Nazareth

ARTICLE ABOUT Nazareth FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, MAY 1, 1976

Always nice to read a live review of Nazareth in their prime. What a band they were! Luckily I have seen them live with the original members and they were quite powerful indeed. One of the best.

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Nazareth
__________
Hammersmith

By Angie Errigo

When the seat next to me collapsed and the tampon sailed over my head and into my lap I was tempted to leave. I reckon managing to hang on to my notebook through the encore deserves a medal for services beyond the call of boogie.
Some concert! Some audience! Some fun?
The assembled patrons looked primarily like the little brothers of the Groundhogs audiences from whom one used to flee, and Rory Gallagher crowds before whom one quakes. Their attitude of getting down and getting with it was brought home to me by two customers behind me. They were about 15 and all through the first set from Widowmaker they howled and stomped, kicked the backs of seats in time and gave whoops of ecstacy.
Suddenly one of them turned to the other and said “They`re not too bad, are they?”
“Ahhh, it`s a bunch of crap” the other replied and resumed whooping.

Widowmaker are nothing of they aren`t killingly loud. Steve Ellis has got something, but it`s hard to say what it is, at that volume. Ariel Bender, pinched into the most awfully unbecoming trousers and wearing a Cute Hat, leapt over, under, around and particularly in front of the other members of the band quite a bit. His posing is rather tentative, like he`s pretty convinced he`s a Star but he doesn`t want to get beat up in the dressing room for strutting too much in one go.

The drummer does a lot of groovy grimacing, like a cross between the village idiot and the sulphate strangler, but he`s okay. The second guitarist looks like he escaped from Sweet, but he did quite nicely while Ariel was traipsing around, and the bassist is dandy.

I don`t really like their belligerence but Ellis is a worthy belter and they`ll probably do quite well if they can stomach each other long enough to establish themselves.
I had no idea Nazareth are so popular, or so head splitting. Dan McCafferty has the most alarming set of pipes this side of Ethel Merman, and the marvel is that he can scream so loud and still produce shades and contrasts in his vocals and put over lyrics so well.
The first three numbers – “Telegram”, “Razamanaz” and “Bad Bad Boy” – were beyond criticism. How can you be analytical about being run over by some crazy, out of control, sonic boogie machine? Guitarist Manny Charlton (in competition with Bender for Funny Trousers of the Night in rather extraordinary black leather britches) is big on the breakneck chops, and bassist Pete Agnew and drummer Darrell Sweet come on like their barbarian ancestors who freaked out the Romans by screaming and bagpiping like loonies.

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Naz`s version of “Love Hurts”, which was Jim Capaldi`s recent success here, is completely different and surprisingly nice, combining as they do the pretty melody and subtle rhythms with that grotesque volume.

The rest of the performance was more varied. “Loretta” from the new “Close Enough for Rock and Roll” lp and “Changing Time” from “Hair of the Dog” reeked with classically stylized heavy metal riffs. “Honky Tonk Downstairs”, a number from McCafferty`s solo lp, featured a punchy, countryish delivery from Dan, and the folk song “The Long Black Veil” was sung quite prettily and mercifully acapella by McCafferty, Agnew and Sweet.

Most of this was interspersed with the predictably derivative guitar solos, beefy bass breaks and rapid shrieks that put hair on the boys` chests. For “Whiskey Drinking Woman”, “This Flight Tonight” and “Woke Up This Morning” everybody was either on their seat or down front getting their money`s worth.

I`m sure if I`d tanked up a bit beforehand I would have felt more rollicking myself, but older and more sober than most of the audience I found the variety of objects flying through the air, the breaking seats and the mindless, relentless licks curiously unmoving.
After lots of hollering and clapping they came back for “Broken Down Angel” which featured a rather good sing-along from the audience on chorus. I must say I`d prefer an audience like this myself if I was up there. When they want you they really want you, and they sure aren`t embarrassed to act crazy.

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Travel was easy and cheap in the seventies.

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 New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Buffy Sainte-Marie, Graham Parker, Louis Jordan, Jimi Hendrix, Horace Silver, Jimmy Castor, Bill Bruford, Rick Wakeman.

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ARTICLE ABOUT Nazareth FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, October 27, 1973

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

I think this band was one of the very best of the 70s, and they deserve more credit than I feel that they get. So here`s another interview for you!

