Udo Dirkschneider is among the most well-known and respected front man in the rock and hard rock communities. That is due to his work with Accept and with his namesake band, U.D.O. Considering everything that Dirkschneider has done over the course of his career — between records recorded with each band and even compilations of the bands’ hits — there is still one item that to this point, Dirkschneider has not checked off from his list. That item is a covers collection. This Friday, he will get to check off that item when he releases his first-ever covers collection, My Way. Running 17 songs deep, the compilation is a unique collection of songs, pulling in takes of hit songs from the likes of Rainbow, Judas Priest, Motorhead, Led Zeppelin, Billy Squier, and even Tina Turner. They and their songs are just some of the notable entries in this presentation. The Led Zeppelin, Billy Squier and Motorhead covers stay largely true to their source material while amping them up slightly. The Tina Turner cover is unique in its own right, building on the original and making it even more interesting. Among the more notable covers featured in the collection is that of The Rolling Stones’ timeless classic, ‘Paint It Black.’ This cover will be discussed shortly. The cover of AC/DC’s ‘T.N.T’ is near perfection. It will be discussed a little later. Any review of Dirkshchneider’s new record would be incomplete without a discussion on the cover of ‘My Way,’ the collection’s title track. It will also be discussed later. All three songs noted here are important in their own way to the whole of My Way. When they are considered with all of the record’s other covers, the whole makes My Way a presentation that rock and hard rock fans will find just as appealing as those of Dirkschneider.
My Way, the first-ever covers collection from veteran hard rock front man Udo Dirkschneider, is quite the unique presentation. It is a work that his fans and casual hard rock and rock fans alike will find appealing. That is proven throughout the record in each and every tribute that Dirkschneider and his fellow musicians pay here. Sadly those fellow musicians are not credited in the streaming copy of the record provided to this critic. If names were provided, those musicians would get their due credit. Getting back on the topic at hand, the record offers audiences plenty of notable songs from acts that are themselves equally notable (and some less notable, making for even more engagement and entertainment). One of the most notable of the covers is that of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Paint It Black.’ The song is known to every rock fan out there. That opening guitar line from Keith Richards and the companion drumming from the late great Charlie Watts are iconic to say the least. Front man Mick Jagger’s slightly gritty vocals add even more to the whole. Where the original song gives audiences an upbeat albeit contemplative work, Dirkschneider and his fellow musicians on the other hand turn the original on its ear by giving it a power metal facelift of sorts. Dirkschneider’s familiar gritty near growling vocal delivery adds its own unique punch to the composition alongside the power metal style and sound presented here. It gives the song a whole new sense that still hits hard in its own fashion while still keeping as true as possible to the source material. It is a take that is sure to impress The Rolling Stones, their fans, and those of Dirkschneider alike. It is just one of the song featured in this set that makes the collection worth hearing. Dirkschneider and company’s take of AC/DC’s ‘T.N.T.’ is another notable addition to the record.
As with the band’s cover of ‘Paint It Black,’ Dirkschneider and company strive to stay true to the source material in its cover of ‘T.N.T.’ while still giving the original song a welcome amped up new treatment. Instead of a power metal approach in this case, the collective instead just gives the song a rich, bluesy almost late 80s hair metal approach (right down to the bombastic guitar solo at the songs’ end) and blends that with the song’s original edge. What’s really interesting here is that Dirkschneider’s trademark vocal delivery style is actually an interesting blend of the vocals of AC/DC’s original front man Bon Scott and his replacement, Brian Johnson. That blend of sounds and styles within his one delivery makes his vocals all the more important to the whole. In turn, it makes the song that much more enjoyable and in turn, the album, too.
As much as the covers of AC/DC’s ‘T.N.T.’ and The Rolling Stones’ ‘Paint It Black’ do to make My Way worth hearing, they are just two of the record’s most notable tracks. No examination of the record would be complete without an examination of the collection’s title track. Originally composed by the team of Jacques Revaux, Gilles Thibaut, and Claude Francois, it was made most popular by American singer Frank Sinatra in 1969 after Paul Anka secured the rights for the song from the group. Ironically it is well-known that Sinatra hated the song the more popular it became because he got tired of having to hear and perform the song. That aside, it still remains a fan favorite to this day among thousands of audiences, apparently including Dirkschneider. One would not think Dirkschneider, a metal head, would find inspiration in Sinatra, but apparently he has some respect for the famed singer and what is one of his most beloved songs. Dirkschneider actually does a surprisingly impressive job here, his more familiar gritty vocal delivery gone in favor of a much more controlled approach and sound. The control that he uses here along with the use of the piano, strings, and subtle time keeping throws directly back to the composition that made Sinatra such a star. Even as the song builds to its peaks in its choruses, Dirkschneider and his fellow musicians exercise so much control, making the song stand out so starkly from all of the other covers featured throughout the record. It honestly serves to create a whole new respect for Dirkschneider in the end because it shows that he is more than just the metal head that so many people think they know. It makes the song a wonderful final accent to this record. When it is considered alongside the other songs examined here and with the rest of the record’s entries, the whole makes the overall presentation a rare covers set that is actually worth hearing if only every occasionally.
My Way, the first ever collection of covers from Udo Dikschneider, is an interesting compilation. It brings together a relatively wide swath of rock and hard rock songs, as well as some more pop oriented content for a while that makes a person rethink what they think they know of the famed former Accept and current U.D.O. front man and his tastes in music. The covers themselves vary in style and sound but still strive to stay as true as possible to their source material. That is made clear through the songs examined here. When those songs are considered along with the rest of the record’s entries, the whole makes My Way a rare covers collection that is actually worth hearing.
My Way is scheduled for release Friday through Atomic Fire Records. More information on the collection is available along with all of Dirkschneider’s latest news at: