this is a very good album… lots of variety in the song styles. ballads, rockers… songs like “my white bicycle” that make you scratch your head and say, “Huh?” I’d give this one a 5, except for a really bad remix of Morning Dew. If the Doors covered this song, this is what it would sound like… I’d suggest looking in the used CD bins for this album with its original purple cover – that has the same tracks (possibly not the live version of Cocaine… i had it on cassette, and that song was missing) but it has the original version of Morning Dew, which is a song worth a little driving around.
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
Ah, the wild, wild North of Britain! Home to such rowdy legends as the Animals from Newcastle, Jethro Tull from Blackpool, and who can forget those “darlings of Dunfermline”–Nazareth!
Long before The Bay City Rollers came along to polish and “pretty-up” the image of the Scottish pop star, rock critics were dismissing Nazareth’s music as “dog food”. But like every good Scot, the band pressed on doing their own thing, caring not what some “frisco bay scribe” thought of them, but winning converts of many American rock fans who related to the folk-influenced, country-leaning, hard-rock boogie anthems of an overseas unit many Americans could easily mistake for their own. This “greatest hits” collection gives you that sense from start-to-finish. Early band compositions like “Shanghai’d in Shanghai” and “Go Down Fighting”, with their repetitive sloganeering and driving rhythm, make Nazareth sound like the sort of band that AC/DC inspired to be (which they were, minus the honky-tonk leanings of songs like “Holiday” and “Broken Down Angel”.) “Go Down Fighting”, in particular, is an anthem for anyone who ever had to stand up to a bully in their life (and come to think of it, could have been a poor man’s anthem for Scotland, in general–a nation with a history of being bullied herself. “I can fight dirty when I’m scared”–in deed!) To me, the most intense, relentless Nazareth rocker of all has to be “Razamanaz”. Having never seen this band in concert before myself to know for sure, I would have to assume this song was a standard concert opener, and if it was, I would have to rate it right up there with “Footstompin’ Music” by Grand Funk Railroad as far as great, lively opening numbers to get the fans pumped up and excited for the show. If “Razamanaz”, with its bone-crunching, fast-paced boogie doesn’t move you, you don’t have a pulse! But that could possibly be the influence of the producer on “Razamanaz”, Roger Glover from Deep Purple, because the song bears a striking resemblance to the Deep Purple number, “Speed King”–Roger possibly encouraging the band to write a hard-and-fast number in the same vein.
I would never really consider anyone in this band to be an “ouststanding” musician, but they all contributed to make a good collective product. Funny, as much as the Brits cite the influence of American blues in much of their playing, very few were as adept at playing slide guitar as Nazareth’s Manny Charlton. And the slide playing throughout many of the songs on this collection is of the quality that would have even made the likes of Joe Walsh or Duane Allman smile! And there’s the singer Dan McCafferty–I’m not sure, but I’m beginning to think having a “raspy” voice is a Scottish thing! Rod Stewart, Bon Scott, and Dan himself. I suppose some Scots are just genetically-predisposed to sound like they swallowed razor blades. Dan’s voice can be downright painful to listen to at times!
And of course, there are the obligatory hits on this collection–”Love Hurts” and “Hair of The Dog”, but for those who have never heard the rest of what makes Nazareth so great, once you give those other songs a listen, you will forget those two hits easily–I promise! Nazareth, like so many others from the 70s, like Free, Mountain, and Thin Lizzy, had so many great songs, if you only ever heard the one-or-two the radio plays, you are really missing out. This bands music is so catchy, and their arrangements so tight, it will grow on you instantly. Virtually every number is almost a sing-a-long. Buy this “greatest hits” collection, and you will have a hard time taking it off your CD player for weeks!
Nazareth is one of my favorites since 1975 when I heard “Hair of the Dog”, their 5th album. But these “greatest hits” should’ve called “some greatest hits, some not at all” and I would slap the hands of people who composed this stuff… to not do that again. Only one third out of 18 songs deserves to be called “greatest”, others are too far from that. It looks like the compilation was assembled from whatever songs were available for the producer. This is a crappy approach which allows “novices” of Nazareth’s fans to get easily disappointed. I have composed 3 (!) my own “greatest hits” CDs from Nazareth tunes… It seems the producers were not familiar with Nazareth’s 30-year efforts at all. Only tunes 3, 6, 8, 11, 12, 15 and maybe 18 may present Nazareth as one of the best groups in 70’s thru 90’s. Sad experience…
This GREATEST HITS album by Nazareth is excellent. Granted, there are a few tracks I wish had been replaced by others (and there are four from HAIR OF THE DOG which, if included, would have made this anthology even better), but overall, this is a terrific summation of an important 70s/early 80s hard rock band.
Nazareth CD’s are real hit & miss efforts, so a greatest hits with all of these tunes is a great deal. Sure a few gems are always missed in these packages, but it is a good place to start a collection or replace some of those well worn albums.In the mid seventies it was interesting to watch Nazareth & Aerosmith battle it out for the bluesy hard rock crown. Both had early proto-metal ballads Naz “Love Hurts” and Aerosmith’s “Dream On” boogie rockers Naz “This Flight Tonight” and Aerosmith’s “Same Old Song & Dance” which evolved into rocking radio hits “Hair of the Dog” vs “Walk This Way” and ending with metal rockers “Expect No Mercy” vs “Back In The Saddle”Both bands then put out a decade of … and both resurfaced with comeback CD’s. Nazareth’s “No Jive” & “Move Me” (with new life injected by the return of the younger guitarist Billy Rankin) are great CD’s but did not have the financial label backing that Aerosmith’s “Permanent Vacation” & “Pump” recieved. No half million dollar videos and professional song writers for Naz doomed them to a cult following, while Aerosmith is ruling the hard rock (or is it pop rock)airwaves.In retrospective I would take this Nazareth collection to the desert island rather then Aerosmiths best of! Enjoy.