NAZARETH -- MAXIMUM XS [THE ESSENTIAL NAZARETH] (2004)
Album: Maximum XS [The Essential Nazareth]
Genre: Hard Rock
Year Released: 2004
Bitrate: 192k bps
One of the undisputed heavyweights of bone-crunching ‘70s hard rock, Dunfermline’s Nazareth are one of the most influential bands of their era with a career covering more than 20 albums and a formidable touring history to the four corners of the globe. Led by Dan McCafferty’s trademark raspy vocals and Manny Charlton’s soaring axe work, ‘The Naz’ were as adept at no-frills grungey rock as they were at the most intricate ballads. They are, in every sense, Rock Gods.
01 Razamanaz (alternate edit)
An edited take of the title track of the group's groundbreaking third album 'Razamanaz' (probably intended for single release). Despite two previous records, it was only with the release of 'Razamanaz' that the group started to achieve the required success to levitate them further up the rock 'n' roll ladder.
02 Broken Down Angel
A demo version of this hit song gave the band's manager Bill Fehilly the gut feeling to pump up the cash to finance the recording of 'Razamanaz'. Produced by Deep Purple’s Roger Glover, it gained heavy rotation on the BBC playlist, eventually hitting the UK Top 10 in May 1973. An appearance on Top Of The Pops provided the catalyst for a sell-out British tour.
03 Turn On Your Receiver
A prime cut from Nazareth's fourth album 'Loud 'N' Proud', from which the group made their first in-roads in the US market. The band had firmly established themselves in the UK and Europe but had a long way to go Stateside. Their next two albums would prove critical to them cracking the US.
04 Shapes Of Things (single edit)
A blistering radio-friendly cover of the 1966 Yardbirds number, first released in 1974 on the 'Rampant' album. Again produced by Roger Glover, it was earmarked for single release but never made the 7" format. However, it became a staple part of the Nazareth live set for many years as the perfect concert closing number.
05 Hair Of The Dog (single edit)
Released as a single in March 1975, this is the title track from the legendary Naz album that set the blueprint for future contemporary rock releases and propelled the group to superstar status in America. Produced by guitarist Manny Charlton and despite being recorded on the cheap, 'Hair Of The Dog' was a defining hard rock record, influencing Eighties rock icons Guns 'N' Roses who laid down their own version of the title track for the covers album 'The Spaghetti Incident'.
06 Love Hurts
Released as a single in November 1974. An 8-track demo produced by Manny Charlton prior to the 'Hair Of The Dog' album sessions, Nazareth's cover of the Everly Brothers’ 'Love Hurts' was at first discarded as an out-take (or possible B-side). Fatefully, their US label A&M decided to include it on the US version of 'Hair Of The Dog' and, needless to say, it shifted truckloads, going Top 10 in America and providing the group with their biggest success to date. Today it is probably one of the most instantly recognisable of all rock ballads.
07 Telegram (edited version)
Nazareth's stunning long-standing live show opener, originally clocking in at over seven minutes on the ‘Telegram’ album, is regarded as classic Nazareth. A hard-hitting mini-rock opera regaling tales of life on-the-road, this edited radio version first appeared on a triple Anthology set in 1991.
08 I Want To Do Everything For You
One of the band's best loved cuts, the heart rending 'I Want To Do Everything For You' quickly became a live favourite. Besides its debut on 1977's 'Play 'N' The Game' album, the group's 1981 in concert release 'Snaz' also showcases a superb rendition.
09 Expect No Mercy (live)
This manic four-piece live version of the aptly named title track from Nazareth's 1977 studio opus, 'Expect No Mercy' was originally slated for a possible EP package. The studio version eventually ended up as the B-side to a single from the 'No Mean City' album in 1979. A rollicking slab of hard rock that takes it to the limit!
Produced by Manny Charlton, 'Star' provided a subtle break on the Heavy Metal-laden 'No Mean City' album, widely regarded as one of the band’s best records. Released as a single in July 1979 it only reached Number 54 in the UK, Nazareth's final homegrown chart entry. The album was recorded on the Isle Of Man with the backing tracks laid down at the famed Maison Rouge mobile studio. The finished vocals and remixes were done in Montreux, Switzerland.
11 Big Boy
One of a host of choice tracks from the band's eleventh studio opus 'Malice In Wonderland', produced by former Steely Dan / Doobie Brothers member Jeff 'Skunk' Baxter'. It marked the first time that Nazareth had used an outside producer since Roger Glover’s involvement earlier in the 1970s.
12 Pop The Silo
The B-side to the 'Dressed To Kill' single, 'Pop The Silo' was a conceptual, prophetic piece that reflected the then current cold war doomsday scenario that infused much of the material on Nazareth's 'Fool Circle' album. It was recorded in a studio on Montserrat, ironically destroyed seventeen years later by a violent volcanic eruption.
