Vanilla Fudge specialized in covers. The biggest success for the Fudge was a version of the Supremes' "You Keep Me Hangin' On," slowed to a crawl with auspicious Hammond organ tones, screeching guitar lines and a sludge-like rhythm steadfastly refusing to hint at either the spunk or the funk of the original. The band applied this formula to the Beatles, Donovan, Junior Walker & the All-Stars, Dionne Warwick -- anything poppy enough in the original to provide a hook for their stoned audience to grasp.
Last year three of the four members of Vanilla Fudge got back together (with a new keyboardist of virtually identical musical style) and released a comeback album, The Return. Most of the songs are re-recordings of concert favorites from the old days. While these same-but-different cuts are enjoyable as ever, the best ideas here are brand new, such as renditions of "Tearin' Up My Heart" by *NSYNC and "I Want It That Way" by the Backstreet Boys. The heavying up of teen-pop works perfectly and could easily sustain a full album if these guys feel like trying it. Bring on Britney, Madonna, Christina, et al. Vanilla Fudge is ready to rock the hits again.