A woman in Utah has claimed she is possessed by ghosts that use her to write novels. I myself, am possessed by the ghost of Charles Dickens; I’ve not written anything yet, but I have great expectations.
Today’s album re-evaluation is by the very ‘eavy, very’ umble ‘eavy metal godfathers, Uriah Heep. Uriah Heep Live (snappy title) is a double live album released in April 1973 in the US by Mercury Records, and in May 1973 in the UK by Bronze Records. It was the band’s first live album. In addition to a live version of the band’s hit “Easy Livin'”, the record included live cuts such as “Sweet Lorraine”, “Sunrise” and an extended live version of “July Morning”. The original album packaging, as typical in early 1970s rock music, featured a gatefold sleeve and centre pages featuring photographs of the band members.
Well this is more like it! After the last three slightly disappointing efforts, we’re back with live album that is unabashedly proud to be a hard rock live document. Heep are another band that I’d heard off but never really got into. I did buy the Abominog lp in 82, during the NWOBHM era, and it was OK but nothing special, and it was the same with their songs I’d hear on the radio; good but nothing to entice me to investigate further. I know, I’m an idiot. The live renditions of their songs are beefier and more rocking than their studio counterparts, the band are cranked up to 11 (guitarist Mick Box and bassist Gary Thain are awesome) and the audience are crazy for it. This may not be the first live album of this era to do so, but it’s the first album I’ve reviewed where the audience participation is recorded; the call-and-response of Look At Yourself is particularly fun, and it makes for a more ‘you are there’ feel than some records I’ve heard. It’s not all good fun, though; the rock ‘n’ roll medley doesn’t sound great to me, the drum solo during Gypsy is brief but dull and that’s a shame because Lee Kerslake is doing a lot more interesting drumming underneath Ken Hensley’s keyboard solo spot in the same song. However it does end like a classic live album should: “thank you very much, goodnight” with the crowd cheering and clapping for more.
So is it excessive? No, only 2/12 tracks are over 10 minutes but they never seem to drag. Would I listen to it again? Definitely, but I’d probably skip the last track. Would I recommend it? Indeed, it’s a great record and a lot of fun. Is there a drum solo? There is, it’s brief and dull and doesn’t really add to the song (when do they ever?)
This album was a lot of fun to listen to and gave me a big appreciation of Uriah Heep and their music, so it gets an 8/10. More double live album fun next time around, until then TTFN.