It was really great to find this article from the very early days of Nazareth as a recording and touring band. It is incredible to think that Pete Agnew have been in this band for 50 years in 2018. I guess he could play some of the bass lines in his sleep if it was possible. I hope you enjoy this one.
Yearning for the sweet smell of success
By Jerry Gilbert
Having seen the crowd reactions to Nazareth in Germany and America as well as Britain it is easy to sympathise with the band`s wishes for a little bit of justice on home land.
And last week when I spoke to Dan McCafferty and Pete Agnew on the eve of their second stint in the States there was just a hint of perplexity about it all.
For although they tackle their American campaign with the kind of confidence that got them away to such a great start in the States earlier this year, they would frankly be happier reinforcing their names in Britain.
And as for Germany – well, that`s something else again. They command huge fees in Germany and reckon they play there almost every month. “We even know how to direct the Germans around their own country, telling them which autobahns to take and where to change,” quipped Pete.
At a recent German Festival the band opened the show and were still being cheered back when the last band finished – six hours later.
A combination of bad luck and a recent disappointing album seem to be the main reasons for Nazareth`s failure to get on. They missed the Reading Festival because they were late arriving – and it was a Festival which was crying out for some enthusiastic newcomers to steal the show.
Nazareth might have been the band to do it as indeed they might with their recent album “Exercises” had it lived up to expectations. But alas the word “might” is rarely written into the annals and in Nazareth`s case one feels the band have only themselves to blame for the comparative failure of “Exercises”. For they decided on a drastic swing towards acoustic rock and orchestration when the whole essence of their sound is based on layers of volume and the phenomenal singing of Dan McCafferty.
“Next time around we want to do an album that will suit Dan`s voice,” Pete explained. “So far we`ve done basically songs and some of them haven`t even been in his range so this one will be for his voice.
“We`ve already got a couple of things pretty certain for the album – `Teenage Nervous Breakdown` which was written by Lowell George of Little Feat and `Hard Living` which we used to do and then started to do again after it was put out as a single in Germany.
“We`re not sure yet about `Going Down` – we heard all the versions of that song, the dire versions and the good versions, and just decided to do our own.”
The Don Nix song shows just how cleverly Nazareth have built the song around McCafferty`s voice and it is already one of the stage favourites and a worthy number despite the fact that it has been recorded by Nix, Freddie King, Chicken Shack and other bands.
And so for the next couple of months there will be little to remind us how underrated Nazareth are (save for a recent splendid performance at the Marquee) as they wend their way about the States.
“We were really excited when we first went to America but this time all we`re talking about is `when the group gets back from America…` We`re doing this tour with Buddy Miles again and also Ginger Baker and as we`re the only band of our kind on the bill we hope to do well,” says Pete.
But both Dan and Pete are adamant that it is at home that they really yearn for the sweet smell of success. “When we first came down from Scotland we did all the wee clubs and since then we`ve done things with Atomic Rooster, Rory Gallagher and the Faces, but we`ve never really followed anything up and done any concentrated work here.
“I think we really took off in Germany after we did a `Beat Club` and the single `Dear John` and the album both took off. So as promoters started to offer the money for us so we began to play there more and more to recoup the losses,” they explained.
I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!
This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: John McLaughlin, Faces, John & Yoko, Eagles, Genesis, Yes, JSD Band.
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