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VERY 'EAVY...VERY 'UMBLE

Uriah Heep

Heavy Prog


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Uriah Heep Very 'eavy...Very 'umble album cover
3.31 | 308 ratings | 45 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

Side A
1. Gypsy (6:37)
2. Walking In Your Shadow (4:31)
3. Come Away Melinda (3:46)
4. Lucy Blues (5:09)

Side B
1. Dreammare (4:39)
2. Real Turned On (3:37)
3. I'll Keep On trying (5:24)
4. Wake Up (Set Your Sights) (6:22)

Total Time: 40:05
BONUS TRACKS ON 1996 REMASTERED CD:
1. Gypsy (2:57) edited and remixed version, released on several singles and compilations
2. Come Away Melinda (3:42) alternate version, previously unreleased
3. Born In A Trunk (3:45) out-take, previously unreleased alternate version of a song released for the first time on 'The Lansdowne Tapes' (1993)

BONUS TRACKS ON 2003 EXPANDED DE-LUXE CD:
1. Bird Of Prey - original single b-side version (=US album version)
2. Born In A Trunk - alternate version, previously unreleased
3. Come Away Melinda - alternate version, previously unreleased
4. Gypsy - extended mix, previously unreleased version
5. Wake Up (Set Your Sights) - alternate version, previously unreleased
6. Born In A Trunk - instrumental version, previously unreleased
7. Dreammare - BBC live version, previously unreleased
8. Gypsy - BBC live version, previously unreleased

Lyrics

Search URIAH HEEP Very 'eavy...Very 'umble lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

Search URIAH HEEP Very 'eavy...Very 'umble tabs

Line-up / Musicians

- David Byron / lead vocals
- Ken Hensley / organ, slide guitar, Mellotron, piano and vocals
- Mick Box / lead guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals
- Paul Newton / bass guitar, vocals
- Ollie Olsson / drums, percussion

Our Thanks To:
- Alex Napier / drums on all tracks excepting 'Dreammare' & 'Lucy Blues'
- Colin Wood / keyboard on 'Melinda' & 'Wake Up'

Releases information

Released in June 1970 UK: Vertigo 6360006, re-released 1971 as Bronze ILPS 9142

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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URIAH HEEP Very 'eavy...Very 'umble ratings distribution


3.31
(308 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
15%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
43%
Good, but non-essential (32%)
32%
Collectors/fans only (9%)
9%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

URIAH HEEP Very 'eavy...Very 'umble reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars 'Umble beginnings

This is where it all started for Uriah Heep. The band's transition from their previous incarnation as "Spice" was more than just a name change, with this album they became a formidable act. The nucleus of the band (Byron and Box joined by Hensley) was already in place, although the rhythm section still had a number of changes to come before the "classic" line up was completed. With Hensley only having recently joined the band, his song writing is much less in evidence than on future albums.

The group name is taken from a Dickens character, and the "'umble" in the album's title reflects his self declared personality. The "'eavy" reference is of course related to the music, but is a bit misleading. The band's music does indeed often have a dominant rhythm section, but it is highly melodic, and every album has a variety of loud rock and soft ballads. Most tracks are based around the (predominantly organ) keyboards of Ken Hensley, the great rock voice of David Byron, and the distinctive guitar sound of Mick Box.

The opening track, "Gypsy" is indeed "heavy", with a driving Hammond organ, a thumping beat, and an early burst of Mick Box's famous wah wah guitar soloing. There are however several decidedly softer moments. "Come away Melinda" (also recorded by UFO) is one of the very few covers the band has done. Their interpretation is quite stunning, with David Byron adopting various vocal sounds to distinguish between the two characters in the song. It's a beautiful, haunting number, with a peaceful message. "Wake up (set your sights)" also has a lovely soft conclusion which follows an almost jazz like opening section.

"Lucy blues" sounds somewhat out of place on the album, and in fact was omitted from the US release (called "Uriah Heep"), being a straight forward blues number, pleasant but hardly essential. The remaining numbers are indeed generally " 'eavy" with tracks like "I'll keep on trying" and "Dreammare" (a dream and a nightmare, get it?!) setting out the band's stall for future albums perfectly.

There was better to come from the band, but this is a high quality first offering, with some excellent tracks.

The recently released deluxe remaster doubles the album's length, and includes the version of "Bird of prey" which appeared on the US release (different to the "Salisbury" track"). It also includes an "extended" version of Gypsy", but this appears to be a cut and paste job, with no new music as such.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#31242) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, June 12, 2004

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
2 stars The debut of a band that still endures till now but almost has nothing to do with the original line-up . Uriah must be the band with the most changes of musicians (yes , even Soft Machine) on this site and probably only second to Sabbath in the hard-rock world. Only Box , the guitarist remained, but very indicative , there is at least two line-up on this one album alone. This probably stopped me to like U H to the max ( As I did with Purple , Judas , Sabbath , Rooster etc....) because so many changes are unhealthy and do not create a good climate for creativity , originality , personality etc....

On this album the nucleus Box-Byron-Hensley is already present , but they still have to find their marks ( they will by Salisbury , their next) and this album is very direction-less. Best track is the hit Gypsy ..... and that's it , I'm afraid. Worst track is IMO Melinda. This is a loud album that should be discovered well after the other ones from Heep. For fans only..... Hence two stars.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#31243) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, June 18, 2004

Review by Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is a Heavy Metal/Progressive Rock album. "Gypsy" has a very good organ solo by Hensley. "Walking in your shadow" has two guitars: one by Hensley, one by Box. "Come Away Mellinda" has a very good arrangement, with Mellotron played by Hensley and/or session keyboard player Colin Wood, who was asked to add some keyboards before Hensley joined Spice and they became Uriah Heep. "Lucy Blues" is, a Blues, of course, with Nigel "Ollie" Olsson as the new drummer after Alex Napier left the band after recording with Uriah Heep 6 tracks for this album. Olsson also appears in "Dreammare", which is a heavy song with slide guitar by Hensley. Olsson didn´t last in Uriah Heep as he left to join Elton John`s Band (and he is still playing sometimes with Elton John in the present). "Real Turned On" is another song with guitars. "I`ll Keep on trying" is more Progressive with Hensley on keyboards. The best song in this album is "Wake Up", which is also the most Progressive song. It has very good arrangements. Again, Colin Wood played keyboards in this song, but I don`t know if Hensley also added some keyboards later. But the Mellotron arrangements sound like an "orchestra", very good. Box`s lead guitar in this song is also very good: a slow guitar solo played with the Mellotron as support.In all the songs the late David Byron sang very good, with a lot of feeling and energy, and also doing sound variations with his voice. He was a very good singer.

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#31245) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, October 16, 2004

Review by Muzikman
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Even though this was Uriah Heep in their embryonic stage, they were light years ahead of their peers. ...Very 'Eavy...Very 'Umble was their very first album released back in 1970, when metal giants such as Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath were pounding their way into our consciousness, or making us unconscious, as many adults would be complaining about on a regular basis. This is one group that wasn't the critics' darlings. They had as much to do with the formation of metal and progressive rock as any of the groups that were on more favorable terms with the press.

In 2001 Sanctuary Records, with the cooperation of Castle Music UK, remastered and released several of the albums from the UH catalog. For a freshman release this album stands firm as an original rock classic to this day. It was a strong showing for the group. The rocker "Gypsy" kick starts the proceedings as Ken Hensley's swirling and driving organ sets the pace. Hensley was originally a guitar player and he plays some slide on this cut. He also provides the insightful liner notes (that are written so small one needs a magnifying glass to read them).

David Bryon (vocals) and Mick Box (guitar), Paul Newton (bass), and Ollie Olsson (drums) are the rest of the impressive performers in a lineup that was destined to change. Box's guitar was always right out front wailing away to compliment Hensley's powerful and sweeping organ playing. Box was no doubt one of the premier lead guitar players of the day, and he would carry the torch for many years to come. "Dreammare" is an extraordinary prog-rocker that serves as a wake up call that this band meant business. The fans new how great they were, although the critics foolishly gave them the brush off.

