Various Artists – The Vertigo Annual (1970)

FrontCover1.jpgVertigo Records was the late 60s progressive rock arm of the Philips Records empire.

Vertigo Records is a record company, which originated in the United Kingdom. It was a subsidiary of the Philips/Phonogram record label, launched in 1969 to specialise in progressive rock and other non-mainstream musical styles. Today it is operated by Universal Music UK.

Vertigo was the brainchild of Olav Wyper when he was Creative Director at Phonogram. It was launched as a competitor to labels such as Harvest (a prog subsidiary of EMI) and Deram (Decca). It was the home to bands such as Colosseum, Jade Warrior, Affinity, Ben and other bands from ‘the “cutting edge” of the early-’70s British prog-folk-post-psych circuit’. The first Vertigo releases came with a distinctive black and white spiral label, which was replaced with Roger Dean’s spaceship design in 1973.

Vertigo later became the European home to various hard rock bands signed to Mercury in North America, such as Bon Jovi, Rush and Kiss.

Olav Wyper01

Vertigo is a division of Island Records in the United States and operates as Virgin EMI Records in the UK, which in turn is a frontline music group operation of Universal Music UK. In Germany, Vertigo has merged with Capitol Records and is mainly used for German rock artists. The label’s legacy artists include Metallica (outside the US and Canada), Razorlight, Rush (Europe) and Dire Straits (except the US). More recent signings include The Rapture, The Killers (UK/Ireland), One Night Only, Amy Macdonald, Noisettes and Thee Unstrung 2004-2005 and Kassidy in 2009. Black Sabbath returned to the label in 2013 (including the US and Canada for the first time via sister label Republic) until their dissolution in 2017 although former sister label Sanctuary Records Group acquired international rights to their back catalogue in the interim (the band were last on Vertigo in 1987). (by wikipedia)

And here´s a damn good sampler, the first sampler of the legendary Vertigo Label:

A two-LP label sampler from the nascent Vertigo label — Polygram’s answer to EMI’s Bookprogressive — psychedelic boutique, Harvest. Overall, for a label sampler, this was a better than average double slab of vinyl, with tried-and-true heavy cuts (from Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, Juicy Lucy, May Blitz) jostling for space with lighter stuff (Magna Carta, Dr. Strangely Strange). Rod Stewart turns up as well, with an early solo outing on “Handbags and Gladrags.” (by Steven McDonald)

The title of this double label sampler leads one to believe that there were plans for an annual release, but Vertigo never got any further than 1970. Contrary to the ‘Heads together’ sampler, this one contains previously released material only and so serves quite succeedingly as an introduction to Vertigo’s miracles.The contents are chosen with taste: almost every track is among the best from the respective album and therefore this sampler comes recommended for anyone who wants to start to explore what the fuzz is all about.Red foliage surely is a favourite of Keef the album designer. This time a naked lady on a dotted hobby-horse fronts the landscape. A small boy dressed in parade uniform plays the drum and looks at her. Quite striking.

The lettering is chosen in accordance to the ‘annual’ idea and could have been taken from any children’s annual of the times.

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Inside the horse’s head is displayed in a coloured negative photograph and also proudly quotes underground magazine ‘it’: Vertigo is the least pretentiously and most happily married of the ‘progressive’ labels to emerge from ‘neath the wings of the large record companies.

One of those indispensable samplers, with so much going for it – label design, musical quality, rare tracks, top audio and alluring cover pics – it has become a collectors item by own merits. One cut each from the sixteen first albums realeased by the label. Most represented here didn’t sell a lot back then and the originals can sometimes be hard to find or afford. I haven’t had or heard all of those so I can’t compare, but get the impression they picked the better or best from each.

MC

Some compilations have at least one downer regarding track choice or audio. On here I can’t find one thing less than marvelous. From the happy-go-luckys Fairfield Parlour “In My Box” and Magna Carta “Going My Way” over the heavy Sabbath, Juicy Lucy and Uriah Heep cuts to the jazzier Nucleus, Colosseum and May Blitz it’s all tophole.

