Formed in the late 1960's by guitarist Mick Box (what a name), drummer Alex Nappier, a pair of refugees from The Gods, bassist Paul Newton and keyboardist Ken Hensley (a talented musician whose skills, to be honest, could have been better utilized elsewhere, and last AND least, singer David Byron, perhaps the most strident and annoying singer in the history of rock......if you currently don't understand why I say this, listen to a few of these, and you quickly will.
The first release was " Very 'eavy, Very 'umble", which was famously reviewed in Rolling Stone by a critic who promised to commit suicide "if this band makes it" (no word on if he did or not).... I have one around here somewhere, can't find it at the moment, I'm sure it will turn up, if I find it or someone shares it I will post it, it is mostly of value for the (unintentionally) hilarious "Come Away Melinda", I hope I can find it just for THAT one....
Next up was "Salisbury", a MUCH more solid release, along with their next few as their definitive period pieces....the 16-minute title epic is a bit much, but the album does contain my favorite Heep track, "High Priestess", and another pretty good track, "Lady in Black".... this happens to be a reissue with some bonus tracks on it, so it's exactly like Christmas a few days late... mostly remixes of the tracks on the album, but also the odd "Simon the Bullet Freak".
1971 (MAN did bands crank out the vinyl in that era!) brought us "Look At Yourself", which cleverly posted a mirror on the cover (so you can, like, "Look At Yourself")....not a fantastic effort, the title track and "July Morning" are the more representative tracks.......also an "expanded" CD, this with some outtakes and live scraps, perfect for the discrimintaing Uriah Heep rarities collector.
Just one year later, the band released what some, including myself, consider their best album, "Demons and Wizards".......it includes a fine hard rocking single, "Easy Living", but also decent numbers in "Traveller In Time" and "The Wizard".....the formula was down pat by now, believe me, but on the other hand they no question did have "their own" sound, "thanks" to Byron's grating vocals. BTW also a deluxe reissue with a lot of bonus tracks.
In the blink of an eye came "The Magician's Birthday", a similar album (not as good) to "Demons and Wizards" with a listenable track or two, notably "Spider Woman", "Sunrise" and "Blind Eye".....yet another expanded, bonus track stuffed effort, it's a Uriah Heep BONANZA!
Onward they would crank......"Sweet Freedom" was next, and the GPS was tuned directly to Sucktown by this time......"Sweet Freeedom" contains the awful single "Stealin'" ('......nothin' left to save.....but my life, Life, LIFE, LIIIIIIIIIIFFFFFFE!" screams Byron as if Geddy Lee had never even existed)......not much to see here, though, folks.....
They released about 100 more albums, with about 50 different lineups, I THINK I may have heard "Return to Fantasy" once, and I'm pretty sure for me it closed the book on them.......if you don't get the picture from thier 1970-73 appex, not much else seems of any real "significance"....
As you can see, I don't take them terribly seriously, but not everything needs to be taken so......reminds me of my VERY earliest days listening to rock, and I really DID think this sstuff was ultra-hip as a 10-11 year old.......I do play these once in a while and they always DO brind a laugh to my lips, and what on earth is wrong with that?
David Byron passed away in 1985.
SALISBURY-01 Biard of Prey/02 The Park/03 Time to Live/04 Lady In Black/05 High Priestess/06 Salisbury/07 Simon the Bullet Freak/08 Here I Am/09 Lady In Black (Single Edit)/10 High Priestess (single Edit)/11 Salisbury (single edit)/12 The Park (alternate version)/13 Time to Live (alternate Version)
DEMONS AND WIZARDS-01 The Wizard/02 Traveller In Time/03 Easy Livin/04 Poet's Justice/05 Circle of Hands/06 Rainbow Demon/07 All My Life/08 Paradise/09 The Spell/10 Why (Extended Version)/11 Rainbow Demon (Single Edit)/12 Proud Words on a Dusty Shelf/13 Home Again to You (demo)/14 Green Eye (demo)
THE MAGICIAN'S BIRTHDAY-01 Sunrise/02 Spider Woman/03 Blind Eye/04 Echoes In the Dark/05 Rain/06 Sweet Lorraine/07 Tales/08 The Magician's Birthday/09 Gary's Song (unreleased)/10 Sliver White Man (vocal version, unreleased)/11 Proud Words (alt. version )12 Echoes In the Dark (edit, unreleased)/13 Rain (edit, unreleased)/14 Happy Birthday (outtake)/15 Sunrise (single edit)/16 Crystal Ball (outtake)/17 Silver White Man (outtake, instrumental version)
SWEET FREEDOM-01 Dreamer/02 Stealin'/03 One Day/04 Sweet Freedom/05 If I Had the Time/06 Seven Stars/07 Circus/08 Pilgrim/09 Sunshine (bonus)/10 Seven Stars (extended version)/11 Pilgrim (extended version)/12 If I Had the Time (demo)/13 Sweet Freedom (Live version)/14 Stealin (Live version)
VERY 'EAVY, VERY 'UMBLE-01 Gypsy/02 Walking In Your Shadow/03 Come Away Melinda/04 Lucy Blues/05 Dreammare/06 Real Turned On/07 I'll Keep Trying/08 Wake Up (Set Your Sights)/09 Bird of Prey (US Album Version)/10 Born In a Trunk (Vocal Version)/11 Come Away Melinda (Alt.)/12 Gypsy (Extended Version)/13 Wake Up (Set Your Sights (Alt.)/14 Born In a Trunk (Instrumental Version)/15 Dreammare (BBC Version)/16 Gypsy (BBC Version)
These are FLAC files (all of them, I think) so I'll be a little while splitting them..... meanwhile, both Brian and myself are putting together (hopefully for Wednesday) our individual tributes to Lemmy Kilmister of Hawkwind/Motorhead brilliance, who passed away Monday, RIP Lemmy!
Link in comments as usual!