George Starostin's Reviews



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Tim Blake <> (14.06.2006)

Just getting into Nazareth. Got four albums...this debut, Hair Of The Dog, Close Enough For Rock N' Roll and Expect No Mercy. I don't think you're right when you say these hard rock bands had their best albums in their debuts. There is no way though, at least to me, that Paranoid is Sabbath's best album (well, you called it as basically being a debut in a sense, your call I suppose). In fact it never crossed my mind. Paranoid is more like the culmination of memorable riffs, but the song-writing is lacking and the production is virtually non-existant, it's bloated and the only interesting thing about it is those interesting riffs. But they're too slow and drawn out. I'd look to Sabbath Bloody Sabbath or Sabotage. And In Rock? I think Machine Head and Burn are both better albums...In Rock just has that monolithic heaviness and energy to it but the songwriting and production, once again, are lacking. As for Led Zeppelin...meh.

Anyways, this debut is a great album, though Nazareth aren't shaping up to be a favourite band. I don't think it deserves a five, due to being somewhat inconsistent. Witchdoctor Woman and Dear John are both fantastic, but there isn't much to tracks like Empty Arms, Empty Heart, and I Had A Dream (which sounds like one of those poor Zep experiments that I so hate). Red Light Lady is an unassuming plodder, Country Girl is like their take on Lynyrd Skynard, which is fine with me but still doesn't sound so great. It ain't until Fat Man that a track that really owns shows up. Man, it's hilarious and the riffs are incredible! I LOVE the solo too. I'm sure a lot of people can (unfortunately) relate to the lyrics. And then there is Morning Dew...yes...yes it is as good as all that. Farkin' grand. Saw a live vid of it and it was one of the mostest epicest things I seen. On record it can drag a little though, but it's bearable. King Is Dead seems ok. I won't cover the extra songs, but they are all good in their own right ('specially Spinning Top).

Nazareth come off as a good band, but I don't know if they have that certain x-factor that's made me fall in love with the likes of Deep Purple, Sabbath and Pentagram. I can certainly acknowledge that they have a bunch of good songs, some I just like, others I really adore...but there are only three or four on this album, which isn't that great a ratio of interesting to uninteresting. The songs I don't like are not bad per se, just don't do much for me. Still, it's a good album. I think my favourite thus far would have to be Expect No Mercy. Hair Of The Dog seems a bit too cheesy at times, and Close Enough To Rock N' Roll is tough to get into (trying to, actually, I really like it). Still, nice debut, but I wouldn't call it a classic...just a solid effort which probably too few standouts (but it has a number of 'em). I'm enjoying listening to Nazareth, regardless.


Eric Rogozin <> (28.03.2001)

I absolutely agree with you, George! It's one of the best Nazareth albums! Why this album was unheeded is one of the biggest mysteries of life. Actually, it was noticed by the critics, but they could give much more attention to the great album of a great band. What a magnificent debut! The talents of McCafferty, Charlton, Agnew and Sweet entirely come out in this album. Yeah, the first track "Witchdoctor Woman" is a brilliant opening track, groovy hard rocker with a glorious riff and perfect harmony. "Dear John" is as cool as a previous track - wonderful rocker with tasty piano. "Empty Arms, Empty Heart" is also magnificent and also has a marvellous riff. Oh, I love the part "..You left me here with my empty arms, my empty rooms is my empty heart is crying...". "I Had A Dream" is a beautiful enjoyable soft ballad with the admirable tune. "Red Light Lady" is, probably, my favourite track on this album, it has such a wonderful tune! "Fat Man" is groovy, "Country Girl" is another nice ballad, very adorable! Groovy "Morning Dew" has a psychedelic feeling and "The King Is Dead" is one of the best ballads ever wrote! Marvellous! But, again, why do you call Nazareth heavy metal? Nazareth is one of the greatest hard rock bands, I prefer them over Black Sabbath.

Larry <> (22.02.2003)

just want to say that i am a nazareth fanatic and i definately share your feelings about 'witchdoctor woman' being a really great song, coincidentally, just yesterday i was thinking about the title being a little strange, was trying to understand it


Eric Rogozin <> (28.03.2001)

This stuff rules! Besides, it has wonderful "I Will Not Be Led" (oh, I adore this song), which is one of my favourite Nazareth songs! "Cat's Eye Apple Pie" is nice countryish tune, "In My Time" is a good ballad, "Woke Up This Morning" is the only hard rock track on this album and it's not bad. "Called Her Name" and "Fool About You" are rather decent (I enjoy the "..Everybody knows I'm a fool about you, I'm a fool just a crazy fool..." tune in "Fool About You"). "Love Now You're Gone" is also decent ballad and "Madelaine" is great ballad (by the way, Nazareth write great ballads). The same thing can be told about "Sad Song".

