on 5 August 2008
'Sweet Freedom' released in 1973 at the height of their popularity is without doubt the best written, most consistant, best played and best produced album of them all even topping Demons and Wizards in my opinion for shere overall class blowing the previous album 'Magician's Birthday' out of the water and should have set the standard for the future.
It blasts off with 'Dreamer' - a heavy loud song full of Heep delights with about everything that one could want.. a fantasic air guitar opportunity here..
(Wah Wah by the bucket load), a great start quickly followed by the classic Heep favourite 'Stealin' which is still part of their live set today. Wonderful stuff. Next up is 'One Day' a short, sharp brilliant song which leads us into the title track which is about as good as it ever got.. great songwriting and power and I can never resist singing along with the chorus line. Byron on top form here right enough!
'If I had the time' is another belter with Moog, wandering Thain bass lines and those magical multi tracked harmonies and slide guitar so unique to Heep, 'Seven Stars' rocks into the one slower tempo number 'Circus' which is a clever little tune beautifully sung with some nice harmonics from Mick Box and then no sooner has the last note faded away into the distance when we are brought down to earth with the Sledgehammer Hammond intro of the fantasic 'Pilgrim' - loud, Heavy and brilliantly sung and performed by everyone. "Love or War I could not choose, and so both I had to lose..!" What a great line to finish on.
So there you are, nothin' wrong here.. just as it should have been, great songs, great lively performance and a great production. Faultless!
you must buy,better than even the demons album,high praise indeed,if i live to be a 100 i'll never understand why this disc is never included in classic lists from the 70's,foot stompin singles,stealin and sweet freedom,classic rock via pilgrim and if i had the time,the beautiful circus and dreamer which crams every uriah trick in the book into one song,probably the last classic byron album
on 16 December 2015
This is a review of the current (2015) vinyl reissue by Sanctuary.
First of all, I have not heard a 1973 vinyl version of this album for donkey's years and thus cannot directly compare, but Sanctuary's reissue sounds superb. The vinyl itself is flat and solid (180g I suspect) and plays through cleanly, and the labels recreate the original 1970's Bronze labels which is a nice touch I always think.
The cover doesn't quite replicate the slightly unusual and possibly unique original 1973 cover, but it is a gatefold and it does contain most if not all of the original band photography. The inner sleeve contains the lyrics and does accurately reproduce the original 1973 inner if my memory is serving me correctly.
It is worth noting that the front cover DOES replicate the original vinyl LP cover, and is NOT as currently shown on Amazon which is a reproduction of a previous CD reissue. Similarly, this vinyl reissue is a single vinyl LP which contains the original 8 tracks only with NO extra/bonus tracks.
This reissue is so good that I have subsequently bought another couple of Heep reissues, and these are equally beautifully done.
Great job Sanctuary.
on 27 April 2011
A great line up with one of the master bass players and some fantastic song writing.
An album from the end of the golden period where they could do no wrong except in the music press.
It shows that some bands just knew how to play. Sweet Freedom, One Day & Stealin' all on one budget album - What fantastic value for an album that has stood the test of time.
Possible not quite up there with a few others by UH but a 5 star album all the same.
If you like this though, why no also try "into the wild" for a more modern variation of a similar theme. Perhaps Ken Hensley's lyrics are better here but the production values on the modern album are even better.
on 6 January 2008
I love Heep they are a band that to me were amazing live and stood up against any good rock band. But their studio work wasnt as good as it should of been now I cant say too much because I only own six albums . and This is the best of the late 70`s era. I saw them on the Sweet freedom tour and loved it!! this album is what I would call a kick ass rock album, again selling very well ( shame about the US release of their single Stealin ) radio people didnt like the `done me the ranchers daughter `line , sounds tame to todays standards but harmed air play.the next album Wonderworld well! great tour ,but album not so strong a few good tracks though!. If you want to try some Heep then start here or dip further back to Demons or Magicians birthday, this remastered is the dogs!Mick Box guitars, Ken Hensley keyboards, Lee Kerslake drums,David Byron vocals and Gary (the thin man) Thain bass. this line cut Demons,Magicians,Live,Freedom and Wonderworld.also six bonus tracks.
on 28 January 2012
I bought this a couple of weeks ago and have played it alot i was very pleased with it,i went to see Uriah Heep last year the where fantastic so i have decided to buy more Heep cds.Would also recommend Wake the sleeper.
on 31 January 2011
A very eagerly awaiting release back in 1973 as the David Byron fronted band was at its peak after the very successful `Demon & Wizards' and `Magician's Birthday' albums. I no longer have my original vinyl as completely worn out but still have the pre-release `Stealin/Sunshine' single, which is still is in excellent playing condition.
There has been a continuous debate if this album was the best or the `Demons and Wizards' album from the Byron era. Clearly musical tastes differ and my view was then and still is today that the Demons and Wizards album slightly edges this on overall on song quality consistency. No doubt others will disagree.
I can recall some quality problems on the first batch of the original album release particularly on the first track `Dreamer giving a few loud clicks and even jumping the groove in places. Back then it was very debatable if it was the record and/or the poor quality of the record deck. I have been playing the 1990 Castle release of the album before purchasing this re-issue on vinyl. I never purchased the Sanctuary expanded 2003 version because I thought, unlike the other expanded releases; it did not offer any major advantages with the extra tracks. The sound quality of the 1990 CD version is very reasonable for a digital format.
