There’s a reason why they called this, the first-ever U.S.-issued compilation of the work of U.K. power belter Terry Reid, “Superlungs.” Yeah, yeah, we know it’s the name of the Donovan song he so famously covered and made his own. But the minute those new to the music of this British rock legend catch wind of his vocal ability, they will fully understand why Reid was Jimmy Page’s first choice to front “The New Yardbirds,” later known as Led Zeppelin.
And though he was forced to decline the gig while bound to an ironclad recording contract with notorious British Invasion mogul Mickie Most, Terry went on to pave his own way with a 40-year career that has established him as a consistently greatest rock singer.
An abridged version of the double-disc EMI import of the same name, “Superlungs” nevertheless serves its purpose as a fine introductory guide to the music of Terry Reid. Focusing predominantly on his first two albums, his 1968 debut “Bang, Bang You’re Terry Reid” and 1969’s “Move Over for Terry Reid,” “Lungs” collects 18 tracks reflecting upon the full scope of Reid’s electric R&B wail.
He transforms staples like Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” and Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited” into banshee blues jams that transcend the mood and tone of the originals entirely, while cuts like the previously unreleased “Penny” (also featured on the EMI set) and “Rich Kid Blues” showcase his fine skills as a songwriter.
Hardcore vinyl junkies may not have a need for this collection, but “Superlungs” is perfect for the casual classic rocker looking to explore a new dimension of AOR you just don’t hear on commercial radio anymore.