Tesla Real To Reel Tesla Recording Co. / Ryko
Produced By: Tesla

Running Time: 64.04

Release Date: Out Now


Musical Style: Rock

Links: Tesla
Songs: 65%
Sound: 75%
As stated in the Poison review Ė some covers album's work, some don't. This one works better than most, but I would still not describe it as a classic or something that I will invest a lot of time in listening to it beyond this review.
I have loved Tesla since their debut album arrived with a bang in 1987. I still rate it as one of the best debut albums of all time. Since then the band have consistently delivered quality albums and even after reforming, the last album Into The Now proved they still had that magic touch.
So once again I find myself questioning why the need for a covers album in the first place, but at least the tunes featured here have been Teslafied.
Tesla have followed the same path taken by Def Leppard, in delivering an album of classic 70s rockers in the same authentic style the originals were recorded in.
Now when we are talking production values, you could substitute the word authentic for crappy, as this is a long way from the high-tech wall of sound Tesla usually delivers.
This is a raw, stripped back and live in the studio affair and really is pretty loose sounding compared with what might be expected. But, while critical of this aspect, it does have this authentic feel and is clearly better than the Poison effort, plus the songs do have some energy to them.
For that reason I think there will be a number of Tesla fans quite satisfied with the results here.
The overall satisfaction of fans will depend on the individuals' appreciation of the songs covered. There are several here I have no time for whatsoever (Walk Away, Ball Of Confusion, Honky Tonk Woman, Bell Bottom Blues).
On the other hand there are some that are covered with perfect reverence and good grace (Space Truckin', Thank You, Bad Reputation, Day Of The Eagle, Dear Mr. Fantasy).
The Bottom Line
Basically stated Ė for the die-hards and collectors only. This definitely doesn't have the cross over appeal or quality that the band's original studio albums have. Don't keep us waiting too long guys.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
Mechanical Resonance
Great Radio Contraversy
Five Man Acoustical Jam
Psychotic Supper
Bust A Nut
Times Makin' Changes
RePlugged Live
Into The Now
Real To Reel

Line Up:
Jeff Keith: Vocals
Frank Hannon & Dave Rude: Guitar
Troy Luccketta: Drums
Brian Wheat: Bass

Essential For Fans Of:
Def Leppard - Yeah!
Track Listing
Space Truckin' *
Walk Away
Hand Me Down World
Bad Reputation *
Thank You *
I've Got A Feeling
Day Of The Eagle *
Ball Of Confusion
Rock Bottom
Bell Bottom Blues
Honky Tonk Women
Dear Mr. Fantasy

--*Best Tracks

16/12/07: Joe -
Rating: 90
Even though I got this disc way back when it was first released, I've really only just gotten around to listening to it (and Vol 2, too) just recently. I don't know exactly what you folks who don't like it have got it against it, but I think you're missing out on a great rock album. Sure, it's a bunch of cover, but it a really well done (for the most part) bunch of covers. Hell, it's worth owning this disc alone just for the scotching version of "Rock Bottom" - which, no offense to UFO or Michael Schenker, but this version puts all others to shame. Yes, it's THAT good!

Other stand out tracks are "Space Truckin'", "Bad Reputation", "Day Of The Eagle", "Stealin'", "Ball Of Confusion" and "Thank You".

Another thing I like about this album, and again this is for the most part, is that the song choices are not necessarily the obvious "hits" being covered. While true, some are - most of these choices are more what I'd refer to as fan favorites, than out and out "hit singles". I think this definitely helps with the re-playability of the album - as I'm not already sick of repeatedly hearing even the regular versions of these tracks.

The only real mis-step is the cover of "Bell Bottom Blues" - which is ok, except the Jeff Keith has trouble hitting the falsetto parts in the chorus. Other than that, though, he does a solid job - even accurately hitting the vocal styling of all the different singers he's covering. The only other song that doesn't do much for me is "Honky Tonk Woman" (although their cover of the Rolling Stones "Street Fighting Man" on disc 2 is much better). Both Of these song in their original versions are faves of mine, but these interpretations just don't do them much justice.

Lastly, one other positive thing I can say about this album IS that it made me go back and check out some the artists covered who I haven't listened to in awhile (i.e. - UFO, Robin Trower, Uriah Heep). To me, I think that's kinda what the band had in mind with this album (and it's companion). It's a bit of - "Here, these bands really turned us on musically, see what they do for you". And if that was the goal, then job well done, boys!

