This Time Around. Owed to…B
The world around us hangs in doubt
You face a crime that we’ll hear about
To pay the cost would never be the same
Eternal lovers we’re not to blame
There’s no mistake there’s no refrain
The same surroundings that stood
Are here again this time
As I look around you can’t be found
To lose you I’d rather see
The endless time of space go passing by
This time around
This time around
So look around we all will be found
Thomas Richard “Tommy” Bolin (August 1, 1951 ‘born in Sioux City, Iowa’ – December 4, 1976) was an American-born guitarist who played with Zephyr (from 1969 to 1971), The James Gang (from 1973 through 1974), and Deep Purple (from 1975 to 1976); in addition to maintaining a notable solo career.
Tommy into Music: “I was five or six at the time, I think, and I used to watch this show on TV called “Caravan of Stars”. I saw Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins. After seeing them perform I knew that was what I wanted to do”.
Tommy Influences: “Django Reinhardt and Carl Perkins. But, really, anything I heard I was influenced by. There wasn’t any particular person, outside of Hendrix. In high school bands we used to play anything and everything — “96 Tears,” “Gloria,” “Hang on Sloopy,” whatever. I used to listen a lot to Rolling Stones records and play along with them when I was first starting. I’d just experiment around the I-IV-V progression. It’s a good way to learn, jamming around basic music; and the Rolling Stones’ first albums was pretty basic”.
He had played in a band called “American Standard” before joining “Ethereal Zephyr”, a band named after a train that ran between Denver and Chicago. When record companies became interested, the name was shortened to “Zephyr”.
“Sail on” (Tommy Bolin, Candy Givens)
This band included Bolin on guitar, David Givens on bass, and Givens’ wife Candy Givens on vocals. The band had begun to do larger venues, opening for more established acts such as Led Zeppelin.
“Hard Chargin’ Woman” (Bolin, Robbie Chamberlin, Faris, C. Givens, D. Givens)
Going Back to Colorado (1971)
Live at Art’s Bar and Grill (1996)
In 1972 Bolin, at the age of 20, formed the fusion jazz-rock-blues band Energy. While the band never released an album during Bolin’s lifetime, several recordings have been released posthumously.
The Energy Radio Broadcasts 1972 (1998)
Tommy Bolin & Energy, Live in Boulder / Sioux City 1972 (2003)
He also played on Billy Cobham‘s Spectrum album, which included Bolin on guitar, Billy Cobham of Mahavishnu Orchestra on drums, Leland Sklar on bass and Jan Hammer (also of Mahavishnu Orchestra) on keyboards and synthesizers.
How did Tommy come to work with Billy Cobham on ‘Spectrum’?
“It was really weird. I did sessions with Billy some time ago. They were like demos – this was before Mahavishnu. They were instrumentals, and he dug the way I played. Then he called me up out of the blue six months later. I was starving to death at the time. That album halped me a lot. That’s how Ritchie first heard about me and why he called me up. ‘Spectrum’ to me was a kind of new music that could ave had a wide appeal. It was not as complicated as the Mahavishnu Orchestra. But after that he turned right about and went back to a jazz thing with horns”.TB
“I think the way I play the guitar is very percussive. I play a lot of rhythm chops as though I were playing congas or something”.TB
1973 found him as Domenic Troiano‘s replacement, who had replaced Joe Walsh, in the James Gang. He had two records with this band: Bang! in 1973 and Miami in 1974.
After the Miami tour, Bolin wanted out of the James Gang. He went on to do session work for numerous rock bands and also with a number of jazz artists including Alphonse Mouzon‘s album Mind Transplant, considered “one of the best fusion recordings of all time” by Allmusic reviewer Robert Taylor. He also toured with Carmine Appice and The Good Rats.
“I also did the ‘Mind Transplant’ album with Alphonse Mouzon. I really like the LP but every tune is about a minute too long. I think the rivalry between Cobham and Mouzon is really funny but personally I like Billy’s drumming more. They play very similarly. But Alphonse has an amazing ego in the first place, and Billy plays with more sensitivity. He’d play a country and western tune if you asked him, but Alphonse is more a lead player”.TB
Bolin signed with Nemperor records to record a solo album, Teaser (1975), he decided to do his own vocals on this album as well. Session players on this record included David Foster, David Sanborn, Jan Hammer, Stanley Sheldon, Phil Collins and Glenn Hughes.
During the recording of this album, he was contacted to replace Ritchie Blackmore in Deep Purple.
“I met Ritchie Blackmore about two weeks ago and he recommended me to the band. The thing is I’ve never really listened to a lot of Deep Purple records, but when I joined the James Gang it was a step forward, and Deep Purple are all amazing players, and it’s another step for me. Ian Paice is an amazing drummer and I have all the respect in the world for Jon Lord. I think I will be bringing out my own individuality with the band and bring some things out in them. The LP we’re making will surprise a lot of people”. TB
The band then relocated to Munich, Germany, to begin work on “Come Taste the Band”. Bolin wrote or co-wrote seven of the record’s nine tracks, including the instrumental “Owed to G,” which was a tribute to George Gershwin.
This was the first song on Deep Purple’s 1975 album Come Taste The Band (the first without original guitarist Ritchie Blackmore). Tommy Bolin (Blackmore’s replacement), David Coverdale (vocalist) and Ian Paice (drummer) wrote the song. Bolin also played bass as Glenn Hughes (then Purple bassist) was having a few problems.
I need love
This time around/owed to G
You Keep On Moving
Come Taste the Band was released in late 1975, and Australian, US and Japanese tours ensued.
Live records with Deep Purple: Last Concert in Japan (1977) King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents: Deep Purple in Concert (US)/On the Wings of a Russian Foxbat (UK) (1995) – Deep Purple: Extended Versions (2000) – Live at Long Beach 1976 (2009) : Remastered Version – Days May Come and Days May Go (The California Rehearsals Volume 1) (2000) – 1420 Beachwood Drive (The California Rehearsals Volume 2) (2000) – This Time Around: Live in Tokyo (2001)
After Deep Purple disbanded in March, 1976, Bolin was back on the road with his solo band with plans for a second solo record. The band had a rotating cast of players which included Narada Michael Walden, Mark Stein, Norma Jean Bell, Reggie McBride, Jimmy Haslip, Max Carl Gronenthal and eventually Bolin’s younger brother Johnnie Bolin on drums.
“I replaced Walsh, I replaced Blackmore, now I just gotta be me”. TB
By mid-1976, CBS signed Bolin and he began to record Private Eyes, his second and last solo record.
“After being summoned to fill the shoes of first Joe Walsh in James Gang and later Ritchie Blackmore in Deep Purple, Bolin could have easily been saddled with the title of “best replacement guitarist.” But Tommy’s less publicized musical history reveals a journeyman musician whose versatility was matched by a restlessness to work and learn, the end result crystallizing into Bolin’s own electric guitar style”. Lowell Cauffiel