Get this crazy baby off my head!


Jake E. Lee

Jake E. Lee - Retraced - 2005 - Mascot Music

When Shrapnel Records headman Mike Varney coaxed Lee back into the studio in 2005, the guitarist literally had not picked up his instrument in over a year. When Varney promised him a backing band that included legendary bassist Tim Bogart (Vanilla Fudge, Cactus) and journeyman drummer Aynsley Dunbar (John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Jeff Beck Group), Lee was convinced to sign on the dotted line. Along with vocalist Chris Logan (Michael Schenker Band), a big-lunged bluesy shouter in the vein of Whitesnake's David Coverdale, the foursome recorded the spirited covers album Retraced. Reaching back in time to revisit some of the songs that he originally performed as a L.A. street rat in the late 1970s and early '80s, Lee and crew breathe new life and fire into eleven blues-rock and classic rock gems. Retraced kicks off with a particularly raucous rendition of Pat Travers' "Whiskey Train," Lee embroidering a wiry riff behind Logan's whiskey-soaked vocals and atop the Bogart/Dunbar rhythmic axis. The performance choogles along nicely, teetering near madness but stopping just short of jumping the tracks as Lee's spectacular solo anchors the song: Getting Evil With Willie Dixon: Every blues-rock band worth its salt has covered Willie Dixon's Chicago blues classic "Evil," with barnstormers as diverse as Howlin' Wolf, Canned Heat, Eric Clapton, and even Cactus putting their individual stank on the song. Lee et al accepted the challenge with aplomb, Logan's vocal howl matched by explosive bass lines and drumbeats; Lee's screaming six-string sounds like a hungry beast on the hunt. It's a fine cover of a classic song that too often falls short of the mark in lesser hands, but Lee and his merry pranksters nail it with just the right balance of energy and malevolence. British blues-rockers Free are represented by an inspired take of their "I'll Be Creepin'," Logan displaying a greater vocal nuance than previous while Lee delivers a glorious din rocked high in the mix. Blues guitarist Johnny Winter is another blues-rock touchstone, and Lee delivers a blistering performance on the Texas legend's "Guess I'll Go Away." While Logan spits out a vocal performance that echoes Cream-era Jack Bruce, Lee's fretwork rolls throughout the song like a runaway train, channeling both Clapton and Jimi Hendrix while the rhythm gang bangs and crashes like colliding meteorites. The Bruce-penned "Love Is Worth The Blues" is an overlooked gem from the West, Bruce & Laing era (1972), sounding like that band crossed with Leslie West's Mountain and, again, Cream as Lee outmuscles the big man with flaming, flaying six-string shred. While Logan's vocals don't quite display the bluesy elegance of James Dewar's original on Robin Trower's "I Can't Stand It," they're nonetheless adequate, assisted by Lee's fleet-fingered and multi-textured fretwork. - The Reverend's Bottom Line: Jake E. Lee is a talented and often-overlooked guitarist who far too often has been overshadowed by his frequently more flamboyant or outrageous musical collaborators. With Retraced, however, the guitarist is the undisputed ringmaster, working with a savvy bunch of blues-rock veterans that can play this stuff in their sleep, and play it well. Unencumbered by band politics or label pressure, Lee revisits his roots with an inspired setlist that, aside from the aforementioned songs, also includes covers of material from the James Gang, Montrose, Glenn Hughes and Trapeze, and Grand Funk Railroad. While Lee is seldom thought of as a blues-rock guitarist, his performances on Retraced are spectacular and often incendiary, the instrumentalist obviously relishing the opportunity to try his hand at these well-worn but rocking songs. Fans of blues-rock guitar will find it worth their while to dig up a copy of Lee's Retraced. (Shrapnel Records, released April 26, 2005) By & © Reverend Keith A. Gordon ****/5 © 2014 About.com. All rights reserved. http://blues.about.com/od/cddvdreviews/fr/Jake-E-Lee-Retraced-2005.htm