So after 37years I have the album again on vinyl and holding this substantial, artistic package rather than a small square piece of plastic CD packaging is again very rewarding. The cover has been perfectly restored even with the confusing aspect of the record being accessed from the inner side of the double gatefold cover. This still confuses me on picking the album to play with the mind on autopilot but it is a very effective design for stopping the vinyl from accidentally falling out of the cover. Lyrics as per original are very clearly displayed on the inside of the gatefold cover. A reinforced hinge and strong cover protects the heavy weight vinyl perfectly. Vinyl weight is 197g . There is a slight ripple on the record edge and some small amounts of audible surface noise but nothing major to spoil the sonic quality.
The sound quality is reasonable although I get the impression it is compressed on the high frequency end but more pronounced on the lower frequency side when I compare it back-to-back vs the original `Stealin' single. This is typical of my experience with modern re-mastered releases from the 70s. The new release is quieter, less bright and the volume needs to be moved up to get a decent listening level compared to the other recent Uriah Heep vinyl releases I have purchased (`Very Heavy',`Salisbury' and `Demons & Wizards'). It is still a very enjoyable listening experience to play this `Sweet Freedom' album gain on the vinyl format.
`Stealin' is still the stand out track for me on this album and it remains my favourite Uriah Heep song from the 70s. The organ/bass and vocals at the start then the heavy sequence gives the song a great structure and shows the immense talent David Byron had on vocals. I heard them play it many times live in the 70s, a true classic.
The whole band plays extremely well together on this album and as it the third studio album with this line-up you can hear the high confidence level. The bass on this release is particularly detailed and highlights even more what a great asset Gary Thain was to the band. Ken Hensley's song writing continues to be a major positive factor in the quality of the album.
The other highlights for me on this album are `Pilgrim' (driving guitar/organ and powerful vocal harmonies), `Seven Stars' (very catchy tune again with excellent vocal harmonies) and `Sweet Freedom' (Great musical intro build-up and strong vocal performance).
In conclusion, not an audiophile sound quality re-master but still very reasonable. In my view vinyl is still the best format for classic 70s rock albums and this release is strongly recommended.
on 20 July 2010
Released in 1973 at the height of their popularity SWEET FREEDOM is without doubt the best written, played, produced and their most solid album of them all maybe even topping the albums generally considered by the fans as their very best: "DEMONS AND WIZARDS" or "WONDERWORLD". The classic and best Uriah Heep line up developed a unique musical languaje between them. The late Gary Thain s' solid and melodical bass lines clearly original but at the same time derivative of John Entwistle s' are so rare today.... and along with Mick Box, unique use of the Wah Wah, with Ken Hensley s' organ trying to be over the top plus Lee Kerslake solid drummin and the late underrated David Byron on vocals, created a band synergy so unique, that today s'version of the band can not match. It is clear to me that URIAH HEEP had a very special and at the same time solid and fragile chemistry between band members based on competition (similar to THE WHO s').
The album opens with a Thain, Box, Kerslake song 'Dreamer' - a heavy loud (and complex), song full of Heep s' fantasic intercharge between the players, specially Mick Box excelentt use of the Wah Wah. A great solid start.
Followed by the classic hit single 'Stealin' which is still part of their live set today. Wonderful stuff.
Next up is 'One Day' a short song that is maybe the least interesting in the album.
The title track comes next which is about as good as it ever got.. great songwriting and power and I can never resist singing along with the chorus line. Byron on top form here right enough!
Followed by Ken Hensley s''If I had the time' is another great showcase for the Moog and organ (courtesy of Mr. Hensley), and the extraordinary melodic Gary Thain bass lines and those magical multi tracked harmonies and slide guitar so unique to Heep.
'Seven Stars' really rocks and is a extraordinary exposure of the band at their highest of their musical power. This song along with "Circus", "If I had the Time" and "Pilgrim" are the hard core of this great album.
The slower tempo number 'Circus', a Gary Thain,Mick Box and David Byron composition could have been a smash hit single if released as a such. Beautiful guitar execution, "Circus" is a winner, beautifully sung with some nice harmonics from Mick Box.
The Sledgehammer Hammond intro of the fantasic 'Pilgrim' - loud, heavy and brilliantly sung and performed by everyone, closed the original album. "Pilgrim" is a complex song that portraits all the best Uriah Heep original sound and elements.
This new edition includes several bonus tracks, that reafirms the album and leaves us wanting for more, specially the "Seven Stars" longer (but slower?) version. The liner notes inform us that there are many lefovers in the can, recorded during the sessions. Hope one day we will be able to hear them.
on 21 February 2014
Another group introduced to me by the great 'FLUFF' Freeman in the early 70s.
Whilst this album doesn't quite scale the heights of the earlier Heep albums, this one is worthy of 5 stars.
For Heep fans, buy this - I don't think you'll be disappointed.
This is Heep's finest studio album, from their classic line-up, Box, Byron,Hensley, Kerslake, Thain.
I bought this originally on vinyl about a year after it was released (and I started work, so I could afford to buy the albums I wanted).
This remaster for CD is excellent - although I can take or leave the additional tracks.Generally I prefer an album to be remasterd and simply released as it was intended originally. Put "bonus" tracks on a second CD if you want.
Sweet Freedom is one of my favourite tracks of all time and years after listening to the vinyl album and before buying the CD I would still find myself humming bits of it.
I love the clarity of the playing on this album - it really shows what a loss to music when Gary Thain died, he had such a musical feel to his bass playing(particularly noticeable on the title track).
This is a must have album for any fan of 70s British rock.