URIAH HEEP — Very 'Eavy... Very 'Umble

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3.79 | 36 ratings | 6 reviews
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Album · 1970

Filed under Hard Rock
By URIAH HEEP

Tracklist

1. Gypsy (6:38)
2. Walking In Your Shadow (4:34)
3. Come Away Melinda (3:45)
4. Lucy Blues (5:08)
5. Dreammare (4:39)
6. Real Turned On (3:41)
7. I'll Keep On Trying (5:28)
8. Wake Up (Set Your Sights) (6:20)

Total Time 40:17

Line-up/Musicians

- David Byron / vocals
- Ken Hensley / piano, organ, mellotron, slide guitar, vocals
- Mick Box / guitar, vocals
- Paul Newton / bass guitar, vocals
- Alex Napier / drums

- Nigel Olsson / drums, percussion (tracks 4, 5)
- Colin Wood / keyboards (tracks 3, 8)
- Keith Baker / drums (US Edition track 4 )

About this release

13 July 1970
Vertigo

Released under the title Uriah Heep in the US by Mercury with the following tracklist:

1. Gypsy (6:37)
2. Walking In Your Shadow (4:31)
3. Come Away Melinda (3:46)
4. Bird Of Prey (4:05)
5. Dreammare (4:39)
6. Real Turned On (3:37)
7. I'll Keep On Trying (5:24)
8. Wake Up (Set Your Sights) (6:22)

Total Time 39:01

Reissued by Castle in 1996 with the following bonus tracks:

9. Gypsy (single edit) (2:57)
10. Come Away Melinda (Spice Version) (3:42)
11. Born In A Trunk (Spice Version) (3:45)

Reissued by Sanctuary in 2003 with the following bonus tracks:

9. Bird Of Prey (4:05)
10. Born In A Trunk (alternate version) (4:31)
11. Come Away Melinda (alternate version) (4:15)
12. Gypsy (Extended Mix) (7:07)
13. Wake Up (Set Your Sights) (alternate version) (6:32)
14. Born In A Trunk (instrumental version) (4:31)
15. Dreammare (live at the BBC) (3:08)
16. Gypsy (live at the BBC) (5:15)

Thanks to Pekka, cannon, Time Signature, Lynx33 for the updates

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While Black Sabbath usually gets credit for launching the world of heavy metal music, it was actually Led Zeppelin’s debut in 1969 that emerged a year earlier that really hinted at the possibilities of taking 60s blues rock and making it louder, faster, dirtier and darker. Several acts quickly took that to heart and developed some of the first hard rock bands that were the proto-metal blueprints for the future. Black Sabbath made the biggest impression in the dark occult and doom metal fronts but bands like Deep Purple and URIAH HEEP took the 60s blues rock of Blue Cheer and Vanilla Fudge to the next level.

URIAH HEEP had its origins with guitarist Mick Box who formed the band Spice that stemmed from an earlier band called Hogwash. The Spice band sort of evolved into URIAH HEEP as new members kept joining and eventually led to the earliest formation that would continue to tour under the space moniker but after recording half of the debut album…VERY ‘EAVY…VERY ‘UMBLE the name was changed to URIAH HEEP. The band’s unusual name was chosen from the well known character in the Charles Dickens classic novel “David Copperfield” and likewise the equally bizarre album title to comes from a phrase used by the Dickens character that provided the band name.

This debut album was released as …VERY ‘EAVY…VERY ‘UMBLE in the band’s native UK however in Canada and the US it was released simply as URIAH HEEP with a completely different album cover and one different track. The UK release which has become the standard featured lead singer David Byron covered by cobwebs whereas the US version had some sort of Chinese dragon looking monstrous centipede or perhaps it was a monster from a Godzilla flick. Not sure. Likewise, the UK version featured the fourth track as “Lucy Blues” and the US version inserted the track “Bird of Prey” which would also be the opening track on the band’s second album “Salisbury.” Sounds like the Americans got screwed out of a track, huh?