Three bonus tracks are added to this import. "Come Away Melinda," which was recently released again as a single by the present day UH. I heard it for the first time on Two Sides Of Uriah Heep: Electrically and Acoustically Driven. I thought it was a bit too fluffy, but this version I enjoyed much more, there are no strings added and it has more depth and feeling. "Gypsy," the single version, and a rarity called "Born In A Trunk" round out the added bonus tracks. The original artwork is intact, with the album inner sleeve replicated as well; hence the two sides of the LP are listed without the bonus tracks. The sound is fantastic on this CD; it doesn't get much better than this.

Its time to get 'umble and check out this critical piece of progressive-metal history. Yes, this is very very 'eavy.

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Send comments to Muzikman (BETA) | Report this review (#31248) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, January 24, 2005

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This 'umble debut album by the heepsters has it great moments, but all songs of it aren't very great I must admit. I guess this album could please more fans of old classic rock than prog fans. But all fans of the mellotron should give a listen for the cover version "Come Away Melinda" here! "Gypsy" is also a wonderful old hard rock anthem, only the crazy ending in the vein of the ending of "21st Century Schizoid" man is annoying. "Walking in Your Shadow" is an average bluesy rocker in a style of LED ZEPPELIN. "Lucy Blues" has some acoustic piano and other stuff, not very good to be honest. "Dreammare" has tasty artistic intro, and the song has slight fantasy themes, giving maybe a hint of the themes emerging in their future recordings. "Real Turned On" is another hard blues rock song. While listening at this album I had an association with the two first albums of RUSH, maybe it's the guitar sound or something? "I'll Keep On Trying" has some weird instrumental passages, and it's good that they keep on trying, as there it comes after all! The last song "Wake Up" has some very nice jazz influences on it too. I think it was good to do some re-listening of this album, at least it's a classic, first album by this phenomenal group!

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#31249) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, April 03, 2005

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I was only seventeen I fell in love with a gypsy queen. She told me "Hold On!"

Uuugh .. aargh . Heaven knows! Who on earth in the glory days of seventies has never heard that opening lyrical part of "Gypsy" that became a true rocking yell at the time? If any, they should switch the time tunnel going back to the seventies and purchased the LP of this album. Yeah, it's better because this song from a debut album of Uriah Heep whom just transformed themselves from Spice really took the rock industry by the storm, if I may say it. You bet, it was not as so popular as Deep Purple's "Child In Time" but it was so phenomenal for rock freaks at that time. As for my case I only knew this song when the band released the Live 73 album. In fact this song was the best out of all tracks featured in the double-LP set and I always kept repeating it when I played it. The studio version is of course different with the live one but it still get the energy and enthusiasm required by rock music even though there is no improvised organ work and drum solo. The song opens with a rough-edge keyboard/ organ work combined later with distorted guitar work unique to Mick Box and Olsson's dynamic drumming. It then follows with a very nice riffs (memorable too) which brings the first lyrical part. Yeah man . so rocking and I like it very much! Ken Hensley provides a distinctive distorted organ solo which later characterized Heep sound.

The following track "Walking In Your Shadows" (4:31) is a song with a simple riffs and good melody. The riffs are typical for any band that nowadays we call it as classic rock. "Come Away Melinda" by Hellerman/ Minkof was once a top radio hit in my country and became the trademark of the band whenever we hear this song or "July Morning". I remember vividly how once my friend compared this song with King Crimson's "I Talk To The Wind" or "Epitaph". It's a well composed song in mellow style with sweet vocal- a feature for the softer side of David's voice. The song tells basically a conversation between a father and his young daughter whose mother has died in the war.

"Lucy Blues" (5:09) as the title implies is a blues based song composition. It's unsusual that Heep has ever written this song. But remember that this was a debut album where typically any band would not firm yet with their music format. At that time it's hard to find any band that did not venture their music into blues because it also happened with Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin. It's good to now that Heep has ever created this blues song which is very enjoyable even though it did not turn out to be the hit of Heep then. Hensley plays differently with his organ during interlude.

"Dreammare" (4:39) was written by Paul Newton (bass) which the title combines drem and nightmare. It has soft organ solo at the opening followed with driving rhythm which brings the song into ballad rock with distorted and hard-edge guitar solo. "Real Turned On" (3:37) is a good track with rock 'n' blues style and great distorted guitar sounds. During interlude part there are two guitars used - one presumably be played by Ken Hensley.

"I'll Keep On trying" (5:24) is a song I never pay attention until I watched the Magician's Birthday Party DVD in which this song was performed excellently. Characterized mainly by Hensley's Hammond organ and wonderful choirs "aaa . aaa .aaa ..aaa" which characterizes Heep sound, this song flows excellently from start to end. This song also features stunning combination of hard-edge guitar solo and Hammond solo with powerful voice of David Byron. It's a beautifully composed song.

"Wake Up (Set Your Sights)" (6:22) is different from other songs of Heep as it blends the components of jazz music into its composition. It reminds me to the music of Collosseum. The structure and composition can be considered as prog music as it combines jazz rock upbeat music with silent and explorative segments in the middle of the track. It's truly an excellent track.

Of course this album deserves a full five star rating as a masterpiece of rock. I would recommend you to have the CD. Keep on proggin' ...!

This review is dedicated to my friends in m-claro mailing list who will rock Jakarta Tennis Indoor Stadium on 12 February and Surabaya Shangrila Ballroom on 14 February for URIAH HEEP World Tour 2006. ROCK ON!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#68765) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Review by Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is an album I bought when I started collecting records, but neglected for many years ; now I've decided to give the album a whirl once more and I'm pleasantly surprised, this is a great album, especially within the heavy-prog sub-genre. Opening Track 'Gypsy' is BRILLIANT - it reminds me of Atomic Rooster - I have listened to at least 10 Uriah Heep LP's and none of them have the same quality as this debut release - the Hammond organ playing really hits a special spot that only certain bands can achieve, and the only 'standard' compositions of the album are : 'Dreammare' and 'Real Turned On'..... but the rest is really enjoyable - 'Gypsy' features a sensational Hammond Organ solo that would make Vincent Crane or Jon Lord blush, and is a manic blow-out, Organist Ken Hensley is totally wild - I wish that Hensley and crew would've continued in this, more 'underground' orientation - maybe they would be worse-off financially, but more satisfying.. 'Lucy Blues' is a slow-paced Blues tune (obviously) with tasteful Hammond, 'Walking in your Shadow' is a groovy, straight forward track, but quite enjoyable. 'Come Away Melinda', with its lovely Mellotron arrangement and guest keyboarder, Colin Wood playing Harmonium, is a softer, ballad-styled track that is very pleasant - singer David Byron actually has a GREAT VOICE - shame that hard drugs deprived us of such talent - this is a truly sensational album - disappointing that subsequent albums never struck a chord in me.

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Send comments to Tom Ozric (BETA) | Report this review (#102220) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, December 08, 2006

Review by ozzy_tom
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Uriah Heep - "Very 'Eavy ... Very 'Umble" - 4 Stars

This debut album of Uriah Heep usually isn't presented as a perfect example of their best work but it consists one of my favorite song (not only Uriah Heep's but in general) - "Gypsy". In fact after this first impression we can notice that all album presents really solid music work. This is even my number 3 of this band (after "Look at Yourself" and "Salisbury"). So let me describe these songs step by step:

1. "Gyspy" - as I said before this is a real "opus magnum" of this album (maybe that's why it should be in the end of this record, but never mind.). It starts with magnificent and really fast intro and after this we can listen monotonous, almost pure hard rock organ-guitar riff and pompous, dramatic Byron's voice. After a while starts the strongest, wildest and most cacophonic Hammond organ solo I've ever heard (.and the best of course J I don't know how Hensley could imagine such a thing 'cause he was just after second The God's album where hadn't shown anything similar to this passionate organ playin'! To sum up: even Emerson wasn't so brave to did such a thing in his high days!

2. "Walking in your shadow" - after the previous song it can be a little surprise 'cause we don't have any organ here.but double guitars attack (Box + Hensley). But after all, this is really good song, closer to typical hard rock than prog-rock with this catchy, memorable riff.

3. "Come away Melinda" - (I've heard that this is a cover but I don't know the real version) Some people can say that this song doesn't fit the whole album (and this band in general) but I really like this soft, melodic and dreamy ballad. Acoustic guitar and mellotron waves are beautiful here. And delicate Byron's vocals, too. Pure melancholy.

