Reviews

Nazareth – No Mean City


Nazareth No Mean City

Released 1979

Track listing

1. “Just to Get into It”   4:24
2. “May the Sunshine”   4:55
3. “Simple Solution, Parts 1&2” Zal Cleminson 4:59
4. “Star” Charlton, McCafferty 4:55
5. “Claim to Fame” Manny Charlton 4:30
6. “Whatever You Want Babe” Manny Charlton 3:42
7. “What’s in It for Me” Manny Charlton 4:19
8. “No Mean City, Parts 1&2” Agnew, Charlton, Cleminson, McCafferty, Sweet 6:32

 

 

1979’s ‘No Mean City’ is by far my favourite Nazareth album. It is an album that I obtained by accident. I was in a record club (you know the type) and didn’t send my ‘Don’t want the record of the month’ slip back. So along it came and I loved it from first listen.

For this album, Nazareth added SAHB guitarist Zal Cleminson to the line-up, A move that really enhances the ‘Naz’ sound with his fluent, intelligent riff based solos.

We start off with the fast, ass kickin’ ‘Just to Get Into It’ a great album opener that rocks away, letting the new double guitar attack shine, while Dan McCafferty’s growling voice hits the listener right in the guts. ‘May the Sunshine’ got the band some air-play and is a catchy, foliky song that sits well here. ‘Simple Solution Parts 1 and 2’ starts with a monster riff that loops and fills as the track thunders along. The side ends with the beautiful ‘Star’ a rock ballad about broken love caused by the rigours of fame.

Side two is opened by Manny Charlton’s ‘Claim to Fame’ again, a great stomping riff and ‘nasty’ vocals by McCafferty as he screams “Who the hell do you think you are?” at the listener. A touch of light relief can be found on ‘Whatever You Want Babe’ another catchy tune that moves along at a gallop. ‘What’s in it For Me’ is as heavy as it sounds, a real hard track that demands to know the answer. Closing the album is the title track ‘No Mean City Parts 1 and 2’ Based on the 1935 book of the same name by Alexander McArthur and Kingsley H Long. It is a story about Glasgow’s gangland in the 1920’s and a tale of life in the Glasgow slums. The song does this justice by giving it that desperate feel of hopelessness. The rhythm section of Darrell Sweet (drums) and Pete Agnew (bass) chug along with an excellent beat as the story unveils.

So that is it, a highly recommended album with a great rocking riffs, clever lyrics and some totally awesome moments. It also has a fantastic cover designed by Rodney Matthews. This is one to check out.

 

Peter Devine September 2016


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