Thursday, 2 May 2019

Slade - Old New Borrowed And Blue (1974)


  

Released February 1974

UK pop music changed an awful lot between mid 1972 and early 1974. In that period Slade went from being bluesy, rocking oiks to leading lights in the glorious glam revolution that ruled the UK charts for the best part of two years. Their music was, in that period, tub-thumping, rabble-rousing, crashing glam anthems. They only released one album in that time - "Sladest" a mix of glam chart toppers and rarities. Their previous album had been late 1972's "Slayed?". By early 1974, the charts, and Slade had changed irrevocably. The glam thing had gone - Marc Bolan and T.Rex were dabbling in soul rock, The Sweet were getting heavier and Slade started recording rock ballads and more traditional rock numbers, as opposed to handclap-backed terrace anthems. It was almost as if the previous two years had never happened and Slade were back in 1971 again. There is quite a lot of 1971-72 about this offering.

TRACK LISTING

1. Just Want A Little Bit
2. When The Lights Are Out
3. My Town
4. Find Yourself A Rainbow
5. Miles Out To Sea
6. We're Really Gonna Raise The Roof
7. Do We Still Do It
8. How Can It Be
9. Don't Blame Me
10. My Friend Stan
11. Everyday
12. Good Time Gals                                        

"Just Want A Little Bit" is a solid, muscular bluesy rocker, with a certain ad hoc "live" feel to it. Rather than being a glam song, it is a strong piece of blues heavy rock that harks back to the early pre-glam days of "Slade Alive". "When The Lights Are Out" is an upbeat rocker, but it, despite a vaguely glammy chorus, has a melodic side too. "My Town" is a recognisable piece of riffy Slade rock, with Noddy Holder in fine throaty vocal form. "Find Yourself A Rainbow" sounds like an old 1920s-30s song, with a rolling bar-room piano sound and a good-time singalong chorus. Not really what Slade fans wanted to hear, although they all probably pretended to like it.

"Miles Out To Sea" is a good rocker, with a great bass line. It has a good chorus to it, but you couldn't imagine it being a chart hit. I guess that is why it remained an album track. "We're Really Gonna Raise The Roof" is a classic slice of breakneck Slade rock, no glam drum sounds, just frantic riffy rocking - a bit like "Let The Good Times Roll" from "Slayed?". Holder is superb on this one. Proper Slade. "Do We Still Do It" is already asking a nostalgic question, as if they already know they are heading towards being old hat. It has a trademark Slade sound and yes, in early 1974, they just about still did it. The riff is almost punky at times.


"How Can It Be" begins with a country-style acoustic riff, although the song still has a typical Holder bellowing chorus. "Don't Blame Me" is another frantic bit of Slade rock'n'roll, featuring some great guitar and Holder's vocal almost doing his throat serious damage. There hadn't been any memorable hit singles on the album until this point when the rollicking piano of "My Friend Stan" comes rocking in. Once more this was a track that had more of 1971 about it than 1973. It had echoes of The Faces' "Cindy Incidentally" in its middle guitar riff, for me. "Everyday", also a hit single, saw Slade trying their hand at a more mellow, thoughtful sound. The young Noel Gallagher admits to living this. Actually, I think it was "How Does It Feel" from "Slade In Flame", but I'm sure he loved this too. Despite its laid-back verses, the chorus still rocks, slowly and majestically. "Good Time Gals" is a copper-bottomed Stonesy, riff-drenched rocker to end on.

The non-album single, "The Bangin' Man" was also a Stones-influenced rocker and a good one too. Yes, Slade could still do it. They could still rock. This is a solid, good-time rock album, but the glam days were already starting to feel a little distant. The next album, the "Slade In Flame" soundtrack, would do nothing to change that feeling.

B-

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