Vanilla Fudge (1967)

Categories: 1967 and Music.

This is an excellent covers album featuring mostly (but not entirely) fairly radical interpretations of two Beatles songs, a Zombies song, an Impressions song, a Supremes song, a Cher song (made famous by Nancy Sinatra) and a song by artists I’ve never heard of. You must admire these guys for the breadth of these covers, showing an interest in music that is wide-ranging.

The jammy “psychedelic” intros to a number of the songs also show an interest in other music and such intros were pretty uncommon for studio performances at the time. (I’m not sure how rare, but pretty damn rare.) I’m not sure they’re necessary, though, they are probably the one thing that dates the record.

As for this record’s influence on metal, I don’t really see it. Except for the fact that not too many people were yet incorporating jamming into their rock music (at least in studio), I think there were a lot of other bands making music at this time (cough Hendrix cough) who have a better claim.

As to whether or not this is early prog, I also don’t see it. Maybe the intros (especially “STRA,” the bolero-type one) are kind of proto-prog, and yes, they did influence early proggy Deep Purple a lot, but this is still pretty clearly psychedelic rock to me.

Probably among the better covers albums ever.

8/10

  1. “Ticket to Ride” – a pretty good cover
  2. “People Get Ready” – I actually don’t know the original
  3. “She’s Not there – a good cover
  4. “Bang Bang” – though I think the Nancy Sinatra version is rather classic (and I’ve never heard the Cher original), this is still pretty good
  5. “STRA (Illusions of My Childhood Part One)” – a bolero-inspired thing, the closest thing to early prog here
  6. “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” – the cover that made them famous, it’s pretty iconic
  7. “WBER (Illusions of My Childhood Part Two)” – basically just jamming on the theme from the previous song, and not in any kind of jazz sense, it’s really the coda for the cover (unless it’s meant to be that really brief organ outro, hard to tell without a CD dividing the tracks)
  8. “Take Me for a Little While” – song I’d never heard of until this record
  9. “RYFI (Illusions of My Childhood Part Three)” – Just kids music, I cannot place the song exactly but it’s a really familiar kids tune (driving me crazy, that)
  10. “Eleanor Rigby” – Begins with an intro that sounds nothing like the song (but which isn’t given its own cute letters for reasons that elude me) but then that cover is pretty out there
  11. “ELDS” – Get it? It spells “Strawberry Fields”
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