NAZARETH — Hair Of The Dog (review)

NAZARETH — Hair Of The Dog album cover Album · 1975 · Hard Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
My grade ten year was the year I was totally hooked on Nazareth. I used to write their band logo on the classroom chalkboards. It was also the year that the TV movie "Jesus of Nazareth" was aired, so some students thought I was into that movie.

I acquired all sixteen Nazareth albums on cassette (from the debut in '72 to the latest release at the time, "Cinema") and they were stacked by my bed, next to my stereo cassette player. There was something to love on every album, but honestly it was the heavy Nazareth I liked best. And for me, this album has always been the heaviest. Never mind the well-known title track, "Hair of the Dog", "Miss Misery" is one of the band's heaviest, if not the heaviest, song they've ever recorded. It's a monster in the Nazareth catalogue. And how about Dan McCafferty's vocals? He was always a rough-voiced singer like Brian Johnson of AC/DC but on this album he sounds like he's ready to rip meat off a wolf kill.

My cassette did not include the original track, "Guilty" but instead had the classic cover of "Love Hurts" with that simple yet beautiful solo (did Manny Charlton only pick the string once?) done by bending the string. But the next song, "Changin' Times" is for me the highlight of the album. A song in two parts, it's an absolute killer heavy rock number with such a heavy chorus. The band seem to be pushing heaviness here and with success. The second part of the song is a ride down a highway in a convertible with a jaunty rock rhythm and a guitar solo to make you soar. The two parts contrast beautifully and each on its own is fantastically executed. My all-time favourite Nazareth song!

Side 2 keeps the heavy guitar but "Beggar's Day" is too repetitious. It is released into "Rose in the Heather" which is a very pretty instrumental with a pleasantly buzzing distortion on the lead guitar. I believe there is some synthesizer here as well to add to the atmosphere. A short but lovely piece of music.

"Whiskey Drinkin' Woman" is more in the flavour of their previous album, "Rampant": very blues-based but still leaning to the heavy side at times.

The closing track keeps Nazareth's tradition over the last three albums of having a lengthy song running over 8 minutes. "Please Don't Judas Me" might be a bit long and drawn out for some but I always loved the slow build to the song and the powerful melancholic melody with the serious snare drum and moody guitar solo carrying the song to its conclusion. There's a very sombre and heavy atmosphere here.

I was very glad to get the reissue with the bonus tracks, particularly "My White Bicycle" because I always liked that song from the "Greatest Hits" album but I never bought the album because I had almost all of the songs on the albums.

My Nazareth CD collection is not nearly so full as my cassette collection was. I have a triple CD compilation and a three or four albums on CD. "Hair of the Dog" is by far, for me, the essential Nazareth album to get. It is heavy, it rocks, and the band would never do another album quite like it, though "No Mean City" was at least in the same ballpark. If you are into heavy 70's rock then this is an album not to be missed. Definitely worth looking into. That coming from me, anyway.
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Tupan wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Yes, great review indeed. I want to see more reviews of the Nazareth's albums!
J-Man wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Great review! I own this one on vinyl, but it's been a while since I've given it a spin - I should probably listen to it again soon. :-)


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