REVIEW: Tesla – “Edison’s Medicine” CD single

Here’s a leftover from THE WEEK OF SINGLES!  Each day from November 18-22 we looked at recent single acquisitions.   This review didn’t make the series as intended, but it’s still pretty rare with cool exclusives!

Monday:  Van Halen – “Best of Both Worlds” 7″ single
Tuesday:  Deep Purple – “Above and Beyond” CD and 7″ singles
Wednesday:  Aerosmith “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)” 12″ single
Thursday:  David Lee Roth – “Stand Up” 12″ promo remix single
Friday:  Alice Cooper – For Britain Only EP

TESLA – “Edison’s Medicine” (1991 Geffen CD single)

It wasn’t that long ago that we had a look at Tesla’s damn good Psychotic Supper CD.  We also reviewed the CD single for “Call It What You Want” and its non-album B-sides.  I recently acquired the first single from Psychotic Supper, “Edison’s Medicine”.  This one has two album tracks and two non-album covers.  What makes this single a little more special than “Call It What You Want” is that these two B-sides have never been re-released on anything else, to my knowledge.

The A-side itself is one of the best tunes Tesla’s recorded to date.  In my own review for the album, I stated that Tesla were “taking their love of Nikola Tesla to the Nth degree…What an incredible song. I still remember seeing the music video, and being blown away by the solos. Not only are there guitar solos, but Frank Hannon torments the theremin, before he slips on a bass and plays a bass solo too!”

“Had Enough”, the other album track on this single is equally heavy to “Edison’s Medicine”.  It’s not as riveting melodically, but it burns rubber pretty hot.  I’m quite fond of the song myself, even though in the grand scheme of things it wouldn’t make my own Tesla road CD.  It’s just bubbling under, but it does cook!

Covers are always a tricky thing.  You have to pick the right song, and you have to pull it off.  Tesla chose the Montrose classic “Rock the Nation”.  They definitely picked an appropriate song, as it fits in with the overall Tesla sound.  They did a solid, workmanlike version of “Rock the Nation”, but it lacks the piercing, instantaneous charisma of the original.  The drums are a tad too thuddy for my tastes, and as good a singer as Jeff Keith is, Sammy Hagar owns this one.  Still, there’s nothing really wrong with it, it’s just not as special as it could have been.  It sounds like it was knocked off as a quick B-side to record, and I’m sure that was the case.

I won’t act all cool as if I knew who Jo Jo Gunne are.  I have never heard of Jo Jo Gunne.  Apparently they were ex-members of Spirit, which also spawned Randy California.  “Run Run Run” was a hit for them in 1972.  I gave the original song a listen, and I can say that Tesla’s version is pretty authentic if a little bit harder.  Who doesn’t love some great “Oooh, oooh, oooh” vocals?  I sure do.  That, and the catchy dual guitar melody (straight out of the Lizzy cookbook) make this one a keeper.

I paid £2.00 for this on Discogs. I consider that a good buy.

4/5 stars

6 comments

  1. Nice read, thanks. I’ve thought highly of Tesla’s ability to do great covers ever since receiving a free CD called “Tesla: Real to Reel: Reel Two” with an issue of Classic Rock magazine. There’s another Montrose song on that one, “Make It Last.” You are right about covers being tricky, but I am impressed both with Tesla’s choices (songs that fit for them) and their seeming “sincerity” in adding some honest love to the efforts (if that makes sense). They appear to choose songs they truly dig and love to play.

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    1. I LOVE Real to Reel (volumes I and II). I guess they are big Montrose fans (and who can blame them).

      On their unplugged album, they did great Stones, Beatles, Dead, and more. All great covers.

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    1. Long but worth the read. A lot of kids don’t know this history! I might not have, if it wasn’t for Tesla (the band). How they got interested in Nicola Tesla in the first place, I don’t know.

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  2. Facebook comment from Rob V:

    “Why not extend it to a second week? Leftovers…typical that bonus tracks could not be available for full albums or CDs. Look back one day and say: boy did I purchase a lot of stuff. (See George Carlin’s comments on stuff). As for Tesla, the band stationed in Guam could not draw any more appeal after Love Song–typical ballad crap to attract the female audience. Being the late 80s these dudes wore jeans more form fitting than contemporary leggings. The singer a screechy version of Steve Tyler and Axel Rose pranced around in the same manner, no range and just plain annoying. The one guitarist Frank showcased his talents playing many instruments as in Edison’s Medicine. Tesla did have some really tiny snippets in certain songs that were impressive–Gettin Better and Hang Tough. Overall they faded slowly away as did most late 80s bands.”

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