Saxon have never been afraid of a cover version and their 1988 version of Christopher Cross’s ‘Ride Like The Wind’ shows they are certainly not afraid to risk their Metal machismo either.
And just last year their iconic frontman Biff Byford made a few heads spin by including a rather decent version of Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Scarborough Fair’ on his solo album ‘School Of Hard Knocks’.
Saxon – Inspirations (Silver Lining Music)
Release Date: 19 March 2021
Words: Brian Boyle
While the thoughts of cover collections can sometimes fill you with a dose of the heebie-jeebies (remember that feeling when Celine Dion and Shania Twain disembowelled AC/DC’s ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’), when you first look at the tracklist on ‘Inspirations’ there is nothing that you could imagine Saxon making a royal balls off.
Their take of The Rolling Stones ‘Paint It Black’ has been, as you would expect, given a Metal makeover and if you rid any thoughts of Biff Byford pouting his lips and prancing around in little yellow shorts, this is a right little goer.
Taking on Led Zeppelin’s galloping ‘Immigrant Song’ might to some seem like Rock ‘N’ Roll sacrilege, and that ‘scream’ is dangerously slimline, but everything else hits the spot with gusto. The punchy take of the Fab Four’s ‘Paperback Writer’ most likely will not make a ripple on the musical landscape, but it is still an uplifting hoot and stereotypical sounding of a Metal band bullying a much loved classic.
They are back on home ground with walloping versions of Motorhead’s ‘Bomber’, Deep Purple’s ‘Speed King’ and Thin Lizzy’s ‘The Rocker’. Once again all iconic tunes worshipped by the Metal faithful, but these are like a busman’s holiday to Saxon who give them the respect they deserve.
One of the biggest eye openers was the inclusion of Toto’s ‘Hold The Line’, which maybe the more polite end of the Rock spectrum. But being one of the AOR legends more heavier tunes, this unlikely pairing is not as frightening a prospect as you might think, though the lack of that famous piano riff is glaring.
It must be noted the fine fettle Biff Byford is in, considering a couple of years ago he underwent a triple heart bypass.
Well on AC/DC’s ‘Problem Child’ he rolls back the years with a snarling vocal rampacked with Barnsley barbarity.
Saxon may still be considered old hat to toffee nosed naysayers, but this shrewdly picked collection of globally lauded songs shows they really could not care less and that thrive on being dedicated followers of the unfashionable.
Paint It Black
Hold The Line
See My Friends