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'Rock 'n' Roll Telephone'
(Salvo/Union Square)

Joe Geesin

joe geesin


Now here's a band with some serious pedigree, and history. This, their 23rd studio album, is a return to form after more two lacklustre (by Naz standards) outings, and could sadly well mark the end of an era.

Formed in the late 60s out of the ashes of ballroom covers band The Shadettes, with the addition of Mark V guitarist Manuel 'Manny' Charlton, who added quite a bluesy edge, Nazareth soon became hard touring regulars around the world. Across a number of labels in the 70s the band had several hits, including 'Bad Bad Boy' and 'Broken Down Angel'; it was, however, covers of 'Love Hurts' (The Everly Brothers), 'This Flight Tonight' (Joni Mitchel) and 'My White Bicycle' (Tomorrow) that gave the band global success, their versions of the first two widely considered definitive.

Others came and went, including Billy Rankin, SAHB guitarist Zal Cleminson and Spirit pianist John Locke, before Manny left the band at the end of the 80s.

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The current line up (on the CD) include founder members Dan McCafferty (vocals) and Pete Agnew (bass) – although Dan has recently announced his retirement due to ill health – with guitarist Jimmy Murrison (who debuted on 1998s wonderful 'Boogaloo') and Lee Agnew (Pete's son, who took the drum stool after Darrell Sweet's passing shortly after the release of 'Boogaloo').

Now onto 'Rock 'n' Roll' Telephone, sadly McCafferty's swansong – which opens with the excellent 'Boom Bang Bang'. Some excellent guitar work and a good riff (although on its own, before the band come in, an intro that took me a few listens to get used to) – and McCafferty's vocals as gravelly as ever.

There's a touch of funk to the guitar and bass and the drums pound heavily (not too sure on the drum sound at times). Next up is 'One Set Of Bones', which sees Agnew Jnr fitting into Sweet's shoes well. A couple of chords are reminiscent of 1981s 'Crazy', and other riffs have a moody feel. Then there's the chorus that see's Dan reach a higher range than normal – well worth a listen.

'Back 2B4' is a change of pace and feel – much more melodic with an almost acoustic feel, it's hark back to 'Malice In Wonderland'/'Fool Circle'. Again Dan on form here, and Pete's bass sounds spot on too.

'Winter Sunlight' is a slower atmospheric number, and the title track is heavy with big production, a solid more metallic number and some trademark fuzz on the bass. 'Punch A Hole The Sky' is a real uptempo rocker, this a nod to some seriously classic Naz albeit at the heavy end.

Photo credit: Mark Bryce

The overall feel is hard rock verging on Metal – not as bluesy as early material, but definitely so far so good. Then we hit 'Long Long Time', with effects and programming in the intro and in the rhythms. It's a not a bad track by any means, by a long way, but it does sound out of place on a Nazareth album, it's more the kind of thing you'd find on a solo album. 'The Right Time', a softer almost balladic track, is again not the strongest. But things turn around with 'Not Today', a slower heavy number with a moody riff.

'Speakeasy' is more exciting, and the album's closer, 'God Of The Mountain', is the highlight of the whole album. This track was issued late last year as a signature track of the Austrian winter Olympics team (that CD single is now quite a rarity). This is uptempo, thunderous, catchy, blistering (fuck me, check out that guitar solo), everything a good Nazareth album should start and finish with.

It would be totally unfair to say the last couple of outings lacked soul, but there's a rejuvenation, a spark, much more feeling here.

The sad news is that Dan is no longer touring with the band; I spoke with him soon after the announcement and he sounded good, and realistic about looking after himself. I'm looking forward to hearing tracks from this album live with the band's new vocalist Linton Osborne.

Look out for a 2LP edition of this set, and a 2CD with extra tracks.

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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