Frehley’s production is precise, with just enough looseness to let the Spaceman do his thing.
One of rock ’n’ roll’s most iconic guitarists, former KISS axe-slinger Ace Frehley, has gone back to the origins of rock on his newest release, Origins: Volume One. Deep in the vaults of heavy rock, artists like Cream, Steppenwolf, and even his old bandmates are represented here, with Frehley handling all the main guitar work and lead vocals.
Yet the Spaceman isn’t alone here. The addition of some heavy-metal heavy hitters, like Lita Ford, John 5, and Paul Stanley, helps Frehley to shine on this release. The track listing here is fantastic. Some of rock’s finest tunes come to life and, while never known for his vocal prowess, Frehley’s escalated hilt is well suited to the material.
Opening the disc with Cream’s superhit “White Room,” Frehley captures the spirit of the song easily, and his guitar work is solid. Also included are covers of “Street Fighting Man” by the Rolling Stones, “Wild Thing” by the Troggs (with special guest Lita Ford), and “Spanish Castle Magic,” originally recorded by Jimi Hendrix. Frehley’s production is precise, with just enough looseness to let the Spaceman do his thing.
Also here is Frehley’s version of “Rock and Roll Hell,” which was originally featured on his last album with KISS, Creatures of the Night. It makes the release shine even more that his former KISS mates are included. He seems to play his best when they are involved, and this track is proof of that. Along with the newly penned tune, “Fire and Water,” which was co-written by Paul Stanley, this is some of Frehley’s finest work in years. Enjoyable and relevant, Origins: Vol 1 is right where Frehley should be. A+ | Marc Farr