Vertigo was a highly collectable label . and this sampler is the best way to start with this cult label…

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Tracklist:
01. Colosseum; Elegy (from “Valentyne Suite VO1”) (Litherland) 3.10
02. Rod Stewart: Handbags And Gladrags (from “An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down VO4”) (d’Abo) 4.26
03. Jimmy Campbell: Half Baked (from “Half Baked 6360010”) (Campbell) 4.43
04. May Blitz: I Don’t Know (from “May Blitz 6360007”) (Black/Hudson/Newman) 4.50
05. Juicy Lucy: Mississippi Woman (from “Juicy Lucy VO2”) (Hubbart/Campbell/Mercer/ Ellis/Owen/Dobson) 3.49
06. Fairfield Parlour: In My Box (from “From Home To Home 6360001”) (Pumer/Daltrey) 2.00
07. Magna Carta: Goin’ My Way (Road Song) (from “Seasons 6360003”) (Simpson) 2.55
08. Affinity: Three Sisters (from “Affinity 6360004”) (Hoile/Naiff) 5.01
09. Black Sabbath: Behind The Wall Of Sleep (from “Black Sabbath VO6”) (Ward/Butler/ Osbourne/Iommi) 3.41
10. Gracious; Introduction (from “Gracious! 6360002” (Kitcat/Davis) 5.56
11. Cressida: To Play Your Little Game (from “Cressida VO7”) (Heyworth) 3.22
12. Nucleus: Elastic Rock (from “Elastic Rock 6360008”) (Jenkins) 4.06
13. Manfred Mann Chapter Three: One Way Glass (from “Manfred Mann Chapter Three VO3”) (Mann/Thomas) 3.36
14. Bob Downes: No Time Like The Present (from “Electric City 6360005”) (Downes) 3.05
15. Dr. Strangely Strange: Summer Breeze (from “Heavy Petting 6360009”) (Booth) 3.42
16. Uriah Heep: Gypsy (from “…Very ‘Eavy Very ‘Umble… 6360006”) (Byron/Box) 6.57
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17. Catapilla: Changes (from “Changes 6360 074”) (Wilson/Calvert/Meek) 12.05
18. Gravy Train: Think Of Life (from “Gravy Train 6360 023”) (Davenport/Hughes/Barratt /Cordwell/Williams) 5.10
19. Jade Warrior: May Queen (from ” Last Autumn’s Dream 6360 079″) (Havard/ Field/ Duhig) 5.24
20. Mike Absalom: Frightened Of The Dark (from “Mike Absalom 6360 053 “) (Absalom) 3.25
21. Ramases: Life Child (from “Space Hymns 6360 046”) (Godley/GouldmanCreme/ Raphael ) 6.39
22. Patto: Give It All Away (from “Hold Your Fire 6360 032 ) (Patto/Halsall) 4.10

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Uriah Heep – Look At Yourself (Expanded De-Luxe Edition) (1971)

FrontCover1Look at Yourself is the third album by British rock band Uriah Heep, released in 1971 by Bronze Records in the UK and Mercury Records in the US.

Characterized as heavy metal and progressive rock, the album has come to be viewed as a highpoint in the band’s career, and is today regarded by many fans and critics as Uriah Heep’s finest album along with Demons and Wizards, released the following year. The title track and “July Morning” were released as singles in the UK and North America in 1971 and 1973, respectively.

The original cover art on the LP featured a single sleeve with a die-cut opening on the front through which a reflective foil “mirror” was seen, conveying a distorted image of the person viewing it. The idea, by guitarist Mick Box, was for the cover to directly reflect the album title, and this theme is carried through the band photos on the rear of the LP sleeve, which have also been distorted. The LP itself was housed in a heavy-duty card inner, complete with lyrics.

The song “July Morning” become the inspiration for a Bulgarian hippie tradition, known eponymously as July Morning.

The album was mentioned in the David Sedaris book Barrel Fever, in “Don’s Story”.

