Vanilla Fudge -
Out Through The Indoor

(CD 2007, 62.12, Escapi Music Emus075)

The tracks:
  1- Immigrant Song(3:19)
  2- Ramble On(4:30)
  3- Trampled Underfoot(4:49)
  4- Dazed And Confused(5:57)
  5- Black Mountain Side(3:31)
  6- Fool In The Rain(5:36)
  7- Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You(7:05)
  8- Dancing Days(4:49)
  9- Moby Dick(6:06)
10- All My Love(6:17)
11- Rock And Roll(4:21)
12- Your Time Is Gonna Come(5:46)

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What an exciting moment it was in the year 2007 when I read that Vanilla Fudge, one of my favourite bands, had released an album that is dedicated to Led Zeppelin, another favourite of mine! The connection between these two pivotal rock bands started in 1968 when Led Zeppelin did their first USA tour, as a support act of USA four piece formation Vanilla Fudge. In those days this band was highly praised and got worldwide recognition one year later, due to their international chart topping single You Keep Me Hangin' On. Between 1967 and 1969 Vanilla Fudge produced five interesting studio-albums, before they called it a day in 1970. Their captivating and often compelling sound is a blend of rock, blues, jazz, soul and psychedelia with the focus on compelling floods of Hammond organ, harder-edged guitar work, inspired vocals and vocal harmonies. Keep in mind that members of Uriah Heep, Deep Purple and Yes pointed at Vanilla Fudge as their main source of inspiration. Later Vanilla Fudge reunited a few times and even released a new studio album in 1984 named Mystery, a pretty disappointing effort, far from their exciting Sixties sound. Early this year I witnessed a mind blowing gig by Vanilla Fudge (featuring three original members) at the Cultuurpodium De Boerderij in Zoetermeer (see review). More recently I took a look at my pictures of that concert and then decided to write this review. Because in my opinion Vanilla Fudge is an often overlooked progressive formation, time to tell more about Vanilla Fudge and their excellent tribute to Led Zeppelin.

Vanilla Fudge have succeeded to incorporate their distinctive sound into the covers without doing harm to the mighty Led Zeppelin sound. I notice lots of inventive ideas: a short and surprising keyboard intro on the propulsive Immigrant Song, wonderful keyboard arrangements (on the Korg Triton synthesizer) and fiery electric guitar leads on the dynamic Dazed And Confused and a funky clavinet sound, wah-wah guitar and swirling Hammond organ on the swinging Trampled Under Foot. The typical, omnipresent Vanilla Fudge Hammond B3 organ sound can be traced gloriously on Fool In The Rain, Dancing Days, Moby Dick (excellent job by drummer Carmine Appice who later worked with Jeff Beck) and Rock And Roll (less thunderous drums but strong vocals and biting electric guitar). It gives the songs a very special flavour. The most Vanilla Fudge inspired Led Zeppelin cover is the final song Your Time Is Gonna Come: it starts with churchy Hammond organ, then a thrilling blend of blues and psychedelia featuring inspired, pretty melancholic vocals. My conclusion is that this album is an excellent piece of work by Vanilla Fudge but you have to be up to their distinctive sound. In that case the Vanilla Fudge music will turn into a very pleasant discovery because, in my opinion, Vanilla Fudge delivers genuine progressive rock: adventurous, innovative and creative, worth to be checked out!

**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Astrid de Ronde)

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