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Uriah Heep - Very 'Eavy...Very 'Umble CD (album) cover

VERY 'EAVY...VERY 'UMBLE

Uriah Heep

 

Heavy Prog

3.37 | 455 ratings

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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.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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