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Nazareth show their metal

Steve Clarke checks out plane paranoia and pictish pyrotechnics as Nazareth open their tour in Liverpool.

Sometimes it can be a little scary being a rock`n`roller.
Like, when you`re just three days home from an American tour which meant flying two, maybe three times a day – and now that you`re home `n` touring you still find yourself flying. And the aircraft you`re in isn`t a TWA Jumbo Jet but a 15-seater Heron with a fuselage about the size of an economy size toothpaste tube.
Promoter Peter Bowyer – you know, the fella that presents shows and gets his name at the top of the ads – says he chartered the plane for “a giggle”. But Nazareth`s Pete Agnew hasn`t shown his teeth once since he got on board. That is, until he shifts his ass and takes over the co-pilot`s seat and is still sitting there when the damn thing lands at Speke Airport, Liverpool.

Nazareth had arrived home from their third American tour – their first since breaking over here – on Monday, which gave them three days to relax and rehearse new numbers for the tour which opened on Thursday. A Top Of The Pops appearance cut the three days down to two and, what with one thing and another, they never really got down to rehearsing those new numbers. And at ten minutes past six on the coach to Liverpool Stadium drummer Darryl Sweet isn`t too sure whether there`s going to be any new numbers at all. In fact, it`s going to be all down to a rehearsal before the gig. He admits it`s a ridiculous situation but one that couldn`t really be avoided since final mixing of the new “Loud `n` Proud” album didn`t take place until six hours before the group were due to fly to New York.
According to Sweet, the album is an improvement on “Razamanaz” – a record which the group thought it would be difficult to better. Once again ex-Purple bassist Roger Glover produced the set, which contains five original compositions and three covers – Little Feat`s “Teenage Nervous Breakdown”, an 11-minute version of Dylan`s “Ballad Of Hollis Brown” – and the song which has been lifted as a single, Joni Mitchell`s “This Flight Tonight”.

Of their version of “Hollis Brown” Sweet says: “It`s the biggest thing we`ve ever tackled. For four guys it`s quite an achievement. It`s synthesised sounds without a synthesiser.” Of the album as a whole he reckons it`s easily the best thing Nazareth have recorded: “The performances individually and collectively are so much better. The numbers are great. The production is another step up as well.”
Nazareth`s recording of “This Flight Tonight” came as something of a shock to me. I mean Joni Mitchell and Nazareth are pretty strange bedfellows. But all the band dig the lady`s music, though it was guitarist Manny Charlton`s idea to do it. But didn`t they think their version might offend a few of Joni`s admirers?
“We are Joni Mitchell fans,” replies Sweet, hardly getting the words out before Agnew adds: “I don`t care if Joni Mitchell fans like it. Joni Mitchell does and that`s the main thing.”

But how come, fellas? You mean she`s told you she digs it? They answer in the affirmative, and they didn`t just meet Miss Joni once but twice at A and M`s Hollywood studios. The studios known as “The Lot” are now quite a tourist attraction as they were converted from Charlie Chaplin`s old film studio. “We were given an extensive tour. `Come and see this – this is where Charlie did this, where Charlie did that`. The guy taking us round said Joni Mitchell was in the studios and said `Come on let`s just barge in`. Of course we were a bit shy and said no, not if she`s recording. We didn`t want to interrupt anybody`s recording session. He said `No, she`s listening to play-backs – she`s already recorded. We`ll be okay`.”

Nazareth did as the man said and found Joni to be “a very straightforward, down-to-earth person”. When they told her they`d recorded one of her songs naturally the lady was interested, so two nights later the boys took along a copy of “This Flight Tonight” for her and producer Henry Lewy to listen to. The verdict? “She thoroughly enjoyed it and Henry Lewy flipped. Especially at the head-phone piece.” Sweet adds that, as with much of Nazareth`s material, the construction of “This Flight Tonight” is Roger Glover`s.
“I would say Roger`s forte is arrangement – the jig-saw work.”

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In America Nazareth have yet to make a sizeable impact, although it would be untrue to say they`re a nonentity over there. Far from it. “Razamanaz” has featured in the album charts and the band are best known in the Mid-West.
Mostly though, Nazareth were opening on their tour – though they did top at three club dates. Sweet says it was their most successful tour to date and there was recognition for the “Razamanaz” numbers. Being so close personally – Sweet and Agnew have been playing together for 12 years, Agnew and McCafferty went through school together and Charlton has been with Nazareth four years – the pressures of touring America are less likely to affect Nazareth than, say, a band that has only been together for a year or so.
“So many groups get together for six months and they don`t really know each other as people and the pressures of touring the States can wreck them. We`ve all known each other for many years. We think along the same lines on most things. Democracy is the keyword when it comes to group decisions. Everything goes to the vote. If I say `no` and three say `yes` then yes is the answer,” affirms Sweet.

