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NAZARETHReissues (Snapper) (2005)

By 1975 Nazareth’s popularity was waning in their native UK, but Hair Of The Dog (Snapper SDPCD183) is the album that really cemented mega sales in the rest of the world. The opening title track is a classic and still a live staple.

The band mixed hard rock with blues and rock’n’roll, with rough as sandpaper vocals, and did a finer job on a ballad than anyone; you only have to look at the millions their cover of Love Hurts sold, producing the template of the song everyone now refers to.

Check the cover of Lofgren’s Beggar’s Day and the lengthy Please Don’t Judas Me for some quality Scottish material. ***** (55:03)

Jump to 1977 and, in the face of punk, you have one of the greatest and overlooked rock albums of the era, Expect No Mercy (Snapper SDPCD182_. The first album ever to feature Frank Frazetta artwork, it’s another lavish package.

The album itself features a mix of hard, fast, rough, balls-to-the-wall rockers, especially in the classic title track, and more melodic Gone Dead Train. Shot Me Down is more of a ballad, McCafferty’s gravely vocals able to hold the tune perfectly.

The single Place In Your Heart fits in perfectly, and like the album, it should have been a bigger hit; the acoustic strumming not sounding out of place.

Nazareth always had a blues influence, as shown on the B-side Greens, albeit with a very heavy edge. Desolation Road is a little funkier, the drums and bass holding the song well allowing Manny Charlton to produce some fine guitar work. **** (41:09)

Both albums come in well illustrated and annotated digipaks, with plenty of extra tracks, and none of the fake mixes that have plagued earlier reissues. If not already part of your collection, then both are pretty essential.

Review by Joe Geesin

Related>> Album reissues

Related>> Album review

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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