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Articles Home » 1970 Articles » Uriah Heep - 1970 Salisbury
Uriah Heep - 1970 Salisbury

ARTIST: Uriah Heep
ALBUM: Salisbury
LABEL: Vertigo
SERIAL: 6360 028
YEAR: 1970
CD REISSUE: 2003, Sanctuary, SMRCD049 (with bonus tracks)


LINEUP: David Byron - lead vocals * Ken Hensley - slide & acoustic guitars, organ, piano, harpsichord, vibraphone, vocals * Mick Box - lead & acoustic guitars * Paul Newton - bass * Keith Baker - drums

Additional Musician: John Fiddy - brass, woodwinds

TRACK LISTING: 01 Bird Of Prey * 02 The Park * 03 Time To Love * 04 Lady In Black * 05 High Priestess * 06 Salisbury


Uriah Heep has a storied career but retracing their vast back catalog can be a roller-coaster ride between brilliant to dull hard rock to good and yes, occasionally mediocre AOR. While the band were never hip with mainstream critics, they set the bar for classic rock with singles like 'Easy Livin' and my personal favorite 'Stealin' from the superb 'Sweet Freedom' album. But when it comes down to my most played Uriah Heep platter it has to be 'Salisbury'. This was the band's sophomore release and the closest they came to bona fide progressive rock although I suppose after spending most of 1970 sharing stages with the likes of Yes, Gracious, Renaissance, Czar and The Moody Blues; some of that sound had to rub off on the boys from London but I don't think anyone expected they would unleash what is now considered one of the great prog rock albums of the very early 70's UK scene.

The Songs
'Bird Of Prey' kicks off the album with Mick Box's bulldozing riff and Ken Hensley's pumping organ paving the way for David Byron's ungodly falsetto. Seriously, the man sounds like he was kicked in the balls but the song works exceedingly well and is a bona-fide classic in the band's repertoire. Hensley joined Uriah Heep too late to receive writing credits on the debut 'Very 'Eavy, Very 'Umble' but plays a bigger role here and his mark is clearly defined on 'The Park' which in its second half instrumentally recalls Gentle Giant while 'Time To Live' gives Deep Purple a run for their money. The folky 'Lady In Black' recorded with four acoustic guitars was released as a single and although it's not credited, I swear I hear a bit of mellotron in the background as well. 'High Priestess' starts out quite spacey, before turning into classic Heep but the album's crowning jewel is the title track. Borrowing from The Moody Blues and Procol Harum and influenced by Deep Purple's 'Concerto for Group and Orchestra'; 'Salisbury' clocked in at just over 16 minutes and is a classical rock tour-de-force. The entire album stands shoulder to shoulder with anything released by their peers the same year.

In Summary
More touring followed the album's release including dates with Hawkwind, Gentle Giant, Trapeze and The Groundhogs as well as their first visit to America opening for Three Dog Night, Jazz rockers IF as well as Ten Years After, beginning their rise as one of England's greatest hard rock exports, peaking with the stellar 'Demons And Wizards' in 1973. [word count 424]

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#1 | gdazegod on April 06 2016 04:30:23
Bird Of Prey is genius. And to think it came from 1970!
#2 | melodiapositiva on November 06 2017 19:44:49
For me Salisbury is their best album and the title song is a work of art ,brilliant !
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