While not as progressive as the following two albums, …VERY ‘EAVY…VERY ‘UMBLE joins the early pack of harder edged rock that would provide a blueprint for the heavier rock and metal to come. Lock in step with Deep Purple, URIAH HEEP set themselves apart from Led Zeppelin, Lucifer’s Friend and Black Sabbath by including a talented keyboardist whose sound was a key ingredient to the band’s overall sound. The album is notorious for the review in Rolling Stone magazine where Melissa Mills stated she would have to commit suicide if this band ever made it. Harsh words but the albums wasn’t received too well at the time but then again Deep Purple’s “In Rock” which is now considered a classic was also panned by the critics. The reason they are critics and not musicians! Burn!!!

The opening track “Gypsy” debuts URIAH HEEP’s classic sound already in tact. A powerful combo pack of heavy bombastic guitar stomps fortified by guitar distortion that took hard rock to the next level. Since this was still on the cusp of the 60s, the overall sound contains a number of influences including acid psychedelic rock, blues and folk. While the guitar, bass and drums provide the dominant rhythmic heft, the true star belongs to Ken Hensley’s massive organ presence that features extremely innovative and aggressive improvisations around the main melodic drive and of course i’d be remiss not to mention the operatic vocal style of lead singer David Byron whose style was emulated in the future heavy metal scenes that then evolved into the more sophisticated forms of metal such as power metal, symphonic metal and other styles that focused on high pitched melodic vocal styles.

While Deep Purple started out as a progressive rock band that mixed psychedelic 60s rock with classical music, that band morphed into a straight forward hard rock band with classical influences. URIAH HEEP’s debut showed the band more as a hard rock band with a few progressive influences that would lead to the more complex albums that followed before settling into a standard hard rock band of the 70s. While the tracks mostly cruise on standard 4/4 time signatures, there are some off-kilter insertions of prog sophistication but most of that would be put on hold until the powerhouse prog classic “Salisbury,” the band’s second album, however …VERY ‘EAVY…VERY ‘UMBLE was still a more difficult listen than many other rock albums of 1970 since it changed styles and required a more active listening approach.

URIAH HEEP’s debut album, whichever title you happen to experience with the one differing track is an excellent music experience even by today’s standards. Unlike Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, this band still had its hooks into heavy blues rock much like Wishbone Ash and some of the tracks like “Real Turned On” sound like much of the boogie rock of bands like Foghat, Little Feat and countless others would crank out throughout the 70s but URIAH HEEP displayed a more virtuosic approach with Mick Box’s excellent guitar work, Hensley’s manic keyboards and Byron’s excellent vocal range. Sorry Melissa Mills from Rolling Stone. Maybe instead of killing yourself because of URIAH HEEP’s success, you should open your mind to the new possibilities of how music evolves. The rest of the world has and even though this didn’t blow many away at the time of release, it has now gone down as a classic albeit overshadowed by the better works that followed. Excellent debut!
Warthur
If I may 'umbly say, the debut album by Uriah Heep is, whilst certainly 'eavy, not as unrelentingly 'eavy as the spooky cover art or bold title might make you think. On here the group play a broadly hard rock style with a mixture of bluesy and psychedelic elements which lay the foundations for the more prog-inclined path they would take on Salisbury. It's an entertaining sound which is a bit of an artifact of its times; although it doesn't quite give you an idea of the classic Uriah Heep sound the way the next three studio albums would, it does show them being quite a capable unit early on able to turn their hand to a range of different styles.
AtomicCrimsonRush
'Eavy but not so 'Umble.

David Byron is a fantastic presence on this debut from massive Uriah Heep legends. One has to admire the sheer ferocity of the music with stabbing staccato blasts from Ken Hensley's organ and Mick Box's soaring lead guitar finesse. The rhythm machine of Paul Newton's bass and Ollie Olsson's percussion completed the sound. This is the album that unleashed the awesome power of the Heep.

It begins brilliantly with the crunching chords of Gypsy, a song I could never tire of. The way this hammers along with a blitzkrieg or grinding keyboards is a delight. Byron's vibrato compete beautifully with the distorted guitars and there is an amazing instrumental break. This is one to get hold of.

