Artist: Ace Frehley
Album: Origins Vol. 2
Release Date: September 18th 2020
Reviewer: Rod Strachan
The one and only Ace Frehley will drop “Origins Volume 2” on us on September 18 th . This will be the
long awaited follow up to the forerunner “Origins Volume 1” released back in 2016 featuring twelve
Track 1 – Good Times, Bad Times (Led Zeppelin) Ace has long touted Led Zeppelin as one of his major
influences of his fledgling career right until this very day. This cover showcases Ace’s comfort in his
own vocal ability without having the compare notes against Robert Plant. A very solid opening track
running a full 36 seconds longer than the original, more Ace is just fine with me!
Track 2 – Never In My Life (Mountain) Ace delivers what can only be described as an exquisite version
of the 1970 Mountain track from their debut album. Staying true to the Leslie West Les Paul formula
from 1970 this 2020 is a version of remastered and updated brilliance.
Track 3 – Space Truckin’ (Deep Purple) On July 28th this great cover dropped as the first single. The video
is a great animation production with the song lending itself to Ace’s very own Space Ace character in
so many ways. A blistering guitar solo from Ace backed into a Rob Sabino keyboard section that do
the original proud. Perfect choice is the front running single for the album.
Track 4 – I’m Down (The Beatles) The upbeat B-Side single for Help! Arrives next. A rousing rendition
of the Lennon/McCartney (and apparently more McCartney) live staple track which incidentally is
the final song played by the fab four in a concert tour at Shea stadium. Ace with the help of guest
guitarist John 5 prove well and truly they are on top of his game with this one! Whilst it maybe not
my first choice for a Beatles cover from the Space Ace, he certainly delivers a solid performance on a
somewhat lesser known track.
Track 5 – Jumpin’ Jack Flash (The Rolling Stones) Track five and its back to back covers from the
world’s two biggest bands. Lita Ford lends her great vocal talents to the lead on this one. Whilst Ace
handles the backing vocals in fine style. The two work together extremely well to give a five-star
performance on one of the Stones biggest hits!
Track 6 – Politician (Cream) John 5 returns to the record to trade licks again with Ace from this take
Cream’s Wheels On Fire album. In Ace’s own description on this recording the two recorded
separate guitar solos with Engineer Alex Slazman cross fading the two. This mix is a must for any
headphone enthusiast, adding an interesting element to a very well thought out cover!
Track 7 – Lola (The Kinks) No acoustic intros leading into one of The Kink’s best-selling singles. Just
straight-ahead rock and riffs from Ace. Without straying away from the blueprint that made this
song such a success all those years ago, this song fits the album perfectly.
Track 8 – 30 Days in The Hole (Humble Pie) Ace leans on the extraordinary vocal talents of Cheap
Trick’s Robin Zander for this one. A vocalist with few peers Robin’s range fills the microphone in
exemplary style while Matt Star holds the deliver the solid punch on drums. A true highlight of an
already burgeoning list of pinnacles on the record.
Track 9 – Manic Depression (Jimi Hendrix) Bruce Kulick joins Ace in a KISS reunion of sorts. My two
guitar heroes as a kid growing up blend their contrasting styles together for the first time in a studio
recorded situation. This track will leave even the conservative KISS fan thinking…Could there be
more to come from these two icons? Some original material is a mouth-watering concept in
anyone’s mind surely?
Track 10 – Kicks (Paul Revere & the Raiders) Ace unearths another of his early life influences here
with this 1966 hit song. A selective track that leans heavily on the lyric content surrounding Ace’s old lifestyle based on the original meaning when written by Barry Man and Cynthia Weil. Over a decade
sober now and Ace is fulfilling the potential as an artist one can only dream of! Great track choice
here and fits the album’s tone perfectly.
Track 11 – We Gotta Get Out of This Place (The Animals) With its own New York style into Ace
delivers the goods with the cover of The Animals classic. Another song in many ways
autobiographical track from Ace’s formative years growing up in the Bronx. A great way to end of
the album until….
Track 12 – She (KISS) Bonus Track – No Ace, no Matt no Ron no problem. The Ace Frehley band deliver
a high-quality replica of the KISS song from the Dressed to Kill album. The band’s ability to play
anything from KISS’ back catalogue is highly regarded amongst fans in general.
In all the album extremely solid, rock solid to say the least. My only gripe would be a KISS cover in
the same vein as Origins Vol 1, where Ace threw at us a fantastic version of “Rock N Roll Hell”. Another
along those lines would have be ideal here maybe something like “Good Girl Gone Bad” from Crazy
Nights or “Tough Love” from Revenge…maybe on Origins 3?