|Mick Box comments
" This CD was never intended for a
release and was purely an exercise in trying out new material in
front of our fans before leaving for Munich, Germany to record
It certainly was never set up for a live recording but somehow these
things still seem to find their way on to the market. Some of
the songs were still so fresh we were reading chord sheets and lyrics
with strategically placed bits of paper everywhere on the monitors.
Still we did have a female streaker run across the stage to liven things
up, and looking at some of the pictures that were taken at the time, the
look on our faces was priceless! "
In 1974, Uriah Heep was riding the crest of their fame and fortune.
A master showman in lead singer David Byron, a musical genius in keyboardist Ken Hensley, a fantastic guitar player in Mick Box and the really talented pair, Gary Thain and Lee Kerslake on bass and drums respectively. The CD starts out with one of their biggest hits, "Easy Livin'." This song has made it on almost every collection of heavy metal songs there is! One of the songs that highlight the way that this band could combine both the heavy and the melodic. The guitar of Box is offset by the harmonies of the Hensley. Hensley as the background singer, makes this song have a bit of "pop" to it's overwise heavy metal lineage.
Byron sounds the best that I have ever heard him. His vocals are top notch on this song and the whole album!! You want to hear how much a good bass player is worth? Just check out this cut. Thain is on fire. Delivering a powerful bass line that steals the show. The next song comes from their Wonderworld album. "So Tired" is one of the hardest songs that they ever produced. Listening to the magnificent guitar work of Box set against the swirling organ of Hensley, gives this piece a magical, mystical feel that is so common in Heep music. The combination is something that I have never heard duplicated before or since.
A very unique sound that became one of the staples of the heavy metal scene. "I Won't Mind" is another song off Wonderworld. This one is a slow, creepy piece of music that lets Box showcase his considerable talent with the six string. This one is suppose to be gritty, grimy and dirty. They accomplish all of them!! A classic bit of heavy metal blues! This one also has a very demonic sounding guitar solo by Hensley. Yes, when he steps away from the keyboards, he can deliver the goods on the Gibson just as well!! The song "Something or Nothing," another one from Wonderworld, is a high energy rocker that shows us the range and talent of the lead singer Byron. He delivers a powerful and hypnotic vocal performance on this infectious tune. It is one that really gets a boost by being played live.
On the studio version, this is one of the songs that sounds like filler. Here it is a powerful rocker that I would be willing to bet, had the crowd up and dancing! The previous song leads right into one of my favorite Heep songs, "Stealin'." This song is such a great piece of work on all levels. A gritty tale of life on the lam, Byron's voice puts you in the shoes of our main character.
A very good performance. But what makes this tune stand out is the musical combination. Every instrument is perfect. Hensley gives a great background to the story with his keyboard. Box gives the tale a biting edge with his dynamic playing. Thain..well what can I say. His work is just beyond about any bass player that I can think of! This is one of the highlights of the disc and enough to make it a worthy purchase alone!! The band goes back to the album Look at Yourself to pull out the song "Love Machine" next. This was one of the first songs that they had chart in the United States. It is a powerful rocker that relies on the vocals of Byron for the most part. A good tune, but not one that I think is their best.
The Heepsters were also capable of doing a beautiful and tender ballad. This is shown with the next song "The Easy Road." This song is a great work that I think deserves to be listened to! This one sounds more like Hensley's solo work but Byron's vocals are superb! This tune will give you a whole new outlook on this band as musicians. They deliver one of the best ballads in many, many years!! To end the CD, the band goes into something that they had not played in years. That is what they call their "Rock 'N' Roll Medley." Done as a tribute to the music that influenced them, this was always the way they ended their concerts.
They put it away for a number of years but everyone wanted it back so, they dusted it off and gave the folks in Shepperton a real treat! Starting off with the song Roll Over Beethoven, the band reminds us what rock and roll is all about! Continuing on with Blue Suede Shoes, Box and Hensley have some fun with this number! From there they bust into Hound Dog and then follow it up with At The Hop. As a grand finale, they do a reprieve of Blue Suede Shoes. I first heard this medley on their first live album. This one, has even more energy put into it! You can tell that they are really loving it when they bust into this song!! This is an album for a true Uriah Heep fan. It is not their best known work but it is some that cannot be found anywhere else...live that is. I think that this one is a very good example of where the band was at the particular time and also shows the diversity that made them unique.
If you can find this one, pick it up!!!