Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Slade – Slayed!

I was surprised to discover that while I have raved about Slade, I never wrote about this record, which is certainly my fave! They have many great songs that are not on this slab-o-wax, but this is just phenomenal from start to finish!

Opening with “How D’You Ride” (one of their schticks at the time was to purposely misspell song titles to match their cockney accents), they jump out of the gate with a glam rock masterpiece! Cool riff-rock with super catchy chorus, great Noddy singing and plenty of loud guitars!

Up next is one of their many hits in England – “The Whole World’s Goin’ Crazee”. Unfortunately, the US was never lucky enough to have these crazed tunes played on our radio stations. This song is almost too good to be true! Guitars galore, Noddy’s trademark growls, a pound-along rhythm section of drummer Don Powell (who looks as much like a construction worker as a glam rocker!) and bassist Jim Lea (the only member with any actual musical training), Dave Hill’s screeching leads and another chorus that you can’t help but sing along with! High energy glam pop at its best!

They let you take a breath with “Look at Last Nite”, a slower, but still plenty intense, tune based around their classic rhythms. Really, there is something about the bass/drum patterns that sound like no one else and make you want to stomp your boots! Still super melodic with “la de la de la dela’s” to spare. This moves into “I Won’t Let It ‘Appen Again”, which is actually kinda similar rhythmically. Not their most memorable, but still a head shaker that cannot be denied!

Noddy gets ahold of a Janis Joplin tune ("Move Over") from Pearl and absolutely makes it his own – though his vocals are not that dissimilar to hers. The group grabs this one and won’t let it go and turns it even more ferocious that Janis’ great version. Tougher and more stripped-down and pure r’n’r. They play with the dynamics on this one and when they come screamin’ back in (literally), it is almost a heart-stopper! Just amazing!

They had to end side one with that just so that you could calm down just a little before movin’ on! And then they open up side two with another of their huge (deservedly) hits, “Gudbuy T’Jane”. Opening with an insanely memorable riff, this is another mover with a chorus that sounds like an entire dance hall is singing along with Noddy – and you’ll find yourself doing so, as well!

Dropping the speed a notch is “Gudbuy, Gudbuy”, but again, this is no ballad! Powell sounds like he is working an assembly line as Lea and Hill snake licks around his vicious beat. Noddy voice is still impossibly loud but he maintains a melody throughout - he’s not quite a Steve Marriott styled soul singer, but he has that feel to him.

I don’t know how anyone could be a fan of r’n’r and not be familiar with “Mama Weer All Crazee Now!” This has been covered by many groups (including a cool version by the Runaways) and this ode to drinking and carousing has another masterful group chorus and hand-clapping rhythm that you’ve have to be dead to not take part in! Simplistic, yes, but these guys were song-writing geniuses and besides never being able to get their choruses out of your head, they have terrific throw away lines like “I’ve had enough to fill up H-Hill’s left shoe”! (and considering he was on 12” platform shoes, that was saying a lot!)

Another slower, “Look At Last Night” styled tune is “I Don’ Mind”. This again is a bit of a break after the crazed intensity of “…Crazee Now!”, but is a good tune with cool accents. The album closes with their high energy take on “Let the Good Times Roll”, which they Slade-ify to an extreme! Hill’s piercing leads, Noddy’s r’n’r shouts and a perfectly tight rhythm section! Great stuff and a wild ending!

These wild rockers were not afraid to have Fun (with a capital "F") and will put a smile on your face as you chant along while clapping your hands and stompin’ your feet! One of the best glam bands of the 70’s!