Pat Travers has forged a lengthy career spanning better than four decades now, ranging from his mid-1970s status as arena-rock guitar hero to his current blues-bustin’ bluster as displayed by albums like 2012’s Blues On Fire or 2015’s Retro Rocket. During the early 2000s, Travers hooked up with legendary Vanilla Fudge/Cactus/Rod Stewart drummer Carmine Appice for a handful of goodtime records that showcased the guitarist’s trademark six-string shred and the drummer’s bombastic percussion.
Among those Travers/Appice collaborations was the 2004 album It Takes A Lot of Balls, a recording that was sadly lost among the guitarist’s abundant back catalog and kneecapped by his relative obscurity at the turn of the century. Travers has since been rediscovered as the talented elder statesman of blues-rock, so the guitarist and his former drummer have decided to revisit It Takes A Lot of Balls with a new edition. Deadline Music, a Cleopatra Records subsidiary, reissued the album on March 4th, 2016 on CD as The Balls Album, adding a pair of bonus tracks – including the scorching cover of Barry White’s “Never Gonna Give You You Up” shown in the video below – along with brand new album artwork.
The pair deliver an odd take on the soul classic, Travers sounding like a crooning David Bowie on vocals and infusing the song with Jimi-inspired swirls of psychedelic color and Stevie Ray-styled slashes of switchblade licks while Appice pounds the stuffing out of his kit as he is wont to do. The rest of The Balls Album shows a similar disregard for the rules of polite society, Travers and Appice rocking and rolling with reckless abandon.
In a press release for the new reissue, Appice praised his partner, stating “I love playing with Pat. He is a great artist, and this was one of the best albums I have made, especially in such a short time – 3 weeks to make! Great songs, great playing, lots of energy, and each track has a lot of BALLS!” Travers responds in kind, saying “I have been a fan of Carmine since 1967. I followed his career over the years and was very pleased to meet him when he was playing drums for Ted Nugent in 1981. We did a lot of shows together and got to know and like each other along the way…we decided that we should record an album together. That led to me going to L.A. and recording this amazing album.”
Related Content: Pat Travers' Retro Rocket CD review
Buy the CD from Amazon.com: Pat Travers & Carmine Appice's The Balls Album