4. "Lucy Blues" - this is second song which is usually said to be "out of place". But again I can't agree with this opinion 'cause it's really good example of bluesy & jazzy rock piano-driven song a la Led Zeppelin with fine organ and guitar solos. I think that it's a good situation when some band doesn't play only "typical" for them songs. Am I right?

5. "Dreammare" - it's much more typical Uriah Heep's rocker with all of these "la.la.la.la" and so on. And that's why I like it J. Pay attention to this Hammond organ intro!

6. "Real turned on" - this is another song without keyboards on this album (along with "Walking in your shadow"). But again guitars attack with really catchy riffs makes this song worth listening.

7. "I'll keep on trying" - another Uriah Heep's classic composition. It includes crazy guitar-organ intro and similar outro, fascinating guitar solo and even some peaceful part which makes this song more "magical". I can notice only one "weak point" of this song: lack of real Hammond solo, but in fact Ken Hensley joined the group during recording session so we can't be disappointed according his work on this album. He showed his full glory and exerted bigger influence in Uriah Heep's music in their next albums in fact.

8. "Wake up (set your sights)" - this is the most progressive composition on "Very 'Eavy.Very 'Umble" after "Gypsy". We have quiet organ waves, good Box's guitar playing and pathetic Byron's vocals here. After 3 minutes music suddenly changes to very atmospheric, mellotron-loaded part. In fact this is the track which can be the easiest called "an epic".

9. "Born in a trunk" (bonus track) - in fact I'm not surprised that this track didn't appear on the main album. It's a simple rocker, without any keyboards. Guitar playin' is sometimes annoying for me here and it isn't interesting song for me at all.

To sum up: this album maybe isn't a spectacular progressive gem full of long epics and never-ending, breathtaking solos but without doubt it's worth checking example of solid album made by band which showed his full power in next records. Besides it includes uncanny "Gypsy" which makes "Very 'Eavy.Very 'Umble" worth listening even if you won't take a liking to the rest album.

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Send comments to ozzy_tom (BETA) | Report this review (#114105) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, March 03, 2007

Review by febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
4 stars A STRONG START!

Surprised to see URIAH HEEP in the art-rock section on PA, but why not!! They were a hell of a hard rocking band of the era in par with DEEP PURPLE, BLACK SABBATH and other LED ZEP. VERY HEAVY, VERY HUMBLE was their first album coming out in 1970 at the same time than DEEP PURPLE IN ROCK. I don't know if the members of the band were very humble, but believe me they were very heavy for their time. For the young ones here listening to death metal or prog metal, it might sound very ''light'', but back then in 1970 this album sounded very ''hard'' and it is still one of their most rocking one, at least from the golden era.

The main ingredients that will define the definitive URIAH HEEP sound are already here: -The hammond organ of KEN HENSLEY -The ''wah-wah'' guitar of MICK BOX -And the fantastic, sometimes operatic voice of the late DAVID BYRON. -Not to forget as all of the players can sing, what will be a great UH trademark, strong vocal harmonies.

The album starts with one of their most enduring anthem that is still played today to their faithfull fans: the anthemic GIPSY; believe me, that was very hard for the time, especially the -very- wild organ solo in the middle.There is no UH compilation that don't include this straight to your face song. A must have.

The rest of the album include a lot of hard rocKing tunes, most of them still very fresh and quite good, like ''walkin in your shadow'', ''real turned on'' or ''dreammare'' . There is also a wonderful ballad with magnificent vocals of DAVID BYRON: ''COME AWAY MELINDA'' that reminds me a lot other ballads like, yes....''I talk to the wind'' from you know who with flute, mellotron and all this athmosphere; just plain beautiful.

The best 2 tracks are the last 2: the rocking ''i'll keep on trying'' already showcasing perfectly the URIAH HEEP sound with again DAVID BYRON on top of his game, a great MICK BOX and all those operatic vocal harmonies that will define U.HEEP The last one ''wake up (set your sights)'' is the most adventurous track of the album, the most prog also with a lot of jazzy touches. Once again, we have here a DAVID BYRON festival and URIAH HEEP shows us that they can do other things than plain hard rock, adding a lot of prog subtetlies to their music. This track is an absolute masterpiece and you never get tired of listening to it.

This is not a 5 stars album, but almost: the only downer is ''LUCY BLUES''; not that it's bad, no, no' just it doesn't bring anything to the plate. British bands at this time were still coming out of the ''British blues'' sound that was still popular at the time and it was custom at the time to do a blues number to be ''in''

2 more extra points: -KEN HENSLEY is not credited on any songwriting for this album; things will change rapidly. -the sound of this album is absolutely fantastic, especially for a 1970 album

A journalist from ROLLING STONE magazine at the time wrote that he would commit suicide if URIAH HEEP made it big somehow. They did: no word if the journalist kept his word!

A great 4 stars album: still one from them i am still listening to often; always a pleasure 4 stars

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Send comments to febus (BETA) | Report this review (#130524) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, July 28, 2007

Review by TGM: Orb
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Review Thingummy, Very 'Eavy, Very 'Umble, Uriah Heep, 1967 StarStarStar In their debut album, Heep show off their mindblowingly-utterly-amazingly-super-amazing singer, David Byron, great organ and guitar parts, and the embrionic status of the heavy progressive rock that they'll move onto by 1971's Look At Yourself album. It is the case, however, that this album would probably have benefited from a bit of touring prior to the album's release to iron out some of the kinks in the music. Occasionally immaturity and weak lyrics drag some of the songs down, and they are rather riff-based at this point, which sometimes turns out badly. The biggest problem of this album, however, is that it is dominated by the truly masterful hard rock song 'Gypsy', while most of the rest is pretty standard, if excellent, heavier blues. Very good fun, but non-essential if you have Gypsy already.

Gypsy is the song that makes the entire album more-than-worthwhile. Great opener, and one that's so powerful that it even makes the rest of the album look unsuccessful. I suspect I may have overplayed it. Great rhythm section, a very strong guitar duo of Ken Hensley and Mick Box, an absolutely stunning performance from David Byron, superb quiet and heavy organ sections, great riff, which doesn't dominate the song too much, and a stunning moment when everything comes together again after the organ interlude. The harmonies, which are often a bit hit and miss for me with Heep (from what I've heard so far: this album, Look At Yourself and the samples on PA), work perfectly. Lyrically, it works. All the adrenaline and passion of the song are intensified by the lyrics. A masterpiece of hard rock.

Walking In Your Shadow is somewhat a step down from this energy. Hugely based on a repetitive guitar riff, rather generic lyrics and uncertain drumming from Paul Newton. David Byron does a great job, but the harmonies, while they are something that defined Heep, just annoy me here.The short break from the riff was a damn good idea, but the execution was lacking, with more of those whiny harmonies. The instrumental break is fairly good, with a decent bit of guitar-work over the riff. The ending is a fairly lame fade. A complete shambles.

Come Away Melinda is a definite step-up, and an example of the band producing something with a lot of potential, even if I feel they went overboard. A nice acoustic side to the band, with mostly gorgeous vocals, tolerable lyrics and lush mellotron additions from Colin Wood. The drums kick in with good effect on the third verse. It is a slight shame that the attempted shift from personal to epic on the third verse is very clumsy, relying on massive harmonies, and extending the last words of each line a bit. The conclusion, however, is alright, and the song as a whole is passable.

Lucy Blues is a laid-back blues (surprise) with an odd, likable piano-and-organ-and-bass theme, with a little variety added by Mick Box's guitar. The instrumental organ section is very neatly done. The vocals are superb, and the ending is nice. The lyrics increase the feel. A very good, relaxed blues song.

Dreammare opens with nice organ fiddling. The other instruments enter quite heavily, and a long guitar chord gives way to the main riff, which is good. The harmony vocals are right on. The guitar soloing over the theme, and the weird whispering in the background, give it a lot of character and quality. A break in the vocals and riff gives way to a superb guitar solo, with occasional stabs from the others. The lyrics are pretty good, certainly above most of the album's attempts to do something lyrically a little more unconventional. The concluding part has more great soloing from Mick Box and David Byron (yes, singers can solo, but I can't exactly describe the difference from normal singing very well) over the harmony. Great song. I guess that the lalalalala partway through could annoy a few people, but not me.

