Album review: URIAH HEEP – Salisbury (reissue)

URIAH HEEP - Salisbury

BMG [Release date 28.10.16]

The Heep reissue series continues with their 1971 “progressive” offering, and reinforced with a bonus “alternative” disc including  previously unreleased material.  Cynics might wonder why we are again being ask to re-buy the music of our youth or, in the case of fans, variations on a theme.  The original album has been – yawn – newly remastered by Andy Pearce.

Heep’s early years were characterised by experimentation as they settled on a musical direction.  This was a band that was not subject to the pressure of making hit singles and therefore they were allowed a considerable amount of freedom.  This period also marks the songwriting ascendancy of Ken Hensley, perhaps best demonstrated on the 16 minute title track which appears on Disc 2 with an additional live version from 1971.

The juxtaposition of heavy rock and prog may have confused some fans but others would lap up the heady brew and not least David Byron’s distinctive vocals.  The album includes ‘Lady In Black’ which was to become a stage staple although sung by Hensley.

Fans may be drawn to the novelty of Disc 2 which features a session outtake  ‘Here Am I’ (although a version appeared on the 2003 deluxe edition) and ‘Simon The Bullet Freak’ which appeared on the US version of the original album.  The remaining tracks are alternate mixes.  If you have to have everything from Heep this 2-CD reissue may be an essential purchase, but it really adds nothing to the previous expanded version in 2003.  ***1/2

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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Album review (Live box set, 2016)

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