German guitarist Axel Rudi Pell releases his new album on 21st April 2017. Entitled “The Ballads V”, it is as the name suggests, a collection of ballads. You’re not wrong about the “V” either – yes this is his fifth Ballads album, which seems a lot even considering how long his career has been, but there’s clearly a demand for it pr the record label wouldn’t release them. When you listen to the album it’s clear why people keep buying his Ballads albums – this is a great release.
The album features mainly his own songs, including a brand new song, “Love’s holding on” which features Bonnie Tyler on vocals, but also three cover versions. The first is the Ed Sheeran composition – “I see fire”, from The Hobbit movie, the next is Neil Young’s “Hey hey my my”, and the third is a mammoth 14 minute live version of Deep Purple’s “Mistreated” with Doogie White on vocals and former Rainbow member Tony Carey on keyboards. It’s a superb version of the song, and the length of it feels right. With some bands the live versions are normally a similar length to the studio versions, but Deep Purple used to jam on stage making the songs far longer than they were on albums, so this keeps that same live feeling. Doogie’s vocals are fantastic and the song just sounds great all round.
The Neil Young cover is another fantastic track. It’s great to hear how Axel Rudi Pell has put his spin on this great song, and he’s done such a good job that I prefer this to the original, and it’s not often a cover version is so much better than the original.
Interstingly for a man known as a guitar virtuoso, for the cover of “I see fire”, Axel Rudi Pell has replaced the guitar in the original with a piano, and it works surprisingly well. Late in the song though, he gets the electric guitar out and gives us a great solo.
I was initially sceptical about this album, but after listening to it a few times it’s really won me over. You get some great Axel Rudi Pell songs as well as some fantastic cover versions, and it really is a great album. Well worth buying.
“The Ballads V” will be released on 21st April 2017
1. Love’s holding on
2. I see fire
3. On the edge of our time
4. Hey hey my my
5. Lived our lives before
6. When truth hurts
7. Forever free
8. Lost in love
9. The line (Live)
10. Mistreated (Live)