Real Turned On is another heavy blues song, with a good riff, superb vocals and entertaining lyrics, an enjoyable bluesy jam, good use of the bass echoing the main theme, a strong moment for the rhythm section. The ending's chaotic guitar thing is a massive foreshadower for the later Shadows Of Grief, but feels a little out of place here, but the final conclusion, a good bass-and-drums affair, works well. Good song, but could have been polished a little more.

I'll Keep On Trying starts with a classy organ part, and has pretty good drumming. I find the harmonic aa-ah aa-ah... thing, which is repeated a couple of times, somewhat clichéd and annoying. The bass performance here is my sort of basswork, hitting high notes and bursting with energy, and there are some stellar ascending guitar moments as well as a killer riff. Again, amazing lead vocals, really managing the standard 'evil woman' theme with class and individuality. The break is a little slow and light, and only really catches on when the organ kicks in again. A particularly fine moment for the rhythm section. Flawed, but I enjoy it.

Wake Up (Set Your Sights) is a rather awkward song, really, as well as a victim of positioning (it doesn't flow very well from the last song). It is musically mediocre, and lyrically a little more intelligent than most of the other things on the album. However, the lyrics are very often cringeworthy and melodramatic, and David Byron's delivery, while the only way it could really be done, increases this. The first half of the song is rather based around the vocals and pretty repetitive and occasionally even cringeworthy. Nonetheless, the second half is great: soft, mainly instrumental, with a mellotron and gentle background vocals. Great ending.

My remaster includes a few bonus tracks, two versions of Gypsy, one version of Come Away Melinda, two versions of Born In A Trunk, one version of Wake Up..., and Bird Of Prey. Of these, one version of Gypsy is just slightly extended, Born In A Trunk is forgettable, or even irritating, depending on mood, though the instrumental version is by miles the better of the two. The BBC session version of Gypsy, however, is pure, unadulterated 'win'. Every bit as good as the original version, with its slightly more energetic guitar part and small vocal improvisation. The version of Come Away Melinda feels a little tentative, but I think that works for the song, the guitar seems to be focussed on a little more, and the harmonies are changed a little, but the differences aren't huge. The first half of Wake Up (SYS) works a bit better than the one included on the album, the second half is still good, but maybe not *as good* as the one included on the album.

Bird Of Prey is simply a great song, with another stunning vocal performance, a couple of nice sarcastic harmonies, decent lyrics that work very well in the song, an excellent guitar solo (really, ignore my comments on guitar solos, I usually like them) over a killer riff. I love it to pieces.

In the end, a lot of talent, some great playing from Mick Box, stunning vocals, but the album has a lot of times when the flaws of a song have simply not been ironed out. Worth the price if only for Gypsy, even if the rest of the album doesn't really hit the same high. Generally, good work, but often flawed.

Favourite tracks: Gypsy, Gypsy and Gypsy Rating: Three Stars.

Revision: Down to 2; other than the classic Gypsy, hard to really recommend anything off this as threatening or top-notch.

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Send comments to TGM: Orb (BETA) | Report this review (#166409) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 11, 2008

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Uriah Heep´s debut album. This CD is more a curio than anything else. There are few remarkable moments. The band had yet to find its own personality and most songs are just simple blues rock numbers that not distinguished them from hundreds of other groups at the time. Ken Hensley had arrived when most of the tracks were already recorded, he just redid the keyboards parts of Colin Wood (except on two tracks, Come Away Melissa and Wake Up, which were left as they were before Hensley joined Uriah Heep).

Highlights are the classic Gypsy with its heavy riffs and thumping rhythm, and Come Away Melissa, probably the best song, a beautiful ballad (also covered by UFO) where David Byron shows he was a gifted, sensitive and versatile singer from the very start. The backing vocals are, on the other side, very strong and unique, and this feature was a good sign of the greater things that would come very soon. Wake Up is another clue that this band could go further, with its spacey, almost jazzy, feel. But that´s pretty much all of it.

I can only recommend this album for the ones who are already familiar with the other UH albums and are curious about their very early times. Not bad at all, but for collectors and fans, definitely.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#176910) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
2 stars A very weak debut by Uriah Heep. Ken Hensley - who was to become the band leader and principal songwriter on future albums - played on this album but he didn't write any of the material. And that is probably the main explanation for the weak material on this album. This is further indicated by the fact that one of the better songs here was a cover, the beautiful ballad Come Away Melinda (who did the original version?).

There are a couple of other good songs here too though. Wake Up (Set Your Sights), clearly the best song on this album, is a progressive and somewhat jazzy piece, similar to The Park from the next album. Had everything on this album sounded as good as that song, this could have been a very good album. Sadly, it is not. The rest of the material is much more blues based and traditional without memorable melodies. Gypsy is the most overrated song by Uriah Heep.

Better things was to come from this band. The next album Salisbury is very good and much better than this one. To compare this album to Black Sabbath's self-titled debut album from the same year is simply ridiculous. Uriah Heep is and will always be a second division band, though with some good stuff in their vast discography.

Only for fans!

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#177574) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, July 21, 2008

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I was only seventeen, fell in love with the Gypsy queen....... Uriah Heep marked their debut with this classic song Gypsy. Hensley's keyboards at his best on this song,check out the live version too off their 1973 release. I am not sure about the heavy prog tag of UH, genre wise, as overall their material even at their progressive peak borders on good old rock and roll or even the lighter side of rock with the blues. Walking In Your Shadow' follows and is a great rock song with some excellent riffs from Mick Box and some solid reliable bass work. ' Come Away Melinda' is a tender song referencing war and demonstrates how good UH were even at their most naive. Great vocal work too. 'Dreammare' gets the album back on track, great harmonising with Byron again in top form. Real Turned On' gets the feet tapping again and is reminiscent of some early Wishbone Ash material. Same era I guess and not far from each other in terms of geography so some similarities between the two bands are plausible.The album finishes strongly with ' Wake Up ( Set Your Sights), beautiful guitar work kicks in after 4 minutes.

In summary this album is easy on the ear and set the foundation for the UH signature sound. Whilst not their strongest it is certainly a strong debut album from one of the longest serving Progressive acts of this era. Three and a half stars.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#179225) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, August 08, 2008

Review by The Crow
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars An average debut for this influential and seminal band...

This album has some really interesting things, like the band's typical high pitched choirs (Gypsy, I'll Keep on Trying...), some good riffs from the versatile guitarist Mick Box, and the good work of the singer David Byron. But some of the songs are far from being impressive, and this album is maybe too 60's sounding sometimes (like in Wake Up, Set Your Sights...), and far from the high levels of bands of this time like Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin, and later Uriah Heep's efforts.

Nevertheless, the contribution of this album to the creation of heavy metal is obvious... You have only to hear the riff on Gypsy and Dreammare to notice it. It was really heavy for the time this album was released... Maybe not so heavy like Black Sabbath, or Deep Puple's In Rock, but it was hard for its time. And the contribution of this band to create this new way to understand rock music is important anyway, despite the obvious influence of other bands they had in this their first album.

The worst fact I find in this disc, is the lack of strenght of some songs, like the insipid Walking in Your Shadow and the not very inspired Real Turned On... Lucy Blues is (obviously...) a blues, and it's a song easily forgettable, nothing special, like the too 60's oriented (for the mood of the rest of the album...) Wake Up (Set Your Sights). So this album is too full of fillers in my opinion... Four good songs of eight is not enough to say that an album is good. Just an average one.

Best Tracks: Gypsy (a song wich was important for this new thing called heavy metal...), Come Away Melinda (beautiful ballad, with a very sensitive Byron's interpretation...), Dreammare (good riffs for a good song, despite the repetitive chorus...) and I'll Keep On Trying (the high pitched choirs are a band's trademark...)

Conclusion: Very 'Eavy... Very 'Umble... is an album just for Uriah Heep's fans, in my opinion... Only if you are curious to hear some songs wich contributed to the birth of hard rock and heavy metal, you'll find this album insteresting. But in the beginning of the 70's, it was a lot of better albums that this weak debut... And of course, there is almost not prog to be found here.

