Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Nazareth - Loud 'n' Proud (1973)

Turn on your receiver....


Released November 1973

Running time 48.46

After the success of the barnstorming blues and Scotch whisky rock of earlier in the same year's Razamanaz, Scottish rockers Nazareth were back with one of their hardest-rocking albums. Deep Purple's Roger Glover was the producer, once again, and there are some excellent, guitar-driven rockers on here. This is a proper heavy rock album but with a catchy accessibility. That was Nazareth's strength.


1. Go Down Fighting
2. Not Faking It
3. Turn On Your Receiver
4. Teenage Nervous Breakdown
5. Free Wheeler
6. This Flight Tonight
7. Child In The Sun
8. The Ballad Of Hollis Brown

Go Down Fighting is an absolute Naz stonker of an opener, full of riffy guitars, pumping bass and pounding drums and the similar strains of Not Faking It keeps up the heavy rock pressure. Dan McCafferty's rasping vocals are excellent, ideal for the material, a sort of Rod Stewart meets Robert Plant and Ian Gillan.

Turn On Your Receiver has a few vague twinges of country rock about it, and a slightly less frantic pace than the two openers, but it still rocks solidly. It is certainly no CSNY. Nazareth had the ability to turn a cover version into their own, copper-bottomed slice of credible hard rock. They do exactly that with Little Feat's Teenage Nervous Breakdown superbly with a riff-dominated version. That typical Nazareth fuzzy lead guitar is at full strength here.  It almost sounds punky in an Eddie & The Hot Rods kind of way. There is almost a "live" feeling to the song's vibrant looseness.

Free Wheeler is another dollop of top notch blues rock, featuring some infectious cymbal work and solid, driving riffage. This, the old "side one" of the original album, has been seriously top quality rock from the very first note to the last.

The album's hit single, the band's cover of Joni Mitchell's This Flight Tonight turns the song from a wistful folk song into a rumbling, rhythmic rocker with a superb vocal from McCafferty. It deservedly provided them with their third chart hit.

Child In The Sun is an initially acoustic-backed rock ballad, that breaks out into some impressive fuzzy guitar with hints of Deep Purple to the vocal and structure.

The highlight of the album, however, is the extended, menacing blues rock splendour that is their cover of Bob Dylan's tragically disturbing tale, The Ballad Of Hollis Brown. Searing rock guitars swirl all around the powerful, threatening, foreboding drum beat as McCafferty tells of the father who takes the life of himself and all his children. One of the greatest ever Dylan covers, but one that is, unfortunately, rarely mentioned in such lists.

Nazareth released three (possibly four) excellent mid-seventies rock albums. This is certainly one of them. It doesn't diversify as much as their previous albums had, but it doesn't really need to, does it?

PS - the four "BBC Sessions" live tracks on the latest remaster are excellent, as so many of the "BBC Sessions" cuts were, from many groups. The sound quality is really impressive, particularly for 1973.


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