AlternateFront+BackCover
Alternate front + backcover

The third time proved to be the charm for Uriah Heep: on Look at Yourself, the group perfects its fusion of heavy metal power and prog rock majesty, and the result is one of the best albums in the Heep catalog. The gauntlet is thrown down on the title track, a powerful rocker that layers its relentless hard rock attack with ornate vocal harmonies and quicksilver organ runs before climaxing with a tribal-sounding drum jam. The remainder of Look at Yourself presents an effective blend of gutsy guitar rock and organ-fueled prog excursions. In the rock arena, the gems are “Tears in My Eyes,” a powerful rocker driven by an almost rockabilly-style riff that stops midway for a surprising vocal harmony break supported by smooth wah-wah guitar, and “Love Machine,” a short, punchy slice of hard rock built on an infectious, stomping rhythm. However, the best track on the album is one of the more prog-oriented ones: “July Morning” starts with a pastoral organ riff, then builds into a heavy yet symphonic rock tune that divides its time between gentle acoustic verses and emotional, organ-fueled choruses before climaxing in a monstrous jam dominated by a swirling Moog synthesizer lead. Special note should also be taken of David Byron’s vocal performance; his multi-octave, operatic style was no doubt an influence on later metal vocalists like Rob Halford. All in all, Look at Yourself is both one of Uriah Heep’s finest, most cohesive albums and a high point of 1970s heavy metal. (by Donald A. Guarisco)

UriahHeep1971

Personnel:
Mick Box (guitar)
David Byron (vocals)
Iain Clark (drums)
Ken Hensley (keyboards, vocals on 01., guitar, background vocals)
Paul Newton (bass)
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Manfred Mann (synthesizer (on 03.)

The percussion section of Osibisa (on 01.):
Ted Osei – Mac Tontoh – Loughty Amao

OriginalSleeveNotes

Tracklist:
01. Look At Yourself (Hensley) 5.09
02. I Wanna Be Free (Hensley)  4.00
03. July Morning (Byron/Hensley) 10.32
04. Tears In My Eyes (Hensley) 5.01
05. Shadows Of Grief (Byron/Hensley) 8.39
06. What Should Be Done (Hensley) 4.15
07. Love Machine (Box/Byron/Hensley) 3.37
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08. What’s Within My Heart (out-take) (Hensley) 5.23
09. Why (early version) (Box,/Byron) 11.18
10. Look At Yourself (single edit) (Hensley) 3.19
11. Tears In My Eyes (extended mix) (Hensley) 5.38
12. What Should Be Done (alternate version) (Hensley) 4.26
13. Look At Yourself (live at the BBC) (Hensley) 4.32
14. What Should Be Done (live at the BBC) (Hensley) 3.26

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Singles

Uriah Heep – Salisbury (Expanded Deluxe Edition) (1970/2003)

FrontCover1Salisbury is the second album by British rock band Uriah Heep, released in December 1970. It was produced by Gerry Bron.

Unlike their first album, songwriting credits for fully half of the record were attributed to Ken Hensley alone, as opposed to the collaborative partnership credits of Box/Byron on the debut.

The album was originally released on the Vertigo label, as was the band’s debut …Very ‘Eavy …Very ‘Umble, but both were soon re-released when the band signed to the new Bronze Records for their third LP.

The front cover of the album depicted a British Chieftain tank, which connects to the title, as Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England, is a military training area. The original LP release was a gatefold sleeve, with a black-and-white image of a World War I British tank on the inside, over which were printed Hensley’s comments on each track. Later reissues would be in a single sleeve. The American release on Mercury Records featured a different cover image, as did the original Canadian pressings. Subsequent Canadian pressings used the UK artwork.

USFront+BackCover2
US front + back cover

Salisbury is skewed toward the progressive rock genre, with its 16-minute title track featuring a 24-piece orchestra. One of the album’s tracks, “Lady in Black”, described as “a stylishly arranged tune that builds from a folk-styled acoustic tune into a throbbing rocker full of ghostly harmonies and crunching guitar riffs”, became a hit in Germany upon its re-release in 1977 (earning the band the Radio Luxemburg Lion award). According to Allmusic, the album perfected Uriah Heep’s “blend of heavy metal power and prog rock complexity” and was also significant for Hensley’s instant rise to a position as main composer of the group’s music. Soon after the release, drummer Keith Baker left the band, to be replaced by Ian Clarke (from another Vertigo band, Cressida). With Clarke, the band embarked on their first US tour, supporting Three Dog Night and Steppenwolf. (by wikipedia)

UriahHeep1971

Personnel:
Keith Baker (drums)
Mick Box (guitar, vocals)
David Byron (vocals)
Ken Hensley (keyboards, slide-guitar, guitar, vocals)
Paul Newton (bass,vocals)
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unknown orchestra
John Fiddy (nrass and woodwind arrangement on 06.)

