UFO – “The Salentino Cuts” (Cleopatra Records)
Covers can be somewhat risque – do a good job and you may make more of a hit than the original but handle it badly and whoa, definitely one to lose sight of ha ha! While not being much of an issue as a single track, when a band chooses to record an entire album of them (in this case a 12 tracker) then they have to be pretty confident – or insane. UFO are legends and in their 38 year career have skirted it pretty close to the mark themselves especially in that rock n roll lifestyle. Quite why they chose to record their first ever covers album remains a mystery but maybe it was as simple as being just that, or to pay homage to their own inspirations and personal favorites over the decades. Either way, the range here is pretty wide with the majority of tracks being expectedly taken from the late 60s and early 70s along with the odd 80s number and a coupla more recent mid 90s songs. From the obvious with Mountain’s ‘Mississippi Queen’ to Monstrose’s ‘Rock Candy’ and Robin Trower’s ‘Too Rolling Stoned’ to the less apparent in Bill Wither’s ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ and John Mellencamp’s ‘Paper In Fire’, the album comfortably croons and rocks effortlessly from one track to the next in the expert hands of these longtime veterans. Edging it out to Mad Season’s ‘River Of Deceit’, I haveta say that even The Yardbirds ‘Heartful Of Soul’ and The Doors ‘Break On Through’ were covered decently. But then it’s UFO that you’re talking about from Phil Moog’s trademark vocals unchanging be it for The Animal’s ‘It’s My Life’ or Steppenwolf’s ‘The Pusher’ to Vinnie Moore’s outstanding slide work on ZZ Top’s ‘Just Got Paid’ and the dirty rock riffing of Tom Petty’s ‘Honey Bee’. Wise enough to know not to try and outdo the originals, UFO have just laid down these tracks as they’ve probably played them a gazillion times before, be it for jams or warm ups but whatever the case, always for fun.