13 Boys In The Band
A exceptional album cut lifted from 1982's '2XS' album, another big seller in North America and Europe, extending the group's lengthy touring schedule. '2XS' gained little exposure in the UK, remaining unreleased following legal complications with the NEMS label. It would be well over a decade before any of Nazareth's output became fully available in the UK.
14 This Month's Messiah
Recorded and mixed at Castlesound Studios in Scotland and produced by John Eden, 'The Catch' attempted to reverse Nazareth's UK fortunes via a new UK record deal with Vertigo. A full UK tour followed its release including a prestigious support slot to Status Quo at the Milton Keynes bowl. This particular album track featured as a B-side on the 12” of 'Ruby Tuesday'.
15 Hit The Fan
Taken from the 1986 Nazareth opus 'Cinema', 'Hit The Fan' again showcased the four-piece feel of the original Seventies Naz line-up (albeit with an improved 1980s recording quality). After the lacklustre response towards 'The Catch', ‘Cinema’ was an altogether more upbeat release.
16 Piece Of My Heart
With the band musically veering in all directions, 'Snakes 'N' Ladders' (which features this great cover of 'Piece Of My Heart') was the last Nazareth record to feature original guitarist Manny Charlton. A potpourri of styles, the album was released on Vertigo in Europe but again failed to secure a UK issue.
17 Every Time It Rains
Friction within the ranks led to the departure of Manny Charlton (who moved into production and his own solo material) in 1990 after 22 years with the band. The remaining members regrouped with former member Billy Rankin on lead guitar and recorded 1992's 'No Jive', a return to form for the group.
18 When The Lights Come Down (live)
Originally recorded for 1998's 'Boogaloo' album, 'When The Lights Come Down' has become a classic show opener for the band and a welcome return to their rock orientated roots. Sadly, 'Boogaloo' was the final Nazareth record to feature drummer Darrell Sweet who died in April 1999. This particular version, captured live at Glasgow's Cathouse Club, features the most recent incarnation of the band (with Pete Agnew's son Lee filling in on drums).
19 Walk By Yourself
To celebrate the re-issue of Nazareth’s re-mastered back catalogue mastered by Eagle Records, 'Walk By Yourself' was recorded 'exclusively' for 'The Very Best Of Nazareth' compilation in April 2001 at Parkgate Studios near Battle in Sussex, one of two new tracks on the album.
01 Morning Dew (alternate edited version)
Lifted off Nazareth's debut album, the group's cover of the Tim Rose classic 'Morning Dew' provided much needed exposure in Germany at the start of their career. It ably showcases the early musical rapport between singer Dan McCafferty and guitarist Manny Charlton, a partnership that would be crucial to future endeavours.
02 This Flight Tonight (US version)
Probably the lead cut from the Roger Glover-produced 'Loud 'N' Proud' opus, Nazareth's highly original cover of the Joni Mitchell-penned 'This Flight Tonight' (originally featured on her 'Blue' album) gained reasonable airplay and became a hit in numerous territories.
03 Shanghai'd In Shanghai (US single edit)
Featuring Deep Purple keyboard maestro Jon Lord on piano, 'Shanghai'd In Shanghai' proved an immediate Nazareth classic that has remained a favourite on numerous compilations. Issued as a single in the spring of 1974, it reached Number 41 in the UK and marked a move towards a harder rock sound.
04 Holy Roller (alternate mix)
Initially released as the group's debut single for the new Mountain label in October 1975 (and later included on their 1976 'Greatest Hits' package), the self-penned US rock influenced 'Holy Roller' hit Number 36 in the UK. Recorded at Escape Studios in Canada, this is an extended version of the original 45, possibly intended for the 'Hair Of The Dog' album.
05 My White Bicycle (original single version)
A bonus cover track, Nazareth specifically re-recorded Tomorrow's 1967 hit 'My White Bicycle' as a single. When their record company B&C unexpectedly closed, the band acted swiftly, forming their own Mountain label (with a licensing deal through EMI). Luckily, the song reached Number 14 in the UK in Spring, 1975 and was included on their 'Greatest Hits' album the following year.
06 Carry Out Feelings (US single edit)
Released in March 1976 in the US and UK as the lead single from the 'Close Enough For Rock 'N' Roll' album. Recorded at Morin Heights in Canada (a consistent favourite for the band), the album under-achieved sales-wise but helped to consolidate their hold on the US market following the huge success of 'Hair Of The Dog'. In the US especially, their label A&M still regarded them as a priority act.
07 I Don't Want To Go On Without You (alternate edit)
The lead single to the more co-ordinated 'Play 'N' The Game' album in November 1976 helped to break Nazareth in the Southern States of the US (they were already massive in Canada and the
rest of the States) and further consolidated their European and Scandinavian followings.