30/11/07: Dan Colwell -
Rating: 50
Tesla is a great band I'm sorry to see they wasted our time on the cover cd. Cant wait to hear the next real tesla cd

01/09/07: Al Williams -
Rating: 90
They open the disc with a real Ė No pun intended! Ė classic in Deep Purpleís Space Truckiní. Wow guys, a brave track to cover at anytime, but as your opening cut Ö.? Iím a big Purple fan too & I think this is great!
Walk Away, originally done by The James Gang who featured a certain Joe Walsh, I didnít recall the title when I saw all the tracks listed before listening to this, but itís a really good version of the track. Good one!
Another track I wasnít really familiar with is next one Hand Me Down World, originally recorded by The Guess Who & this one I really like too, but am seriously not familiar with the original.
Bad Reputation next, a track I recall seeing (Thin) Lizzy play live on many occasions. I love this track, it was so strong live with Lizzy, so I expected nothing but respect from Tesla here & with what theyíve done I think a certain Philip Lynott would be smiling down on Tesla as he hears this one jammed out. Iím impressed guys. Jeff, youíre no Phil, but you guys all provide serious respect of that once great band.
OK, people that know me will know that Iím not the biggest Led Zep fan in the world, I respect what they did for one & all in rock & roll, but except for certain favorites they werenít my cup of tea. Tesla though, obviously think a whole lot differently than I & itís clear how much heart & soul went into this version of Thank You.
Again, youíve impressed me guys!
Beatles track Iíve Got A Feeling is next & Tesla have really presented this song well too, it perhaps makes you appreciate the Beatles ability to write great songs once again. Short pop songs & good rock songs too.
Robin Trowerís Day Of The Eagle is next up & is another track that makes me think about wanting to go back & check out more of Trowerís back catalogue. Well presented guys!
Ball Of Confusion is a Temptations song Ö., what can I say but guys, in your CD liner notes you say you really wanted to Tesla-fy certain songs on this release & boy have you done that here, kind of like what Shaw / Blades did with Simon & Garfunkelís I Am A Rock on their recent Influence CD. A brave move guys & it works.
UFO is another old Brit band I feel deserved more success than they ever achieved, but with so much internal self spontaneous combustion, they really only have themselves to blame. The track Rock Bottom covered here is daunting in anyoneís books so why not do something more obvious like Lightís Out or Doctor Doctor, but no Tesla took the bull by the proverbial horns & rocked this track with total respect for UFO & fans of UFO / Michael Schenker should seriously check this out! Good job indeed!
Stealiní by Uriah Heep, another not hugely successful band, is also a pleasure to hear this version as performed by Tesla, very strong! Sweet guys, sweet!
Bell Bottom Blues the ďotherĒ known track by Eric Claptonís excursion Derek & The Dominoís is a little too old hat for me Ė Sorry, itís just me Ö, wouldíve loved to have heard them play Layla. Why has no one recorded a cover version of that Clapton number? Itís another Tesla-fied track though, so itís well done guys, certainly prefer your version to Ericís!
Honky Tonk Women, I couldíve done without but itís their choice of covers versions not mine & itís done well guys, canít knock you!
The Traffic song, Dear Mr Fantasy closes this CD, er, sounds good guys, but I donít recall the original so to me, itís a good, solid Tesla track!
This is a good, strong covers album, which I really recommend, yes & itís a Tesla album too.

24/08/07: Splash777 -
Rating: 95
Tesla the first band to release a covers album that works front to back. The album is a total success because the band do the songs they love don't care about making a hit songs for radio or video outlets.

The choice of material is stellar as is the delivery. They do stumble slightly on their version of Hand Me Down World. Mostly because I'm a massive Guess Who fan. But on tracks like Thank You, Rock Bottom, Stealin', Space Truckin' and the bonus cut War Pigs they are brilliant.

This album leaves nothing to be desired except to hear more. When the album ends it makes you start it over again. This is what a tribute album should do for fans. I don't think that Tesla could have made a better album of cover songs. Sure they could have maybe polished it a tad more for mainstream audiences but they won't ever hear it so I'm glad they just made a Tesla styled record that kicks ass.

If you don't buy the album atleast go and Itune download Walk Away. This version is awsome and maybe better than the original even. I can't wait for Reel 2 to drop as I'm sure it will be equally strong. "Rock on Brother Rock on!"

Tesla still does it better than everyone else.

23/08/07: Ian -
Rating: 40
Although this is the best of the bunch , i still don't see the point of cover album's , the original's in almost all cases are better than what the band covering them try to do with them . And i/we would rather have new material than old song's by other band's - lazy and a cash in .

Rating: 98
This is a GREAT covers disc. I cannot wait until they play in my area and I get to pick up part 2 of the set.
Why do a covers disc, why not, they've done everything else...
1. Had a great career and CD output
2. Put out a unplugged CD
3. Put out a live CD
4. Put out a re-union CD
Now it's time for a covers CD then a box set!
Then every summer hit the stadium trail and take the winters off. What a deal!
My favorite tracks off of disc 1 and the reason why you should spend your money and why it gets a 98 rating are:
Space Truckin'
Bad Reputation
Thank You
Day Of The Eagle
Ball Of Confusion
Rock Bottom

TESLA RULES!!! And they are NOT a "hair Metal" band!!!

