Top positive review
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Worth buying just for the original album alone
on 5 November 2011
Without wishing to sound hackneyed or somewhat trite, 1977 saw Nazareth still within their 'glory days' both commercially and artistically. Manny Charlton has since commented that he was beginning to feel a little stretched as a guitarist and indeed after no less than nine invariably diverse studio albums in the short space of just 6 years that's more than understandable! It's my view that Nazareth with the addition of Zal Cleminson a year later reached their absolute pinnacle. But for now let's get onto 'Expect No Mercy'...
For fans like me who already had 'Expect No Mercy' prior to the Salvo re-issue, the jewel in the crown is owning the original rejected album which was previously unheard with the exception of 'Greens' and 'Desolation Road' (released as B sides). This long overdue release contains some real nuggets including the blistering 'Life Of A Dog' which features an awesome snarling McCafferty vocal.
It's hard to say which are the definitive versions of 'Shot Me Down' & 'Gone Dead Train' after listening to the standard album for all these years. Both of these tracks in their original forms [rejected by A&M label executives] bordered on country rock, not something I'd usually be partial to however the band sure did pull it off exceptionally well. Personally I like both.
Although I think the suits at A&M were right to deny the twee 'Moonlight Eyes' and the unfinished 'Can't Keep A Good Man Down' just listen to the rejected mixes of 'Kentucky Fried Blues' along with 'Revenge Is Sweet' + 'New York Broken Toy' and it's abundantly clear how much more powerful they are than the approved cuts. Sonically superior and a whole lot heavier they rip right out of your speakers! There's a lot of extra guitar parts that really enhance these tunes, credit to Manny Charlton for remixing the old studio tapes (it sounds terrific).
The audiophile in me has one slight criticism and that's the sound on a couple of tracks 'Gimme What's Mine' & 'Busted' is a tad muddy compared to the old vinyl however these are minor gripes next to a release that represents fantastic value for money and does not stop me awarding the full 5 stars. With the exception of those two tracks everything else I've heard Salvo remaster from the back catalogue has been excellent.
I'll end this review by saying if you haven't heard the following LP [1978's 'No Mean City'] you're in for a real treat, it's even better than 'Expect No Mercy' and hasn't been bettered since.