This is where it all started for Uriah
Heep. The band’s transition from their previous incarnation as "Spice”
was more than just a name change, with this album they became a
formidable act. The nucleus of the band (Byron and Box joined by
Hensley) was already in place, although the rhythm section still had a
number of changes to come before the "classic” line up was completed.
With Hensley only having recently joined the band, his song writing is
much less in evidence than on future albums.
group name is taken from a Dickens character, and the "‘umble” in the
album’s title reflects his self declared personality. The "’eavy”
reference is of course related
to the music, but is a bit misleading. The band’s music does indeed
often have a dominant rhythm section, but it is highly melodic. Most
tracks are based around the (predominantly organ) keyboards of Ken
Hensley, the great rock voice of David Byron, and the distinctive guitar
sound of Mick Box.
track, "Gypsy” is indeed "heavy”, with a driving Hammond organ, a
thumping beat, and an early burst of Mick Box’s famous wah wah guitar
soloing. There are however several decidedly softer moments. "Come away
Melinda” (also recorded by UFO) is one of the very few covers the band
has done. Their interpretation is quite stunning, with David Byron
adopting various vocal sounds to distinguish between the two characters
in the song. It’s a beautiful, haunting number, with a peaceful message.
"Wake up (set your sights)” also has a lovely soft conclusion which
follows an almost jazz like opening section.
blues” sounds somewhat out of place on the album, and in fact was
omitted from the US release (called "Uriah Heep”), being a straight
forward blues number, pleasant but hardly essential. The remaining
numbers are indeed generally " 'eavy” with tracks like "I’ll keep on
trying” and "Dreammare” (a dream and a nightmare, get it?!) setting out
the band’s stall for future albums perfectly.
There was better to come from the band, but this is a high quality first offering, with some excellent tracks.
"If the group make it ,I'll have to commit suicide"
wrote rock critic Melissa Mills in Rolling Stone magazin.She may or may
not be with us any more ,but 30 years on Uriah Heep still do it.
Uriah Heep 1970 Alternate US frontcover
Mick Box (guitar)
David Byron (vocals)
Ken Hensley (keyboards, slide-guitar, vocals)
Paul Newton (bass, vocals)
Ollie Olsson (drums, percussion)
Alex Napier (drums ecepting on 04. + 05.)
Colin Wood (keyboards on 03. + 08.)
01. Gypsy (Box/Byron) 6:37
02. Walking In Your Shadow (Newton/Byron) 4:31
03. Come Away Melinda (Hellerman/Minkoff) 3:46
04. Lucy Blues (Box/Byron) 5:09
05. Dreammare (Newton) 4:39
06. Real Turned On (Box/Byron) 3:37
07. I’ll Keep On trying (Box/Byron) 5:24
08. Wake Up (Set Your Sights) (Box/Byron)6:22
09. Gypsy (single version) (Box/Byron) 2.57
10. Come Away Melinda (alternate version) /Hellerman/Minkoff) 3.42
11. Born In A Trunk (out-take) 3.45