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The Salentino Cuts

Review by Gary Hill

The whole "do an album of covers" thing is cool, but perhaps a bit overdone. Here UFO gets into the trend. As you might guess from their sound, most of this lands in the bluesy hard rock territory. They create a very listenable disc of classic tunes. Some of their versions exceed the original, but nothing falls flat, making this more of a winner than anything else.

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Track by Track Review
Heartful of Soul
This classic Yardbirds tune gets a pretty faithful rendition on the introduction. As it powers out from there this is more classic UFO. I dig the hard rocking energy of this rendition.
Break on Through (To the Other Side)

It might border on heresy, but I think I prefer this to the original Doors version. These guys really rock it out. This is such a great version of the tune. It's also a definite highlight of the set.

River of Deceit

I don't think I've ever heard the original of this song from Mad Season. This comes in with mellower, picked guitars. It works out toward balladic territory. This is sort of soulful, bluesy number. It's a good change, but I don't really like it very much. It's not that they do a bad job on it. It's just that the tune doesn't really grab me.

The Pusher
This has always been one of my favorite Steppenwolf tunes. These guys charge it up nicely. They do a great, fairly faithful rendition.
Paper in Fire
I've always liked John Mellencamp, and I like his version of this song a lot. UFO really kind of turns it into their own song - as they should. In fact, this perhaps sounds more like what you expect from this band than any of the rest do. I think I prefer the original, but this is smoking hot and a lot more hard rocking.
Rock Candy
Here they put in their version of this classic Montrose rocker. It was not that far removed from UFO's sound, so this rendition isn't far from the original. I love what they do with the instrumental section, though. It's on fire.
Mississippi Queen
Again Mountain's sound isn't that far removed from the sound of UFO. So, this rendition isn't far removed from the original. They really rock it, though. I have to say that I probably like this one better than the original, but it's all about degrees. These guys seriously rock it out with style.
Ain't No Sunshine
Now, you probably wouldn't expect these guys to cover Bill Withers, would you? They put in a killer blues rock rendition of this classic tune. I've always loved this piece of music, and they really manage to elevate it. The melodic guitar soloing on this is pure magic.
They obviously recorded this before Tom Petty's recent death. I think that event brings a greater relevance to the piece. These guys put in a scorching hot bluesy hard rock rendition of this cut. I'm not sure that I've ever heard this particular song from Petty, but I can't imagine that it sounds anything like this. This is classic UFO, really.
Too Rolling Stoned
This song was originally released on my all-time favorite Robin Trower album, and it's a killer tune. These guys do a version that's pretty faithful (but they generally ply a type of music similar to Trower's) and really works extremely well. This is another highlight of the disc.
Just Got Paid
Now, they make this ZZ Top stomper their own. It's a killer bluesy rocker that still retains the soul of the original but really reflects UFO. It's a standout.
It's My Life
They close the disc with a killer Animals cover. I'd consider this to be a merging of the original sound with the UFO trademark sound. This one works quite well, but isn't one of my favorites. That's more about the strength of other tunes here than any inherent weakness in this one.
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