Sunday, September 4, 2011

Very 'eavy... Very 'umble/He Wrote "Chatterbox" All By Himself/The New York Dolls Are the Most Overrated, Dreadful Band I've Ever Heard

The critical reappraisal. So I guess we can all have a laugh that in 1974, Dave Byron of Uriah Heep warranted the cover of Circus instead of the New York Dolls. Other than inspiring Spinal Tap, is Uriah Heep still credited along with Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin as being a source of "very 'heavy" music? When I fist moved to NZ, I found a dusty, Vertigo swirl copy of "Very 'eavy... Very 'umble" at a demo yard in Henderson (along with a VG+ copy of "Burning Up Years" for you record nerds - probably sourced by the yard from some bikers). Snatched both up for under $10 NZD. As you do. At least Gary Thain made it back to NZ and Western Springs with the Heep before the end . . .

I have ridiculed Circus in the past but I seem to find that there was some great coverage of underground favorites. Reproduced below from the barn is a nice feature on the Dolls promoting the second lp. Also included is Janis Schacht's harsh review of "Too Much, Too Soon" from the same issue. As Richard Hell has stated, the New York Dolls were the first pure rock and roll band. Lest we forget as noted in the article that Johnny wrote "Chatterbox" all by himself, is a performance from Gruen's brilliant "All Dolled Up" as the lead in. Is Bob Gruen the only one affiliated with punk other than Bangs to be able to wear a 'stache amongst the punks without derision? Back to Uriah Heep. The famous 1970 Uriah Heep review by UCLA Bruin and Metal Mike pal, Melissa Mills. From the October 1, 1970 Rolling Stone, take it Melissa:
If this group makes it I'll have to commit suicide. From the first note you know you don't want to hear any more. Uriah is watered down, tenth-rate Jethro Tull, only even more boring and inane. UH is composed of five members: vocals, organ, guitar, bass, and drums. They fail to create a distinctive sound tonally; the other factor in their uninteresting style is that everything they play is based on repetitive chord riffs.

According to the enclosed promo information, Uriah Heep spent the past year in the studio, rehearsing and writing songs. No doubt their lack of performing experience contributed to the quality of the record; if they had played live in clubs they would have been thrown off the stage and we'd have been saved the waste of time, money, and vinyl. (RS 67)


On a related note, possibly my favorite proto-punk/glam French combo, the Frenchies, whose lp "Lola Cola" is an all time fave, here on the live slow burn, though not as high energy as the Dolls. Contemporaries with the Dolls, Imperial Dogs, Streak, Daddy Maxfield, Zolar-X, Hollywood Brats and Clap, the Frenchies live:

And lastly, here we have Uriah Heep live at Budakon, 1973, doing their Sha Na Na thing:

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