with his new release Originals Vol. 1. Ace takes a familiar path after the success of his previous covers of the Rolling Stones “2,000 Man” and his cover of Hello’s “New York Groove” from his solo album in 1978. Ace also included a cover of Steve Miller’s “Joker” on his “Space Invaders” release. With Ace’s impressive track record on covers, I felt intrigued to take a look at the new release and my favorite tracks.
White Room: The opening track is a cover of the classic Cream song which finds Ace splitting the lead vocal duties with Las Vegas resident Scot Coogan. Since Scott was out with Ace as the drummer for the “Space Invaders” tour and took on vocal duties for several other songs, I am sure this will be added to the next setlist. The guitar work was spot on the original release here and made for a very interesting opening track.
Street Fighting Man: As mentioned above, Ace’s success with the Rolling Stones “2,000 Man” surely had to have an influence on his selection to cover another Stones song. Only two songs in, Ace shows his willingness to tackle the lesser known songs from big name artist on this release.
Spanish Castle Magic: This is a nice track. Ace has always listed Jimi Hendrix when asked about his biggest influences in guitar style, so it is no surprise he would take on a Hendrix track. Ace and Hendrix always seem to come up when guitar Gods conversations arise. This song is a perfect example of how Ace did his diligence in choosing his covers, instead have just choosing the most well known release of each artist.
Fire and Water: This may very well be my favorite track on the release. This little-known Free song caused all the recent buzz on the internet that Paul and Ace have put their differences aside and a reunion is in the works. Paul’s vocals sound good on this one, even if it was not done in the same studio, always good to hear Ace and Paul together again.
Emerald: Another example of Ace taking a crack at a lesser-known deep cut is this cover of a Thin Lizzy song. Anytime I get a chance to hear Ace and Slash trade solos I’m all in. This song was a nice choice to showcase the guitar work of two legends together for one song.
Bring it on Home: It seems every cover project has to have the obligatory Led Zeppelin cover, so this is Ace’s homage to the icons. Once again, Scott Coogan is tasked with vocal duties on this one. Scott does an impressive job on taking on Plant’s style, which is no small task.
Wild Thing: This is one of the more familiar songs on this release. Once again, we get to see two guitar legends come together and trade licks when Lita Ford joins Ace on this track. It is easy to understand where the chemistry comes from as Lita opened on several shows during the “Space Invaders” tour..
Parasite: O.K. Kiss Army, now we get to the first cover on the release. When I heard this CD was going to be released, I was most exited to hear the names of some of the other guitar legends joining Ace on the project. One of my favorites, John 5, did not disappoint with his effort here. The extended solo and Ace’s impressive vocal effort make this a most memorable track.
Magic Carpet Ride: This release steps away from the deeper cuts on the release, and covers the iconic song by Steppenwolf. We have all seen the local classic rock act in our town cover this over and over, but Ace does a nice job of putting his touch to this song.
Cold Gin: Ace covered this song nightly on his “Space Invaders” world tour, and those who got to witness the spot on rendition will not be surprised why Ace would put this classic Kiss tune on this release.
Till the End of the Day: Once again give Ace props for going for the deep cuts from an artist like the Kinks instead of the obligatory “Lola” or such. Ace puts his stamp on this song and those not familiar with the Kinks version could easily see this as an Ace original.
Rock and Roll Hell: This third and final Kiss cover may have sparked my interest like no other on this release for the main reason being that this is a song from Ace’s old band after his involvement. Once again, a deep cut from the Kiss catalogue from the “Creatures of the Night” release. I have to admit, this was the first time I heard this song by either Ace or Kiss, and after listening to both, I have to say I am impressed with Ace’s version.
At this stage of Ace Frehley’s career, the guy is entitled to do whatever he wants in the music industry. Ace is a rock God and a guitar legend. He is and will always be the one and only original guitarist for maybe the most iconic rock band of all time. No matter what has transpired in the Kiss world since his departure that fact will always remain. I am a huge fan of Ace Frehley. He was and always will be my favorite member of Kiss. No matter how you dress a guy up, things were never the same in the Kiss world after Ace left in my opinion. This CD comes on the heels of the rumors that Ace and Paul have put their differences aside and hearing the work that Ace does covering songs from so many other iconic bands only makes it easier to understand why so many Kiss fans long to see him back in the fold.