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NAZARETH Singles A's & B's 1972 – 1990
Repertoire REP5045 (2005)

This 4 CD box set is the latest of many Nazareth compilations, and actually the second recent singles box. Sadly it's the weaker of the two, because although it is well produced and covers more music, it tries to cover too much and therefore makes several glaring omissions.

Nazareth proved that Scotland rocked, and rocked damn hard too. From their first single in 1971 to the present day (yes Nazareth are still going strong, as recent tours and DVD prove), they've produced some bloody good rock music, influenced many (look at G'n'R for starters) and recorded some groundbreaking cover versions; look at both their hit “Love Hurts”, one of some 40 versions and probably the definitive version. There's also Joni Mitchell's “This Flight Tonight”, a version she was so impressed with she later referred to it as a Nazareth song.

But there's not just covers; the self penned (and Roger Glover produced) “Bad Bad Boy” saw Nazareth play Top Of The Pops, and it took singer Dan McCafferty onto Never Mind The Buzzcocks.

The music here was gravely, raw, blues tinged hard rock, with some excellent slide guitar from Manny Charlton, and in the 80s experiments with many other influences.

This collection kicks off with their debut “Dear John” and through to disc 2, finishes with the German only releases of “Piece Of My Heart” and “Winner On The Night”. Because of EP and 12” releases, there's more B-sides, some non album and many album tracks.

Sadly it's here we get the anomalies. It's hardly definitive, there's too many European combinations of singles to mention, so it's hardly complete on that note.

One, “Morgentau”, was never commercially released as a single, but given away with early pressings of ‘Snaz in Germany. And all 4 tracks from the Live EP are together amongst the b-sides. Nazareth also released several singles in the 90s which are sadly ignored.

A wide range of lavish picture sleeves from around the world are used in the booklet, some real gems and rarities, including one German single not featured on the disc, and the sleevenotes cover the entire 80s and 90s in just two short paragraphs, which is hardly fair on those chapters of Nazareth's career. On reading I had to check I a page hadn't been missed out, it's that badly edited.

The music itself can't be faulted, Nazareth are one of Scotland's finest hard rock bands and deserve checking out in detail. But this release, with so much potential, sadly becomes nothing too special. At nearly £30 it's also far too expensive for singles collection.


Review by Joe Geesin

Related>> CD review

Related>> DVD 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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