Friday, June 13, 2008

Uriah Heep - Wake The Sleeper

This party gets off to a rousing start. The first cut is the title cut and rocks every tastebud in these ears right down to my cheerful toes! Largely instrumental in power, there is a chorus that come in and reminds those who have slept through the first 60 seconds to wake up! My bet is they don’t really have to say that, it’s impossible for the energy of this song to not wake us up. Unless, of course, they are speaking of the metaphorical sleepers. I have another idea – that they are speaking of those who are sleeping through the political times and not participating in making the world a better place to exist. I make that judgment based on some of the other songs. The second song tells me that “tonight you’re going to overload your mind” and then reminds us that “life moves faster than the speed of sound”. The next powerhouse rocks the party with the reminder that “I have the best of everything” as the “tears of the world keep falling.” Powerful writing with exciting playing, a great party is promised.

Two confessions. First, Uriah Heep was important to my early adulthood as I dealt with some issues between choosing war or sanity. As I maneuvered my way through the system to get honorably discharged from the war that I was dragged into, the music of Uriah Heep helped bring a peace that wasn’t available from other sources. The second album, Look At Yourself, was played over and over as I made my arguments to my “superiors” about the immorality of the war we were engaged with at the time. It took many inner reflections as those around me were claiming I was was a coward, etc, etc. I’m not going to tell the tale here, only explain that Uriah Heep held a powerful place in my life in the early 70’s with songs like Look At Yourself, I Wanna Be Free, July Morning, Tears In My Eyes, Shadows Of Grief, and What Should Be Done. Love Machine was icing on the cake. The good news is I was eventually honorably discharged without needing to carry a weapon to kill people I had no reason to see as my enemy.

Second, I followed Uriah Heep’s career throughout the 70s. I still own ten of their albums. But somehow we lost touch. I seriously had no concept that they were still a working band. Even though I hang out with musicians and the music business, their output had escaped my detection. Well, I’m glad that this little blog was noticed by someone overseas that decided to mail a copy of the CD. I feel re-united with some powerful musicians and songwriters, but turns out it was all my fault. I did a bit of research and these guys have many cds available. As imports only, which means I am not the only fan who stopped purchasing their music. Let’s fix that.

Back to the album. I have to also mention a song that makes me so sad I cry seriously wet tears when I hear it. That’s powerful. The song is called What Kind Of God, and it’s one of those you must hear to appreciate because the music enhances the lyric and brings a deeper emotional experience. The narrator takes on the view of a person facing “100 white soldiers” from a “far-away place with guns and new order” and contemplating “what kind of god do they see? What kind of God can this be?” The song is powerful because I am able to listen to the words and picture it as a song told from the viewpoint of Native Americans being attacked by Europeans, or Iraqis being attacked by people of European descent. Religion is always the basis, and the god of the killers must be looked upon by those being oppressed as extremely evil, which of course he is because the god, as religious as he is, is in every case money and greed.

More shoutouts for Ghost Of The Ocean and Angels Walk With You (“a new world with a new morning, a new sunrise on a brand-new day). Thanks for keeping up the music guys! I’ll do my best not to lose track again. Uriah Heep