Sunday, March 29, 2009


SLADE – “Alive!” 1972 (Polydor, Eng) – Listen, I’ve got nothing against early Kiss. Shit, I saw ‘em open for Sabbath in 1976 and if it hadn’t been for a certain Mr. Iommi bringing me to my knees with new numbers like “Hole In The Sky” and “Megalomania,” I’d’ve been in full-blown Simmon-worship. Still, when it came to bands bringing the hard-assed pawty rawk while perched atop stack-heeled boots, SLADE were the men and “Alive!” was the shit. Heck, I remember turning on “In Concert” or whatever the hell it was and seeing Noddy Holder & Dave Hill, all top hats, platforms and one crunching power chord after another, melodies galore and the crowd going nuts…and me going nuts!

Translate all this over to vinyl and it comes up aces on 1972’s SLADE “Alive!” With a bright red cover (oddly reminiscent of Grand Funk’s 2nd studio album) this one is nothing but green lights all the way with the proverbial foot to the floor. 7 songs long, it’s opener is a blistering rendition of Alvin Lee’s aptly titled “Hear Me Calling.” Boogie-for-sure yet barroom-heroes-no-more, SLADE was taking the British rock world by storm. The infectious stage demeanor of Noddy Holder (guitar/vox) shines through like a beacon in just the audio here as Dave Hill (lead axe), Jim Lea (bass) & Don Powell (drums) lay down a persecuting rhythm. The party time, riff-city ruckus raises another notch with “In Like A Shot From My Gun” before SLADE brilliantly turns the tables with the John Sebastian tune “Darling Be Home Soon.” Holder’s vocals here, while admittedly not causing Van Morrison any worries, are emotion-wracked enough to elicit the response: Damn, boy’s got some pipes! “Know Who You Are” & “Keep On Rocking” represent ass-busting, crowd-pleasing and hook-laden anthems from the boys’ own pens. Then it all comes home with the double-barreled masterpiece of “Get Down & Get With It” plus a blinding cover of “Born To Be Wild.” During all this, the supreme crunch of Holder & Hill’s guitars is balance perfectly with the riotous fever pitch of the crowd as the whole thing reaches a deafening crescendo.

The live album was a ‘70’s staple and SLADE themselves recorded another later in the decade (as well as 2 more even further down the line). Still, I’d be hard-pressed to find another by any band to match the pure rawk fury of this one! 10.0

NOTE: Check out the superb 2-disc set featuring all 4 SLADE live albums including this monster!

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