on 28 June 2007
This album continued the group's early 1980's commercial & artistic comeback,and gave the group its' first ever U.S.A. hit single & album.Fortunately,this expanded edition includes the entirety of the UK version("The Amazing Kamakaze Syndrome") and its' U.S.A. counterpart("Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply") plus 2 B-sides and 3 12" single mixes.My only(mild) complaint:it would appear that the group had difficulty retrieving the master tapes for their 12" single mixes from the labels that they were once licensed to.While they sound fine here,close listening through headphones makes it clear that at least two of these three 12" mixes("My Oh My" and "Slam The Hammer Down") have been computer de-clicked from vinyl,albeit with only 98% success.
This was Slade's last album made as a regularly touring group. As presented here, gathering nearly all of the permutations from the UK and USA releases, it ranks as one of Slade's finst achievements.
The album sets off to a tremendous start with 'Slam the hammer down', with Slade at their rocking best. This song doesn't let up - it storms along the whole way through and would have been just marvelous live, but that just wasn't to be.
'In the doghouse' is a light-hearted and slightly rude word game with saxophones evident for the first time on a Slade record in some years. It reprises the guitar solo from 'Ruby Red' and the backing vocals from 'When I'm dancin' as well as mentioning 'looking at the mantlepiece' and 'poking the fire'. Naughty Noddy indeed.
'Run runaway' actually broke onto the American charts, giving Slade their first bit of chart action for years, mainly thanks to the slightly silly video filmed at Eastnor Castle. The distinctive sound of the excellent band Big Country obviously inspired Jim Lea at the time. A great song that still stands up now. The drums on this song are a work of art and the arrangement is tight and very well thought out. Violins and harmony guitars give a great feel, even when the song breaks down into a jig.
'High and dry' was later covered by Girlschool (with Nod and Jim producing). A very good, melodic, mid-paced song, featuring Nod as the love 'em and leave 'em style male chauvinist pig.
'My oh my' was the instant and most obvious choice for a single release. It reached number two in the UK, with Slade being frustrated by a three week spell where the chart positions didn't change, leaving The Flying Pickets sitting pretty (or not) at number one throughout the festive season. It's a beautiful song, marvelously performed and produced and it's a sobering thought to think that Slade actually openly told people at the time that they knocked up demos stating 'We all love our Guinness, my oh my....' to the same tune. Fortunately, none of them are on here!
'Cocky rock boys' is a straight forward little rocker, devoted to chasing women and rocking out. Aimed primarily at the younger metal fan who was now into Slade, I imagine.
The 'epic' and rather obvious Meat Loaf parody that is 'Ready to explode' has lots of great little tunes sown together into its eight minutes and thirty seven seconds. Not a favourite, as it strays from Slade's ethos of brevity and good-time music.
'(And now the waltz) C'est La Vie' was chosen to be a single around the Christmas of 1982 - a whole year before this album was released and was a lost cause really, as radio stations didn't get it. It didn't sound that much like a normal Slade record, though it was a truly excellent song, again beautifully performed. It deserved a higher chart placing than the # 50 that it got.
'Cheap and nasty love' is a great little song, fast and brilliantly arranged and shows how commercial Slade could be when they wanted to actually do it. This could easily have been a single, if Slade hadn't been so busy trying to get taken more seriously as a rock act. Great keyboards and bass from Jim Lea feature throughout. This would have made a great live number, as would 'Razzle dazzle man' which was the original closer to the album.
'Keep your hands off my power supply' - a b-side (to My oh my) that should have made the original album, rattles along at breakneck speed and is, I suspect, basically a solo Jim Lea track, with Nod on buzzsaw vocals. Don thumps the tubs with all the strength he can muster, while Jim layers guitar upon guitar.
'My oh my' (extended version) : Over five minutes long and Dave plays lots and lots of lead guitar at the end.
