Ace Frehley reissues

It recently came to my attention that the Wounded Bird label has reissued three long-lost Ace Frehley releases from the ‘80’s. This past January, the label released a 2-on-1 CD containing the full-length album Second Sighting and the EP Live + 1, both of which are 1988 releases from the former Kiss guitarist’s ‘80’s band Frehley’s Comet. Also, Frehley’s 1989 solo album Trouble Walkin’ has been reissued.

The main attraction of the 2-on-1 CD is the Live + 1 EP, which featured four worthwhile live tracks from Frehley and his band. Two other members of that quartet were drummer Anton Fig and vocalist/guitarist Tod Howarth. The entire band makes a good impression, including Howarth on his two vocal turns. The other track from that five-song EP was a studio outtake from the 1987 album Frehley’s Comet titled “Words Are Not Enough”; that song is as good as any of the songs on the album from which it was excluded.

The full-length album Second Sighting is less exciting. It was recorded with a different drummer (Jamie Oldaker), and half of the singing and songwriting duties were unwisely entrusted to Howarth. The tracks written and/or sung by Frehley make up the album’s better half, but Howarth’s trite pop-metal style sinks his contributions. In particular, Howarth’s keyboard-laden ballad “It’s Over Now” belongs on some other hair-metal band’s album.

After the Comet disbanded, Frehley recorded his 1989 solo album Trouble Walkin’, which mainly consisted of straight-ahead hard rock. Peter Criss and Anton Fig are both credited with percussion. Ace’s unapologetic rocking-out is infectious on this album, particularly on his renditions of Jeff Lynne’s “Do Ya” and the simultaneously-released Kiss song “Hide Your Heart” (which Ace recorded without the blessing of Paul Stanley, one of the song's authors). After Trouble Walkin’, Frehley took a long hiatus from recording new studio solo albums; his next one was Anomaly in 2009, twenty years later.

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