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.
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