My rating: **1/2

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Send comments to The Crow (BETA) | Report this review (#180868) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Review by poslednijat_colobar
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars With the debut album by Uriah Heep - Very 'eavy...Very 'umble - everything for the band begins. Their typical style is established from that early point of band's career. This album shows the potential of the band. Very 'eavy...Very 'umble contains interesting mixture of sounds like hard rock, progressive rock and some art rock. It also contains some 50s and 60s typical non rock moments, I can't describe what are! It is also under a big influence of blues rock, which is not characteristic of the band. The album includes one of the most memorable songs by Uriah Heep - Gipsy and some other classics like Walking in Your Shadow and Come Away Melinda. Very good debut!

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Send comments to poslednijat_colobar (BETA) | Report this review (#189932) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Review by The Quiet One
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Very 'Heavy....Very 'Bluesy

Uriah Heep's debut album is like most heavy rock bands debut albums; features the blues-roots, some pretty solid heavy riffage, raw production, pretty amateur compositions, over-engaging vocals, and not a defined sound. Yes, that's how Very 'eavy Very 'umble sounds like.

The line-up would get better with time, still the musicians in here know how to make some productive engaging rock, pretty noticeable with the classic hammond-organ intro Gypsy delivers. Obviously features lots of flaws, mainly the endless and un-attractive organ solo in the middle, still it manages to make some few kicks every now and then. Mind you that Gyspy, I'll Keep on Trying and Dreammare are the foundations which Uriah Heep will grow from; the heavy organ/guitar riffs, wah-wah guitar solos, powerful, and sometimes even screeching, vocals/harmonies, and a reliable rhythm section, this is all what will make Uriah Heep a renowned heavy rock band in the following years.

However like I said at the beginning, on most debut albums the band is not sure what direction to go, so don't expect 100% guitar riffs that'll blow your ears off or vocals that will make you cringe. As for the blues-roots I stated, Lucy Blues is one simple organ-lead blues song, however it always makes me raise up the volume when I'm listening to it, waiting always for the 1minute spine-chilling hammond-organ solo.

Come Away Melinda is a soft mellotron-driven song featuring some of David Byron's softest vocals. It's not challenging at all, and no, it doesn't sound at all like the Uriah Heep we all know, yet it's a pretty moving song.

Walking in your Shadow and Real Turned On are cooled-down hard rock tunes, not much from the organ to be found, yet from the guitar you can expect some nice riffs and solos, in which the later of the two features Kevin Hensley on slide-guitar!

Finally the last song Wake Up (set your sight) seems like something by MK 1 Deep Purple did, soft, moving, yet pretty elaborated for a debut album.

My conclusion would be that it's far from being a ground-breaking debut album as Black Sabbath's or Ian Gillan's debut with Deep Purple, yet it is clearly trying to be in that style, however it would be a matter of time until they totally developed that style in albums like Look at Yourself and Demons & Wizards. Still, another solid half-heavy rock debut album worth checking out for knowing the beginning of Heavy Metal, Heavy Prog and well Uriah Heep of course.

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Send comments to The Quiet One (BETA) | Report this review (#239081) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, September 13, 2009

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Debut album of Uriah Heep has plenty of different reviews. Interesting, that yhis in fact quite simple album has as many negative opinions, as positive.

To be honest ,it's not easy for me to understand, why many people don't like it. I think it's very strong debut with some songs which are band visit card till now.

OK, band's sound is too straight and too heavy in moments, with heavyweight Hammond domination. If you don't like Hammond sound, you will never accept this album. I like it, and think there is one of good example of Hammond leaded hard rock of that tiime ( another one is sound of Jon Lord's early Deep Purple).

Songs are very melodic, with high energy, multi layers of vocal. I have 2003 Castle CD version with perfectly mixed clear sound ( and plenty of bonuses as well). Ok, I think many listeners just don't like a bit simplistic musical technique there. I 'm agree, but the music is very good and without simplicities.

"Gypsy "is absolute masterpiece for years, "Come Away Melinda "ballade - as well. Some songs are bluesy, you can feel strong roots of early hard rock ( a-la Led Zeppelin). Alternative version of "Wake Up (Set Your Sights)"has interesting jazzy arrangements. Vocal is open and strong in all songs.

I think this album is interesting not only for UH fans and collectors, but for wide circle of listeners, starting from melodic hard rock fans. Only prog purists will be disappointed with simplistic neavy bluesy rock sound.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#241323) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, September 25, 2009

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Very 'eavy...Very 'umble" is the debut full-length studio album by UK hard rock act Uriah Heep. The album was released in 1970 by Vertigo in the UK and by Mercury in the US. The latter version features an different cover artwork to the UK version. Uriah Heep are usually considered one of the great hard rock acts of the seventies and with this debut album it´s pretty obvious why.

The music is blues influenced hard rock. The biggest influences on the band´s sound are without a doubt Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Take the former´s bluesy hard rocking guitars and the latters omnipresent organ and you´re just about there. Songs like "Gypsy" and my favorite "Real Turned On" rocks IMO, but there are nice variation between the tracks and the ballad "Come Away Melinda" with added mellotron (at least that´s what it sounds like to me) and the ending track "Wake Up (Set Your Sights)" points in a slightly progressive direction. Don´t mistake "Very 'eavy...Very 'umble" for a progressive rock album though. Expect hard rocking music on most of the tracks. The tracks are generally guitar driven but the distorted organ takes a prominant role in the music too.

The band are very well playing and I especially enjoy the distinct vocals by David Byron. He is such a powerful and skilled vocalist who can do many different things with his voice. I love it when he sings his really high notes. Artists like Rob Halford and King Diamond have surely listened to and learned from David Byron.

The production is good but not perfect.

"Very 'eavy...Very 'umble" is a good but slightly inconsistent debut album by Uriah Heep and 3 - 3.5 stars are deserved.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#243931) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, October 10, 2009

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars The first Uriah Heep album is a most charming hard rock album. Some of the songs go in strange directions but most of them feature all Heep elements that would make them popular among both hard rock and prog fans.

In a way, all continuing albums can be seen as attempts to perfect the sound the achieved here. A bluesy Hammond organ soaked hard-rock fest with churning wa-wa guitars and those typical vocal harmonies. The opener Gypsy has it all and is one of my favourite Heep tracks. With it's almost 7 minute length it has a perfect balance between tight rocking and ample room for solos.

Walking In Your Shadow is the next blues rocker and one of their classics for me. The sound is a bit thin but the 1996 remaster has blown some fresh air into it. Come Away Melinda is a beautiful romantic ballad, simple but effective, all it takes is good melodies and a bit of mellotron. It gets a bit operatic as it goes along but in the most charming way possible.

Lucy Blues would be the first track I regularly skip. It's not bad but just standard blues, missing the Led Zeppelin testosterone needed to make it interesting for a rocker like me. Dreammare is another favourite, lalalala's all over the place and simply irresistible.

On Real Turned On the Blackmore influence in the riffing is very obvious. Mike Box adds his own wa-wa feel to it. Nice bluesy rocker again. I'll Keep On Trying is probably one of the more symphonic tracks here, it still has a strong basis in blues but some classical influences and the looser song structure are clear indications of an ambition beyond their core hard rock business. Wake Up is the second track that I tend to skip. It's quite fun but it has some tendencies towards melodrama that are fun once in a while but that would lead to a thing called Queen which is not really my taste.

The reissue adds one more track of interest. Born In A Trunk is interesting as an example of their Zeppelin influences.

Uriah Heep is probably the first band who forged the style of 2 other pioneers (Deep Purple + Led Zeppelin) into their own blend. Most successfully I must say.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#254729) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, December 07, 2009

Review by seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RPI
2 stars According to comments by guitarist Mick Box on the re-mastered edition's sleeve notes, the band went into the studio to record their debut as the four-piece Spice but came out again as the five-piece Uriah Heep. Multi-instrumentalist Ken Hensley had been a late addition to the band, initially recruited in order to add Hammond organ to the group's sound. Unfortunately he is conspicuous by his absence from the album's song writing credits. In my opinion this is the main flaw with Very 'Eavy as the songs lack craft and the lyrics are cliché-ridden. This situation was thankfully resolved on subsequent albums. The follow-up Salisbury saw Hensley involved in the composition of all but one track, while he had a hand in the writing of every song on the third album Look At Yourself.

