Top critical review
When it's good it's good.
on 6 April 2017
The production values on all Nazareth albums are top notch, none more so than this album. In the case of Salvo remastering it for CD, I'd go one step further and say this must be close to studio reference quality. The music is so clear , which for me enhances the listening experience enormously.
Curiously, the songs here, are driven by the bass rather than lead or rythm guitar. Congrats to Pete Agnew for such stunning work, but Manny ''where were you?''
'The fool circle' was their second album of the 80's. Like it's predecessor ,this selection of songs is a million miles away from 1970's Nazareth. A case in point is the opening track here. It's called 'dressed to kill' but it's as war-like as ''Hammy hamster, in tales from the river bank.'' The least said about track one the better. The second song is a highlight. "Another year" is amazing stuff. The subject matter of life and death AND NOT SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF is all there to savour (probably inspired by Little Feat's trouble...which McCafferty
himself recorded on his eponymous album).
Tracks 3 & 4 are not to my taste. The vocoder on track 4 drives me demented.
Track 5 Let me be your leader is better. Given the contribution of keyboardist John Locke here, it's no wonder they went on to ask him to officially join the band.
Track 6 We are the people has a memorable tune and lyrically it is the best song on offer. It contains the unfortunate boast "we can change the format if the sales go down". After this album, the sales went down, down, deeper and down (even though the next one ''2XS'' , was a return to form musically).
Track 7 'Every young mans dream' is infectious, but then, so is measles. The lyrics are weak, as in tracks 1, 3 and 4 - amateur hour at best.
Track 8. ' A little part of you ' should have been the 45 rpm 7" single. McCafferty soars as does guitarist Manny Charlton. Nevertheless, this would have been a 'filler' track on a 1970's Naz allbum, whereas on ''The Fool Circle'', it's the second best ''new'' track behind (Another year).
Track 9 is a great live version of an old stage favourite, 'Cocaine' and featuring the recently departed Zal Cleminson (who'd bailed ...not died). Magnificent.
Track 10 is embarrassing. Truly awful. Excruciating lyrics and an ill advised Beach Boys 'good vibrations insert. This has the saddest chorus of all time.
Thank God for the bonus tracks 2, 5, 6, 8,9 the unconnected bonus songs...and yes thank God for the packaging inclusive of booklet.
Between 'Razamanaz (1973) - No mean city (1978), Nazareth were unbeatable. In 1982 they released the marvellous ''2XS'', and 1983's ''Sound elixir'' was a fine effort. From 1984 - 1990 their next releases were rather patchy, after which long serving guitar maestro left.
It was never the same after that, but at least they gave us a handful of great songs: ''Every time it rains 1991'', ''Nothing so good 1998'', ''Gloria 2008'', ''Butterfly 2011.'' I, for one didn't like their last album to feature Dan McCafferty called ''Rock n roll telephone 2014'', but hey guys...when you're good, you're very good. Thank you for the music.