JAKE E. LEE – Retraced

JAKE E. LEE - Retraced


Mascot Records
Release date: April 26, 2005

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Jake E. Lee is by many known as the guitar player who filled Randy Rhoads’ shoes in Ozzy Osbourne’s band in 1983. Lee also has a past in bands like Teaser, Ratt, and Bandlands. Quite a respectable career history that is.

However, besides several contributions to different tribute albums over the last years, it’s been a while since something new was heard from Jake E. Lee. Six years have passed since the last Badlands album, and one has to go back to 1996 to find Lee’s previous solo recording, A Fine Pink Mist.

Now it seems like the time has been right for Jake E. Lee to make another album. However, the fans might be disappointed by the fact that original material has yet to be released, as Retraced is a collection of cover songs.

One might also get disappointed if hoping for a release conveying the style and attitude of Lee’s guitar work on the Bark At The Moon and The Original Sin albums. This time around, Lee has explored quite a different tradition in music than what can be heard on his efforts in Ozzy’s band. From the track list below, you can see that the songs are picked from the catalogue of Bluesmen, or musicians sitting on the Bluesiest branch of Rock Music.

Still, Lee’s overall raw and partly angry guitar sound on this album gives away that this is a man who is not a stranger to music tending towards a Heavy approach. Lee’s instrument is greatly produced and mixed, and if it was an axe, an entire forest would fall from the sound of this album. The rhythm section gives the tracks an edge too. Skinsman Aynsley Dunbar (Journey, Jeff Beck, John Mauall, Frank Zappa, and Whitesnake) and bass player Tim Bogert (Jeff Beck, Cactus, and Vanilla Fudge) use all their routines and skills to force the songs up and forward.

Chris Logan (Michael Schenker Group) is a clever pick for a singer. Not the most characteristic voice around, but still he masters the task of covering most of the variety of all those different voices originally carrying these songs. It is strange though, how Logan manages to reach the levels of some of the cleverest singers of the original tunes while he is not quite there trying to replace the lesser. He rather should have left James Gang’s “Woman” and Montrose’s “Rock Candy” alone, while his attempts on reaching Glenn “The Voice Of Rock” Hughes’ level on Trapeze’s “Way Back To The Bone,” or Paul Rodger’s high standards on Free’s “I’ll Be Creepin’,” are successful.

Along with the two latter tracks, Procol Harum’s “Whiskey Train,” the Howlin Wolf classic “Evil,” and Robin Tower’s “I Can’t Stand It” are the album’s highlights.

There is no doubt Jake E. Lee is a highly skilled guitar player. Retraced proves that. However, Retraced is not a recording that will set the world on fire, alhough it does represent a return of a musician that is very much welcomed by a lot of admirers who respect his impact on guitar driven music, starting more than twenty years ago. Now, get some touring done, Jake.


  1. Whiskey Train (Procol Harum)
  2. Evil (Howlin Wolf, written by Willie Dixon)
  3. Way Back To The Bone (Trapeze)
  4. I’ll Be Creepin’ (Free)
  5. Guess I Go Away (Johnny Winter)
  6. Love Is Worth The Blues (West, Bruce & Laing)
  7. I Come Tumblin’ (Grand Funk Railroad)
  8. Woman (James Gang)
  9. A Hard Way To Go (Savoy Brown, written by Chris Woulden)
  10. I Can’t Stand It (Robin Tower)
  11. Rock Candy (Montrose)


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