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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Nazareth

Hair of the Dog

Review by Gary Hill

As Nazareth albums go, this is the Holy Grail, the big kahuna, the one you must own if you only own one. It’s not all that different from the rest of the catalog in terms of musical style. It is the most consistently great of any of them, though. There’s not a weak song here and there are a few masterpieces. Every hard rock fan should have this one in their collection.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Hair of the Dog
The first track on show is also Nazareth’s most famous rocker. This is a gritty, bluesy and oh so cool. You might not know it by the title, but rather by the chorus “now you’re messin’ with a son of a …” There’s a great talk box solo on this.

Miss Misery
It think the meaty riff on this slower jam is even stronger than “Hair of the Dog.” Perhaps the song itself isn’t as catchy, but it’s every bit as potent. This is another scorching hard rocker with the trademark raspy rough around the edges vocals. There’s a killer slide guitar section on this piece.
Love Hurts
Here’s another mega-hit from Nazareth and depending on the circles you travel in, this might be the one you know better. It’s a pretty safe bet that most folks reading this have heard this song. It’s a balladic number, but it’s almost an “anti-love song.”
Changin' Times
This is based on a faster paced riff. It’s still very bluesy. It’s a good tune, but amongst all the heavy hitters here might not be quite up to the same level. There is a cool boogie section on this. At times this reminds me a bit of Led Zeppelin. At other points I can hear ZZ Top. 
Beggars Day
While everything on this disc is extremely strong, this and the closer are my two favorites. Which one I like better probably depends on the day – and these two are among my all time favorite Nazareth albums. This might not start off as quite the rocker, in terms of the musical arrangement, as some of the other music, but the vocal line really puts it over the top. The chorus is incredibly strong. The whole track gets more powerful later along its run. 
Rose in the Heather
There’s a soaring sort of sound on this, almost prog rock in some ways. That prog element is strengthened by a keyboard solo. This is just a short instrumental, and like “Changin’ Times,” it’s good, but not up the level of the rest of the music on show here.

 

Whiskey Drinkin' Woman
This perhaps has the most blatantly blues oriented arrangement of the disc. It’s a great hard edged rock jam steeped in old time tradition. 
Please Don't Judas Me
At almost ten minutes in length, this is the longest piece on show – by a long shot. I absolutely love this thing. It rises very gradually. It’s slow moving and very moody. It also has an incredible steadily growing arrangement. Each successive time they run through this is more powerful. Much of it is in a motif that’s mellow enough to be called ballad, but that really doesn’t capture the energy and vibe of this.
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