Next is Walking In Your Shadow with some heavy riffing from Box followed by acoustic beauty on Come Away Melinda. Lucy Blues is a heavy bluesy piece and Dreammare returns to the heavy prog vibe. Perhaps the proggiest moments are found on the very weird Wake Up (Set Your Sights), but this certainly is not the best that Heep could produce. That was yet to come but as a debut for a new band, this was an album full of stellar tracks and worth seeking out.
UMUR
"Very 'eavy...Very 'umble" is the debut full-length studio album by UK hard rock act Uriah Heep. The album was released in 1970 by Vertigo in the UK and by Mercury in the US. The latter version features an different cover artwork to the UK version. Uriah Heep are usually considered one of the great hard rock acts of the seventies and with this debut album it´s pretty obvious why.

The music is blues influenced hard rock. The biggest influences on the band´s sound are without a doubt Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Take the former´s bluesy hard rocking guitars and the latters omnipresent organ and you´re just about there. Songs like "Gypsy" and my favorite "Real Turned On" rocks IMO, but there are nice variation between the tracks and the ballad "Come Away Melinda" with added mellotron (at least that´s what it sounds like to me) and the ending track "Wake Up (Set Your Sights)" points in a slightly progressive direction. Don´t mistake "Very 'eavy...Very 'umble" for a progressive rock album though. Expect hard rocking music on most of the tracks. The tracks are generally guitar driven but the distorted organ takes a prominant role in the music too.

The band are very well playing and I especially enjoy the distinct vocals by David Byron. He is such a powerful and skilled vocalist who can do many different things with his voice. I love it when he sings his really high notes. Artists like Rob Halford and King Diamond have surely listened to and learned from David Byron.

The production is good but not perfect.

"Very 'eavy...Very 'umble" is a good but slightly inconsistent debut album by Uriah Heep and 3 - 3.5 stars are deserved.
bonnek
The first Uriah Heep album is a most charming hard rock album. Some of the songs go in strange directions but most of them feature all Heep elements that would make them popular among both hard rock and prog fans.

In a way, all continuing albums can be seen as attempts to perfect the sound the achieved here. A bluesy Hammond organ soaked hard-rock fest with churning wah-wah guitars and those typical vocal harmonies. The opener Gypsy has it all and is one of my favorite Heep tracks. With it’s almost 7 minute length it has a perfect balance between tight rocking and ample room for solos.

Walking In Your Shadow is the next blues rocker and one of their classics for me. The sound is a bit thin but the 1996 remaster has blown some fresh air into it. Come Away Melinda is a beautiful romantic ballad, simple but effective, all it takes is good melodies and a bit of mellotron. It gets a bit operatic as it goes along but in the most charming way possible.

Lucy Blues would be the first track I regularly skip. It’s not bad but just standard blues, missing the Led Zeppelin testosterone needed to make it interesting for a rocker like me. Dreammare is another favorite, lalalala’s all over the place and simply irresistible.

On Real Turned On the Blackmore influence in the riffing is very obvious. Mike Box adds his own wah-wah feel to it. Nice bluesy rocker again. I’ll Keep On Trying is probably one of the more symphonic tracks here, it still has a strong basis in blues but some classical influences and the looser song structure are clear indications of an ambition beyond their core hard rock business. Wake Up is the second track that I tend to skip. It’s quite fun but it has some tendencies towards melodrama that are fun once in a while but that would lead to a thing called Queen which is not really my taste.

The reissue adds one more track of interest. Born In A Trunk is interesting as an example of their Zeppelin influences.

Uriah Heep is probably the first band who forged the style of 2 other pioneers (Deep Purple + Led Zeppelin) into their own blend. Most successfully I must say.
poslednijat_colobar
With the debut album by Uriah Heep - Very 'eavy...Very 'umble - everything for the band begins. Their typical style is established from that early point of band's career. This album shows the potential of the band. Very 'eavy...Very 'umble contains interesting mixture of sounds like hard rock, progressive rock and some art rock. It also contains some 50s and 60s typical non rock moments! It is also under a big influence of blues rock, which is not characteristic of the band. The album includes one of the most memorable songs by Uriah Heep - Gipsy and some other classics like Walking in Your Shadow and Come Away Melinda. It's a worthy classic debut album, but yet don't expect miracles from the production. Very good debut!

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