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Battle of the Band: Uriah Heep


by Kevin Wierzbicki

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In this edition of Battle of the Band, two new releases from English classic rock band Uriah Heep duke it out! Let's take a closer look at "British Live Performance Series" and the two disc set "Totally Driven".

Uriah Heep
British Live Performance Series

Rainman Records

Recorded for the Bedrock TV show in 1989 and featuring takes on "Bad Man," "Bloodred Roses" and "Rich Kid" from their at the time current album Raging Silence, this show also was a celebration of the 20th anniversary of Uriah Heep's founding. With that in mind most of the set list looks way back to early albums Salisbury ("Bird of Prey," "Lady in Black",) Look at Yourself ("July Morning",) the vaunted Demons and Wizards ("The Wizard," "Easy Livin'") and debut effort Very 'Eavy Very 'Umble which represents with "Gypsy." Heep purists are still lamenting the death of original vocalist David Byron 30-years-ago but the fact is the band sounds great with singer Bernie Shaw behind the mic here. The rest of the line-up here is founding member Mick Box, longtime drummer Lee Kerslake, keys man Phil Lanzon and the now-deceased Trevor Bolder on bass. Set list includes the classic Heep favorite "Stealin'" and the band strolls off stage to a prerecorded instrumental version of the British patriotic song "Land of Hope and Glory (Pomp and Circumstance)."

Uriah Heep
Totally Driven
Uriah Heep Records

This is a 2CD set containing 27 hits and deep album cuts culled from the band's output through 2001. In order to keep their music alive and available to fans, the band, here with the same line-up as for the above-mentioned live recording, took control of their back catalog by recording new versions of the songs found herein. The label that originally put out the rerecording compilation let it go out of print fairly quickly a long time ago; now it has returned on Uriah Heep's own imprint, cleverly named Uriah Heep Records. Fear not any tinkering though; the guys stick pretty close to each song's original arrangement, so fans won't be disappointed here whether rocking out to favorites like the proggy "Sweet Freedom" and the lengthy jam that is "July Morning," or singing along to signature tunes like "Easy Livin'" and "Stealin'." Totally Driven is a good introduction to the band's extensive catalog for those who only know a few tunes and the compilation is also comprehensive enough that even longtime Uriah Heep fans will find a few forgotten gems here.

Battle of the Band: Uriah Heep

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