Sunday, 3 June 2018

Nazareth - Razamanaz (1973)

I'm a bad bad boy and I'm gonna steal your love....

  

Released on 25 May 1973

Recorded in Jamestown Scotland and Air Studios, London

Running time 34.24 (43.19 with bonus tracks)

Dunfermline's finest, Nazareth, really were the dog's crown jewels from 1972-75. Heavy enough not to be to true "glam rock" yet pop-sensitive enough to pen a chart hit when the mood took them. One got the feeling that they "lived it" to the full as well - the whisky, the women, the fights. Nazareth were "hard". 

Their first two albums had Stones-ish bluesy elements mixed with a folky sound but this was the first album that saw them cut loose and develop some heavy rock credentials. Production by Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover no doubt helped quite a bit. There was far more attack and drive on the album, yet it wasn't all full-on rock bombast, the group found ways in which to include some musical diversities. Blues and country influences are floating around in places. 

TRACK LISTING

1. Razamanaz

2. Alcatraz
3. Vigilante Man
4. Woke Up This Morning
5. Night Woman
6. Bad Bad Boy
7. Sold My Soul
8. Too Bad Too Sad
9. Broken Down Angel

BONUS TRACKS 

10. Hard Living
11. Spinning Top                        

This current remastering on Salvo records is truly outstanding, pumping out the bass into your living room, as that glorious intro to "Razamanaz" pounds out of your speakers and Dan McCafferty howls "we got to get it togetherrr" you feel like dashing to your drinks cabinet to get the "Famous Grouse" out to give him a wee livener. There is some great whisky sodden RAWWK on here. From the opener through the brooding drum-driven power of "Alcatraz" to the Woody Guthrie cover "Vigilante Man", which starts as a solemn blues but ends as a muscular rocker, and the abrasive "Woke Up This Morning" - the school of hard rock knocks is open for morning lessons. The latter track has a great bit of drum, bass and guitar interplay at the end. It had previously appeared on the group's previous album, "Exercises", but this re-recording is a much heavier, improved offering.

Two chart singles appear as we progress - the melodic, poppy, Stonesy "Broken Down Angel" and the sawdust throated "Bad Bad Boy" much hated (unreasonably) by Radio One's Tony Blackburn at the time. Check out the bass and glammy Glitter Band-style drums on "Night Woman" too. This was such a sound of 1972-74

"Sold My Soul" is a slow burner of a rocker, full of powerful, deep bass, drums, lead guitar chunky riffs and McCafferty's strong vocal. It also features a slow, atmospheric guitar solo in the middle. "Too Bad Too Sad" is a delicious, upbeat rocker, packed full of riffy guitar and infectious percussion. The sound on this one is superb - turn it up loud for some seriously solid rock. The two bonus 'b' sides, "Hard Living" and "Spinning Top" are good too - the first a very Deep Purple-esque slow-pace heavy rocker, while the latter is quite Led Zepplin-ish, with a killer riff.

There are four cuts from the BBC Bob Harris sessions included too and these are rough and ready and show that the lads could cut it live too. I always like these BBC Sessions tracks. They are invariably of high sound quality and it was amazing how many bans at the time just popped into the BBC and laid down some wonderful sounds, just when they had a spare fifteen minutes, it seemed.

B-

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