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No Mean City

Review by Gary Hill

This might not be one of Nazareth’s biggest albums, but it’s a strong one nonetheless. Perhaps it’s not as consistent as some of the other releases, but there are three or four songs that are potent enough to mean that this one needs to be in your collection.

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Track by Track Review
Just to Get into It
They waste no time here. They power it out into a smoking hot hard rocking groove. There is nothing fancy here. Instead, it's just a high energy rocker that is classic Nazareth.
May the Sunshine
Acoustic blues meets hippie music and classic Nazareth on this piece. Of course, with a title like that (and lyrics that go, “may the sunshine bright on you”) you have to expect some hippie music. This does rock out harder at times.
Simple Solution (Pt. 1 and 2)
The main riff that drives part one of this reminds me of the one from “Hair of the Dog.” This isn’t quite as ferocious as that track, though. The second half is set in a more melodic groove – but it’s no less tasty. Of course, calling that a second half isn’t quite right as it’s more of a middle eight that is replaced by a return to the earlier section before the cut ends.
This is a balladic cut. The arrangement gets quite involved at times, but overall the main song structure is a fairly simple, folky ballad motif. This is a good song and a nice change of pace, but it has a tendency to be a little over the top in terms of production at times.
Claim to Fame
If the last piece leaned a bit too far towards schmaltz at times, this one makes up for it and then some. It’s angry (both in lyrics and music) and has some killer bluesy, riff driven jamming. This is one of the real highlights of the set. It’s classic Nazareth.
Whatever You Want Babe
Although it’s more ballad-like, this is not a ballad per se. It reminds me a bit of the more rock and roll based music of Rod Stewart. It’s a good tune, but perhaps not a real standout.
What's In It for Me
Here’s another highlight of the set. This is a more hard rocking groove and it’s got some killer slide guitar built into its rocking motifs. Again, this is a classic Nazareth sound.
No Mean City (Pt. 1 and 2)
They definitely saved the best for last. This is the most dynamic cut on show here and it’s got some of the most powerful musical motifs. It’s dramatic and just plain awesome. I’d chalk this one up as worth the price of admission all by itself. It’s classic Nazareth, but taken to an all new level. There’s even an instrumental section that calls to mind Steve Howe a bit. Still, this is overall a bluesy rocker with some great textures. I can’t imagine a better way to end this album in style.
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