Like most people I was introduced to Scotland's finest rock band by way of their kick-ass single "Bad Bad Boy" when it first hit the airwaves in July 1973. I quickly nipped out to Pat Egan's Sound Cellar in Dublin and nabbed the album too - the fabarooney "Razamanaz" - and I've loved them both ever since.
This is the 2nd title in Salvo's UK reissue of Nazareth's back catalogue. "Nazareth and Exercises" – the band’s first and second British albums from 1971 and 1972 – have been put onto one CD in September 2009 also and it's reviewed separately as is "Loud 'N Proud". Here are the down and dirty CD reissue details for their breakthrough 3rd album - a classic Seventies Hard Rock record that some see as their very best...
UK released September 2009 – "Razamanaz" by NAZARETH on Salvo SALVOCD031 (Barcode 0698458813121) is an 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster with Six Bonus Tracks that breaks down as follows (59:22 minutes):
1. Razamanaz [Side 1] 2. Alcatraz 3. Vigilante Man 4. Woke Up This Morning 5. Night Woman [Side 2] 6. Bad Bad Boy 7. Sold My Soul 8. Too Bad Too Sad Tracks 1 to 9 are their third studio album "Razamanaz" - released May 1973 in the UK on Mooncrest Records CREST 1 and August 1973 in the USA on A&M Records SP-4396. Produced by ROGER GLOVER of DEEP PURPLE – the album peaked at No. 11 on the UK charts and No. 158 in the USA.
BONUS TRACKS: 10. Hard Living 11. Spinning Top Tracks 10 and 11 are the 2 non-album B-sides to "Bad Bad Boy" – a UK 7" single issued on Mooncrest MOON 9 in July 1973 (peaked at No. 10).
12. Razamanaz 13. Night Woman 14. Broken Down Angel 15. Vigilante Man Tracks 12 to 15 recorded live-in-the-studio in March 1973 for The Bob Harris Radio Show on the BBC
Each of these UK issues comes in a tri-gatefold card sleeve with the 'Loud, Proud & Remastered' logo on the front cover. When folded out, you get a repro of the gatefold artwork of the original UK LP and live shots from the period (the disc in the right flap, the booklet in the left). The 16-page colour booklet is superb, liner notes by band expert JOEL McIVER, pictures of rare UK 7" singles, Euro picture sleeves, US white-label promos, black and white snaps of the band in studio and on stage - all very nicely done.
But the really big news for the fans (as it is on the 1st Salvo CD) is the fantastic new SOUND. TIM TURAN at Turan Audio has remastered the original tapes and a truly fabulous job has been done - loud, clear, and ballsy - without ever being overbearing.
Highlights - the moment the sheer speed and riffage of Manny Charlton's guitar work on "Razamanaz" hits you, you know you're in for a head's down ride. It's followed by the first of 2 covers on the album - "Alcatraz" first turned up on Leon Russell's debut album for A&M in 1971 "Leon Russell & The Shelter People" and it's funky rock backdrop suited both the band and McCafferty's rasping vocals. Just as good is the second cover - their version of Woody Guthrie's "Vigilante Man" which owes more to Ry Cooder's take on his 1972 "Into The Purple Valley" album that they'd be listening to. Then comes the absolutely blistering "Woke Up This Morning" which they'd tried on their second album "Exercises" but didn't quite get there. Here they do - it ends Side One on a blast of great rock boogie.
Side 2 opens with the drums of another funky rocker "Night Woman" sounding not unlike Bad Company at their best. The breakthrough single "Bad Bad Boy" follows which to this day sounds brill, while "Sold My Soul" sounds like Robin Trower circa "Bridge Of Sighs". Then it's back to rocking basics with the wildly catchy "Too Bad To Sad" and then ends with the other huge hit single - and some say their best track - "Broken Down Angel". Downsides - there's an "Alternate Edit" of "Razamanaz" on the 2001 remaster that could easily have been fit on here, but no show?
The BBC stuff sounds suitably rough and rocking, but still as tight as a Nun's knickers in the Vatican. It's presented in really great sound quality - the bass work of Pete Agnew on "Night Woman" is superlative. Even the quiet slide intro to "Vigilante Man" is not too drenched in hiss - then the echoed vocals impress - then they let rip...fab stuff!
A stonkin' reissue of a great rock album then - and it's cheap too. Frankly they can razzle my naz any day of the week…
I didn't latch onto Nazareth until they appeared as support act to Rory Gallagher at the Kinetic Circus in Birmingham - many, many moons ago. In fact, it wasn't until after the show that I actually found out who they were as the MC was not exactly clear in his welcoming speech - but WOW, what a set they played that night - just blew me away. Vocals like we'd never been treated to before (apologies Mr Plant!), a slide guitar from Manny Charlton that was so precise he was giving the G-man a run for his money, and all underpinned by a powerhouse rythmn section which created an overall sound that belied the fact that there were only 4 guys on stage! So, the following morning, I was straight down to the record shop to avail myself of a copy of this album and, in vinyl and CD form since, this is an album I still like to return to as it remains as fresh and powerful as the first time I played it. Kicking off with the title track it settles into a groove producing what became their stage power numbers ALCATRAZ/VIGILANTE MAN/WOKE UP THIS MORNING, great, great vocals, meaningful lyrics, sublime guitar......what more could you want?.....and while yes, there are the "poppier numbers" present in the form of BAD,BAD BOY and BROKEN DOWN ANGEL - which fitted the "pop" charts like chalk and cheese....the album is still one capable of holding your attention and leaving you with a great big grin on your face! Don't take my word for it - buy it and listen to this ear candy for yourself!
Having bought tickets to see Nazareth in Brighton recently (a great gig, and even better than when I last saw them 25 years earlier in student days), I was browsing round the official Nazareth web site and came across the link to the Salvo remaster series. Although I still have my original Razamanaz LP, it's a bit of a pain to play it and I have grown very used to the convenience of CDs and putting their content on my computer, so I thought I'd risk a little bit on the remaster.
I'm glad I did, it's excellent, you can't believe that this was an album recorded more than 35 years ago. The bonus tracks are good fun too, a couple of B-sides that I don't think made it onto any of the albums, plus BBC session versions of four of the main tracks that I hadn't heard before. There's a neat little booklet with additional notes, interview with Dan McCafferty and Pete Agnew and single sleeve pictures.
Everything sounds clear and fresh but without feeling obviously remixed; it's reignited my passion for a band that I've loved since the mid 70s. For the Nazareth fan, this package is an absolute must. For anyone else who just wants to hear some seminal British rock, I can't recommend it too highly.