Tuesday, 13 November 2018
Slade - Slade Alive! (1972)
Released March 1972
This album, released as Slade were right in the middle of their glam rock domination of the charts and "Top Of The Pops". It s actually a classic live album of a solid band rocking hard, and must have puzzled much of their teenage audience, who bought it, as I did, aged fourteen, expecting to hear three minute glam handclapping anthems. What I and many others got was seven extended heavy, bluesy rock workouts. Sure it was loud and brash, but it did not really sound as I had expected Slade to sound, live. Still, I got into it and it became part of my musical education.
The opener, "Hear Me Calling" sounds more Deep Purple than Slade, it is heavy as hell, full of guitar riffage, sledgehammer drums. "In Like A Shot From My Gun" has Noddy Holder in more typical Slade vocal style, but the backing is still industrially heavy metal in its sheer thump. There is a palpable live atmosphere, though, and you really sense the crowd getting into it. "Darling Be Home Soon" is a plaintive ballad initially, although it gets the full band treatment eventually, it is still a slow tempo number. It has an absolute killer guitar solo in the middle though and the famous Noddy Holder belch.
"Know Who You Are" is a superb blues grinder and "Keep On Rocking" is an all-out rocker that sounds like a Little Richard song, but was written by Slade.
"Get Down Get With It" is the one recognisable Slade song, of course, and Noddy gets the crowd worked up into their full foot stomping best. The original album ends with a storming cover of Steppenwolf's "Born To Be Wild".
The extended version that is now available has far more material and several of the popular singles as well, but my memories of this album will always be the original seven songs.