5 Stars = Masterpiece
"Tales of the Unexpected," one part studio, one part live, is my favorite Mahogany Rush album. The studio section includes two originals & two covers. The originals "Sister Change" & "Tales of the Unexpected" has Marino stretching out his farthest. Both songs almost bordering on heavy fusion. Marino just cuts out solid magnificent mountains of jazzy guitar runs at the speed of light, he is at once heavy, ethereal, concise & commanding, & his rhythm section cuts it through out following Frank like a car chase down a winding mountain road. "Norwegian Wood" & "All Along the Watchtower" add even more of an ethereal twist than was on the originals. Honestly, Marino made these songs his own with his unique approch, making these songs float on a bed of sweetly scented dream like airwaves carressing my ears & entering my brain like billowing tufts of opium smoke. I was addicted to their dreamy embrace.
The live section features heavy, heavy, gut wrenching blues/metal originals with "Down, Down, Down" & "Door of Illusion" hitting that blues, funk, metal path that was only trodden down by fellow contemporaries Robin Trower & Pat Travers this convincingly in the 70's... hell, at anytime. The live work here on par with Mahogany Rush's excellent "Live" album, leaving one battered & bruised & begging for more!
"Tales of the Unexpected" is Marino's crowning achievement, never to be topped in my opinion. Frank put out numerous albums afterward, but each album just seemed to lose focus to the point Frank was parodying himself. Funny enough, is was not until 2000 with the excellent "Eye of the Strom" that Marino captured past glories.
Marino has always been an artist that was hit & miss, his failures just that, but his success's, oh so sweet! Frank & his band Mahogany Rush can now be looked at as a band that was definitely born of Hendrix, but also pushed the grand man's ideas, & eventually came on to their own being, one of low valleys, but also soaring peaks that beg to be climbed.
1. Sister Change
2. All Along The Watchtower
3. Norwegian Wood
4. Tales Of The Unexpected
5. Down, Down, Down
6. Door Of Illusion
8. Bottom Of The Barrel