Album review: URIAH HEEP – …Very ‘eavy … Very ‘umble/Anthology

URIAH HEEP - ...Very 'eavy ... Very 'umble

BMG [Release date 16.09.16]

Uriah Heep were to a large extent defined by their early 1970s albums  – the 1970 debut, ‘Salisbury’ (1971) and – moreover – ‘Demons And Wizards’.  Over the next twelve months or so a new reissue campaign will reinforce previous releases with the dreaded, and unashamed, recycling.  The same is happening to Emerson Lake & Palmer.

Remastered, recycled to a new generation, there will be little here to interest the hardcore.  …Very ‘eavy …Very ‘umble is boosted with an extra disc of alternate versions of the original album and some bonuses when the band were in pre-Heep mode as ‘Spice’.  These are arguably of curio interest only.   They include two versions of ‘Born In A Trunk’ which never made the final cut of that debut album and they don’t feature Ken Hensley.  Ditto ‘Magic Lantern’.

The album – in any shape or form – demonstrates that Heep were perhaps unfairly regarded as Deep Purple-lite at this time (“I’ll Keep On Trying’ illustrates this well), although characterised by the multi-harmony “choir” which was to ultimately differentiate them. And perhaps best displayed on ‘Bird Of Prey’ originally a U.S. only track for the substituted ‘Lucy Blues’ although this subsequently appeared on ‘Salisbury’.

The “alternate” approach reflects largely the input of “uber-fan” Robert Corich who evidently has a veritable treasure trove of unreleased Heep stuff which has been plundered over the years.  But truth is, some of the additional tracks have been available to collectors before, notably in the ‘Time Of Revelation’ box set released in 1996 and/or the Deluxe Edition (2003).  ***1/2

As with the ELP reissues, to start the campaign we get a 2-CD retrospective, Your Turn To Remember – The Definitive Anthology 1970-1990.  Again, move along Heep fans, there’s nothing here to interest you.  The album cherry picks from the years 1970-1990 after which time they mixed prog and heavy rock with increasingly AOR influences.  However, it is interesting that  – in 2016 – they can still headline a “Prog” stage at a major festival event.  ****

The reissues are curated by Mick Box and if there is a novelty – in liner notes only – he and Ken Hensley are together again for the first time in years.  But still no reason to purchase.

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.

Album review (Salisbury)
Album review (Anthology, Very ‘eavy…’very Humble)
Album review (Look At Yourself, Demons And Wizards, The Magician’s Birthday)
Album review (Live box set, 2016)

On Sunday 28 July 2019, David Randall celebrated his 600th show. “Assume The Position” started in June 2007 on UK City Radio before transferring a year later to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio. The show includes tracks played on the first show plus Upton Blues Festival highlights, new music and the regular features “Live Legends” and “Anniversary Rock” which this week celebrates the Island Records label 60th anniversary.

Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Power Plays w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)

BEFORE FIRE Dead Eyes (indie)
SCOTT & MARIA Never Give Up (indie)
CORELEONI Queen Of Hearts (AFM Records)
BERLIN Transcendance (Cleopatra Records)
PHIL CAMPBELL These Old Boots (Nuclear Blast)
PHIL LANZON Blue Mountain (Phil Lanzon Ditties/Cargo Records UK)

Featured Albums w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 SOLEIL MOON Warrior (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 ROXY BLUE Roxy Blue (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 DREW HOLCOMB & THE NEIGHBORS Dragons (Magnolia Music/Thirty Tigers)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

JAMES STEVENSON Everything’s Getting Closer To Being Over (2013)

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