Richie Goods & Nuclear Fusion: Snake Oil


Snake Oil


Richie Goods & Nuclear Fusion


Live at the Zinc Bar (Richman Productions)

Buy Track


Richie Goods (bass),

Helen Sung (keyboards), Jeff Lockhart (guitar), Mike Clark (drums)


Composed by Tony Newton


Recorded: New York, September 2007


Rating: 86/100 (learn more)

I must say it makes me feel good to see a musician name his group after two dirty words. That can take some guts in today's overly sensitive commercial market. It is also good to hear Richie Goods & Nuclear Fusion tackle the old second-edition Tony Williams Lifetime's "Snake Oil" from the Believe It! album.

According to what I am hearing on Live at the Zinc Bar, Nuclear Fusion is really a funk band that plays fusion music. Lifetime's bassist Tony Newton, credited on this CD as Antonio Newton, wrote "Snake Oil" over 30 years ago. It is only fitting that a modern-day bass contemporary chooses to cover it. The musicianship on this performance is top notch. Goods's opening bass, on which he plays the same lines and effects as Newton did, serves as the hub of the performance. Guitarist Jeff Lockhart handles the Allan Holdsworth parts with great skill. Keyboardist Helen Sung plays the required chunky staccato chords necessary for this thing to work. Drummer Mike Clark is given the heavy task of being Tony Williams. He is not Tony Williams, but he is very good. Nuclear Fusion effectively captures the constant tension of the original cut and adds about 10% more funk. You can consider this cover covered. I look forward to hearing more fusion goldie moldies from this band in the future.

I do have a slight and friendly warning for Richie Goods. My rating would have been a little higher had the sound not been so clean. Think about that, Richie.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

Tags: ·

  • 1 branford jennings // Jan 18, 2009 at 04:42 PM
    This reviewer seems to think everybody is tryng to copy the musicians who origanally did Snakeoil, that's not what I hear at all, but then I actually play so it's a different understanding and different information that I have which makes it sort of unfair for me to comment, however. The guitarist trying to cover Holdsworth? the drummer trying to cover Tony Williams?....I don't think so!!!! These artists gave it their own treatment instead of faking re-hashed 70's licks. Sorry Kolowsky, you ain't no Chip Stern however you are hearing some of it, but mostly the obvious. Learn to listen much deeper to what's actually there as opposed to what you think is there, you will be taken serious if you do this, people will know!! Branford
  • 2 Brandon Jennings // Jan 18, 2009 at 04:50 PM
    Oops I meant Kolosky not Kolowsky, my bad!!!
  • 3 Laura // Jan 18, 2009 at 05:50 PM
    Thank you Branford! I mean, has the reviewer heard of the concept interpretation? Or by his logic all artists are merely trying to emulate original renderings of music. Odd. I'll say this: Snake Oil has always been one of my favorites; I don't think too many others have attempted it besides Williams, and these guys play the hell out of it. Clark is masterful.
  • 4 Walter Kolosky // Jan 19, 2009 at 06:09 PM
    Hi Brandon (and or Branford ;) and Laura. Thanks for your comments. Yikes! But are you reading the same review I wrote? ""top notch," "great skill,""very good," etc. A high 86 rating? I mean "jeez." What if I had written a bad review? For the record. I liked the performance, said so and would like to hear more - which I also said. Also for the record... I took out my Tony Williams recording and listened to it side by side as I reviewed. I have no problem with the approach to the tune used on this CD. But it is a cover. There is nothing wrong with that. I consider that a tribute actually. Me thinks thou doth protest too much...also Brandon (Branford) : I welcome your comments anytime. But, you should be accurate in what I said. "Guitarist Jeff Lockhart handles the Allan Holdsworth parts with great skill." How is that "the guitarist trying to cover Holdsworth" etc? Did you read this?: "Nuclear Fusion effectively captures the constant tension of the original cut and adds about 10% more funk." Yikes again.