Booklet

Tracklist:
01. Bird Of Prey (Box/Byron/Hensley/Newton) 4.13
02. The Park (Hensley) 5.41
03. Time To Live (Box/Byron/Hensley) 4.01
04. Lady In Black (Hensley) 4.44
05. High Priestess (Hensley) 3.42
06. Salisbury (Box/Byron/Hensley) 16.20
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07. Simon The Bullet Freak (US album version) (Hensley) 3.27
08. Here Am I (previously unreleased version) (Hensley) 7.51
09. Lady In Black (single edit) (Hensley) 3.34
10. High Priestess (single edit) (Hensley) 3.39
11. Salisbury (single edit) (Box/Byron/Hensley) 4.23
12. The Park (alternate version) (Hensley) 5.19
13. Time To Live (alternate version) (Box/Byron/Hensley) 4.13

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Time To Live:

Let me see the sunshine
Let me feel the rain
Let me go where I wanna go
I wanna smell the flowers
See the dawn again
Find those friends I used to know

Well, I spent twenty long years
In a dirty old prison cell
I never saw the light of day
If you could understand
Oh, that kind of living hell
That’s the price I have to pay
That’s the price I have to pay

They say I killed a man
But I never told them why
So you can guess
What I’ve been through
So for twenty long years
I’ve been thinking of that other guy
And what I saw him do to you
What I saw him do to you

Listen here
So if tomorrow comes
And I walk outside that door
Try to understand the strain
But if you smile that smile
I know I couldn’t ask for more
I know I’d do it all again
Yes, I would
I know I’d do it all again

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)
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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
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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

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Higher Livin’ – A Tribute To The Music Of Uriah Heep (2012)

FrontCover1The collection that you hold in your hands was born from the immense admiration of Bassist and future Leader of Higher Livin’, Daniele Rossi towards this Band. A band that sadly has not gotten his due as far as praise and its place in Rock Olympus is concerned.Daniele, had the idea of involving the House Band of famed Club “Vivere Su”, i.e himself, Fabio Baruzzo on Guitar, Pierga Dettori on Drums and charming Vocalist Claudia Dani in his project, but in order to recreate the original sound of Heep consisting of a solid Rhythm base sustained by a deep Hammond organ and a nimble guitar switching swiftly from lead to back to support the Vocal harmonics of the Group, he needed his Ken Hensley. After countless efforts , Daniele finally found his man in Stefano Toni that in his old Band Butterfly’s Tail proposed several pieces of Uriah Heep, mainly due to the love of said band’s Vocalist Thor Bertolucci for David Byron. Obviously Daniele did not miss the opportunity to bring on board Thor adding further spices to the powerful vocal mix.All of Logo1them finally together , they proceded to organize the first “Heep Night”( and that’s where due to mere chance I got involved), that was held at “Vivere Su” on January 27 2011. Being among the public to celebrate my 49th birthday, I had the honour to be called on stage to aid in the presentation of this band that right from the word Go, showed to everybody that they had all it takes to be a real powerhouse. Several other concerts followed until they realized that they needed to leave to posterity something from this wonderful experience.From this primal need stems the cd that you are now holding in your hands, an album that on top of the pieces performed by the “Core Group”, can call on the superb interpretation of Vocalist Extraordinaire Jon Binder on Corridors of Madness, the only song that cannot count on the help that comes from being on the classic and better known albums from the Byron and Lawton periods.Please try to appreciate the effort from the band to record everything Live without overdubs, in order to try to recreate the magic of those concerts. (by Steve The Rock)

HigherLivin01Personnel:
Fabio Baruzzo (guitar)
Tor Bertolucci (vocals)
Claudia Dani (vocals)
Pierga Dettori (drums,  vocals)
Daniele Rossi (bass, vocals)
Stefano Toni (keyboards)

HigherLivin03

Tracklist:
01. Bird Of Prey (Hensley/Byron/Box/Newton) 3.53
02. Sweet Lorraine (Box/Byron/Thain) 4.34
03. Corridors Of Madness (Box/Lanzon) 5.32
04. Sunrise (Hensley) 4.16
05. Wise Man (Hensley) 4.29
06. Free ‘n Easy (Box/Lawton) 2.16
07. Gypsy (Box/Byron) 4.20
08. Rain (Hensley) 4.20
09. July Morning (Byron/Hensley) 8.32