Finally, a tribute album to one of the most amazingly gifted guitarists of all time- the incomparable Joe Satriani!
I've actually had this album for a while now (since November 4th) and I've listened to it many times. For some reason, it was released earlier in Canada and boy was I surprised to see it! That surprise quickly turned into joy, as this is a truly excellent album. It puts a lot of other "tribute" albums to shame.
Here is a brief overview of the songs:
1. "Crushing Day" by Slav Simanic. I like it, but it is pretty much the same as Joe's version. Not that that is bad or anything. I happen to think "Crushing Day" is one of the most perfect songs he's ever done!
2. "Big Bad Moon" by Joe Bochar a.k.a. Joboj. Very cool rendition of a classic. Joboj actually does the lyrics on his guitar, which results in a very robotic sound. Nice job!
3. "Ice Nine" by Rob Balducci. Another very nice one. Good arrangement, awesome feel and some very impressive runs. Plus, the outro is the beginning of "The Forgotten (Part 2)," one of the most amazing songs ever written. How cool is that?!!
4. "Satch Boogie" by Kelly Jones. Wow! Now this is a tribute! VERY different from the original, which is the way a tribute should be, in my humble opinion. This version has a more funky, laid-back feel and is very impressive in its' own right. Very cool arrangement, too.
5. "Summer Song" by Carl Roa. Another VERY different version, even more so than "Satch Boogie." This is a very cool jazz-type jam track that would be totally out of place for the video to this song (on the awesome "Satch Tapes" video, which you should buy immediately if you haven't done so). I love this version in every respect. It is very well played and shows a lot of respect for the original. Joe would be proud!
6. "Crush of Love" by Dave Martone. This is one that I play a lot! It starts out with a very heavy, clean fuzz (which sounds amazing played on a powerful stereo, especially with a subwoofer) and then goes into a really cool, softer groove, then back to the heavy stuff, etc...As much as I love the original, this is just as good, if not better in its' own right. At first, you'll hear the heavy distortion and think 'huh?' but soon, you'll realize that this version is masterfully done. Everything about this one is excellent!
7. "New Day" by Terry Syrek. I must admit, I was a little surprised to see this song on the album, as it's not one of Joe's more well-known ones, but I like what Mr. Syrek has done with it. He gave it a cool tribal-type beat and plays it funky!
8. "Driving at Night" by Michael Chlasciak. BLEH! This is by far the worst song on the entire album. The original had a really cool ambient sort of feel to it that is hard to describe, and actually reminded me of being in a car in the middle of the night. This version is pretty much just noise. Chlasciak went nuts with the drum machine, cranking it up to a million beats per second and using heavy, grinding distortion for the guitars. He totally ruined the feel of the original. Imagine Pantera doing a love song. I don't think so.
9. "Why?" by Steve Mannocchi. This song has a great new arrangement that gives it a truly unique feel in comparison to the original. Another one that is slightly funky. Very well done.
10. "Always With You, Always With Me" by Ron Thal. This may just be the most inspired, radically different song on the whole album. It has a choir (from a keyboard, but very well done), flutes and some very impressive guitar work and humming by the author in tune to the music. At first, I thought 'what IS this?!,' but once I got into it, I realized that this is exactly the way to perform a tribute. Lots of time and effort surely went into this one. Ron Thal is a genius!
11. "Hordes of Locusts" by Steve Booke. This is similar to "Crushing Day" in that it is not too much different from the original, but it is very good nonetheless. The best version of this song is the live version on "Dreaming #11." That has got to be one of the best performances Joe has ever done!
Well, let's see...10 hits and 1 miss. I'd say that is a big success. This is, overall, an incredible album. No fan of Joe Satriani should be without it. Joe would be very proud, I'm sure. If you are already a Satch fan or just a guitar music fan in general, do yourself a big favor and BUY THIS NOW!