The legendary and critically acclaimed group, Blues Image is back. Well, sort of. Actually, Mike Pinera has recorded this brand new 2010 collection of mostly cover rock songs as Blues Image. Pinera takes a crack at “American Woman”, “Born To Be Wild”, “I Got A Line On You”, “Incense And Peppermints” and many other classic rock anthems, often with pretty good results. And certainly, “Ride Captain Ride” is here, with a brand new 2010 version, as well as two alternate versions, one a “psychedelic space version” and a Spanish version.
The original Blues Image had a huge hit with “Ride Captain Ride” back in 1970. And the group caught the attention of none other than Jimi Hendrix, who even jammed with one of the band members on Sunset Strip in L.A. before.
Although the band was critically acclaimed as one of the best collections of fine musicians around, “Ride Captain Ride” was their only really big hit. It peaked at #4 on the charts and sold one million copies. A followup single, “Gas Lamps And Clay” only peaked at #81 on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 charts later in 1970, proving that lightning wouldn’t strike twice for this band. The band actually broke up later in 1970, but a third album that was already recorded, RED WHITE & BLUES IMAGE was released. “Gas Lamps And Clay” was from that album.
The band members left for strong supporting roles playing with the likes of top flight acts like Alice Cooper, Steppenwolf, Iron Butterfly, Three Dog Night Night and other big names. Mike Pinera had a very strong career backing some big name acts, but his solo work often failed to get much notice at all. With his many years of associations with top names in the business, backing up the acts or through friendships, Pinera wanted to release a new album that reflected his favorite songs that he loved. Pinera proves one thing here, he knows how to make a great album of cover songs, doing new digital versions of many classic rock songs often first recorded on 8 track recorders, sometimes in mono sound.
On the album liner notes, only Mike Pinera is listed as Blues Image, so who knows which quality musicians actually backed him up on this album. However, with his great talent, Pinera could very well have multi-tracked his efforts at musicianship here. Mike Pinera might not be a household name. But, this is a very good album by a pretty fine musician here.
Much like the ghostly images of “Ride Captain Ride”, Blues Image seems to fade in and out every so often. But, they’re always worthy to catch whenever they appear. Mike Pinera did the group proud here. Very proud.
The Bottom Line: This album might be a little hard for you to find. It’s on the very small Goldenlane label. But, it’s well worth the search. This is one good little album here. +++(Three Stars, Good. Buy yourself a copy and love this return of Blues Image before they disappear once again).