Listen to the Nazareth ‘N’s: Loud ‘N’ Proud

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Many Nazareth fans have never owned a real Nazareth album.  Many have settled for the brilliant Greatest Hits from 1975. In the era of 8-tracks it was ubiquitous, its wrinkling cover sitting on the dash or seats of any car worthy of making it up and down a main street. The rumour was it actually contained all the good material from Nazareth’s first six albums.   Greatest Hits, with not a single weak tune,  still serves as something of an advertisement for their first releases, but does it really contain all of their best material? 

Some Covers

When it came time for me to buy one of their other albums I chose Loud ‘N’ Proud because I recognized the Little Feat song, “Teenage Nervous Breakdown” from their Sailin’ Shoes album.  Any album with a Lowel George song on it had to be good.  There were two other covers on the album, Dylan’s “Ballad of Hollis Brown” and the wonderful rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “This Flight Tonight.” In each case it was clear they could make a song their own, but what about the songs by Nazareth? How did they match up?

Some Originals

Only one original from Loud ‘N’ Proud made the Greatest Hits LP, “Turn on Your Receiver.” I was originally a little worried I had purchased a dud, on first listen, especially as I had heard how good Hair of the Dog was, the album that contained yet another famous cover song, “Love Hurts.” In the long run it wasn’t a bad choice, particularly for the covers—though there are a couple of little known songs from Loud ‘N’ Proud that are still worth hearing today as well.

“Child in the Sun” is one of those Nazareth songs that shows the similarities between their sound and Southern rock, almost a nod to CCR on certain levels. There are moments of pub rock here as well, somewhat similar to early Slade, with “Freewheeler” and “Not Faking It.”  That leaves “Go Down Fighting,” the B-side of “This Flight Tonight,” and one of the strongest songs on the album—certainly the top tune of those that did not make the Greatest Hits.

So while Loud ‘N’ Proud may not be their best album (that distinction probably goes to Hair of the Dog, or even Greatest Hits) it is a great example of their work.  It also serves as a natural album for comparison to their 2014 release—also a careful punctuation title!—Rock ‘N’ Roll Telephone.



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