This British tour is Nazareth`s second this year and the band hope it will consolidate their position as a major musical force in the country. As with the last tour, the gigs are coincidental with the release of a new album and single – which means Nazareth`s management have got it pretty well sewn up.
With only an hour or so to rehearse new numbers at Liverpool Sweet is grinning like a baby when he announces: “At ten past six I told you I didn`t know whether we`d have any new numbers for tonight. It`s now quarter past eight and we`ve got four.”

Liverpool Stadium alternates between presenting wrestling promotions and rock shows. The audiences are notorious for getting a little rowdy and last time Nazareth played the stadium a whole front row of seats was demolished – which probably accounts for the “Important – no standing on the seats” notice which confronts you immediately as you walk into the stadium.
The backstage area is a typical opening-night-of-the-tour scene. The champagne flows freely and a few greetings telegram lay scattered amidst the guitar cases as the band hastily run through “This Flight Tonight” again. They`ve never played it before live and it is a pretty tricky song.
Silverhead are supporting on the tour but they fail to show. We hear their van has broken down somewhere between Devon and Liverpool.
John Lennon`s “Imagine” album is the last record on before the group, which is a pretty nice thing to play considering where we are.

But when the band come on the reaction is spontaneous. The audience – average age around 14-15 – immediately rise from their seats. McCafferty comes on last and the crowd reserve a big cheer for him. They dig Dan a lot in Liverpool. Sweet bangs out the almost-Bo Diddley rhythm and they`re into “Night Woman”.
Nazareth are the complete opposite of the sophistication and so-called decadence of Bowie or Roxy Music. They have little style or presentation, their music reflecting their earthiness. Say what you like – they don`t look like rock`n`rollers. Nazareth are the archetypal working class rock`n`roll band.
America has undoubtedly tightened them up and the Liverpool gig is the best I`ve seen them play. Their handling of the new numbers – considering the time they haven`t had to rehearse them – is a credit to the band. Even with Agnew`s harsh bass lines prominent they`ve turned “This Flight Tonight” into a boogie number, and their own two new compositions “Turn On Your Receiver” (the theme tune to Bob Harris`s Monday programme) and “Go Down Fighting” are relentless pieces of rock.

They`re not 100 per cent heavy metal though this aspect is an important part of their make-up. “Broken Down Angel”, which has the crowd singing along football-terrace fashion, is in the Rod Stewart “Maggie”/”You Wear It Well” vein.
And their version of Little Feat`s “Teenage Nervous Breakdown”, with Agnew adding back-up vocals, is once again pure rock`n`roll. For once, an encore seems really wanted and they do three numbers before returning to the dressing room. There`s more champagne this time and their co-manager Bill Fahilly – who`d make a great Falstaff if he ever found himself out of a job – proclaims triumphantly: “They played bloody great! I don`t give a damn what the Press says.” And you know what? He`s right. Besides I wouldn`t like to argue with a man that size.

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Nazareth – on top of their game!

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Rolling Stones, Wings, David Bowie, Tony McPhee, Roxy Music, Leo Kottke, The Who, Stephen Stills, Captain America (The comic explored), Stray Dog.

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ARTICLE ABOUT Nazareth FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, JUNE 9, 1973

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

I met the members of this band when I worked as a radio reporter/presenter for Radio 1. It was long after their heyday in the 70`s, this must have been at the end of the 80`s. I met them at the top of a restaurant/disco in my hometown where they had their own improvised bar full of whiskey and other “refreshments”. They were in a good mood when I came, but luckily for me Darrell Sweet (RIP) was fairly sober while conducting the interview.
Their press agent warned me beforehand that whatever I asked I had to remember they were scottish and never use the B or E word when speaking about nationality. Good advice.
Really great guys – and I really enjoyed speaking at length with Darrell. Enjoy this interview from their early days!