'Don't tame a Hurricane' - another b-side (to My oh my) that should have made the original album,is about the brilliant, tempestuous snooker player Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins, who certainly lived his life on the edge and in great style. The verse melody is a straight, but lovely, lift from 'Physical' - the Olivia Newton John hit. This songs bops along wonderfully and details Higgins' highs, lows, strops and drinking binges, stating that while he was brilliant, he was just uncontrollable and that no woman could control him, change him or tie him down. True.
'Run runaway' (extended version) : More and more violins and an even longer chance to have a damn good jig round and knock a few things over in your living room. Go on. You know you want to.
'Two track stereo, one track mind' was yet another b-side (to Run runaway) that should have been an instant prime choice for the original album. A song about a girl who liked to make love to music wearing headphones. Brilliantly arranged and with a superb guitar solo. Vastly superior to the likes of 'Ready to explode' and 'In the doghouse', but never mind.
Unreleased commercially, everywhere in the world, the 'Slam the hammer down' (hotter mix) - the master of which (taken from the USA 12" promo only single) was provided to Union Square by this site. Saxes feature in the background on the album version, but remix genius Shep Pettibone (Madonna, Level 42) brings them to the fore, giving Slade a great, funky rock sound. The song is heavily edited and works fantastically well for it. Jim plays lightning-fast bass til his fingers are a blur. Superb.
The album title was coined by a certain slightly jaded lead singer who was beginning to come to believe that whatever Slade did was doomed to fail. The album was actually released during Slade's final UK tour in December 1983 and the only song to be featured from it in a live setting was the #2 hit single 'My oh my'. The rest of it was largely unperformable on stage with Slade as a four-man group. Jim Lea mentioned to this reviewer that a plan was to get in a session keyboard player for the next tour and to have back projections to make the next tour look and sound radically different. That idea was, sadly, not to be.
In the USA, this album was released as 'Keep your hands off my power supply' with a different - but actually worse cartoon picture sleeve than the UK album. The album had a far more cohesive and respectable sound, due to the inclusion of some of the b-sides. On this issue, you get the very best of all worlds, as all of the tracks are here for you.
on 8 September 2014
Welcome bak Slade, not that they really went away, just the public must have become tone deaf, this album like most of slades post glam material should have been a much bigger hit, hard rockin boot stompin good time music, that only slade delivers, from the openin thunder of ''SLAM THE HAMMER DOWN'' to the Dazzle of ''RAZZLE DAZZLE MAN'' ''IN THE DOGHOUSE'' with it's tongue in cheek lines and noddy at his ''JACK THE LAD BEST'' ''BEAUTIFUL WELL YOU KNOW I'M A LIAR, DON'T LOOK AT THE MANTLE PIECE WHILE YOU'RE POCKING UP THE FIRE'' the Magical ''RUN RUN AWAY'' with that magil long drum intro crunching guitars and even a Big Country Sound alike melody,My Favourite '' MY Oh My'' The hit i had been waiting for SLADE to have for years, Full of all the ''CUM ON'' join in singalong the we all know from SLADE, als it was beaten to no. 1 by the ''FLYING PICKETS'' (flying who) ''MY OH MY'' and ''RUN RUN AWAY'' and this album giving SLADE their biggest ever USA Success, ''HIGH & DRY, COCKY ROCK BOYS (RULE OK) the mega "'Meatloaf inspired epic'' READY TO EXPLODE just showed how diverse NODDY n JIM'S music could be,''AND NOW THE WALTZ'' another shoulda
been a bigger hit been a bigger hit, and ''CHEAP AND NASTY LUV'', i luv these SALVO/UNION SQUARE, releases with the xtra trax, b' sides and tracks from the USA version ''KEEP YOU HANDS OFF MY POWER SUPPLY'' KAMIKAZE, showed everyone that ''SLADE'' were indeed ''BAK'' and the ''BOSS'' sound ''COCKY ROCK ROCK BOYS RULE OK'' INDEED they do
on 16 September 2007
The main theme running through this album appears to be fast cars and even faster women! The album kicks off with the rip-roaring `Slam The Hammer Down' with Noddy Holder belting out the vocals (in his usual trademark fashion) and some superb heavy guitar riffs. This is a great opening track.
