A little while ago I was reading about the Edgar Winter band, now it seems I am just a little too young to have known about the band when they released the classic ‘Frankenstein‘ and was interested to read that Edgar is younger brother of guitar legend Johnny Winter. Anyway I was reading about their guitarist Doug Rappoport who is a British born guitarist has been playing professionally since age 15. I was interested to hear his new solo album ‘Bionic’ so I contacted him in order to get hold of a copy, in fact it was so hot off the press that the CD covers hadn’t even been printed yet so I got an advance copy! I presumed it would be a bluesy jazzy album as I don’t know much of the Edgar Winter discography (yet!) but then I saw the album artwork and realised that this wasn’t going to be what I expected at all!
Bionic opens with a track called, ahem… ‘Camel Toe Rodeo‘, yes really. Anyway aside from the bizarre vocal interludes, which personally I would have preferred without but I guess that is Doug’s sense of humour coming through, this is a rocking track. Great heavy riff and melodic rock soloing that reminded me of Andy Timmons very fluid and effortless sounding with a few fusion licks thrown in some nice octave unison lead lines.
‘Bionic Warz‘ is one of my favourite tracks on the album, again blending rock guitar with fusion elements but not so much that you would ever say it was jazzy this is some heavy shit going on! I would put this track more in the John Petrucci style of music, lots of fast picking, crazy arpeggios and super heavy backing riffs.
The third track on the album is called ‘Chopper‘ which Doug wrote after watching the awesome Eric Bana film of the same name based on the life of legendary criminal Mark ‘Chopper’ Read. I don’t know if it is Doug singing on the track? Doug if you are reading this please leave a comment and let us know, if it is he has a great rock voice kinda like Zakk Wylde. This track shows that Doug is more than just a shredder and can write melodic songs too. In fact there is also a rock ballad called “Dyin’ 2 Live” also featuring vocals but I wasn’t a fan of this, sorry Doug, I prefer the heavier stuff.
UPDATE (22/10/08): It seems I was a little hasty in my review because I can’t get “Chopper” out of my head I’ve listened to the song 4 times today!
There is also a cover of Jimi’s ‘Voodoo Chile – Slight Return‘ and the guitar playing is very impressive, Doug has a wide vibrato that sounds like he is shaking the neck of his guitar. It is very hard to do a cover of any Hendrix track and not get criticised so fair play to Doug for just doing his thing. It is basically a heavy rocked up version which takes elements from the original but Doug puts his own stamp on it.
The last track on the album took me completely by surprise! ‘When I Wish Upon a Star‘ which shows off Doug’s Jazz chops on both electric and acoustic guitar. I expect to hear this on a Tommy Emmanuel record not a rock album like Bionic! Very impressive playing with plenty of harmonics a la Tommy and nice counterpoint bass lines.
If you like guitarists like Andy Timmons, John Petrucci etc. you will like Doug Rappoport and if you like the Edgar Winter Band, Doug apparently does an 8 minute guitar solo during the set! Check out Doug’s myspace page for some audio clips which also has more info on how to purchase his album ‘Bionic‘.