Released in 1970, the same year as Black Sabbath's debut, Deep Purple In Rock and Led Zeppelin III, the first Heep album had some serious competition. It lacks the menace, variety and subtlety of these other three artists' albums respectively. Despite these criticisms of Very 'Eavy, the album does act as a template for the sound that would be honed on future releases. Heavy but melodic songs saturated with Hammond organ, wah wah guitar, falsetto vocal harmonies and a bit of slide guitar would become features of the group's trademark sound and all these elements are present here.

Gypsy opens the album, a live favourite and the only song from the first two Heep albums to feature on the Live 1973 disc. It features psychedelic Hammond stabbing and swirling over a relentless pile driving rhythm. Add David Byron's distinctive voice along with some background 'aahs' and the album's off to a fine start. Walking In Your Shadow follows and this is just a run of the mill rocker. The next song, a cover of Come Away Melinda, is something of a surprise as it's a pensive acoustic ballad featuring Mellotron string and flute over-dubs. I believe this song was popularised by Tim Rose, a guy who had links to Scott McKenzie and members of The Mamas And The Papas. In my view this is a strange choice of song to cover, although pleasant enough. Lucy Blues is indeed a slow blues featuring some good organ and piano from Hensley, but is not one of Box/Byron's better compositions.

Dreammare, penned by bass player Paul Newton, features some of Hensley's trademark slide guitar. The song's lyrics hint at some of the fantasy-oriented themes that would be an important component of the band's classic albums. Real Turned On is another bluesy rocker that features juvenile, puerile lyrics: 'Next time you come over I'll buy you a bottle of wine, Just take a little drink and everything'll turn out fine' etc. The final two tracks, I'll Keep On Trying and Wake Up (Set Your Sights), are arguably the most progressive on the album with their changes in melody and tempo. I'll keep On Trying begins with a plaintive guitar/organ theme and vocal backing 'aahs'. It then goes through different mood and tempo shifts, from quiet and reflective to fast and propulsive with shrieking guitar. With the exception of David Byron's unmistakable voice, Wake Up (Set Your Sights) could easily have featured on Time And A Word (interestingly also released in 1970). This song comprises two sections, the first featuring a jazz groove with melodic bass and jazz-toned guitar, the second featuring a dreamy atmosphere with Mellotron to the fore.

Very 'Eavy demonstrates the potential that Uriah Heep had at the time of its original release. The album opens strongly with the classic Gypsy and closes with two interesting songs. However most of the five remaining songs are average at best, therefore I feel this album only warrants 2 stars.

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Send comments to seventhsojourn (BETA) | Report this review (#260311) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, January 11, 2010

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars I've been surprised to hear from my daughter that "Gipsy" is a cult song 40 years after its first release. She and her friends don't know much of Uriah Heep but this song still works well, probably because it's about an adolescent love ... "I was only seventeen, I fell in love with a gipsy queen"....

This album has been important for a number of bands. I think the first two albums of Eloy for example, have a debt with this one.

Gipsy is a hard-rock song full of guitar and psych organ as we can find in Deep Purple's production. The pauses of silence were tyipical of Moody Blues and the incredible voice of David Byron makes it unique. The sound is hard. Uriah Heep featured in the soundtrack of the 80s adult cartoon "Heavy Metal". Let me say that the definition of Heavy Prog is very appropriate.

"Walking In Your Shadow" has a touch of Black Sabbath in the sense that both the bands may have had the same influences as their debuts were very close.

As often happens with heavy bands, the few slow songs are very melodic and captivating. I think to Deep Purple (Child In Time), Metallica (Nothing Else Matters) and Led Zeppelin (Satirway To Heaven). For Uriah Heep it's "Come Away Melinda". I've been really surprised to read that it's a cover.

"Lucy Blues" is the unnecessary track. It's a blues, really. The great voice of David Byron makes it interesting but from a musical (and progressive) point of view it doesn't have anything particular. Just British blues-revival, leave it to John Mayall, please. (btw I really like John Mayall).

Let's get back to rock on side B. A very strong intro for "Dreammare". This is another track with a Black Sabbath flavour. The "la-la-la" choir is where they differ... the short guitar riff is Hendrixian.

"Real Turned On" is a blues-rock. This makes me think to Wishbone Ash's "Where were you tomorrow" from "Pilgrimage" (same year more or less) even if just a bit harder.

"I'll Keep on Trying" starts with a choir, then after a short "oriental" passage turns into hard rock. This time closer to Led Zeppelin. I think there are no direct relations between the bands that I'm mentioning. All of them are dynosaurus and all were influenced by the same sources. The slow melodic chorus in the middle is a great interlude. I hear some Wishbone Ash also here.

The album is closed by the most "unusual" track. "Wake Up (Set Your Sight)" is jazzy with changes in the signature and absolutely non-trivial chords. It's different from all the rest and a real highlight. The most progressive track of the album for sure.

We can consider it immature respect to albums like Salisbury or Demons and Wizards, but I'm sure that this album has been influential for a lot of bands to follow and it's where the Uriah Heep have set up their sound.

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#371734) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, January 03, 2011

Review by Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Too 'umble.

The first song from this first album might make you think that Uriah Heep have already hit their stride and will continue to make a classic album. ''Gypsy'' is one of the greatest Uriah Heep tracks cluttered with that thick, heavy Hensley organ tone that made them well- known. ''Walking In Your Shadow'' is a nice, rocking follow-up and ''Come Away Melinda'' is a poignant ballad with mellotron (?) layers. It's downhill from there.

The inclusion of the bluesier tune ''Lucy Blues'' sinks the album with a rather ''through-the- motions'' kind of song. American version apparently nix this track in favour of the better ''Birds of Prey'' in spite of Byron's annoying high pitched screams. The rest of the album just falls flat, hardly mustering any memorable tune. I can only remember ''Dreammare'' because of the stupid title, not the music.

The Uriah Heep debut is more interesting for those seeking the early traces of heavy metal and hard rock. Other than ''Come Away Melinda'' and ''Gypsy'', there's not much to tie to progressive rock here. I want to go easy on Uriah Heep because this is a debut album, but the record sounds too complacent.

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Send comments to Sinusoid (BETA) | Report this review (#394247) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, February 04, 2011

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'Very 'eavy... Very 'umble' - Uriah Heep (7/10)

Although it is foolish to say that music is improving as time goes on (some would even argue for the contrary), it is undeniable that certain styles have developed over time. In the year 1970, hard rock was still a fairly new movement, and the music world's views on 'heaviness' were vastly different than they are today. Suffice to say, UK hard rock outfit Uriah Heep's debut may not have lived up to its title if it was released nowadays, but back then, it was heavier than most rock music out there. With blistering Hammond organs and crunchy blues riffs dominating the sound, Uriah Heep's 'Very 'eavy... Very 'umble' is often thought much less highly of than the material that the band would churn out over the rest of the 70s, and while the band would see their musical vision mature from this, the debut is a great piece of classic hard rock. Especially when considered in the context of the time that the album was released, 'Very 'eavy' does its title justice.

The first track here is arguably the one that is most recognizable from the record. 'Gypsy' is an anthem for hard rock, and features many of the best riffs that the album has to offer. Here, we are introduced to Uriah's highly bluesy leanings, and the gritty interplay between the organs and guitars. Although the song stays in a similar sound of rock to what Led Zeppelin was doing at the time, there are still some progressive rock leanings, even this early on. 'Gypsy' begins as a fairly straightforward blues rocker, but in between verses and the vintage howls of singer David Byron, the band breaks into some instrumental forays that often prove the prowess of their keyboardist Ken Hensley. There's some great stuff here, and while 'Gypsy' may feel dated by today's standards, it has not lost any of its charm.

The rest of the songs here persist in a more straightforward hard rock fashion, still featuring the same style of bluesy riffs, but without as much of the instrumental flaunting. The songwriting is not particularly original, instead sounding very close to Led Zeppelin and a host of other blues rockers. 'Come Away Melinda' is a short UFO cover, but also works as a pretty respite from the typical crunch that 'Very 'eavy' offers. Soft acoustic guitars and chilled vocals are something that Uriah does surprisingly well, and its something of a disappointment that they rarely develop those sounds further on the debut, and the fact that they used a cover to show that side does not help their case either. 'Very 'eavy' earns its bread on the heavier side of the band however.