And "1692 (Glen Coe Massacre)" is very adorable composition with traditional Scottish arrangment (and I like traditional Scottish arrangement)! Great track! Celtic roots of Nazareth help them to be one of the best bands in the world.


Eric Rogozin <> (28.03.2001)

You are right, when you say, that the first album is better (of course), but you are not right, when you say, that Razamanaz is a dumb record. It still deserves a five stars on MP3 scale. The title track is frigging fresh dose of rock'n'roll. My favourites here are "Alcatraz" and "Sold My Soul", which are the outstanding compositions. "Broken Down Angel" is a nice ballad and it's the most well-known track from this album. "Vigilante Man" has a nice slide guitar and the song itself is not derivative. Frankly speaking, I also don't see the meaning of remaking "Woke Up This Morning" the same as I don't see the reason why this song (decent, anyway) is more popular than "Sold My Soul", for example. "Bad Bad Boy", "Night Woman" and "Too Bad Too Sad" are another doses of frigging fresh rock'n'roll. But, in spite of the fact, that the album is good, I can't understand, why it's more well-known than the first Nazareth album.


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Eric Rogozin <> (28.03.2001)

Another groovy album, one of those rock music must be proud of. It's a typical Nazareth record (and this phrase has a good sence for me). Well, another fresh dose of good rock'n'roll. How magnifent sounds "Not Faking It" (and what a good lyrics!) or "This Flight Tonight"! Or cheerful "Turn On Your Receiver" (which is along with "This Flight Tonight" most famous song on this album)! Cheerful is also the opening track "Go Down Fighting". And don't forget "Free Wheeler", one more groovy, even very groovy song from "Loud'n'Proud". "Child In The Sun" is typical Nazareth ballad (and it means good ballad) and the closing track - Dylan's "The Ballad Of Hollis Brown" attracts the main attention and it's the culmination of this album, because it's awesome!

Arne Löfgren <> (15.05.2003)

I have now listened to "This Flight Tonight" performed by Joni Mitchell. It turns out Nazareth did not change it a whole lot. JM of course only has acoustic guitars (at least two as far as I can hear). The interesting part is where she sings about another song in the song (a meta song so to speak): "Got the headphones on high, they're going: 'Good bye baby, bye bye bye'" (or something like that). There she actually changes style completetely for some seconds, with electric guitars and all, one would assume it is a pastiche. I always thought this was invented by Nazareth, but it is there in the original as well. I always liked that part. Well, just some thoughts.


Eric Rogozin <> (28.03.2001)

"Loved And Lost" is brilliant, wonderful and beautiful beyond description! It's so moving and charming! And what a good lyrics (lyrics are a strong point of Nazareth (they have no weak points (to my opinion)))! Speaking about the other songs, I completely enjoy "Silver Dollar Forger". And we have also a nice boogie "Glad When You're Gone" and the version of "Shapes Of Things" by Yardbirds. "Shanghai'd In Shanghai" reminds me of "Turn On Your Receiver" for some reason.

Tagbo Munonyedi <> (08.03.2006)

I really love this album. I have a soft spot for Nazareth ( no, it's nothing to do with the fact that Jesus grew up there ! ) and it's largely based on this album. When I was in my heavy rock discovery period, I came across this and I'm not even sure what made me want to listen to it but I'm glad I did. Dan McCafferty turns out to be the hoarsest screamer I've heard, the epitome of the whisky & fags singer; only Ian Gillan outdoes him in the scream stakes. But like Gillan, Dan has more going for him than just screaming in a Scottish accent ! He was a damn good singer who sang even banal lines with such passion and emotion. And if RAMPANT is anything to go by, Manny Charlton ( is that a cartoon of him on the cover ? ) was a seriously underrated guitarist. Not Ritchie Blackmore, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, John McLaughlin or Mike Bloomfield by any stretch of the imagination, but his fingerprints are all over this album like a severe case of measles. Very inventive measles at that....