08 Place In Your Heart (alternate edited version)
Despite not being as 'refined' as 'Play 'N' The Game', the material featured on the group's 'Expect No Mercy' opus was typical Nazareth, a solid collection of hard rock, ballads and good old rhythm 'n' blues. The album spawned several 45s, most notably 'Place In Your Heart', which reached Number 75 in the UK in April 1978. This is an alternate edited version of the album track.
09 May The Sunshine (single edit)
Released as a single in early 1979 as a prelude to the 'No Mean City' album, the radio-friendly 'May The Sunshine' nudged into the dirty thirty in the UK (reaching Number 22). A hard-edged record, 'No Mean City' was named after a book about the Gorbals area of Glasgow in the 1930s and featured a new Nazareth icon, 'Fred' the Razor King, on its front cover sleeve brandishing two open razors.
10 Holiday (single edit)
Released as a single in 1980 to promote the 'Malice In Wonderland' album, the first of two Nazareth long-players to be produced by Jeff 'Skunk' Baxter and their second and final release featuring guitarist Zal Cleminson, ‘Holiday’ was recorded at Compass Point Studios, Nassau, Bahamas and mixed in Hollywood. The album had something of a West Coast feel, a slick affair with excellent radio potential.
11 Dressed To Kill (single edit)
Lifted from 'The Fool Circle' album as a picture sleeve single in March 1981, 'Dressed To Kill' became a popular song with the Naz fanbase. Recorded as a four-piece, 'The Fool Circle' was again produced by Jeff 'Skunk' Baxter (alongside Geoff Emerick of Beatles fame) and the songwriting veered towards a more socially aware brand of commercial rock infused with a bit of reggae and blues.
12 Dream On (single edit)
Lifted from 1982's '2XS' album, the radio favourite 'Dream On' was something of a hit in Scandinavia, becoming Nazareth's best selling single in Europe since the release of 'Love Hurts' in 1975. A track recorded with a primetime US feel pitched squarely at the AOR market.
13 Where Are You Now (alternate edit)
One of the best tracks lifted off '2XS', 'Where Are You Now' was typically radio-friendly (this is a slightly different mix of the original single release that never got past the promo stage). Having
reverted to a five-piece (following the departure of keyboardist John Locke), '2XS' was a mixed bag, merging eclectic musical influences such as cajun, funk and soul with the band's trademark rock 'n' roll sound. Like its predecessor, it wasn't released in the UK.
14 Ruby Tuesday (extended single mix)
Given the unique Nazareth treatment, this cover of the Rolling Stones hit was released as the lead single from 1984's 'The Catch', an album that re-visited Nazareth’s trademark four-piece rock 'n' roll sound combining hard rock material with Eighties-style sequencers.
15 Cinema (edited version)
Produced by Naz guitarman Manny Charlton and featuring sound engineer Calum Malcolm on emulator, this, the title track of Nazareth's 1986 studio record, was initially edited for a possible A or B-side single release. 'Cinema' was clearly aimed at the US rock market but failed to get the exposure it deserved. A big fan of the band, Ted Nugent manager Doug Banker (Nazareth's tour accountant during the mid-Seventies) even hauled it around US labels to get the band a major deal.
16 Hang On To A Dream (single edit)
An inspirational extended single version of Tim Hardin's 'Hang On To A Dream'. Never released due to their receding status in the UK, the band continued to enjoy a degree of popularity in Europe and the US. Bereft of a major recording contract, Nazareth had been forced to put their recording ambitions on hold during the late 1980s (leaving singer Dan McCafferty free to go solo).
17 Hire And Fire (edited version)
The lead cut from Nazareth's impressive 1992 comeback record 'No Jive', 'Hire And Fire' was prepared for single release but never used commercially. Signed to a German record label who failed to promotionally capitalise on the album’s critical acclaim, Nazareth battled against the odds with tours of the US, Russia, and Europe (including their first UK dates in eight years).
18 Let Me Be Your Dog (edited version)
Released in Germany in 1994 through a new deal with Polydor, Nazareth's twentieth studio album 'Move Me' was dominated by the writing skills of guitarist Billy Rankin (showcased here on 'Let Me Be Your Dog', a song prematurely prepared for single release) while the producer's job fell to Tony Taverner, the engineer on 'Hair Of The Dog'.
19 Love Hurts (rock orchestra version)
A bonus track recorded during the recording sessions for 1994's 'Move Me' album. Released as a CD single in Germany, this rock orchestra version of the Naz classic 'Love Hurts' was used on the soundtrack to the movie 'Scarlett' starring Joanne Whalley-Kilmer and former Bond man Timothy Dalton.
A dedicated Nazareth fan and a flag-bearer for classic rock and heavy metal, Mark Crampton has written for various music publications, founded Riff Raff rock magazine in 1989 and compiles for several top music labels. He is currently furthering the rock music cause in new media circles. Contact: markcrampton @ mac.com
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