Artist of many a stripe deliver a slew of rock classics – with a stellar guitar entourage and a lot of his own personality.
Many tend to slam Joe Lynn Turner for taking part in a multitude of projects, but that’s a lame reproach to be aimed at singers who earn a living with their voice. More so, the choice of the former RAINBOW frontman for all these recordings goes to stress one point: the versatile veteran is able to take ownership of a musical piece by always sounding like JLT – faithful to the song yet not falling for the influence of its original performer. The point implemented most organically on his own “Under Cover” albums, there’s a lot of Joe’s performances strewn across various tribute compilations, and “The Sessions” is only a part of Turner’s extracurricular activities.
Slanted towards heavier material – including “Stone Cold” that’s been a staple of JLT’s repertoire for decades and is given a groove for Vivian Campbell to harden here – this collection finds the vocalist deliver a smattering of unexpected numbers. While the readings of “2 Minutes To Midnight” or “Back In Black” exhibit Joe’s vocal stamina and his effortlessness in handling an infectious cut, Turner replaced the panache of “Fat Bottomed Girls” with a sporty ardor, and sharpened the elegant bluest edge of “Bloody Well Right”; although nothing can rival “The Seeker” in terms of Leslie West-propelled muscularity. Some pieces are transformed completely, like “All Shook Up” where Michael Schenker’s six strings drive those pipes to the verge of sweet funk; some – such as “Let The Music Do The Talking” – adhere to their prototypes; all of them interpreted with much gusto and utmost respect.
Where “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” is passionately cold in the acoustic web of Jeff “Skunk” Baxter’s weave, and “All Day And All Of The Night” is kicked into punk by Rudy Sarzo‘s bass, “14 years” and “Hellraiser” have a hot strut to them. Still, the most magical moments of this collection come with “Riders On The Storm” as JLT evokes a voodoo spell with the jiving help from Tony Kaye and Steve Cropper, but the singer’s spellbinding throughout, and if “The Sessions” is a first instalment in a series of Joe Lynn Turner’s fringe catalogue there’s more to be discovered about his talent.