There are some tracks that feel a little too derivative and tired to say much about, such as 'Lucy Blues'; a twelve bar plod that a thousand bands had done before Uriah come into the scene. 'Very 'eavy' is not a perfect album, nor would I consider it even one of Uriah Heep's better records, but it is played incredibly well, and has plenty of vintage charm to work with.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#468841) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, June 24, 2011

Review by baz91
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Uriah Heep's debut... not quite as 'eavy as you might think!

Uriah Heep are a hard rock band who have released a plethora of albums since the beginning of the 1970s. Whilst occasionally dabbling in prog, you could hardly call them a progressive band. Their first album 'Very 'eavy... Very 'umble', released on the mainly progressive Vertigo label, shows a band still not quite sure of their sound, but getting very close on a few songs.

The opening track, Gypsy, is the star of the show. Certainly the best track on the record, Gypsy sounds the most 'Heep' out of all the songs. It has become one of the band's best known songs. Starting with a staccato riff in 10/8, it's quite a progressive song too! The lyrics are very memorable, telling a story about the narrator falling in love with a gypsy but having to battle with her father. This is a very 'eavy track indeed, with a 3 minute instrumental dominating the song. The instrumental itself is based around the same chugging chords that makes up the rest of the song, making it slightly repetitive, but nonetheless rocky. This is a strong opening track, and a perfect start for anyone who hasn't heard of the group before.

However, the rest of the album is not so brilliant. One thing I severely dislike about the Uriah Heep catalogue is the countless number of forgettable throwaway songs. This starts with the second track, Walking In Your Shadow. Very boring and repetitive, this track is pure filler.

One of my personal favourites from the record is the third track, Come Away Melinda. This is a call-and-answer song where each verse has two parts: a part for a young girl, and a part for her father. To emphasise the conversation between a girl and her father, the girl's part is sung on the left channel and the father's is on the right. The song has very simple but effective lyrics that lament a fictional war within the universe of the song. With an acoustic guitar and mellotron backing, this is one of Heep's 'umbler songs.

The next track, Lucy Blues, does what it says on the tin. This is a no-nonsense blues song with a slow tempo and a swing feel. If you like Procol Harum's first album, you may feel at home here. Apart from that, there's nothing special about this song.

Just like Gypsy, Dreammare would more accurately predict the group's musical future. This song wouldn't be out of place on albums like 'Demons and Wizards' or 'The Magician's Birthday'. The high pitched singing and the 'la-la-la' device is very 'Heep' indeed! Personally, I enjoy the heavy intro to the song more than the song itself: not a good sign.

I can't help but cringe when I hear Real Turned On. The first verse goes: 'Girl before you go now / There's one thing I wanted to do / That's get you to come back / Because I wanna make love to you.' Maybe this would work for Marvin Gaye, but played over the hard rock riff just makes it sound silly. However, the rest of the song isn't actually that disappointing. The best part is the heavy outro which lasts about 30 seconds.

I'll Keep On Trying is a slow sombre track, with just slightly more creativity than some of the worse songs on the record. Unfortunately, nothing about this song hooks me, and I leave unsatisfied.

The strangest and most progressive track on the record is the finale Wake Up (Set Your Sights). The song has a heavy beginning, but goes gooey and soft halfway through. An interesting listen, but not a good one sadly.

In a strange way, this album encapsulates all that Uriah Heep is about, the good and the bad. When this album was released, a reviewer for Rolling Stone said "If this group makes it I'll have to commit suicide." Unfortunately for him, that's exactly what Uriah Heep did! I only really enjoy two tracks on this record, Gypsy and Come Away Melinda, so I don't really recommend this to anyone other than people familiar with Uriah Heep who are early in the band's history.

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Send comments to baz91 (BETA) | Report this review (#515231) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, September 05, 2011

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
3 stars 'Eavy but not so 'Umble.

David Byron is a fantastic presence on this debut from massive Uriah Heep legends. One has to admire the sheer ferocity of the music with stabbing staccato blasts from Ken Hensley's organ and Mick Box's soaring lead guitar finesse. The rhythm machine of Paul Newton's bass and Ollie Olsson's percussion completed the sound. This is the album that unleashed the awesome power of the Heep.

It begins brilliantly with the crunching chords of Gypsy, a song I could never tire of. The way this hammers along with a blitzkrieg or grinding keyboards is a delight. Byron's vibrato compete beautifully with the distorted guitars and there is an amazing instrumental break. This is one to get hold of.

Next is Walking In Your Shadow with some heavy riffing from Box followed by acoustic beauty on Come Away Melinda. Lucy Blues is a heavy bluesy piece and Dreammare returns to the heavy prog vibe. Perhaps the proggiest moments are found on the very weird Wake Up (Set Your Sights), but this certainly is not the best that Heep could produce. That was yet to come but as a debut for a new band, this was an album full of stellar tracks and worth seeking out.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#537703) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, September 30, 2011

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
3 stars Interesting. I don't 'ave very many albums by Uriah 'eep, and 'ave only 'eard a few others, but this, their first album, seems to me to 'ave more of a connection to prog music than any of their others. From the 'eavy keyboard intro in Gypsy to the unusual time signatures in Wake Up (Set Your Sights), this album 'as more evidence of this band belonging in these 'ere archive than any of their later works.

And in between, there is some fine 'ard rockin' blues (Lucy Blues), and a lot of pieces that make me think of early Grand Funk railroad. It's actuall a pretty good album.

3.5 stars

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#557125) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Review by Prog Sothoth
COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars Uriah's first heap boasts a bleak, oddball cover and comes out swingin' with some hard rockin' power. One of the interesting things I've learned about progressive releases in 1970 is that so many of them shun the guitar in favor of distorted Hammond attacks. So when I hear the requisite keyboard assault combined with a powerful guitar, it's just what the doctor ordered to kick some seriously enormous buttocks or go out and buy some heavy machinery for the hell of it. "Gypsy" has that charm and power. Young gypsy women dancing around with those nice tans and colorful clothes are kinda cool too, so I can see where the dude is comin' from while he wails away with that vibrato. The keyboard solo itself is pretty ballsy, as if Ken were literally rolling around on those keys like a dog on a fresh sofa.

Very 'eavy in its entirety is a bit of a mixed bag, but that's sorta what makes this album so much fun at times. These guys were figuring out which direction they should head with this album. It's almost like they decided to pump out a bunch of different tunes and deduce from crowd noises which ones were keepers and the direction they should further explore. I say almost because followup Salisbury didn't exactly streamline their sound by much. The emphasis on the debut is a bit more straightforward in its approach to rock, but surprises can be found.

"Wake Up" is wacked out rock jazz that's toe-tappin' at times and bong water guzzlin' at other moments, but certainly ends this album on an adventurous if head-scratching note. "Come Away Melinda" is a sweet and somewhat trippy ballad (some UFO cover) that plops itself down right after two hard rockers, followed by Lucy Blues, one of those sluggish blues numbers that plod along and test my vigor, stamina and sometimes my coping with acid reflux.

The rockin' tracks vary in quality as well, with the opener and the groan worthy titled "Dreammare" being my favs. "Real Turned On" is kind of amusing for its 'git down mama' lyrics and boogie rock inclinations, but it's also a bit of a low point as well; not something I'll play often unless I have a case of really cheap beer I need to drink.

For some reason before I actually paid much attention to them, I used to think that Uriah Heep was a main basis for Spinal Tap. The band does take itself pretty damn seriously and went a bit further than the Zeppelins & such in branching out and exploring other vistas of sound, and the vocal delivery could be interpreted as having laid the groundwork for the term "cheesy" that would prosper into full fruition the 80s scene. Whatever. Besides, even if it is the case, Spinal Tap sucked compared to these guys (have you heard Break Like The Wind?).

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Send comments to Prog Sothoth (BETA) | Report this review (#593175) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Review by GruvanDahlman
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Caught somewhere between the past and the present, Uriah Heeps first album is somewhat of a mixed bag. There is brilliance in several pieces, like the led-heavy and supremely organ driven Gypsy to the amazing (Wake up) Set your sights with it's fine, jazzy composition. But then there are other tracks (like Lucy blues) not quite up to par. Actually that one is really boring blues.

Uriah Heep stands somewhere between Deep Purple and Black Sabbath on this one. Utterly heavy at times, truly proggy in other and always with a dominance of keyboards, especially organ. I think Uriah Heep ought to be more acknowledged than they are. True, they are not as brilliant as Sabbath, Purple or Zeppelin but they do possess their own sound and trademark. When they are brilliant they are divine. This, their first album, is quite a good way to start exploring Heep.

