Tuesday, 12 January 2010

“Razamanaz” by NAZARETH (2009 Salvo Remastered & Expanded CD Reissue) - A Review by Mark Barry...



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"…I'm A Bad Bad Boy And I'm Gonna Steal Your Love…"

Like most people I was introduced to Scotland's finest rock band by way of their kick-ass single "Bad Bad Boy" when it first hit the airwaves in July 1973. I quickly nipped out to Pat Egan's Sound Cellar in Dublin and nabbed the album too - the fabarooney "Razamanaz" - and I've loved them both ever since.

This is the 2nd title in Salvo's UK reissue of Nazareth's back catalogue - "Nazareth and Exercises" (their first and second albums on 1CD) was their first and it's reviewed separately. Here are down and dirty bad boy details for their breakthrough 3rd album…

UK released September 2009 – "Razamanaz" by NAZARETH on Salvo SALVOCD031 (Barcode 0698458813121) is a 'Remastered & Expanded' CD Reissue with Six Bonus Tracks that breaks down as follows (59:22 minutes):

1. Razamanaz
2. Alcatraz
3. Vigilante Man
4. Woke Up This Morning
5. Night Woman
6. Bad Bad Boy
7. Sold My Soul
8. Too Bad Too Sad
Tracks 1 to 9 are the album "Razamanaz" - released in May 1973 in the UK on Mooncrest Records CREST 1 and on A&M Records SP-4396 in the USA. Produced by ROGER GLOVER of DEEP PURPLE  - it peaked at No. 11 in the UK (didn't chart USA).

BONUS TRACKS: 
10. Hard Living 
11. Spinning Top
Tracks 10 and 11are the 2 non-album B-sides to "Bad Bad Boy" - a UK 7" single issued on Mooncrest MOON 9 in July 1973. 

12. Razamanaz
13. Night Woman
14. Broken Down Angel 
15. Vigilante Man
Tracks 12 to 15 recorded live-in-the-studio in March 1973 for The Bob Harris Radio Show on the BBC

Each of these UK issues comes in a tri-gatefold card sleeve with the 'Loud, Proud & Remastered' logo on the front cover. When folded out, you get a repro of the gatefold artwork of the original UK LP and live shots from the period (the disc in the right flap, the booklet in the left). The 16-page colour booklet is superb, liner notes by band expert JOEL McIVER, pictures of rare UK 7" singles, Euro picture sleeves, US white-label promos, black and white snaps of the band in studio and on stage - all very nicely done.

But the really big news for the fans (as it is on the 1st Salvo CD) is the fantastic new SOUND. TIM TURAN at Turan Audio has remastered the original tapes and a truly fabulous job has been done - loud, clear, and ballsy - without ever being overbearing.

Highlights - the moment the sheer speed and riffage of Manny Charlton's guitar work on "Razamanaz" hits you, you know you're in for a head's down ride. It's followed by the first of 2 covers on the album - "Alcatraz" first turned up on Leon Russell's debut album for A&M in 1971 "Leon Russell & The Shelter People" and it's funky rock backdrop suited both the band and McCafferty's rasping vocals. Just as good is the second cover - their version of Woody Guthrie's "Vigilante Man" which owes more to Ry Cooder's take on his 1972 "Into The Purple Valley" album that they'd be listening to. Then comes the absolutely blistering "Woke Up This Morning" which they'd tried on their second album "Exercises" but didn't quite get there. Here they do - it ends Side One on a blast of great rock boogie.

Side 2 opens with the drums of another funky rocker "Night Woman" sounding not unlike Bad Company at their best. The breakthrough single "Bad Bad Boy" follows which to this day sounds brill, while "Sold My Soul" sounds like Robin Trower circa "Bridge Of Sighs". Then it's back to rocking basics with the wildly catchy "Too Bad To Sad" and then ends with the other huge hit single - and some say their best track - "Broken Down Angel". Downsides - there's an "Alternate Edit" of "Razamanaz" on the 2001 remaster that could easily have been fit on here, but no show?

The BBC stuff sounds suitably rough and rocking, but still as tight as a Nun's knickers in the Vatican. It's presented in really great sound quality - the bass work of Pete Agnew on "Night Woman" is superlative. Even the quiet slide intro to "Vigilante Man" is not too drenched in hiss - then the echoed vocals impress - then they let rip...fab stuff!

A stonkin' reissue of a great rock album then - and it's cheap too. Frankly they can razzle my naz any day of the week…
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