You haven’t really lived until you’ve heard William Shatner sing “Iron Man.” Seriously.
While many dismiss the man (still) famous for his role as Captain Kirk, face it: His kitsch possesses a certain je ne sais quoi appeal. The latter continues on the space-themed Seeking Major Tom, on which the kooky Canadian returns with an all-star cast. A cursory look at the album credits reveals guitarists Zakk Wylde, Peter Frampton, Ritchie Blackmore, Wayne Cramer, and Steve Howe, to name a few of the many guests. Yes, there’s serious shredding on this two-disc set, and while the tracks are logically sequenced, go straight to “Iron Man” and leave lead single “Bohemian Rhapsody” for last. Sit down and prepare to go where no one has gone before.
Playing with the likes of Sheryl Crow and Brad Paisley, Shatner runs a gamut of emotions, whether happily exclaiming “no way” as he answers the question of if he’s wasting his day away on “Walking on the Moon” or anticipating big fun when he boldly calls us to action on “Space Truckin’.” We also feel his pain when he realizes that there is nothing he can do at the end of “Space Oddity,” which features smart licks from Blackmore. And this collection wouldn’t be complete without “Rocket Man.”
The majority of the arrangements intrigue, blending and mashing familiar bits in with novel elements to refresh songs you’ve probably heard thousands of times. No, Shatner won’t be serving any singers their walking papers, but he’s got a clever knack for remixing standards.
Hate the man if you like, but you can’t argue with Shatner’s sheer chutzpah. Another bonus? The recording quality is excellent. —Jeff Dorgay