Track 2 - `In The Dog House' is a catchy rock/pop number and this is followed by the hit single `Run Runaway' which has a definite Celtic flavour to it. Track 4 - `High And Dry' is about a Michael Caine/Alfie- type character and features an outstanding vocal performance by Noddy. This is probably my favourite track on the album.
Next up is the sublime mega-hit `My Oh My'. It is ironic that this track, which opens with the line "I believe in woman my oh my" should immediately follow `High And Dry' with its love `em and leave `em theme! `My Oh My' starts off as a fairly gentle rock ballad with just piano and simple percussion accompaniment and gradually builds up to a powerful rock anthem that is up there with Queen's `We Are The Champions', Scorpions' `Wind Of Change' and `God Gave Rock And Roll To You' by Kiss!
Track 6 - `Cocky Rock Boys' is, I think, probably a tribute to Slade's fans and rock fans in general. Track 7 is the colossal `Ready To Explode' with its motor racing theme. When you bring up the subject of all-time great epic rock songs most people will think of Led Zeppelin's `Stairway To Heaven', Lynyrd Skynyrd's `Freebird', Queen's `Bohemian Rhapsody' or maybe even Meat Loaf's `Bat Out Of Hell' but I think Slade's `Ready To Explode' ranks alongside these classic songs with it's great vocals, bass and guitar work and effective use of sound effects.
There is a change of mood and tempo with the next track `C'est La Vie' which is in 3/4 time. Certain parts of this song reminded me of `Take It To The Limit' by Eagles. `Cheap N Nasty Luv' is yet another Slade song about a woman of the streets (no I don't mean a traffic warden) and the final song on the album proper is `Razzle Dazzle Man' - inspired by Noddy's mirror-festooned top hat perhaps? This track could be a continuation of `Ready To Explode' as certain motifs from that epic track are repeated here. The song sets off at full throttle before the tempo slows and the song effortlessly drifts into a Led Zeppelin-esque power ballad. Even the lyrics which are chanted repeatedly could have come from Robert Plant's pen - "It's good to see you, don't you know. It's been a long time, don't you know". Noddy even sounds like Robert Plant on this track. Not too many rock bands can match the awesome raw power of Led Zeppelin but I reckon Slade can! So an excellent fitting end to a brilliant album then? No, not quite... this re-mastered CD version also contains 6 bonus tracks - including alternative versions of the singles `Run Runaway' and `My Oh My' along with their B-Sides and a "Hotter Mix" of `Slam The Hammer Down' with added brass!
At the risk of sounding clichéd, I have to say that this really is a terrific album and one that proved Slade, after many hit singles and successful albums, had still got it. In my opinion Slade is easily one of the greatest bands in rock history. The only problem now is that I have to save enough cash to collect Slade's entire back catalogue!
on 11 October 2008
I haven't much to say about this album, except it's all great. Ready To Explode, however, is WWWOOWWW. I love prog rock, rock new and old. Ready to explode is a contender for mammoth POWERHOUSE song of the century along with Bat Out Of Hell -and I'm NOT joking (it's 8m 30s BTW)!!! The theme from RTE still continues with the outro of Razzle Dazzle Man making it almost a concept album. Buy it!!! I'm NOT a massive Slade fan BUT this ROCKS - it's totally killer.. young and old rockers will understand.......If you don't like it - come and visit me and I'll find something you WILL like but blah blah blah. TRUST me if you like rock music.... x *Bad song alert - My oh My - sorry (cheesy 80s pap pop rock) a small price to pay*... :-D *peace* " It's good to see you don't you know, It's been a long time don't you know......"