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Very 'Eavy Very 'Umble / Uriah Heep

June, 1970

Very 'Eavy Very Umble cover (UK) cover Uriah Heep (US) cover
UK cover (Full scan 305 x 302 32K)
US cover (Full scan 305 x 624 76K)
click for back cover (305 x 305 20K)
See the Original Liner Notes for the inside cover!
Lineup: *Colin Wood (K) on Come Away Melinda, Wake Up, Born In A Trunk
**Alan Napier (D) on Gypsy, Walking in Your Shadow, Come Away Melinda, Real Turned On, I'll Keep On Trying, Wake Up, Born In A Trunk
Keith Baker (D) on Bird of Prey

Overview - What a great debut! Few bands have ever started so strong yet allowed so much room to grow. The direction of the band wasn't quite there yet, but the flow on this album, especially the American version, is quite good. This is not a mere shadow of things to come but a great album in its own right! Grade: A-

How important was Heep's debut album? Read what Martin Popoff, author of The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal had to say:

"Uriah Heep's debut is the weak partner in the trio of early 70's metal records which I 
consider the true originators of the genre, the other two being (Deep Purple's) In Rock and 
(Black Sabbath's) Paranoid. Weak partner, because it's the least whompingly heavy, yet 
included because it's every bit the innovator, o'erflowing with bombast, fire-breathing 
guitars, and eerie goth emotion that finally steered aggressive rock away from the blues 
and/or psychedelia into molten new terrain."

Popoff goes on to say that Bird of Prey is "arguably the band's most raging work of genius", and "in the true, multi-dimensional sense of the word, Uriah Heep is a classic." Popoff gives the album a 9 out of a possible 10.

1. Gypsy - The all-time Heep stomper. Hard, progressive rock doesn't get much better. Still in their live set today! Grade: A
note: There is a decent but heavily edited single version on the reissue.

2. Walking In Your Shadow - Another stomper and Ken's first slide guitar work for Heep. Excellent vocals from David. Grade: A-

3. Come Away Melinda - Lovely, gentle anti-war piece wonderfully played by Mick. David's emotional reading of this will bring tears to your eyes. Beats the pants off the UFO version from around the same time. There is a rough alternate mix on the reissue. Stick with the original. Album version Grade: A; Alt version Grade: B+

4. Lucy Blues (VEVU only) - The alternate version on The Lansdowne Tapes is much looser and more bluesy. David's vocals are also more lively. The album version holds back too much. Sounds like Gerry Bron wanted a slicker sound than fit the band. Album version Grade: C+; Alt version Grade: B

4. Bird of Prey (UH only) - Heep classic!! A very different arrangement than what appears on Salisbury. While David's lead vocals aren't nearly as strong here, the harmony vocals are much better and the ending doesn't fade out. An alternate guitar solo as well from Mick. Why this still hasn't shown up on an European CD is a mystery to me! Grade: A+

5. Dreammare - Outstanding! Best song Paul ever wrote and the first Heep tune to deal with magic. This is the song that initially turned me on to the Byron/Hensley era. Great harmonies. Grade: A+
note: The Lansdowne Tapes include an alternate intro only with some studio chatter about "the first time I got the intro right!"

6. Real Turned On - One of Mick's best riffs, with lots of hot soloing from both Mick and Ken, who turns in some more great slide work. Love the ending. Grade: A

7. I'll Keep On Trying - Another prog number similar to Gypsy with lots of tempo and mood changes. Again, more of those beautiful Heep harmonies atop a heavy riff with a beautiful Beach Boys-like break. Grade: A+

8. Wake Up (Set Your Sights) - Probably the best song on the album. Very much in the Spice vein, especially with Colin's keyboard and Mick's jazzy guitar. A stunning piece of work.
It should be noted how melodic a bass player Paul Newton is. Too often he's been overshadowed by Gary Thain yet it was Paul who established the melodic bottom sound of Heep that Gary perfected and Trevor carries on today. Grade: A+

Born In A Trunk - (Bonus track on the Very 'Eavy Very 'Umble remaster) Click here for review.

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Content Copyright 1997 Jay Pearson

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