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Tommy Bolin, ‘Savannah Woman’ – Song Review

Keystone Hulton Archive, Getty Images

The first taste of the new Tommy Bolin tribute CD, ‘Great Gypsy Soul,’ has arrived in the form of an updated version of his classic ‘Savannah Woman.’

The original track appeared on his solo debut ‘Teaser’ in 1975, and this recent take gives it a new life thanks to the additional guitar work of John Scofield, whose slinky playing gives the song a distinctly jazzier feel than the first version while still respecting the vibe of the original track.

Ahh the wonders of modern technology! It should bring a smile to longtime Bolin fans, especially since it’s been tastefully done and really does come off as a genuine tribute instead of a cash-in of some sort.

Tommy Bolin is no stranger to die-hard classic rockers. He’s perhaps best known as the brave soul who stepped in to record the ‘Come Taste The Band’ album when Ritchie Blackmore retreated from Deep Purple. And just prior to that, he served as lead guitarist in a latter-day lineup of The James Gang, recording two albums there as well.

In 1975, Bolin released his debut album as a solo artist, ‘Teaser,’ which would be the crowning achievement of what was to be a tragically short career. He was dead within a year, yet another senseless casualty of drug use.

Over the years, fans have continually sung his praises as a guitar hero — and now, some of those more famous fans have joined forces in a unique tribute album. Among those tipping their hats to Bolin are Peter Frampton, Warren Haynes, Steve Lukather, John Scofield, Myles Kennedy, Nels Cline and former Purple band mate Glenn Hughes. Other contributors to the project are blues great Sonny Landreth, current Deep Purple axeman Steve Morse, and Aerosmith‘s Brad Whitford.

The album, ‘Great Gypsy Soul,’ uses original outtakes and adds tracks from these and other artists, thus making new material out of old. Fresh tracks laid on top of the previous multi-tracks — right alongside Tommy’s original guitar work — promise to make for an interesting collection.

‘Great Gypsy Soul’ will be released on March 26 via 429 Records.

Listen to ‘Savannah Woman’ Featuring John Scofield

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