Bun E. Carlos, "Greetings from Bunezuela!" (Entertainment One)
Bun E. Carlos' drumming introduced some of Cheap Trick's biggest hits; his sticks were the first sound audiences heard on "I Want You to Want Me" and "Ain't That a Shame," among others. Now six years removed from the Rockford, Illinois quartet that was inducted into this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Carlos (born Brad Carlson) has finally recorded his long-threatened album of obscure covers that helped form his musical persona.
The first two tracks, "Do Something Real" by Robert Pollard of Guided By Voices and The Who's "Armenia City In the Sky," are drenched in a Cheap Trick marinade; the bass and guitar in particular sound like Trick's Tom Petersson and Rick Nielsen. "Him or Me" features the Hanson brothers on a cover of Paul Revere and the Raiders, and this version would have made a swell Monkees track.
Alejandro Escovedo sings lead on "Tell Me," one of the Rolling Stones' more obscure tracks, and Carlos reaches way back to enlist Randy "Xeno" Hogan, who was Cheap Trick's original lead singer before Robin Zander, for "Let the Mystery Be" and "Count On Me."
Carlos does not sing or perform a drum solo on "Greetings from Bunezuela!"; what he does is anchor each track with the perfect Bun E. beat, particularly on Bob Dylan's "It Takes A Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry," which sounds like Tom Petty covering Chuck Berry's "Memphis, Tennessee."