Look At Yourself (1971.), Uriah Heep’s third studio album
Uriah Heep, in the early 1970’s were very much the band which everyone but the fans of the band themselves, loved to hate. They got loads of stick from critics often calling the heavy rock band the ‘Poor Man’s Deep Purple’. However, in my opinion, these are particularly unfair criticisms on a band who have produced some excellent music during their career and ‘Look at Yourself’, Uriah Heep’s third studio album, released in 1971 stands as one of their finest and most accomplished efforts.
Its particularly sad that this band is so underrated, because, if this album made sales based on the quality of the music, it would have sold quite a few million copies. The tag which Uriah Heep gained of being very similar to Deep Purple is a little unfair. I will not deny that they are in a very similar mold to the great Deep Purple, employing a thick hammond organ and heavy guitar style but nevertheless, Uriah Heep have their own trademark sound and I would not waste a second in dispelling any claim that they were Deep Purple rip offs. Instead, what you have with Uriah Heep is a group of excellent musicians who, certainly with this album made some amazingly powerful music. Dave Byron, the lead singer with Uriah Heep at the time is an excellent and much underrated vocalist, as is the guitar playing of Mick Box and the diverse instrumental abilities of Ken Hensley, who also proves himself to be a great songwriter on this album. ‘Look at Yourself’ is a masterpiece from start to finish, with loads of explosive moments of power.
Thankfully also, the ‘Look at Yourself’ album has undergone an excellent remaster by Sanctuary Records. I would definitely recommend the deluxe issue over the standard 7 album track issue. The deluxe edition is one of the best remaster efforts I’ve seen. The original tracks are of excellent quality but what you also get are 7 bonus tracks, giving you double the music from this fruitful time for Uriah Heep. The bonus tracks include BBC session versions of the ‘Look at Yourself’ title track and ‘What Should Be Done’. Theres alternate versions too of these two tracks and an extended version of ‘Tears in my Eyes’. However, perhaps the best additions are the two session outtakes which have only been discovered in the last 15 years. ‘Whats Within My Heart’ is one, an excellent acoustic track and ‘Why’ is a remarkable 12 minute jam. The liner notes within the CD sleeve are also excellent with pictures, interviews and lyrics all included. So, the deluxe version is definitely the way to go if its available readily and is of a reasonable price.
The seven tracks on the album are masterpieces in their own right. The album opens with the title track, ‘Look At Yourself’, a blasting, guitar and keyboard heavy rock song with a great chorus build up. ‘I Wanna Be Free’ is a bit more like a ballad but is just as heavy as the first track. ‘July Morning’, the 10 minute epic, is worth the price of the album alone, often acclaimed as Uriah Heeps best song, its a killer from start to finish. The band themselves recorded it on the first take – some great lyrics sung with heart by Byron builds into a long keyboard and guitar interlude which is brilliant. ‘Tears In My Eyes’ is another great rock song and ‘Shadows of Grief’ is a more unusual, 8 minute epic, with a heavy vocal sections and an interesting harmonising finish over lots of keyboard. ‘What Should Be Done’ is a piano based, lighter track – written in quick time, this is no filler, its one of the best tracks on the album. ‘Love Machine’ is a 4 minute hard rocking finish to the album in typical Heep style.
‘Look at Yourself’ deserves much more recognition than it deserves. I often say Deep Purple are criminally underrated but this band are even more so. It always amazes me how this album stayed in the charts for just 1 week and reached only #39 – its a classic with plenty of great songs within. Any fan of heavy rock should not overlook Uriah Heep’s music and especially not this masterpiece album.