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Articles Home » 1975 Articles » Byron, David - 1975 Take No Prisoners
Byron, David - 1975 Take No Prisoners

ARTIST: David Byron
ALBUM: Take No Prisoners
LABEL: Bronze
SERIAL: ST-11534
YEAR: 1975
CD REISSUE:1992, Repetoire (Germany), REP-4283-WY * 2011, Lemon Records, CDLEM189


LINEUP: David Byron - vocals * Mick Box - guitar * Denny Ball - bass * Pete Thompson - drums * Lee Kerslake - drums * Lou Stonebridge - keyboards * Ken Hensley - guitar * John Wetton - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Man Full Of Yesterdays * 02 Sweet Rock N' Roll * 03 Steamin' Ahead * 04 Silver White Man * 05 Love Song * 06 Midnight Flyer * 07 Roller Coaster * 08 Stop (Think What You Are Doing) * 09 Hit Me With A White One

Although a debut solo vehicle for Uriah Heep vocalist Byron, this could have been another Heep album with all the band present at various points, while Mich Box was there for the albums duration. Recorded around the same period as 'Return To Fantasy', it further proves how prolific the band was, finding time for this project as well as their own never ending stream of studio recordings. Whether or not Byron intended to break free as a solo star outside the ranks of Heep is unsure, but his position in the band was tenuous as best during 1975, due to rampant alcoholism. Suffice to say 'Take No Prisoners' musically is identical to Heep, with a few twists thrown in, and to be fair much of the content here exceeds Heep's own 'Wonderworld', Return To Fantasy' and 'High And Mighty'. More importantly it highlights the often forgotten legend Byron, the ill fated frontman at his peak, with sadly nowhere to go but down.

The Songs
'Man Full Of Yesterdays' was allegedly written about ex Heep bassist Gary Thain and could easily have been an outtake from any Heep album to that point. Stonebridge had Hensley's organ sound copied to perfection, resulting in a quality track that perhaps Heep should have saved for themselves. 'Sweet Rock 'n' Roll' isn't quite the rocker the title suggests, with some gospel like harmonies and the ever present organ. 'Steamin Along' does rock up quite a storm, noticeably funky, which Heep weren't known for exactly, but the final minute is fast paced and energetic, a tidy little gem. Elsewhere 'Silver White Man' is a standard Heep rocker and 'Love Song' as you would expect is a ballad where Byron shows off his softer vocal side. Box stands out on 'Midnight Flyer' with his always potent guitar solos, followed by the fifties rock and roll based 'Saturday Night', which perhaps took all of an hour to conjure up! 'Hit Me With A White One' is strangely titled but excellent thanks to the bravado of Byron and the ubiquitous riffs from Box, Byron still the greatest voice that Heep ever had.

In Summary
An album that although dated, improves with each listen, although it goes without saying it will be of interest to Heep fans more than anyone else, but fans of mid seventies hard rock would have the time of their life with this. Byron was dismissed from Heep in 1976 due to his alcoholism and he recorded several more albums over the following years, including 1981's 'On The Rocks', which featured Robin George and apparently is more AOR orientated which makes it worth seeking out. Byron of course died of a heart attack in 1985, a sad end to one of hard rocks pioneering vocalists who always seems to be overlooked in the scheme of things. This review is a tribute then to an all time great found here at his undoubted best.

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#1 | dangerzone on July 29 2008 01:43:41
Recently heard 'On the Rocks' for the first time the other day. Big disappointment.
#2 | gdazegod on August 10 2009 00:10:45
I'd be quite interested to hear opinion of Byron's 1978 LP 'Baby Faced Killer'. From what I've read, Byron collaborates with American 70's pop crooner Daniel Boone (you know the guy.. 'Beautiful Sunday', 'Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast' ), and the result is supposed to be quite pop-oriented, with references to Electric Light Orchestra and The Beatles! Eric, do you know anything about this one? helpless
#3 | gdazegod on August 10 2009 01:23:51
It's OK, I found a fileshare on Orexis Of Death blog. May review 'Baby Faced Killer' very soon..
#4 | Eric on August 10 2009 12:32:24
No, never heard it- sounds interesting though. Looking forward to the review!
#5 | Eric on August 10 2009 12:37:53
Over at eBay someone has a CD of 'Baby faced Killer' going for $199. Unbelievable.
#6 | rkbluez on January 20 2012 21:17:57
Great album by Dave...very much a Uriah Heep album in disguise as far as I'm concerned as many of his mates appear on this his first solo album.

Also pick up Ken Hensley's 'Proud Words On A Dusty Shelf' another cool sometimes overlooked by Heep Alumni.
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