Monday, February 8, 2010

Protometal Report - Nazareth - Loud N Proud

Loud 'N' ProudEvery now and then I try and convince myself that I like Guns N Roses. After about half a song I turn them off and reach for my copy of Loud N Proud by Nazareth. Axl Rose has never been shy about proclaiming his love for this great Scottish band and the influence on early Guns N Roses is unmistakable. Nazareth guitarist Manny Charlton even produced some demos of songs that later wound up on Appetite for Destruction. But enough about them, this review is about NAZARETH!

Loud N Proud was the 4th album from the band and was released in 1973. The first two (Nazareth and Exercises) have some good songs but are a bit uneven. The band started to define their sound on their 3rd album Razamanaz (also released in 1973) with the help of Deep Purple’s Roger Glover as producer. Loud N Proud would take the hard hitting sound of its predecessor and expand on it. It’s hard to believe now, but back then most bands were required to put out 2 albums a year and tour the globe to support each of them. Good luck getting a band to do that now.

There are 8 songs on this album and there’s not a dud in the bunch. Throw this muther on at a party or road trip and you’ll just keep turning the volume up. Kicking off with 2 of their hardest hitting songs, “Go Down Fighting” and “Not Faking It” set the mood for drinking, fighting and fornicating. “Go Down Fighting” starts off with a huge stomping chorus that sounds like a skinhead anthem and alternates with quieter verses. Just when you think the song is gonna get all country rock on you, they fire up the big chorus and a guitar solo that make you shake your fist in the air. “Not Faking It” is a fast kick ass rocker that flat out smokes. Dan McCafferty’s vocals really soar on this one. His influence on not only Axl Rose, but AC/DC’s Brian Johnson is obvious. Roger Glover’s production really helps the band shine. The sound is hard, tight rock n roll. The rhythm section of Pete Agnew (bass) and Darrell Sweet (drums) rock hard in the pocket and let Manny’s guitar boogie on your face.

There’s a lot of variety on this album. The ballad “Child In The Sun” points the way to their future megahit “Love Hurts” but also has parts that sound like “Paradise City.” “Turn On Your Receiver” and “Free Wheeler” are hard rock but incorporate some California influences like The Doobie Brothers and Little Feat without sounding too mellow. They even cover Little Feat’s “Teenage Nervous Breakdown” turning it from a New Orleans shuffle into a Chuck Berry rocker.

The only way for most bands to put out 2 albums a year was to do some covers. In addition to the Little Feat cover there are renditions of Joni Mitchell’s “This Flight Tonight” and Bob Dylan’s “Ballad Of Hollis Brown.” Thankfully, I’ve never heard either of the originals but I bet Nazareth’s versions are drastic interpretations and “This Flight Tonight” was a hit for them in Europe. “Ballad Of Hollis Brown” is one of Loud N Proud’s standout moments – a 9 minute super heavy dirge that challenges Black Sabbath for early 70’s proto metal stoner doom madness.

Nazareth went on to make other great albums in the 1970’s like Hair Of the Dog (their biggest seller, especially on 8-track!), No Mean City and Expect No Mercy and continue to this very day with Dan and Pete as the only original members. Most rock fans have a best of Nazareth somewhere in their collection but none of their albums. Loud N Proud deserves a place in every hard rock fan’s stack right next to their favorite Deep Purple, Rose Tattoo and Johnny Winter albums. The CD is out of print in America (of course) but the import is pretty easy to find and comes with excellent remastered sound and a few radio edits as bonus tracks. 


buy here: Loud 'N' Proud

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