01/08/07: Todd Carper -
Rating: 100
I am a huge Tesla fan, have been since their first disc. I have bought every disc they have put out, some of them I have bought multiple times JUST TO GET THEIR awesome cover of somebody else's song. There are some songs I would love to hear them do: Love Hurts, Hard Luck Woman, and Run to You and almost anything Rod Stewart or Small Faces from their 1st release with Rod especially Flying. I don't like to disagree with Andrew (Any idea what happened to my post any review(s) I think I have 6 pending?) but I definitely do where covers are concerned. Previously they had a few covers on the acoustic disc and then some others on their Japanese releases (which made me buy a 2nd copy of some of their stuff) but these 13 tracks are just excellent. Rock Bottom and Thank You are 2 personal favorites, but Dear Mr. Fantasy and Day of the Eagle are superb. Jeff Keith has a perfect voice for every song on here and I already checked out the 2nd disc by buying it off EBAY for way too much. I especially Loved their BTO cover for Not Fragile but the 2nd disc is much like the first which is to say excellent! If you like a great rock band doing great versions of their heroes best songs, you cannot go wrong!

31/07/07: Gary White -
Rating: 95
This is a cover song masterpiece. Not only does it show off the expert guitarmanship of Frank Hannon but it also shows that Jeff Keith can be quite a versatile singer. They take some great classic songs and while keeping them true to their form put their own touch and style to use. If you don't like cover albums then you won't like this but if you enjoy a great rock and roll band paying homage to their favorite songs then you'll love this album. The stand out song in my book is their extended version of UFO's Rock Bottom.

31/07/07: Willie Toro -
Rating: 100
Man, talk about people having taste up their ass!! Some reviews( I may add very few), don't like this new TESLA REEL TO REEL covers CD. Listen to it! Man, listen to that blinding storming version of "Rock Bottom" by UFO. Frank Hannon (who is a VERY under rated guitar player bar none!!!) just shreds! Listen to Jeff Keith's vocals on Led Zeppelin's "Thank You" just amazing!
"Bad Reputation" by Thin Lizzy just killer! Buy the goddamn thing. They recorded this all in analog with vintage equipment and instruments so they can get that 70's authentic sound. Listen to Poison's "Piosoned", now that fuckin' sucks! LA Guns "Rip The Covers" blows that away!

31/07/07: Bruce -
Rating: 84
I think Andrew misses the point completely on his review of this release, and his score reflects it. This album, and the songs included upon it, are a TRIBUTE to those songs and artists the band members grew up listening to, is a modern interpretation of those songs with a classic production element, and a live feel. Tesla is one of the best bands I've ever seen live, and it's because they are awesome musicians who are relevent still today. This CD to me is a great release..not one I will keep in the player as long as Into the Now was kept, but a great road trip disc. Perhaps it's because Tesla's interpretations of these songs are relatively new to me because a good majority of the songs they are covering aren't all familiar. The ones that rank as some of the lesser favs for me, i.e. Honky Tonk Women and Walk Away for example, I don't like as much because I am SO familiar with the originals. Perhaps that is what Andrew is getting at. I think Space Truckin' is just epic, it gives a modern yet classic grit to the song that it lacks as a Deep Purple tune because they used keyboards instead of guitars and their production quality in the 70's still isn't equal to modern day, even though Tesla did this onto tape for that warmth of production. All of a sudden, these songs don't sound so old. And what an interpretation with Ball of Confusion! I liked that song as the original, and to hear it rock like it does, brilliant. And the bonus disc I got that has War Pigs? I'd rather hear the Tesla version than the Sabbath version, which may seem sacreligious, but it's true.

Jeff, Frank, Brian, Troy and Dave will have a great new disc coming soon, I'm sure. Don't judge this as the end-all of's a side note. Let them pay tribute to the artists and songs that helped forge the Tesla sound we all love and appreciate. They've earned it!

31/07/07: Dj -
Rating: 87
this is one of the greatest covers albums ever made and charlie smith disc 2 is probably the main reason i say that i hope playing these songs and touring will make working togther and playing together as fun as it was in the beginning for the guys and that they give us a new cd with their own songs

30/07/07: Charlie Smith -
Rating: 30
They should change their name to Mesla, This disc is the worst thing they have ever released. From the first track to the last they have actually created a disc that should be in the cut out bins from the word go.
When I get a new disc I usually play it a few times to get the feel for the songs, well after one listen I placed the disc on my CD case in the area I like to call the "The Land Of Lousy CD's", it's where I put discs I will probably never listen to again.
I placed it right next to the last Loveboy, & Ted Nugent CD's. Let me just say that I have been a fan of the band since the very first time I saw them on MTV when MTV still played music. I own everyone of their discs and if you were smart you would run out and get their "Into The Now" CD. Which was as close to perfection as possible and just as good as "Mechanical Resonance". Who knows maybe the second disc from their show has better tunes on it.
I don't know if this disc is any indication then I think Tesla may be finding themselves on the oldies bandwagon very soon. On a final note to the band Please, Please, Please get back in the studio ASAP and do a real CD and delete this one from your catalog ASAP like it never happened.
I will say one thing for this disc the product is excellent so take that into the studio with you and then write some killer songs so we can put this one behind us.

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