JET LAG sounds like it was penned by someone who has just returned from their first trip to America and is very wide eyed about the experience. The lyrics are so corny [ " I thought I heard someone ringing / I guess she's a southern belle "......" Yes, ma'am, I did say Scotland / 'Could you spell that again for me please' " ] but it's such a cool little number and so singable that the lyrical shortcomings don't matter. And it ends with a lovely instumental section, like a musical corkscrew. LIGHT MY WAY is a furious little piece, the entire mix of which is put through a phaser to give it this swirling disorientating feel and it just about works. Manny turns in a great solo, not many notes, but beautifully measured. The words are of interest too, this could easilly describe a conversion to God. I know it doesn't ( if I WILL NOT BE LED is anything to go by ) but it could be and it would be if I'd written it. SUNSHINE is a lovely song in many ways and it brings up one of my odd observations. Back in the 50s when many young Blacks in the US of A were abandoning the churches of their upbringings, the music was nonetheless a strong part of them and some of them translated the kind of songs that they used to sing to and for God into songs that would be sung to girls [ and in some cases, guys ]. People like Ray Charles and James Brown caused a furore when they started doing that. It made for some truly memorable songs ( though for many church folk these were an unholy rip off ) and of course these were picked up 2nd hand by young Brits who were 2nd generation rock'n'rollers. Throughout the 60s and 70s there were scores of these kind of songs and few of the writers really understood where the form had come from. Grreat songs though. I think George Harrison tried to redress the balance ( starting with LONG LONG LONG ) where the assumption was that he was singing to or about a woman, but in actuality, he says he was singing to or about God. He was smart enough to keep it ambiguous, rather like the Beatles did in their drug songs ( whoever would guess that GOT TO GET YOU INTO MY LIFE, DAY TRIPPER, SHE'S A WOMAN, SHE SAID SHE SAID and others were about drugs had they not told us ? ). SUNSHINE, although obviously addressed to a woman could easilly be taken as a song to God, sort of that Black American process inverted. In this song Nazareth manage to sound simultaneously like 2 different bands -as all the instruments come in during the first solo, they sound like Led Zeppelin on THANK YOU and in the instrumental outro, they sound like this obscure hard / progressive rock band ( from the days before 'progressive' rock meant Crimson, Genesis, Yes, ELP etc and rather, when it was applied to bands like Santana, Family, early Jethro Tull, Barclay James Harvest and Saucerful era Floyd ) called Forever More (who later mutated into the funk - soul outfit, the Average White Band ). I always thought that the Yardbirds' SHAPES OF THINGS sounded like a twee little jigaboo. But Nazareth's version is something different altogether. The despairing apocalyptic edge that is missing in the original is brought home with power, primarilly due to McCafferty's screeching and the energetic drumming of Daryl Sweet. He also makes a big splash on SPACE SAFARI, a curious duet with Manny Charlton, drenched in phasers or flangers. Mind you, 'duet' is stretching it a bit because there's quite a few layered guitars here. Good song though. But the scorching SILVER DOLLAR FORGER is more than a good song, it's a meisterwork of fizzing guitar and body slamming bass and cracking drums, impassioned singing, sensational dynamics in the last verse and an elastic guitar solo, all packed into this tale about a man on the run. I go along with the theory that much of the history of popular music has been characterized by the search for redemption and meaning in life, while running from an independent, personal God. Interestingly, many artists have instinctively recognized that all is not well within us and have sought to alleviate this in a myriad of different ways and it has come out in so many songs, often a line here or there that appears to have nothing to do with the matter[ " I'm tired of all this running, hiding from the light / I want to walk out in the sun......" ]. FORGER is more than just a romantic tale....and romantic is hardly a word you'd apply to GLAD WHEN YOU'RE GONE. This is one of the earlier attempts at hard rock boogie when it was still relatively new and hadn't become generic yet. The song pounds along in style and is tongue in cheek......or is it ? If the lyrics weren't so funny, they'd be positively disturbing. If Dylan or Lennon or Young or Waters or Jagger had penned them, we'd be talking about this in completely different tones. Deep Purple's Jon Lord plays piano on this. LOVED AND LOST is my vote for the classic moment on this record, a tortured and anguished journey through failed relationships and doomed hope. The refrain " it's better to have loved and lost / than never to have loved at all...." is more a defiant refusal to acknowledge the truth than a truism ! I've actually heard Mickey Dolenz use that quote in an episode of the Monkees ! When he said it the canned audience roared with laughter, but in Nazareth's fuzzy toned rendition, there's nothing jolly whatsoever, yet it is far from depressed. A fantastic effort. SHANGHAI'D IN SHANHAI manages in 3 or 4 minutes to cram musical or lyrical references to the Stones, the Beatles, Velvet Underground, communism, the cold war, espionage, being dosed, Russians, Cubans, Americans, hi - jacking, physical violence, booze, the desert, astronomy, smuggling, firearms, rock concerts, life on the road....whoaa ! Although the story jumps all over the place, it feels like it hangs together, somehow. Hard rock comedy !

It's amazing what one can glean from the average hard rock album, and this is just the brief version !


