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Uriah Heep - Acoustically Driven, Electrically Driven
Classic Rock Legends
By MuzikMan
(more articles from this author)
2002-03-21
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Artist: Uriah Heep (www.uriah-heep.com)
Title: Two Sides Of Uriah Heep: Acoustically Driven, Electrically Driven
Label: Classic Rock Legends (www.classic-rocklegends.com)
Genre: Progressive-Rock
Format: 2 CD Set

I haven't heard a live Uriah Heep album since one of the best live recordings ever was released by the group back in 1973. "Live" set the standard for unprecedented successes in live recordings such as "Frampton Comes Alive." For those of you to young to remember, Uriah Heep was a progressive-rock band of the highest order for many years. They are going through an enjoyable phase of their long and successful career right now. Interest in their history has been renewed with a series of remastered back catalog recordings (Sanctuary/Castle) and special live events in the U.K. The only remaining original members are co-founder Mick Box (guitar) and Lee Kerslake (drums). Box founded the group with deceased lead singer David Byron. Some thirty members have come and gone since there inception, and they have survived all the changes to bring you new material and an exciting new live recording. You are informed by the front cover message that the very best of Uriah Heep unplugged and powered up is what you will get on this special limited edition double live set. The group's album cover art is always recognizable. Roger Dean (Yes covers) is the man that makes the fantasy science fiction scenes so memorable. "Demons and Wizards" and "The Magician's Birthday" are the albums that always come to mind for some of the more colorful, thought provoking, and graphically intense images.

"Acoustically Driven" is a fabulous collection of all the favs, except this time you get to hear how different they sound unplugged. Any song that was originally electric takes on a different personality when it's toned down and rendered with different colors and textures in an acoustic setting. It's comparable to taking a classic painting and grabbing your brush and painting right over the top of it. Most songs are strummed out on an acoustic guitar or pounded out on the piano before they reach fruition, so essentially what happens is the music comes around full circle. It's always a pleasure to experience what a creator hears first hand in the development of a song. "Wonderworld" pulled out some memories from the attic for me, it was the first Uriah Heep album I ever bought, and from that point on I got everything else by them that I could get my hands on. All the songs sound really good unplugged, and the audience seems to think so as well. The group is backed by the "Uriah Heep Classic Rock Music Ensemble," which consists of strings, including the cello, viola, and violins. Having that kind of back drop softens up the once rocking tunes and eases in the acoustic guitars and keyboards to make for a beautiful marriage between rock music and orchestration. Just when you are getting comfortable with the "Easy Livin" of the unplugged set…it's over, and then you throw on the "Electrically Driven" disc and things change quickly.

Now the electricity and juices shift and begin to flow in a different direction. All the excitement and wonderment of youth came rushing back to me in an instant as they kick things off with "Return To Fantasy," then its followed by a raucous and rocking "Bird of Prey." Bernie Shaw fits in well with the scheme of things, he sounds like a true-to-form Uriah Heep vocalist reminiscent of David Byron. Shaw introduces their latest single "Come Away Melinda," which I thought was a little too soft and top forty for these old rockers. "Gypsy," "Sunrise," and "July Morning" are real keepers. Those three tracks were my personal favorites of the electric set. It's vintage early Heep at its very best. The court jester Ian Anderson shows up on both sets to add his famous flute sounds to the mix for a short time, giving the crowd a burst of his charm and enchantment, which only adds to the magic of the performances. Mick Box remains the ever present anchor of the group. He still has what it takes to rock after all these years, and he serves as an example to younger musicians how you can have a long and successful career and survive it quite nicely without overdosing or killing yourself.

Both discs have a nice steady flow with a gradual momentum that reaches its peak towards the end of each show. I can't say enough how much I enjoyed this two disc set. It reminded me of how important this group was to me when I was a teenager. They were one of the first bands that planted the seed that continues to grow and blossom to this day. Uriah Heep is one of the original British prog-rockers that became as important and influential as "Yes," the proof is on these two CDs. Long live rock and roll!

Acoustically Driven
(Recorded live at the Mermaid Theater, London on Saturday December 9th 2000)

1. Introduction - :47
2. Why Did You Go (Box/Byron/Hensley/Kerslake) - 3:59
3. The Easy Road (Hensley) - 2:41
4. Echoes in the Dark (Hensley) - 4:44
5. Come Back to Me (Hensley/Kerslake) - 4:40
6. Cross That Line (Box/Lanzon) - 5:56
7. The Golden Palace (Box/Lanzon) - 8:17
8. The Shadows and the Wind (Hensley) - 4:30
9. Wonderworld (Hensley) - 4:33
10. Different World (Box/Lanzon) - 5:03
11. Circus (Box/Kerslake/Thain) - 4:21
12. Blind Eye (Hensley) - 3:37
13. Traveller in Time (Box/Byron/Kerslake) - 2:50
14. More Fool You (Box/Lanzon) - 3:30
15. Lady in Black (Hensley) - 6:15
16. Medley: The Wizard/Paradise/Circle of... (Clarke/Hensley) - 9:24

Electrically Driven
(Recorded live at The London Astoria on Friday March 23rd 2001)

1. Return To Fantasy (Hensley/Byron) 4.44
2. Universal Wheels (Box/Lanzon) 5.27
3. Bird of Prey (Box/Byron/Hensley/Newton) 4.41
4. Stealin' (Hensley) 5.45
5. Between Two Worlds (Box/Lanzon) 6.09
6. I Hear Voices(Bolder) 4.00
7. Come Away Melinda (Hellerman/Minkoff) 4.26
8. Circus (Thain/Box/Kerslake) 3.57
9. Blind Eye (Hensley) 3.35
10.Sunrise (Hensley) 4.10
11. Gypsy (Box/Byron) 3.21
12. July Morning (Hensley/Byron) 10.37
13. Easy Livin' (Hensley) 3.36

The Players:
Ian Anderson-Guest, Flute
Trevor Bolder - Bass, Vocals
Bernie Shaw-Lead Vocals
Mick Box - Guitar, Vocals
Steafan Hannigan - Percussion, Uillean Pipes
Lee Kerslake - Drums, Vocals
Phil Lanzon - Keyboards, Vocals, String Arrangements
Pip Williams - Guitar (Acoustic), Arranger, Producer, String Arrangements
Billie Godfrey - Vocals (bckgr)
Melvin Duffy - Pedal Steel, Slide Guitar


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