uriah heep - look at yourself

Uriah Heep: Look at Yourself (1971)

It’s another late night. We’ve switched from scotch to red wine, but we’re ready to continue down the track by track path of the monster that is 70s hard rock. Uriah Heep may have solidified their classic lineup and earned their biggest hit to date with “Easy Living'” on 1972’s Demons and Wizards, but the real hard rock punch came a year earlier with the mesmerizing Look at Yourself. The progressive side hasn’t yet fully come into its own; instead we get pounding guitars and organs and an overall more metal release. I was thrilled to find a great copy – a first US pressing at my local shop Needle + Groove for a song. A few listens convinced me of its merit, and for a while I was happy to say it was my favorite of their releases I had heard to date. Now that I had a serious dive into the followup, let tear this sucker up track by track and still if my assessment still holds true.

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uriah heep - demons and wizards

Uriah Heep: Demons and Wizards (1972)

Okay ladies and gentlemen…I have had more than a few drinks, the stereo is turned up loud, and I’m ready to continue down the path of classic 1970s hard rock, as initiated all the way back in July of this year when I waxed poetic about the Sea of Tranquility YouTube channel. Let’s keep the train rolling with some of the vinyl I picked up over the last few months, starting with a band I knew by name but was woefully ignorant of musically…the mighty Uriah Heep and their dynamic fourth album Demons and Wizards. I think at this points I’m enough sheets into the wind to do more of a reaction review, even though I’ve heard the record a number of times already. Flare your pant bottoms and grab your wicker basket of wine…it’s time to do this.

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groundhogs - thank christ for the bomb

Groundhogs: Thank Christ For The Bomb (1970)

I had no idea who the Groundhogs were when I first heard about them. It came, like so many of the albums I eventually fell for, from a list. Specifically from Decibel Magazine’s Stoner Rock special all the way back in 2007.Their Top 20 Stoner Rock Albums of All Time list was okay, if a bit,well…underwhelming. But tucked away was also an article by Scott Seward dubbed The Filthy 50, where he lists out as it states in the article “50 forgotten late 60s/early 70s thud-rock masterpieces.” And number one of that list was Thank Christ For the Bomb. When I started collecting vinyl it became the #1 must-have on my wishlist, and the good news (besides the fact you can read his article for free here) is that the album holds up superbly as a killer early hard rock record. It’s filthy, it’s thunderous, and those guitars are just sublime.

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led zeppelin - houses of the holy

Led Zeppelin: Houses of the Holy (1973)

Sorry for the brief break. Life and new work woes got in the way, but that stress moved from “No time to write about records” to “Christ on toast I don’t care I need a break so will write about a record.” Discogs has this lovely little randomizer that picks a record from your collection and Houses of the Holy popped up. Led Zeppelin was there at the very start of my record collection – Led Zeppelin II was the first vinyl I took from my father when I was a kid so I could play air guitar along to “Whole Lotta Love” – so why not listen to something I love, push the world away for a bit go over the hills and far away, so to speak?

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beatles - past masters

The Beatles: Past Masters (1988)

In my brief (very brief) survey of the current stream-everything, digital rules pop landscape its fascinating to see how the single, non-album track has become prominent.  Fascinating because though a lot of fingers point to streaming and digital as primary reason, you can  go back over 40 years and see the same reliance on singles.  Collected as a two-disc set, Past Masters not only shows how adept The Beatles were at the form, but also boggles the mind with just how many “hits” in the pop consciousness weren’t actually collected on the studio albums. Continue reading “The Beatles: Past Masters (1988)”

alice cooper - killer

Alice Cooper: Killer (1971)

(Yeah, we’re out of sequence but I recently picked this up at the record shop and needed a Beatles break, so even though the As are done here’s a welcome diversion) 

I grew up knowing about Alice Cooper rather than listening to Alice Cooper.  You couldn’t get away from that visage, the Welcome to My Nightmare look that’s been a staple of the man/the band for so many decades now.  But behind the paint and the Grand Guignol theatrics has always lay a band that could rock with the best of them and Killer demonstrates how versatile the entity that was/is Alice Cooper could be. Continue reading “Alice Cooper: Killer (1971)”