1. Who is the band? What is their history? What motivates them?
“Bullfrog blues is the name of an old traditional American song, (covered also by Canned Heat and Rory Gallagher) but Bullfrog is the name of a band from Verona, Italy who plays good old classic hard rock! The band was formed in 1993 from the ashes of other important bands from Verona (Great Fish, Capricorn, Highshooter, Hitchers). Starting as a cover band, the group plays songs by Free, Bad Company, Grand Funk, Led Zeppelin, Mountain, and other blues standards. The sound is pretty much reminiscent of the classic power-trios of the 70's, with a lot of room for improvisations and solos. In a while Bullfrog begin to gain a reputation as a live band, playing also at various biker festivals, with shows often lasting more than four hours! (http://www.bullfrogband.net/english%20version/biography.html, 2009).
“Gradually, as a natural development, the band begins to write and play their own material, clearly showing the love for the great rock of the 70's. In 2001 Bullfrog finally enter the studio to record their debut album, Flower on the Moon, for the Andromeda relics label. The album includes nine original compositions plus one interesting cover of Sail On, Sail Away, originally recorded by Moxy, a great and sadly forgotten Canadian band from the 70's.To this day the CD is getting great reviews from all the most important Italian music magazines” ( http://www.bullfrogband.net/english%20version/biography.html, 2009).
2. Why did they make this album? What was the passion or message that forced them to produce what they have? Or, simply what was their motivation for the themes they chose for this album?
Their debut CD, to put their own original works and sound, drawn from the inspiration of 70s legends, to the test of the open marketplace.
3. What message are they delivering through their lyrics and music?
Trouble in Paradise – That powerful set of drums and guitar hit you from song one. Paul Rodgers inspired vocals and those great guitar solos which would become a trademark. That funky signature guitar lick sounds so good.
Hallelujah – Ramblin’ kinda beat. Good upbeat lyrics and rocking beat. The refrain will have you singing along.
Mother and Father – Stevie Ray Vaughn/Hendrix guitar licks and a faster beat. It’s the guitar solos baby! They know how to mix good upbeat lyrics with great drum and guitar solos.
Flower on the Moon – The title track and probably the standout. Great acoustic guitar intro then the drums and electric kick in. Electric guitar strums an almost Black Crowes jam, when they begin the refrain. Really is a highlight, along with the echo effect that ends the song.
Sail On, Sail Away – This band is influenced by allot of legends from the past. A little known band out of Canada, Moxie, is the inspiration and author of this song, the first cover song on a Bullfrog album. Covers are often hard to judge. I think Bullfrog’s version of this song is harder and Francesco’s vocals are better than the original. The guitar solo is also stronger than Moxie’s. All you can ask in a cover song is to uphold the power of the original and hopefully improve on it in the process. They do both here.
Bed Love – Good strong drum and guitar opening. “Gonna climb a hill far over the water.” “Gonna take a long ride up into the mountains.” Yeah, I know what that’s like. Great to get away sometimes. Change of altitude can sometimes change the attitude!
Mystic Mistake – Zeppelinesque guitar opening. The guitar solo is very dynamic and memorable.
(Don’t) Fly Away – Cool rolling guitar solo opens this one. There’s a swagger to this one. Good foot stomping beat which would also be great to dance to live. The fly away refrain sounds so good.
Stranger to the Danger – Power guitar and drums open this one. Solid rocker. Good use of piano to support and differentiate the sound, something you don’t hear as much from rock bands any more.
The Ballad of Jimmy the Fool – Their version of a Rebel Without a Cause type of story with those great guitars and drums supporting. The anthem - like guitar and drum salute at the end is a fantastic way to end the album. But we’re not done yet…A little blues harmonica along with an acoustic guitar to close the album. Nice touch!
4. Does this music improve, change, or add to the genre? What does the listener receive from listening to the music?
Quiet a nice debut, introducing some of their original lyrics and music to the genre of hard rock and blues. The cover song was a wonderful discovery and they have proved to me, over the course of the three albums that I have reviewed, that they have the stuff to make even better albums in the future.
Does it have longevity? Is it something a fan will like to play again and again?
This is a great document of where they were at the turn of the decade. It also shines a light on their start and shows how even within the album they were innovatively developing their talents and continuously updating their sound. That tradition continues on their latest effort Beggars and Losers.
Rating: 7/10 – A little more repetitive than the other albums, but there are highlights which make it an essential part of the catalog.
Reviewed by Prof on November 15th, 2009