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Uriah Heep - "…Very \'Eavy …Very \'Umble, 1970 (re-release)"
Sanctuary Records 2003

This is where the story started. Late spring of 1970 saw another new band full of excitement and working enthusiasm to appear on a rock scene. This story about how they were treated by critics is well known. I have in mind music journalists who got upset when brave five youngsters chose the word "heavy" as a part of their debut album's title. To compare Uriah Heep with heaviness of Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple is from my point of view extremely ridiculous thing to do. First of all, Uriah Heep were unique (or very heavy) in their own way as the purest tear in the eye. This band was just another media that came into our lives, just another precious jewel, or let me put it this way, they were another sincere inventors who searched for new musical horizons yet to be discovered.

Gypsy strikes as hell. Heavy power duet between Hammond organ and guitar riffs, expressive Byron's vocals, greatly covered with touching back vocal lines, middle section's grand Hammond exploring adventure, and for those days very modern psychedelic fade out that closes this track. With Gypsy that tends to be progressive song the band showed right at the start what they were up to. Eight songs are as a compositions by it's variety clearly separated units. Gypsy's follower on album Walking In Your Shadow is build again on a strong and expressive main riff but captures completely different feel with band putting things on a bit easier way. I'll Keep On Trying is Gypsy's equalizer, full of unpredictable turnovers, with phenomenal involvement of Mick's guitar solo laid down in the middle part. Progressive "experiment" called Wake Up (Set Your Sights) full of diverse drum bridges and rhythm changes that pierces through the song mystically ends the record with David's vocal (surrounded by nice touch of orchestral arrangements) once again in the centerspot.

Band's cover of Come Away Melinda (orig. perf. by Tim Rose), will surely convince you that this band couldn't find more appropriate singer as David Byron was. A manifestation of his softer side of singing will tell you everything. David's sincerity, accompanied with Mick's strong acoustical background layer and great orchestral arrangements (flute's opening theme etc...), captures unrepeatable contrast of dialogue between daughter and her father. Verses are cleverly divided on left and right monitor and that all together builds phenomenal atmosphere throughout the song. You'll find David simply getting into mood, his great flexibility of adapting color of the vocal and therefore a great capability of bringing the emotions really alive on his very own and remarkable way. Lucy Blues calls the attention on bands roots forged in blues thing which popularity was slowly drifting away on the outburst of seventies. Dreammare offers fantastic feel of what became in future band's own recognizable trademark. A five part vocal harmonies achieve excellent climax via unforgettable chemistry of Byron's era, that works highly convincible all the way. Just listen to Dreammare's version taken from BBC Sessions, how powerfull this band was alive in studio by providing strong rhythm beat, ornamented with Mick's little specials on guitar all over and offering fantastic magic of those vocal harmonies in chorus.

Uriah Heep, bringers of revelation have set new musical standards right from the start, in their " very heavy, very humble" own way. This band challenged and changed the rock scene somehow forever by drawing a clear new pathways for the next generations of the bands that followed their footsteps.

Author:   Aleš

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