Uriah Heep – Very ‘eavy Very ‘umble (1970)

FrontCover1A killer, a monster, a classic hard-rock album !

…Very ‘Eavy …Very ‘Umble is the debut album by British rock band Uriah Heep, released in 1970.

It was issued in the United States as Uriah Heep with different sleeve artwork, and with the track “Bird of Prey” in place of “Lucy Blues”. The album shows the band trying out various genres – a mix of heavy metal and progressive rock – rather than the hard rock that they would become known for on later albums.

The album was generally panned by the mainstream critical press upon its release, although it has since been acknowledged as an early classic of the heavy metal genre. Rolling Stone magazine’s Melissa Mills began her review by saying, “If this group makes it I’ll have to commit suicide. From the first note you know you don’t want to hear any more.”

The original vinyl release was a gatefold sleeve, featuring David Byron on the front sleeve, almost unrecognisable beneath cobwebs.

The album was first released on the Vertigo label in the UK, as was the follow-up Salisbury, but both were quickly reissued by Bronze when the band signed to that label.(by wikipedia)

US Cover

US Cover

This album was the debut of Uriah Heep, an English band that would become one of the Titans of the ’70s heavy metal sound. Despite their eventual hard-rocking reputation, Very ‘Eavy…Very ‘Umble finds the band trying on different stylistic hats as they work towards finding their own sound. At this juncture, their music falls halfway between the crunch of heavy metal and the dramatic arrangements of prog rock. When this style jells, the results are quite powerful: “Dreammare” blends psychedelic lyrics and a complex vocal arrangement with a stomping beat from the rhythm section to create an effective slice of prog metal fusion while “I’ll Keep on Trying” presents a head-spinning, complex tune with enough riffs, hooks, and tempo changes to fill three or four songs. However, the album’s finest achievement is “Gypsy”: this heavy metal gem nails the blend of swirling organ riffs, power chords, and leather-lunged vocal harmonies that would define the group’s classic tunes and remains a staple of the band’s live performances today. Unfortunately, the focus of the album is diluted by some unsuccessful experiments: “Lucy Blues” is a dull, unmemorable stab at a Led Zeppelin-style heavy blues tune and “Come Away Melinda” is an overproduced, melodramatic cover that tries to marry the band’s full-throttle musical style to a message song. Despite these occasional moments of stylistic schizophrenia, Very ‘Eavy…Very ‘Umble is a likable album that shows the promise that Uriah Heep would soon realize. Those unfamiliar with Uriah Heep may want to try out Demons and Wizards or a compilation first, but anyone with a serious interest in Uriah Heep or the roots of heavy metal will find plenty to like on Very ‘Eavy…Very ‘Umble. The American edition of this album was retitled Uriah Heep and omits “Lucy Blues” in favor of the track “Bird of Prey” from Salisbury. (by Donald A. Guarisco)

UriahHeep1970Personnel:
Mick Box (guitar, vocals)
David Byron (vocals)
Ken Hensley (keyboards, slide guitar, vocals)
Alex Napier (drums)
Paul Newton (bass, vocals)
+
Nigel Olsson (drums, percussion on 04 – 05.)
Colin Wood (keyboards on 03. + 08.)

Booklet1Tracklist:
01. Gypsy (Box/Byron) 6.37
02. Walking In Your Shadow (Byron/Newton) 4.31
03. Come Away Melinda (Hellerman/Minkoff) 3.46
04. Lucy Blues (Box/Byron) 5.08
05. Dreammare (Newton) 4.39
06. Real Turned On (Box/Byron/Newton) 3.37
07. I’ll Keep On Trying (Box/Byron) 5.24
08. Wake Up (Set Your Sights) (Box/Byron) 6.22
+
09. Gypsy (single edit) (Box/Byron) 2.57
10. Come Away Melinda (“Spice” version) (Hellerman/Minkoff) 3.42
11. Born In A Trunk (“Spice” version) (Box/Byron) 3.45

Label1*
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