The Salentino Cuts

UFO

UFO offers up their first album of covers with the 12-song The Salentino Cuts. Here the current lineup of vocalist Phil Mogg, drummer Andy Parker, keyboardist and guitarist Paul Raymond, lead guitarist Vinnie Moore and bassist Rob De Luca present some of their favorite tracks from the Doors, Mountain, John Mellencamp and others, receiving tribute in only the way UFO can.

The Yardbirds’ “Heartful Of Soul,” may be too much of a stretch vocally for Mogg actually, but then the band sails through a tight and snappy cover of the Doors’ “Break On Through” with some stellar organ playing from Raymond. There’s a killer cover of the Mad Season’s “River Of Deceit” on which Mogg is spectacular as he growls through and Moore’s atmospheric leads are spot on.

Yes, it might seem strange that UFO covers John Mellencamp’s “Paper In Fire” but Parker makes his presence known with some wonderful rim shot work and Moore pushes the whole concoction, even if Mogg might not be up to the task of singing Mellencamp. It’s fun to hear UFO’s rock-country read on a tune we all know so well. Although, I do like the heavy stomp the band takes on Tom Petty’s “Honey Bee” (Rob De Luca’s growly bass is about as nasty as it gets here) and Robin Tower’s “Too Rolling Stoned,” it’s really on the slower pieces where The Salentino Cuts crackles.

The cover of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” is probably the best track on the record, with the band securely locked in and Moore playing in a way you don’t hear anywhere else on The Salentino Cuts. As to be expected not all the covers here do much more than offer a harder take on some classics. But there are some outstanding moments on The Salentino Cuts from some unexpected quarters.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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