Tommy Bolin was a Native American half-breed (Sioux) from Sioux City, Iowa. Enthralled by rock 'n roll after his father took him to a Elvis performance when he was about nine or ten years old, Tommy never looked back. He had to leave high school in Sioux City due to the fact that he simply refused to cut his hair!
He eventually made his way to the Denver/Boulder metropolitan area and hooked up with several local musicians. His guitar playing ability was immediately noticed by all who jammed with him, and he eventually helped form "Zephyr", a psychedelic/blues/jazz/fusion (yes, they (he) were that good!) band that had the front range of Colorado and the majority of the mid-west standing up and taking notice.
However, due to strange political manueverings in the recording industry, "Zephyr" never really took off. Oddly enough, they simply couldn't land a recording contract. It is somewhat apparent as to why this occured. Tommy Bolin and "Zephyr" were simply about twenty years ahead of everybody!! Recording industry execs were hesitant to pursue a band that nobody could figure out...but everybody loved!
Archives Vol-1 is a great collection of Tommy's guitar playing ability. You get a little bit of everything here. you will hear acoustic, electric demos, live songs, and just plain jamming with this CD. The killer cut of this entire CD however is "Shake The Devil" (No.10). Though it starts out kinda rough, (This was a "King Biscuit Flower Hour" recording) Tommy steps in mid way through the song and absolutely blisters everybody's ears! Check out Norma Jean Bell also on the sax! (ex- Frank Zappa). She steps in right along with Tommy and plays her heart out! A great jam! The likes that we will probably never hear again.
Tommy Bolin was talented enough to play with Billy Cobham, Deep Purple ("Come Taste The Band"), The James Gang, Alphonse Mouzon, and of course Zephyr, but what really set him apart was his solo efforts. If you have never heard "Post Toastees" find it and buy it, listen to it. Because that song is probably the best description of Tommy Bolin anybody could hope to hear. Sadly, "Post Toastees" is not on this disc. But look around, it's worth the hunt.
Having supplied that info, it is important to mention, that there is also a substantive version of "Wild Dogs" and "Teaser" on this CD. Motley Crue were to copy "Teaser" years later.
Tommy Bolin could play with anybody, as well as just about any kind of music, and do it well. If you are looking for a true guitar virtuoso, this recording is for you.
This wonderful prodigy was taken from us, in December of 1976. He had just finished opening for Jeff Beck in Miami, when the lure of a "quick fix" quite literally killed him. We can only wonder what could have been had he lived. But he put out enough music ahead of time, I believe, that pretty much answers that question.