I don’t know about you readers, but I really love the chance to build up my musical library with brand new remasters to replace the super old CD’s or to fill in the blanks in the collection and that makes this announcement from BMG about the legendary Uriah Heep something awesome. Read on and know that I’ll return at the close.
The Press Release:
BMG are delighted to announce an extensive reissue program commencing in 2016 and continuing through 2017, of the seminal albums by British hard rock legends Uriah Heep, who are one of the big four along with Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath.
Created with the full collaboration of Heep themselves and curated by guitarist and founding member Mick Box, the reissues come as 2CD expanded packages, with the original LPs on CD1 re-mastered by renowned engineer Andy Pearce of Lou Reed and Black Sabbath fame and complete with liner notes by the bestselling rock author Joel McIver. Box and Heep’s sometime member Ken Hensley, composer of many of the band’s best-known songs, contribute to each album’s notes.
The reissue program kicks off with a new Uriah Heep anthology, ‘Your Turn To Remember: The Definitive Anthology 1970-1990’. Evoking an era when prog, hard rock and heavy metal co-existed in an era of glorious, boundary-breaking music, the songs on this 2CD collection trace the evolution of Heep from inexperienced studio musicians with everything to prove to bona fide, limo inhabiting rock stars. The Anthology cherry picks tracks from some of Heep’s most celebrated albums including ‘Demons And Wizards’, ‘Look At Yourself’, ‘Return To Fantasy’, ‘Equator’, ‘Conquest’ and ‘The Magicians Birthday’.
As Mick Box explains: “We were very green! If the engineer had said, ‘Stand in a fire bucket and plug your guitar into that radiator’, we probably would have done it. We had no experience of the studio at all. Two years later we were in America, playing to between 10,000 and 20,000 people a night. We were in a big bubble, with all the private Learjets and so on: I don’t think I went through an airport for 10 years! We were picked up by limos on the tarmac, and all that stuff. We’d take whole floors of hotels, with bodyguards outside each room. It got to those heady, silly heights, but I was personally always up for the fun of it. I never believed it was going to continue, but some did, which was a bit unfortunate…”
Additionally released in 2016 is Heep’s 1970 debut album …’Very ’Eavy …Very ’Umble’ – a must-buy for many fans. Originally released on the magnificent Vertigo spiral label with original mint condition first pressings now commanding a price of $600+, it is bursting at the seams with creativity and a desire to make a mark in the most fertile era that rock music has ever known, the album was a powerful statement of intent, showcasing the incredible vocals of the late David Byron. Witness the opening cut ‘Gypsy’, the musicians stop and start on a dime in a classic opening sequence before Byron’s soaring vocals introduce the ever-lovin’ subject matter. Hensley’s immense organ solo, which not only occupies most of the song’s midsection, but also restarts the entire song towards its back end, is a showcase of a young, hot musician with everything to prove. The musicianship shines bright throughout the album; from the Hendrix inspired blues rocker ‘Real Turned On’, and the Mellotron soaked ‘Come Away Melinda’, to the bombastic ‘Dreammare’ and majestic closer ‘Wake Up (Set Your Sights)’, Heep’s debut showcased a very promising new rock band flexing some serious musical muscle.
This new issue of ‘Eavy brings together the newly re-mastered original album with a second disc of never before issued alternate mixes. Three tracks on CD2 are from the late period Spice (pre Heep) sessions (just prior to Ken Hensley joining the fold) and the rest are all from the Very ‘Eavy sessions, recorded over a period of several months in late 1969 and early 1970. These bonus tracks were recently discovered by Heep uber fan, Robert Corich who has a library of unreleased music used across these re-issues.
Box adds: “Creativity in Uriah Heep was at a peak at the time. Nobody was breathing down our necks, so we moved into a more progressive field after ‘Very ’Eavy… Very ’Umble’. We were getting into a period where we would just write things and let them go where they wanted to go, rather than writing to a format. Not that there had been a format before, but this time we really let our hair down, if you like! We decided that there would be no restrictions whatsoever.”
Organist Ken Hensley looks back at this era fondly, saying: “It was beginning to sink in that we were onto something. The management company, the record company, the publishing company and everyone else were all on board, and we had made a bit of an impact with the first album, especially in Europe, so we had some momentum. I took most of the tracks in their rawest forms to the band, and together we turned them into full songs.”
The Uriah Heep reissue program continues with 1970’s ‘Salisbury’ featuring the huge international hit, ‘Lady In Black’.
‘Your Turn To Remember: The Definitive Anthology 1970-1990’ Tracklist:
2. Come Away Melinda
3. Bird Of Prey
4. Lady In Black
5. Look At Yourself
6. July Morning – Japanese Single Edit
7. Easy Livin’
8. The Wizard
10. Sweet Lorraine
12. Sweet Freedom
13. The Shadows And The Wind
14. Suicidal Man
15. Return To Fantasy
16. Devil’s Daughter
1. Weep In Silence
2. Can’t Keep A Good Band Down
5. Free N’ Easy
6. Free Me
7. Woman Of The Night
8. Come Back To Me
9. It Ain’t Easy
10. No Return
11. Too Scared To Run
12. Chasing Shadows
13. Straight Through The Heart
14. The Other Side Of Midnight
16. Poor Little Rich Girl
17. Voice On My TV
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PiercingMetal Thoughts: I have to admit that as much as I enjoy the bands material at this point in time, they were never a band that I followed during my formative years. I am not sure why this happened but I don’t think that I knew the folks that were diehards and hence no influence to my ears. Though Rock radio in NYC was thriving way back in the day I don’t recall hearing all that much Heep but perhaps I was listening to the wrong DJ 😊 Of course once I decided to become a scribe I made sure to review the occasional release and catch them whenever they played my metropolis and I have to say that they blew me away each and every time. They are a top recommendation to readers to go to see and its never too late to get into their earliest works thanks to this reissue program by BMG Music. I’ve embedded links for you to purchase them below and wonder what you readers think about this new initiative. Will you be filling in your own music library with these new editions? Let me know in the comments section below.
Official Website: http://www.uriah-heep.com