Friday, 22 April 2011
Hot Tuna - Steady As She Goes
Steve Miller Band - Let Your Hair Down
Nazareth - Big Dogz
Uriah Heep - Into The Wild
Four blasts from the past making their contemporary mark by resurrecting in 2011 the sounds that made them special, or at the very least, recognisable. It is a potential recipe for embarrassment, but in all cases I think these are solid repetitions, and as you know what to expect you will not be disappointed.
Both Nazareth [*] and Uriah Heep are the least surprising in the way they re-present the heavy rock that defines their existence. It is the simple but effective surge of 3/4 part riffs pounding out a steady core around which to build stereotypical hardrock songs. No disruptions or alterations to the musical timewarp continuum here.
Similar could be said of the Steve Miller Band's Let Your Hair Down. Hot on the heals of Miller's other fine 2011 release Bingo!, this is blues revival at its solid best, 10 consummate blues standards played with the expertise that comes with age and empathy. 'Just a Little Bit' and 'No More Doggin'' also bear the Miller signature singing [those harmonies], the latter resonating some unintended comic effect when considering what 'dogging' means on these shores.
The only surprise in what isn't surprising is Hot Tuna's Steady As She Goes. That's a personal paradox because having said in a previous post I didn't rate this band I have been genuinely engaged in this offering, and it is the most varied album though probably because it is the least formulaic in nature. There's the gospel blues of 'Children of Zion', a ghost of Dire Straits in the fine 'Angel of Darkness', the acoustic simplicity and beauty of 'Second Chances', and the funkblues in 'Mourning Interrupted'.
True, 'Man's yesterday may ne're be like his morrow; nought may endure but mutability', but some things are reassuring for staying the same.
[*] Cursory comments after a cursory listen are a little unfair to their album and I have listened again more intently: Dan McCafferty's vocals are as vital as ever, and two tracks, 'Ride'/'Tide and Time', are nostalgic and reflective songs that not only give the album more musical variety than I acknowledged, but also add meaningful reminiscences on the past, time's fleeting features, and how this impacts on sustaining a rock career. It's not philosophy, but it's earnest enough.