When most fans recall Jake E. Lee's playing, it is his stellar, heavy metal-esque style featured on such mid-'80s Ozzy classics as Bark at the Moon and The Ultimate Sin. But aside from hardcore fans, Leeis a bluesy, classic rocker at heart, as evidenced by his work with his post-Ozzy band, Badlands, and especially on his latest solo album, Retraced. Comprised entirely of covers, Lee doesn't go the usual Stones/Zeppelin route, but instead, picks lesser-known songs from his days as a teen playing in bands -- including selections from such outfits as Robin Trower, Johnny Winter, and Trapeze, among others. Reading Lee's notes in the CD booklet, it's surprising to learn that he hadn't picked up his instrument for a year before Shrapnel head Mike Varney convinced him to do the project. The deciding factor for Lee was the rhythm section -- Vanilla Fudge's Tim Bogert on bass and session ace Aynsley Dunbar on drums -- who supports Lee throughout. Ex-Michael Schenker singer Chris Logan handles vocals, and as evidenced by such cuts as "Evil" and "Guess I'll Go Away," Logan gets quite David Coverdale-esque at times. Despite the long fretboard layoff, Lee can still wail away with the best of them, especially on "Way Back to the Bone." For fans of modern-day blues-rock (with, obviously, a classic rock edge), Retraced is definitely recommended. © Greg Prato © 2014 AllMusic, a division of All Media Network, LLC. | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/release/retraced-mr0000481132

For someone that claims he hasn't picked up a guitar in over a year, Jake E. Lee sure hasn't lost any skills. In fact I've always toutedJake as Ozzy Osbourne's best guitarist (or at least the most unheralded) - sure Randy Rhoads and Zakk Wylde may be more influential and have larger fan bases, but Jake has always had a more roots oriented sound. With guitarists it isn't always how fast you can play or how flashy one is, in my opinion it all comes down to feel and knowing when and why certain notes need to be played. Jake E. Lee is one of the shredders that understand this simple concept. This is a covers album and in the liner notes Jake himself states that he finds such albums to be a "waste of time" unless one is able to add something to the songs or introduce some music to a new audience - and that is what is being done on Retraced. The blues rock standards found on this release aren't songs that would usually appear on some bargain bin best of collection. With that in mind, and the chance to work with the legendary Tim Bogert and Aynsley Dunbar, Jake E. Lee decided that a covers album would be worthwhile after all - and I agree. Right from the opening riffs of the incredible "Whiskey Train" you know that Jake is in fine form and still has the chops - that song also features enough cowbell to make everyone happy. But the magic doesn't end on that first track; just listen to Jake's precision picking on "Way Back To The Bone" or him unleashing a killer solo at near the end of "Love Is Worth The Blues". In fact you can close your eyes and pick any song on this disc and hear some incredible guitar licks, this is the type of solo album I was wishing Mark Kendall would have released. Badlands used to do some covers on their albums and live shows, and each of these songs would have fit in nicely with their catalog. If you could compare this to one contemporary artist I would say Retraced is in the same vein as Kenny Wayne Shepard due in part to the bluesy wail of vocalist Chris Logan. This really is an incredible album and lets hope it doesn't take another year for Jake to pick up the guitar again. www.jakeelee.com. Reviewed by & © Skid for Sleaze Roxx, May 2005. © http://www.sleazeroxx.com/bands/leejakee/retraced.shtml

Retraced is the second studio album released by the great underrated American former Ratt, Rough Cutt, Badlands and Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Jake E. Lee. The album contains ten terrific covers of various artists bands from Jake’s youth. Some of these tracks are rarely given a workout by modern artists, but Jake helped by legends like Tim Bogert of Vanilla Fudge, Cactus and Beck, Bogert & Appice fame, Aynsley Dunbar formerly of Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention, David Bowie's backing band and Whitesnake, and former Michael Schenker Group frontman and great vocalist Chris Logando really do these songs justice. Some of the covers were originally recorded by Procul Harum, Howlin’ Wolf, Free, Johnny Winter, and Grand Funk Railroad. This is a brilliant rock and blues album and HR by A.O.O.F.C. Rock ‘n’ Roll will never die with albums like this to savour. Try and give Jake E. Lee’s “A Fine Pink Mist” album a listen [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 117 Mb]


1 Whiskey Train - Robin Trower & Keith Reid - Procol Harum 4:39
2 Evil - Willie Dixon - Howlin' Wolf - (based on the version by Cactus) 3:18
3 Way Back to the Bone - Glenn Hughes -Trapeze 5:34
4 I'll Be Creepin' - Andy Fraser & Paul Rodgers - Free 5:18
5 Guess I'll Go Away - Johnny Winter - Johnny Winter 3:54
6 Love Is Worth the Blues - Leslie West, Jack Bruce & Corky Laing - West, Bruce and Laing 4:26
7 I Come Tumblin' - Mark Farner - Grand Funk Railroad 5:10
8 Woman - Jim Fox, Dale Peters, & Joe Walsh - James Gang 4:44
9 A Hard Way to Go - Chris Youlden - Savoy Brown 3:49
10 I Can't Stand It - James Dewar & Robin Trower - Robin Trower 4:28
11 Rock Candy - Denny Carmassi, Bill Church, Sammy Hagar, & Ronnie Montrose - Montrose 5:11