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Send comments to GruvanDahlman (BETA) | Report this review (#916588) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review by kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
4 stars This looks like the beginning of a new series of Uriah Heep reissues which this time sees them with extra tracks and in a slip sleeve. I think that this is the third time that I have reviewed these albums, firstly for the 1995 reissues and then for the boxed set of seven of their albums which was released as 'You Can't Keep A Good Band Down'. So what is it on here that would make the average punter go out and buy them (again)? Well, Rob Corich has been let loose on all of the material again and he has a real love for the band as well as skill in the studio so they are now sounding better than ever. The booklets are packed with information and photos as well as details about each number and there are copious extra songs. The original debut only had eight songs, and the American version dropped "Lucy Blues" and replaced it with "Bird Of Prey" (which is a different version to that on 'Salisbury') as well as changing the name of the album to plain 'Uriah Heep'. That version is included here as well as another seven bonus cuts taking album to 16, although "Gypsy" is now available three times. Also included is the most famous review in history, the one that starts with "If this group makes it I'll have to commit suicide". All of the lyrics are included and there are comments from Mick Box, Ken Hensley and Paul Newton about the album. Surely this must now be as complete a release of the album as can be imagined with the slip even showing both of the UK and US album covers. But if Rob finds more tracks then maybe this isn't the end?

Originally appeared in Feedback #72, Feb 03

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Send comments to kev rowland (BETA) | Report this review (#978676) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, June 15, 2013

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 3.5 really

...Very 'eavy...Very 'umble is the start of this legendary band. Released in 1970 this is a quite good debute an organ driven heavy prog offer with memorable pieces, good vocal parts and all the ingredients to be a decent towards great album. There are also fine balance between bluesy guitar passages, organ, some psychedelic moments appear here and there, with more progressive lements, the result is quite enjoyble for sure. Not a masterpiece or something as majestic as their next 3-4 albums, but still a great legendary almost classic little album that worth to be investigated.3.5 stars for sure. Gypsy, Come away Melinda or I'll Keep on Trying are pieces that definetly sets Uriah Heep among the front line of the genre. Not to mention that David Byron is one hell of a vocalist, among the most influencial voices in rock, with this debute he shows right from the beggining that he mean bussines with his ability in singing, really great voice

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#993659) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The legend begins.

With the release of their debut Uriah Heep had to face hard criticism and even open hostility by the then experts of rock (or such they were supposed to be). Years to come (rectius decades) would show how much wrong they were and unjust.

This is not my personal favourite album from the band but no one can deny that we're in front of two classics: the opener "Gypsy" with its inceasing Hammond organ and guitar duet, features all the elements that forged the Heep peculiar sound. "Come Away Melinda", a cover penned by Hellerman/Minkoff, with such beautiful words (really evocative) whispered by David Byron. It's not very representative of the typical style of the group and I never heard him singing this way in other UH's albums. A gem, IMO. I prefer by far the Heep's version over the UFO's one. I've never fallen in love with the other tracks of this record and I usually skip the most part of it after the predictable "Dreammare". Yes, for me the best has yet to come but one couldn't think seriously of spittin on a band like this. They immediately made it clear that they had a lot of potential that would've been fully realized in the following releases.

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Send comments to Andrea Cortese (BETA) | Report this review (#1218910) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, July 21, 2014

Latest members reviews

3 stars This is a Deep Purple-like hard rock/ heavy metal. At the first time listening to this album I thought "nah, I refuse", but I actually like it. But I'll tell you, withouth the organ/mellotron/keys this album would be terrible ugly. It's not a valuable album at my collection. But it's funny. S ... (read more)

Report this review (#968398) | Posted by VOTOMS | Saturday, June 01, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Very 'Eavy, Very 'Umble was the fine debut by Uriah Heep that got slaughtered by critics at the time. I love the variety on this album. Some find it mostly rooted in blues rock but there are many subtle hints of various influences, proving they were a proficient outfit with some craft and imagin ... (read more)

Report this review (#606417) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Monday, January 09, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "...Very 'eavy ... Very 'umble" is the bebut album of Uriah Heep one of the best Heavy Prog/ Hard Rock/ Heavy Metal band in the universe! Now this album is an Hard Rock album with Heavy Metal tendencies or, in some moments, a good full Heavy Metal album. At the same time "...Very 'eavy ...Very ... (read more)

Report this review (#383454) | Posted by 1967/ 1976 | Thursday, January 20, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Some fairly good moments on the bands first album. I will admit that this first one is much more on the heavy metal side of prog, but there are still some prog elements. The musicianship is excellent throughout, and some of the lyrics are fascinating, though not as good as later albums. Ham ... (read more)

Report this review (#253297) | Posted by Rushlover13 | Saturday, November 28, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "Uriah Heep" began his discography with a first album entirely successful. "Gypsy" starts strong, and annocne the group as the monster of heavy rock, but also of Progressive Rock. "Come Away Melinda" is full of gentle, slow very progressive, very beautiful. "Bird of Gray" is a stunning way! impre ... (read more)

Report this review (#235517) | Posted by Discographia | Friday, August 28, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Brilliant first album from Heep... Starting of with ''Gypsy'' one of the greatest songs in rock history with fantastic lyrics. This first song shows that this is not just another band, it shows that this is the band that will go to history as one of the strongest and most influential bands in his ... (read more)

Report this review (#235508) | Posted by Floyd_child | Friday, August 28, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Very rocking, very rumble. And the race is on, with Gypsy coming out of the gate as a metal stomp with those powerful vocals setting Heep apart from hard rock contemporaries. Yeah, this is hard rock, yeah the lyrics suck, and yeah Gypsy goes on for too long with the boring repeated riff halfway ... (read more)

Report this review (#213772) | Posted by Alitare | Monday, May 04, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Uriah Heep kick their career off with this hard rock/heavy metal album with strong progressive influences.It's a great debut album.Most of the songs tell us what can these promising guys make on their upcoming albums. As first impression we can notice that all album presents us solid art."Gyspy ( ... (read more)

Report this review (#137763) | Posted by Prowler84 | Tuesday, September 11, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I used to be fond of Uriah Heep more than two decades back. Impressed by Salisbury, Demons and Wizard, A Magician's Birthday and the likes, I came across Very 'eavy Very 'umble at a stage when I was already accustomed to the sound of Uriah Heep. Heep has been simple and malodious -- far from bein ... (read more)

Report this review (#83982) | Posted by Sharier | Monday, July 17, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I don't believe the reviews here, at the time this album was released it was a breath of fresh air, totally different from what was available at the time, i was born in 1950 and this album was entirely different from what we were used to at the time, varied AND the use of the organ made it one of ... (read more)

Report this review (#69375) | Posted by | Tuesday, February 14, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Not bad this Hard prog, melodic and dark, with some points of gothic reminescences...I prefer the following albums: Salisbury and Demons and Wizards. Not bad "Gipsy queen", but I prefer "lady in black" (that is in Salisbury). The obscure light of the album creates the essential atmosphere able to ca ... (read more)

Report this review (#65502) | Posted by Kord | Thursday, January 19, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Debut album from 1970. Contains 'Gypsy' as a classic song, often mentioned in top-100 rock songs. Contains also unknown but better songs like 'Come away Melinda' and 'Dream Mare' . As always with Uriah Heep, they are very varied. As this was their debut one cannot only live on 3 good numbers. ... (read more)

Report this review (#60189) | Posted by Hermanes | Monday, December 12, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Uriah Heep became 'ery good... 'ery fast. And though not really a progressive album, all features that warant their inclusion on progarchives are present. The great guitar licks from Mick Box, heavy organ/keyboard playing from Ken Hensley, and David Byron has one of the finest voices in Rock h ... (read more)

Report this review (#39749) | Posted by tuxon | Monday, July 18, 2005 | Review Permanlink

2 stars In my reviews of the Uriah Heep albums "Sweet Freedom" and "High and Mighty" I wrote that they shared the position of being the worst (and when it's Uriah Heep we're talking about that is least good rather than worst really) Uriah Heep album of the 70's. I must however change that because the ... (read more)

Report this review (#39342) | Posted by | Wednesday, July 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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