Eric Rogozin <> (28.03.2001)

Another great Nazareth album, yes, true "classic" album and it's better than previous, while the previous is also very good. All of the tracks rule, especially superb "Miss Misery", "Changin' Times", "Beggar's Day", "Please Don't Judas Me", and, of course, "Love Hurts". Again, why do you call this cool stuff heavy metal? Like I said before, it's pure and good hard-rock. I also like the songs with slide guitar, that's why I enjoy "Guilty". And "Whiskey Drinkin' Woman" is groovy as well.

It's an awesome record, one of those records, that prove the advantage of Nazareth over Black Sabbath (understand me right, Black Sabbath is a good band without denying, but Nazareth is much better).

Steve Y <> (20.01.2002)

I like the song 'Hair of the Dog' as a novelty. Yeah, it was cool to hear "son of a bitch" on the radio in 197?.  Otherwise, this band does not deserve the server space you're wasting on it.

<> (18.12.2002)

Hair of the Dog is the best album over the World,time and folks.It is better than all rock-n-roll together.


Eric Rogozin <> (28.03.2001)

I appreciated your review. Diversity is a main characteristic of this album. "Born Under The Wrong Sign" has a strong element of funk, "Carry Out Feelings" is reggae, "Vicki" is acoustic countryish instrumental ballad, "Homesick Again" is a folk-rocker, but the highlights here along with funkish "Born Under The Wrong Sign" are epic suite "Telegram" (it's groovy) and two albums closers, especially "You're A Violin" (great track(and the lyrics are superb)).

Mike Guerricabeitia <> (16.06.2003)

just to clear up the mystery,a little're the violin was a GOLDEN EARRING song from 1975 (off TO THE HILT).the GE version is called "violins"...nazareth switched the lyrics up a little bit from golden earring's,but the music is pretty much the same!.i'd say golden earring's version is best...which leads to my big question?..."GEORGE",why in the world haven't you reviewed golden earring records?!!!...i'd bet my head they would be at least a 4 rating band!!!.they have one of the best singers in the biz in barry kooymans is a great guitarist(and a pretty uncanny vocalist also)...rinus gerritsen is the most melodic bass player i've ever heard in my life(BTW,he turned down an offer to play for the jimi hendrix experience many,many years ago)...and finally ceasar zuderwiick is one of the greatest drummers in the history of rock (check out their videos,and you'll se what i mean!!).their music is so undescribable,it's cool!!...they touch base on alot of styles,but they can pull it off because of incredible musicianship.GOLDEN EARRING are one of the most criminally neglected bands in the history of rock and roll!!


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Eric Rogozin <> (28.03.2001)

One more awesome album of Nazareth, what else to say. It proves my belief, that Nazareth rule. You're damned right, George, it's tenth Nazareth album and it still sounds as exciting and fresh as its preceedors. "Just To Get Into It" is another frigging fresh dose of rock'n'roll (term invented by me to define some of Nazareth opening tracks). "Star" is almost so beautiful as Scorpions ballads (and that's a compliment, because I love Scorpions). "Claim To Fame" is frigging awesome! Gotta love the way Dan sings "What gives you this crazy thought, that you can talk to my woman. What's your claim to fame.."! "Simple Solution" is also magnificent. The last song "No Mean City" has a feeling of grandiose epic composition and this song moves.


Eric Rogozin <> (04.03.2002)

Malice In Wonderland sounds very good and proves the professionalism of Nazareth one more time. It's magnificent! But it's surely a different one. "Turning A New Leaf" is my favourite here. "Hearts Grown Cold" and "Fallen Angel" are moving ballads while the opening track "Holiday" is very crisp and exciting rock'n'roll. "Showdown At The Border", "Fast Cars", "Big Boy" (with reggae chorus by the way), "Talkin' About Love", "Ship Of Dreams" are awesome. "Talkin' To One Of The Boys" is also very decent song, but it seems to me, that the chorus contrasts the verses in this song, the chorus doesn't fit the song well.

Oh, and I can't not to digress - I saw Nazareth last year and THEY WERE SUPERB!!!!


Eric Rogozin <> (04.03.2002)

It's a good album, I like it. My favourites are "Pop The Silo" (not power pop, but a good hard rock tune) and "Cocaine" (excellent version). And we have also some nice reggae: "Let Me Be Your Leader" and "We Are The People", these songs are good.

P.S. "Victoria" was written by Darrel Sweet and it's a quite decent song. Decent lyrics and quotation from "Good Vibrations" adds something good to the above-mentioned song.

P.P.S.  "Another Year" has fantastic lyrics!


Alexei <> (14.02.2003)

In fact I'm allways sure as Dan open his mouth things become beautifull.But yes, I can't say the 1-st Dan's album was highest-grade one. I love 'Boots of Spanish Leather' on it.I'm not agree with autor Dan is zero without the band."Into the ring" is very good album from first to last track.

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