Jake E. Lee - Lead & Rhythm Guitars
Tim Bogert - Bass
Aynsley Dunbar - Drums, Percussion
Chris Logan - Lead & Backing Vocals


He may have appeared on only a pair of albums with Ozzy Osbourne, but guitarist Jake E. Lee helped Osbourne score two of the most commercially successful releases of his long and illustrious career. Born Jake Lou Williams on February 15, 1957, to American and Japanese parents, Lee and his family eventually settled down in the San Diego, California, area. After taking classical piano lessons as a child, Williams was introduced to rock via his older sister's record collection (Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, etc.). By his teenage years, Williams had picked up the guitar himself, influenced by such fiery and technically proficient players as Tommy Bolin, Jeff Beck, and Ritchie Blackmore. During the late '70s, Williams began playing in bands around the Hollywood area, including Mickey Ratt, which would eventually evolve into '80s pretty-boy rockers Ratt. After jumping ship to briefly join the obscure outfit the Greg Leon Invasion, Williams wound up laying down guitar for Rough Cutt during a short spell (like Ratt, Rough Cutt would go on to issue albums during the '80s, only long after Lee had left). But Williams didn't have to wait long for his next band opportunity -- local bassist Dana Strum was asked to help recruit the next guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne's solo band (Strum had recruited Randy Rhoads for Osbourne a few years prior), who in turn set up a tryout for Lee. Future Dokken guitarist George Lynch was initially given the nod but ultimately didn't work out, resulting in Williams being welcomed aboard. After changing his name to Jake E. Lee, he joined Osbourne for his first U.S. performance at the 1983 U.S. Festival (in front of an estimated 350,000 metalheads). In the fall of that same year, Lee's first album with Osbourne was issued, Bark at the Moon, a platinum hit that was followed by a mammoth tour (with then-unknowns Mötley Crüe serving as support) -- promptly making Lee one of rock's most exciting new guitarists. After an appearance at another immense festival in January of 1985, Rock in Rio, Lee and Osbourne took a break and eventually began working on their second album together. Osbourne's most commercial-sounding album of his solo career, The Ultimate Sin, was issued in early 1986. Although the more glossed-up sound caused some consternation among longtime Osbourne fans, the album became another platinum hit, while the ensuing tour (which included another opening group that would soon hit the big time, Metallica) was a sold-out success. But not all was fine and dandy behind the scenes between Lee and Osbourne. Osbourne's behavior was at its most unpredictable during this point due to alcohol and drug abuse, leading to Lee's departure in 1987. After a period of reassessment (it was speculated that Lee declined an invitation to join Whitesnake around this time), Lee joined up with another former Black Sabbath singer (albeit briefly), Ray Gillen, and formed the Led Zeppelin/classic rock-esque outfit Badlands. The group's self-titled debut was issued in June of 1989 -- an inspired set of rough-and-ready rock that performed respectfully on the charts and received favorable reviews. Yet only one more album would be issued from the band, 1991's Voodoo Highway, before the members of Badlands went their separate ways (an unreleased album, Dusk, would be issued later in the decade). Subsequently, Lee played briefly with a band called World War III before setting off on his own, issuing his solo debut, A Fine Pink Mist, in August of 1996 (supposedly, Osbourne was unsuccessful at convincing Lee to reunite once more during the mid-'90s). In later years, Lee appeared more interested in contributing guitar work to other artist's albums and tribute albums than launching another full-time band or focusing on a proper solo career. Lee has played on albums released only in Japan by such artists as Ann Lewis, Air Pavillion, and Rob Rock, plus tribute albums for Jeff Beck (Jeffology: A Guitar Chronicle), Rush (Working Man), AC/DC (Thunderbolt), Randy Rhoads (Randy Rhoads Tribute), Van Halen ('80s Metal Tribute to Van Halen), Metallica (Metallic Assault), Ted Nugent (Bulletproof Fever), the Cult (Fire Woman), and a pair for Queen (Dragon Attack and Stone Cold Queen). In 2013 Lee announced the formation of his first official post Badlands group, Red Dragon Cartel. The band released an eponymous debut album the following year. © Greg Prato © 2014 AllMusic, a division of All Media Network, LLC. | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/jake-e-lee-mn0000782563/biography


A.O.O.F.C said...


P/W is aoofc

Ernest said...

Thank you so much for this great post!

Todd Gilbert said...

Whiskey Train was a Procol Harum song.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,Todd. Great song composed by Robin Trower with lyricist Keith Reid. TVM...Paul

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,Ernest. I'm playing the album a lot lately. Glad you like it. TVM & TTU later...Paul