I expect there’s a million special this and limited that being released for this Saturday’s Record Store day, it surely doesn’t get any cooler than this though does it? Where to start? The horse of the rainbow demon? It has to be straight in with the mighty wizard, no messing, straight in there fire up The Wizard! Straight in there with some traveling in time, follow it up with Easy Livin! You see there’s nothing quite like the full-on hard rock of the Heep, all those overdriven over-the-top Hammonds and the warm smell of that Lesley that comes out of your speakers along with those guitar and organ duels and that classic hard rock sound of the mighty Heep.
There isn’t much that sounds cooler that those classic early 70’s Uriah Heep albums and the gloriously bombastic over-the-top-ness of it all, the screaming organs, the even more screaming vocals, the demons, the wizards, the sky full of eyes and today being nothing more than yesterday’s tomorrow. Actually London’s finest have never stopped making good albums, these early ones from the start of the 70’s are where the real treasure is to be found though, if you don’t know Uriah Heep Look at Yourself or The Magician’s Birthday pr Demons and Wizards is where you really need to start, that chemistry of Mick Box, Ken Hensley and David Byron, the tightly knit nucleus of the band who really were on top of everything on those three classic albums. You either love Uriah Heep or you think all ridiculous bombastic excessive hard rock nonsense, me? I love bombastic excessive hard rock nonsense, I’ve worn out my old vinyl copies of these classic proper albums. And don’t be fooled by those Roger Dean album covers either, this is serious hard rock, proto heavy metal, heavy as flip, the Heep seriously rock! And look at those strides there, you’ve got to be a cool as flip band to pull off those jeans and shoes!
“”The band was really focused at that time. We all wanted the same thing, were all willing to make the same sacrifices to achieve it and we were all very committed. It was the first album to feature that line-up and there was a magic in that combination of people that created so much energy and enthusiasm.” so said Hensley at some point somewhere “David was the communication point, the focal point of the whole group’s stage presentation. He had so much charisma, so much ability,” admitted Hensley many years later. “But Hensley too developed into a sophisticated instrumentalist and stage persona, whose writing and keyboard flair ignited the rest of the band…”
And why you ask are these gloriously preposterous over the top relics of the 1970’s, these beautiful Uriah Heep treasures, being featured as an Organ Thing of The Day today? Because I want them to be that’s why! Flamboyantly good for your soul, some might say completely ridiculous in 2017 (some might say complete ridiculous in 1972!) but then who cares what some might say? it doesn’t come much cooler than Uriah Heep and no, no new band trying to be some kind of retro 70’s thing can get anywhere near the authentic traveling in time glory and that sound of the early 70’s and Uriah Heep at their very very best… (SW)
RECORD STORE DAY happens nationwide this weekend, and following on from the recent re-release of ‘Look at Yourself ’, ‘Demons And Wizards’ and ‘The Magician’s Birthday’ back at the start of April, on BMG Records. a “special double ‘splattervinyl’ version of their LIVE 1973 release is to be issued specially for Record Store day (Saturday 22 April).
Here’s the Uriah Heep press release…
Following the expanded and re-mastered re-issues of Uriah Heep’s first 2 albums (and a new 2 disc anthology called, ‘Your Turn To Remember’) follows these double CD sets of 3 classic Heep albums together with a splatter vinyl release of their 1973 live album (‘Uriah Heep Live 1973’ released on Record Store Day 22 April featuring a meticulously recreated period tour brochure).
The band’s third album ‘Look At Yourself’ was originally released in October of 1971 and represented the first for manager Gerry Bron’s new label ‘Bronze Records’. The title track is a charging statement of intent as the band don’t let up, with no time to reflect on their success. Such was their hectic schedule at this time they managed to cram touring, session time and 3 albums in the space of 12 months. ‘Demons And Wizards’ was released in June 1972 and is widely hailed to be their masterpiece. Signs of personal problems and pushy management started to have an effect on the band and the next album, ‘The Magician’s Birthday’ released November 1972, though a quick follow-up the band somehow managed to pull it off with the album entering the UK charts at 28 and the American charts at 31.
These re-packaged and re-mastered albums have been endorsed by the band all with a bonus disc of un-released material. ‘Look At Yourself’ was released with a unique foil front cover and this has been faithfully re-created in a lavish digipack format using foil board material which presents the entire package in a new and shimmering light. Roger Dean’s artwork for ‘Demons And Wizards’ captures the music (and the times) perfectly, the re-issues with extensive sleeve notes and interviews with the band.