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).
“In April 2004, a new CD is published, The road to Santiago, a great work of pure hard rock, including nine original compositions and a cover version of the James Gang classic Walk away. Stylistically close to the previous record Flower On The Moon, The Road To Santiago shows a much better production, and a growing musicianship.
In the following months the album gets rave and enthusiastic reviews from critics and magazines.
The songs Sundance and The road to Santiago are included in two compilation albums of local bands MusicAlive#2 and Tales, the first being also aired on the national radio program Demo on Radio1!”( 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?
This was their follow up to the critically acclaimed Flower on the Moon album. The band wanted to expand their sound and display their new maturing talents.
3. What message are they delivering through their lyrics and music?
Sundance – This one gets rocking early with a strong guitar rip and then those smashing drums. “Celebration is what it’s all about now ain’t it clear!” “Time to open the doors and let the time begin.” Fun in the sun after probably a long cold winter. That is the feeling you get from this song. “Time to walk in the sun and let your soul be heard!” You can’t help but feel good about this song. The bluesy guitar solos backed by smashing drums in the middle really sets the mood right for this album. They tried to recruit Chris Squire to sit in and do a bass solo, but he was on holiday. Another great opener.
The Road to Santiago – Drums and an AC/DC sounding riff opens this one. But it’s no copy the vocals make that clear. The title song. “Leave your worries behind.” Inspired by Orson Wells unfinished movie The Road to Santiago. The need to hit the road and get out and enjoy the world. “Come fill your heart and your mind.” The piano solo in the middle is wonderful. The guitar and building drums are just excellent as another guitar solo roars. Positive, energy – filled music that will not let you sit still.
Rain on Me – Power drum thuds and a great bullfrog blues backbeat. That Paul Rogers kinda Bad Co sound. But again, not a copy. Sounds similar but original lyrics and guitar licks make it different. Great refrain. This one is not as experimental. Just good straight ahead rock and roll. Must have been a very rough winter, they are really sick of the rain on this album.
Boz’s Walk – Punching drums open this up and then guitar giving you that walking rhythm. Very Zeppelinesque. The guitar solos really set this on fire! But those constant drums keeping rhythm are a real trademark that will have you remembering Bonzo and Baker. Great acoustic guitar fade out, wish it had been longer. But it was wonderful.
Kissin’ Mary Lou – Off and rolling again with a faster beat. “The colder nights are almost over.” Yeah, spring fever is in the air with this entire album. The guitar and drum solos which are a trademark with this band in the middle of a song are great.
Morning Creeping – That cool guitar and cymbals slow drift to open this one. “…walking side by side.” “Its love that comes strong in your soul, when the sun comes creeping round your door.” Spring fever at the max. Nice harmonized vocals at the end.
Supersister – Pounding drums and a funky beat. “I like to see an open country. I like to feel my face calm with the sun. When the rays coming on me…” Yeah, it must have been a particularly rough winter.
Slow Bottom – Power drums and guitar. That Paul Rogers sounding opening. Good blues grind. More good guitar solos.
Walk Away – The cover of one of my favorite James Gang songs. Powerful lead in guitar solo with drums pounding. They do a very good job for a sophomore album. Pretty gutsy to try something as complicated as Walk Away in your second outing. They give it their own sound. Not as good as Joe Walsh, but who is? The guitar solos are heavier, but still sound good. The supporting vocals are good.
I’ll Be Gone – Nice slow strum of the guitar and the opening of a ballad. Great way to end the album. Give the listener something to look forward to for the next one. Very good. Wish they’d do more of these songs. “Singing a summer song.” Good slow bluesy rocker. Good Stevie Ray Vaughn kinda song. Just perfect guitar solos. This one could have gone on forever.
4. Does this music improve, change, or add to the genre? What does the listener receive from listening to the music?
I requested the back catalog of CDs from this band based on the fantastic performance on their new one Beggars and Losers. This one is very good, but you can see the progression in talent with Beggars and Losers. Very much a spring album. Will get me through the winter. Gotta hear it again on the other side!
5. Does it have longevity? Is it something a fan will like to play again and again?
Rating: 8/10 – Good solid rock and roll. Helps to fill the void left by Led Zep, Cream, and Bad Company, no longer recording new music.
Reviewed by Prof on November 15th, 2009