Uriah Heep - Very 'Eavy ... Very 'Umble (1970)


 

Review

This as the very first album by the newly Found Uriah Heep. As such they were still looking for a style at this moment and were influenced by the prog scene, the Blues Rock scene (like Led Zeppelin) and the organ driven bands like Deep Purple, Vanilla Fudge, Atomic Rooster and then a hard guitar sound that were very similar to Wishbone Ash, but just harder.

These are also the 4 types of songs that you get on this album. You can say that they switched musical hats of had a collage of genres on this album. This is possibly the reason for the critics' negative response to the album. Nobody knew exactly what road they were going to take.

Firstly there is the blues-influenced song : - Lucy Blues. It is not a bad song, but you can hear that this is not going to work for them. Too little blues in the guitar of Mick Box.

Secondly there are the two progressive influenced songs. Come away Melinda was a cover song. And with the emphasis on the mellotron and the acoustic guitar, it bare resemblance with a band like Moody Blues. Telling the story of a daughter's conversation with her father, it is not a bad song. It is very enjoyable. The second of the Prog Rock songs, are very much more jazz-influenced - that is - Wake up (Set your sights). This song disappeared from there play lists and venues. Not without a reason. What is good about the song though is the tightness of the band. The way all the instruments play together are brilliant. And it brings up the question why Heep was never into jamming. They had the ability to do it. Especially the rhythm section is brilliant.

Thirdly there are the guitar driven songs. They are my favourites and makes me wonder why they never developed this genre more. "Walking in your shadow" is a perfect dual guitar song. It sounds more Wishbone Ash than Wishbone Ash does. The melody it these guitars are very good. And then on "Dreammare" the took the guitars a step higher. heavy metal at its best. This was twin guitars metal many years before Maiden and Priest entered the music scene. If Heep developed this in the later seventies the whole story of Uriah Heep would have been different.

Lastly the organ driven sound. The direction that Heep followed in the years to come. Gypsy was and is one of the best loved Heep songs. With the power of the organ, the multiple riffs and powerful vocals it was destined to be a classic. Not one of my favourites though. "I'll keep trying" is very much the same and the vocals are excellent on this song.

Well they have tested every possible direction on this album and decided for the organ driven guitar sound of Gypsy to follow. What is interesting though is the fact that Ken Hensley did not write one song on this album, but the templates for his songs to come are all on this album.

Rating: 8.5/10

Album Cover:


Release date: June 1970

Band members:

Mick Box (guitars)
David Byron (voc)
Paul Newton (Bass)
Nigel Ollson (Drums)
Ken Hensley (Keys, guitars)

Songs:

1 Gypsy (Box, Byron) 6:38
2 Walking in Your Shadow (Byron, Newton) 4:30
3 Come Away Melinda (Hellerman, Minkoff) 3:48
4 Lucy Blues (Box, Byron) 5:08
5 Dreammare (Newton) 4:37
6 Real Turned On (Box, Byron, Newton) 3:39
7 I'll Keep on Trying (Box, Byron) 5:27
8 Wake Up (Set Your Sights) (Box, Byron) 6:20

Best Songs:

Gypsy
Come away Melinda
Walking in your shadow
Dreammare

Summary

It took me years to listen and to understand this album. Today it is one of my favourites to listen to. This album showed the quality of Mick Box's song writing ability which was lost in the Hensley dominated albums. This was also the last album that Nigel Ollson was on. he moved on to become Elton John's drummer.


 

 

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