Album review: NAZARETH – coloured vinyl reissues (July 2019)

NAZARETH - coloured vinyl reissues July 2019

BMG [Release date 05.07.19]

Celebrating their 50th Anniversary, Nazareth are still going, albeit with just founder member and bassist Pete Agnew at helm. Last year BMG issued the amazing Loud And Proud box (33CDs, 3 7” 45s, LP, picture disc LP, 2 double LPs and book, aka reissue of the decade), and this is the second set of 6 individual LPs. In each case the original LP packaging has been replicated.

Scottish band Nazareth formed from ballroom cover band The Shaddettes in the late 60s, originally featuring Pete Agnew, vocalist Dan McCafferty, guitarist Manny Charlton and drummer Darrell Sweet, and in the during the mid 70s produced some fantastic bluesy whiskey soaked classic rock. And the band were one of the hardest working around.

1971 the band signed to Pegasus and issued their eponymous debut, the first LP here. And like the bulk of the Nazareth catalogue, it’s been widely reissued. In the UK, the Pegagus original had a PEG repress, and reissues on Mooncrest, Mountain, Nems, Sahara and Castle, amongst others (and that’s before we get to CD issues).

Even by their own admission, the band were still finding their way. It is a great album though, not Nazareth’s best but it is underrated. ‘Dear John’ is a piano beefed up rocker, ‘Witchdoctor Woman’ is just fantastic, and the cover of ‘Morning Dew’ is outstanding.

The following year’s Exercises (here replicated in the original gatefold sleeve) was similarly good, a few acoustic arrangements and the blues of ‘Woke Up This Morning’. A much overlooked album.

Jump forward to 1976 and Nazareth were stars around the world. And rightfully so. But they were struggling in the face of punk. Close Enough For Rock’n’Roll, gatefold sleeve and inner. There’s some great songs here, even if they lacked the bite of the 1973/74 releases. But this album is worth it alone for the opener ‘Telegram’, just such a wonderful groove; a concert opener for years.

Released the same year, Play’n’The Game kept the groove going, There’s not many reissues kept touches like the inner sleeve, and this is a great opportunity to re-explore the album. I’d forgotten just how good it is.

Jump to 1980 and Malice In Wonderland, the second album with the addition of second guitarist Zal Cleminson (formerly of Sensational Alex Harvey Band). Taking their new found heaviness (see 1979’s classic ‘No Mean City’) and turning it in a more commercial direction, this album is firm fan favourite and rightfully so. Lovely innersleeve with lyrics, ‘Holiday’ was a minor hit. Written by Cleminson, the reggae tinged ‘Big Boy’ is actually cover of a SAHB track.

Back to the original four piece in 1981 for The Fool Circle, original insert and a lovely mauve vinyl, another wonderful album. The keyboards are split between produced Jeff Baxter and Spirit pianist John Locke (who would then join the band). This is more uptempo than Malice and from the opener

‘Dressed To Kill’ the band are on fire. Zal appears on the version of ‘Cocaine’ recorded live on the previous tour.

The albums have a wonderful and solid feel, they sound as good as they look. Absolute top marks for packaging. Essential, and that’s before you try finding an original pressing in decent condition.

All ****1/2

 Review by Joe Geesin

Album review (Reissues, April 2019)


The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk Sunday 24 January, 16:00 EST, 21:00 GMT

More about Josh:

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 20 December 2020 and announces the results of the Popular Poll for Best of 2020.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 20 December 2020 and includes Pete’s best of the year selections

Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Featured Albums w/c 25 January 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 ART OF ILLUSION X Marks The Spot (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE DEAD DAISIES Holy Ground (SPV)
14:00-16:00 TED & MAJELLA Divine Timing (indie)

Power Plays w/c 25 January 2021 (Mon-Fri)

THE WEDDING PRESENT We Should Be Together (Scopitones)
MIDNITE CITY Crawlin’ In The Dirt (Roulette Media)
JOSEPH WILLIAMS Never Saw You Coming (Mascot)
ALEX JAMES BRIERLEY Go With The Flow (indie)
THE UNDERCLASS The One (indie)
MASON HILL DNA (7Hz Recordings)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in ALBUM REVIEWS, ALBUM REVIEWS (Mobile), All Posts, Reissues and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply