Uriah Heep - 'On The Rebound'

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Uriah Heep - 'On The Rebound'

Completists will need to have them …but as for the rest of you?

This review covers both albums by Uriah Heep and Wishbone Ash.

Both of these venerable bands are celebrating their 40th anniversary, and this pair of double CD sets are the latest of several releases to mark their respective milestones: the former compiled in conjunction with band leader Mick Box, the latter in conjunction with ‘all the key band members’ (which begs the question as to who they were, given the two separate incarnations of the band currently doing the rounds (and lead by Andy Powell and Martin Turner respectively).

The Heep collection is distinguished by the fact that it features at least one track from every studio album throughout their entire career – from their first full length album release in 1970 (‘Very ‘Eavy, Very ‘Umble’) right through to ‘Wake The Sleeper’ from 2008. Indeed, it also includes a previously unreleased bonus track from the sessions for the latter album: ‘You Are The Only One’. A cynical move, one wonders? The opportunity to present the 36 tracks in chronological order has been eschewed to provide what is described as a ‘shuffle-ready’ running order: and it does come across as really rather special.

The Ash travelogue on the other hand focuses upon 26 tracks spanning the years from 1970 to 1981 when they were signed to MCA Records. In this time, eleven albums were released from the self-titled debut through to ‘Number The Brave’. Here, the chosen presentation is chronological, the first disc focusing upon the first four releases plus a live version of ‘The King Will Come’ from 1973, while the second disc gives a much more general overview of the next seven albums: in other words, the ones that are less well known by anyone who is not a Wishbone Ash completist. Nevertheless, the choice of tracks still sparkles with marvellous songs showcasing the impact of the band’s double lead guitar formation.

Both compilations are to be welcomed containing as they do an absolute wealth of classic ‘classic rock’. I am at rather a loss to know at whom they are targeted, however. Admittedly they are attractively priced and this might just be enough to tempt those of you with only a scant representation of either band in your music collections. Those completists will also need to have them, of course…but as for the rest of you? Hmmm…

Paul Jerome Smith

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