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Nazareth – gigging fit to bust…

Steve Clarke: Liverpool

`Have you seen those chairs out there?” asks Nazareth`s Dan McCafferty, gesturing towards the demolished front two rows of Liverpool Stadium. “That`s why we don`t take our car to gigs.”
Okay he`s joking. McCafferty jokes a lot. But the point is made. Nazareth`s audiences are beginning to react in the timehonoured way. And tonight`s gig at Liverpool is no isolated incident, as the band and the scratches along their publicist`s arms will testify.
McCafferty leaves the converted boxing ring which serves for a stage at the stadium and a posse of girls pounce on him like a wild cat clawing its prey.
“It scares me a bit that guys up front might get pushed against the stage. It could have happened tonight,” says drummer Darrell Sweet, expressing fear more for the audience. Nazareth guitarist Manny Charlton agrees: “The thing that worries me is that some of the kids might get crushed up front. At least I can take a few steps back. They are only kids.”

Liverpool was the 32nd of 40 gigs on what is really Nazareth`s first headlining major tour. On their last trek around the nation, they were supporting Deep Purple – a band Nazareth have often been compared with.
They share a healthy respect for one another and Purple bassist Roger Glover produced “Razamanaz”, Nazareth`s third and what`s likely to be their first hit album.
“Roger was like a member of the band. He contributed quite a lot to the actual structure of the songs. He understood us and we understood him,” says Sweet.

It`s the single from the album “Broken Down Angel,” and its subsequent rise in the charts, that accounts for the growth of crowd hysteria.
At the beginning of the tour, says Sweet, their audiences were the nucleus of Nazareth fans who had supported them from the beginning. As the single took off, audiences got younger and now consist of 12 to 18 year olds, split 50/50 between male and female.

The band`s stage act leans heavily on the last album, opening with “Night Woman” – loud and heavy with McCafferty screaming out the words.
Look around and there are heads shaking everywhere. At the end the crowd leaps up ecstatically arms stretched out and peace signs pointing towards the sky.
It`s not until Charlton squeezes out the opening notes of “Morning Dew” (not that it`s easy to recognise the Tim Rose song unless you happen to be a Nazareth freak) that the crowd rush forward.
Arms are stretched out. McCafferty goes into a teasing routine, stepping nearer then retreating just in time. At the end of a number he too stretches out his arms.

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To his left, bassist Pete Agnew looks slightly ridiculous as he trots around in circles, not taking any chances with his platform soles. Charlton wears knee-high silver boots and a black Gibson which, towards the end of the set, he unhitches to swipe at the mike stand.
Sweet hides behind his huge yellow drum kit, every now and then making his way around the row of tom-toms. He`s a fine drummer.
“Broken Down Angel” has the audience out-singing the band and the set closes with “Bad Bad Boy”. McCafferty bares his chest and allows his shirt to dangle by his hips awhile before throwing it into the crowd. They encore with rock `n` roll.

Although their music offers little food for thought, it`s difficult not to like the band. They obviously enjoy what they`re doing and are only now reaping the success they deserve after two years of heavy gigging.
At one time Nazareth used to support Rory Gallagher, who himself has a reputation as Britain`s hardest working rock `n` roller. It wasn`t until Gallagher`s bassist Gerry McAvoy came to watch Nazareth on several occasions that they actually realised they were, in fact, working harder than the Gallagher band.
“Over the last 18 months, we have probably been the country`s hardest working band,” claims Sweet.

As the current tour winds its way to a close, Nazareth do admit to being a little ragged round the edges. But backstage at Liverpool they still have time to meet the fans and go through the laborious task of autograph signing.
“The kids have paid money to get in. It doesn`t take much to sign your bloody name, and we are here to make friends,” says Charlton.
After the tour the band will rest, and then cut another album. Another single from the album, possibly “Bad Bad Boy”, is on the cards, though the feeling within Nazareth is that one single from an album is enough.

They`ve already toured the States twice, last time with Ginger Baker`s Salt – not an altogether successful tour. The band don`t want to risk another American tour as unknowns, and are hoping “Broken Down Angel” will give them the necessary recognition when it`s released there.
Meanwhile, their management are surveying the aftermath of the Liverpool gig, weighing up just how much will be deducted from Nazareth`s fee. But then, it is good publicity.

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Right….just so we are clear.

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Roxy Music, Greg Lake, Slade, Gary Glitter, Mott The Hoople, Silverhead, Clarence White, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Soft Machine.

This newspaper is sold!