In order to carry on the work begun a couple of weeks ago your humble servant now offers up a similar treatment to the solo work of former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley, who has been and always will be my favourite member of Kiss. His contributions to the Kiss catalogue are stellar with a rare exception or two - Torpedo Girl from the “Unmasked” album being one ’worthy’ of mention in that regard. Ace ‘s first solo release from ’78 (while still with Kiss) is, some would say unfortunately, the best work Frehley has ever done, his penultimate achievement. His subsequent solo albums are uneven affairs, particularly the late ’80′s albums “Second Sighting” and “Trouble Walkin’” – hence their scant representation in this list.
It’s been well publicized that Ace and Peter were the bad boys of Kiss, embracing that title to the extent that they toured under the slogan together with their respective solo bands in the mid-nineties, just prior to the reunion goings-on. I was at that that show in a Toronto rock bar – a friend suffers hearing loss to this day from the volume of Ace’s set.
For those of us that continue to harbour strong feelings for Ace’s work the question we are dealing with today is this: What are the ten Ace Frehley solo tunes that you absolutely must hear, either again or for the first time?
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10. “Fox On The Run” from Anomaly, 2009
Like most fans I was practically salivating by the time Anomaly was released in ’09 – the first studio album from the legendary Spaceman since ’89′s disappointing Trouble Walking. A definite highlight for me is a cover of the 1975 Desolation Boulevard era Sweet song, “Fox on the Run”. I have to admit to feeling slightly queasy when I first saw the track listed on the CD back. Mid ’70′s Sweet to me is sacrosanct and I thought that Ace, particularly with his style of singing, would make a mess of it.
Much to my surprise Frehley pulls of what is probably the best cover of the tune ever. Even his voice, a concern mentioned previously, is perfectly suited to the big chorus. I am however willing to admit that the tune’s selection to this list may be the result of impaired judgment due to warm and fuzzy feelings about the original Sweet version.
9. “Pain In The Neck” from Anomaly, 2009
Sadly, Anomaly as a whole wasn’t as strong a release as many of us would have liked. One music blogger used words like, ‘harmless,’ and ‘underwhelming’ to describe it and I would tend to agree. Anomaly features some strange chord progressions that don’t tend to work long-term but “Pain In The Neck” is an example of Ace’s sometimes odd, staccato style working perfectly.
While not quite up to the lofty heights of Frehley classics this is one of the standout tracks of the Anomaly release. The album’s opener, “Foxy and Free” and the second track, “Outer Space” which was released as a single, deserve honourable mention.
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