September 3, 2013

101 Reel-To-Reel Tapes 3: Uriah Heep ~ Sweet Freedom

album cover detail
 concept by Fin Costello
 photo of album cover detail by Styrous®

In addition to my vinyl collection I'm selling, I have hundreds of reel-to-reel, pre-recorded tapes. This is another entry about one of them (see: The Beatles and Yes links below). It was for sale on eBay, so, what better time to write about it? I have the vinyl LP version as well. Interested? Contact me.

reel-to-reel box front
album cover concept and
photography by Fin Costello
photo of album box by Styrous®


I really loved the Uriah Heep albums; they were among my favorites of the early '70's. Demons and Wizards (1972) was a great album and so was Sweet Freedom (1973).

reel-to-reel box back
back album cover photo by Fin Costello
photo of album box back by Styrous®


reel-to-reel spool
photo by Styrous®


One of the trivia I liked about the abum is that it was recorded in France at the Chateau d'Hérouville which was owned by composer Michel Magne. Is that cool or what?!?

album cover detail
 photo by Fin Costello
photo of album box detail by Styrous®

about the songs I love on the album

I like the way the title song, Sweet Freedom, opens with the quiet synth-organ and hi-hat that slowly builds; they're joined by a drum then a bass guitar for a fast beat intro which suddenly goes into a slow stroll. The female back-up is glorious. The song is an ode to a lost love; as wistful as hard rock can get.

Stealin' starts with a bouncy bass beat; a 1-½ minute, quiet, synth-organ, David Byron singing with a female backup introduces the song that goes into a fast gallop which makes it's a fantastic song that I always loved to dance to! A great definite finale makes it hard rock at it's best!

One Day, with it's drum start and slow female chorus intro, goes into a classic hard-rock love song  that I was never really sure if it was about affirmation or loss.

Pilgrim, which clocks in at 7:10, starts suddenly and an intensely dramatic female chorus intro goes into a fast gallop beat. About a third of the way into the song there is the great hard-rock guitar of Mick Box in an instrumental break.

Circus has a sudden start with guitars, hi-hat and percussion. It is moderatley slow and mellow but syncopated; a conga drum gives it an almost bass-nova feeling. It is the mellowest song on the album. It ends with with the refrain, "Everyone's Insane." Could be.

Seven Stars has a great guitar squeak intro that goes suddenly into a fast gallop beat. A hard rock-style song love. Never could figure out what the alphabet sung at the fade-out is all about, though.

My VERY favorite song of the album, and one of my all-time favorites is, If I Had the Time. It has an organ fade-up, then a drum fade-in to a pleasantly smooth intro. It's a mellow stroll that is dreamy but rocks out from time to time. It has a beautifully quiet and subtle female backup to the fantastic singing of David Byron until near the end when it bursts out into full bloom. Every time I listen to it the uplifting warmth of it has made me feel splendid. I've always loved this song, and the lyrics:

If I had the time,
To re-live my life
I don't think I'd care,
To change a thing
As long as I find,
Just a little peace of mind
I can dream and laugh and I can sing

. . . have always seemed to be written specifically for me; especially so from my present vantage point in life. What an awe-inspiring song!

Sweet Freedom was recorded in June and July of 1973. All songs were written by Ken Hensley except where noted in track listing.

reel lable track listing
photo by Styrous®

Track listing

side 1:
    "Dreamer" (Mick Box, Gary Thain) – 3:41
    "Stealin'" – 4:49
    "One Day" (Hensley, Thain) – 2:47
    "Sweet Freedom" – 6:37

side 2:
    "If I Had the Time" – 5:43
    "Seven Stars" – 3:52
    "Circus" (Box, Lee Kerslake, Thain) – 2:44
    "Pilgrim" (David Byron, Hensley) – 7:10

Personnel

WST 2724-C
1973

Links:


Uriah Heep on YouTube:
Styrous® ~ September 3, 2013


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