dio - sacred heart

Dio: Sacred Heart (1985)

Day 5 of the #mayvinylchallenge asks for a record from where you grew up. I didn’t want to cheat with all of NY, since that opens up all the city, and I definitely did not grow up there. Nope, I’m an upstate boy through and through, so options were a bit more limited. Thank to whatever was in the water in Cortland, NY back in the day because it turned a young Ronald James Padavona into the King of Rock and Roll himself, Dio. And though there are betters options to talk about, the only album I have on vinyl (I’m not counting his work with Sabbath or Rainbow) is his final outing with Vivian Campbell, 1985’s Sacred Heart.

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uriah heep - magician's birthday

Uriah Heep: The Magician’s Birthday (1972)

I’m as surprised as you. Well, maybe not so surprised: it’s a late Friday night, I’m already a few whiskeys in, and listening to the great HiFi Dream Machine. It was inevitable Uriah Heep was going to come back up. A few months back I picked up from my local record shop the final entry in the band’s trilogy of great records from 1971-1972 The Magician’s Birthday, so what better time than now to complete my Heep triumvirate? Follow me down the rabbit hole as I go track by track, drinking more whiskey than I ought and reveling in the sounds of the 70s. Who’s with me?

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sir lord baltimore - kingdom come

Sir Lord Baltimore – Kingdom Come (1970)

It might be that I came to Sir Lord Baltimore as one of those bands always talked about when discussing the birth of heavy metal. You can spread your tentacles to perhaps more obscure bands (which reminds me I need to get my Lucifer’s Friend albums in here) but I’ve always heard Sir Lord Baltimore spoke of as part of the foundation made mighty by Black Sabbath that gave rise to the genre. Their debut Kingdom Come has always been around in various playlists, heard as background mixed with dozens of other bands and albums, but now getting a nice copy on vinyl affords me the chance to get a closer listen and see what’s that with that skeletal ship sailing across the skies.

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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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scorpions - virgin killer

Scorpions: Virgin Killer (1976)

Coming back to the Scorpions after the fun of discovering their weird psychedelic side with Fly to the Rainbow I skipped ahead a bit to see what fourth album Virgin Killer had in store. By this time they had already started to hone their songwriting into the tighter, more streamlined commercial approach that would rocket them to stardom in a few short years. Having started their path with with third album In Trance (sadly one I don’t own…yet) I was eager to check out if Roth’s guitar was still as frenetic and alight as my first exposure. So let’s dive into Round 2 of Chris reacts to a virgin listen of Virgin Killer and see what hits, what misses, and where I’m left standing with the Scorpions’ 70s output.

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