Nazareth is back with the 22nd (gasp!) effort Big Dogz, and their first since 2008’s excellent, The Newz.
It blows my mind that Nazareth has been rockin’ since 1968. Dan McCafferty and company proves there is plenty of fire left in this awesome rock n’ roll band.
The Big Dogz that are Nazareth start howling right out of the gate with the song, “Big Dogs Gonna Howl”. This rocker gets better every time I listen to it. (It sounds great when blasted loudly on a car stereo I might add.)
McCafferty’s whiskey stained vocals really drive home the tune “No Mean Monster”. This is the type of rockin’ tune I have grown to expect from Nazareth over the years.
“When Jesus Comes to Save the World Again” starts off as a slow acoustic number that wouldn’t sound out-of-place in your local coffee shop. The song eventually breaks into a hard as nails number that eventually reverts back to its acoustic beginning. This a well written tune, and a an enjoyable listen in my opinion.
I would expect that my favorites off of Big Dogz would be one of the heavier numbers, but I absolutely love the song “Radio”. ‘Radio” is a very catchy mid-tempo number that could be an honest hit for Nazareth, if the boneheaded DJ’s of radio today still played their songs.
“Time and Tide” and its main lyric “Where does the time go” makes a lot of sense for a band that has been rocking as long as Nazareth. The older we get, the years just seem to disappear faster and faster. That lyric can pretty much apply to anyone at anytime, and it certainly makes you think, each time you hear it. I can just picture Dan McCafferty and Pete Agnew sitting around with a cocktail in their hands, reminiscing about the good old days .
“The Toast” is a fun, upbeat rocker, with a tongue in cheek ending, that is worth a lot of repeat plays.
“Butterfly” is a sad, but memorable piano based number that tells the tale of a lost loved one. It is a real tear-jerker, but a very powerful and emotional tune. This is song is one of the highlights of Big Dogz.
Big Dogz ends in an a great fashion with the upbeat rocker “Sleeptalker”. This is an infectious number that could easily become a fan favorite.
Overall, I have found Big Dogz to be an enjoyable record. It isn’t perfect by any means, and if you are expecting a repeat of Hair of the Dog, or No Mean City, you won’t find it here. If you are a Nazareth fan, and you enjoyed the band’s comeback effort, The Newz, you ought to check out Big Dogz. I think you will enjoy it!
Rating: Out of 10
- Big Dog’s Gonna Howl
- No Mean Monster
- When Jesus Comes to Save the World Again
- Time and Tide
- The Toast
- Watch Your Back
Dan McCafferty – Vocals
Pete Agnew – Bass, backing vocals
Jimmy Murrison – Guitars
Lee Agnew – Drums
NAZARETH “THE NEWZ” – CLASSIC HARD ROCK FROM 2008 NEVER SOUNDED SO GOOD!
Back in 1971, Nazareth, a bluesy Rockin’ band from Dunfermline, Scotland, released their self-titled debut album on Warner Bros. Records. Fast forward to 2008 and Nazareth is still going strong, with their Classic Rock colliding with Hard Rock and mixed with a blues influence that so pronounces their musical style. The Newz was released on March 31, 2008, on Demolition Records. There are many great albums that have been released in the last few years, “The Newz” is a great Hard Rock album, one that needs to be re-introduced to our loyal Hard Rock Hideout following! As I write this, I am jumping up and down and stomping my feet in Classic Hard Rock glee, that’s how emphatic I am about Nazareth and “The Newz”. Alright, I might not be stomping my feet.
Ten years removed from the last Nazareth studio album, (1998’s “Boogaloo”), “The Newz” reinstates that this band still has a full tank of Rock ‘N’ Roll gas and enough Old School vibe to shake and stir the Classic Rock Gods from their slumber. With original members Dan McCafferty on lead vocals and Pete Agnew on bass, along with longtime member Jimmy Murrison on guitars and Lee Agnew on drums, this is Nazareth… present day, circa 2008 and they don’t stray from their bluesy-Hard Rock ways. Lee Agnew is Pete Agnew’s son, (Lee replaced original drummer Darrell Sweet upon his passing away in 1999). 2008 was a year which in which Nazareth celebrated their 40th Anniversary of Rock ‘N’ Roll, as truest and revered a milestone any band in the land could ever hope for.
Onto the songs heard on “The Newz”… “Goin’ Loco” kicks off this Nazareth Rock party with all the free-spirited energy that this legendary band has been so famous for. To say this song is groovy is an understatement, the guitar licks from Jimmy are stuff that would make Prince himself proud and any guitarist out there knows that’s a compliment. “Goin’ Loco” is a perfect opener for “The Newz”, establishing that Nazareth still maintains and glorifies that Classic Rock attitude and sound.
“A Day At The Beach” just might be the most happy song I’ve ever heard from Nazareth, alongside “May The Sunshine” from their iconic 1979 album – “No Mean City”. Truth be told, I listened to “A Day At The Beach” while driving in many snowstorms the past couple of years… and this song literally made me feel like Summer was just a day away and everything really was alright. A fun, melodic and instantly memorable song that is supposed to lift one’s spirits. Oh… this song Rocks too.
From “Goin’ Loco” straight through to “Dying Breed”, I applaud and raise my horns to the air for the vocals of Dan McCafferty. In my most honest opinion, Dan has NOT lost a single step in his voice, making each song trademark Nazareth, just due to his vocals alone. “Liar” is easily the heaviest song on “The Newz”, with Jimmy delivering the Heavy Metal riffs coupled with some funky laden leads. With Pete and Lee pumping up the beats on the rhythm section, I find myself “banging thy head” to “Liar” without any sense of control.
“Warning” takes over where “Liar” left off. Whoa… this song could have been a hit in ANY decade of Nazareth Rock ‘N’ Roll. “Warning” should be played on mainstream FM just to highlight what REAL Hard Rock sounds like, Old School and brandishing all the Hard guitar goodness that this genre was built upon. Jimmy ignites “Warning” at the closing with an impressive guitar solo that leaves me wanting more of that cool stuff. “Loggin’ On” is a catchy Hard Rock song that lyrically puts a reality check on the world of the internet and how people can waste their life away by “Loggin’ On”.
Overall, it is very difficult for me to choose a “favorite” song on “The Newz”. This dilemma only deepens when “Mean Streets” gets it’s Hard, Heavy and Funky Groovin’ sound cranked up to the maximum level. Yes Virginia, there is some consistent Funk in that guitar of Jimmy’s. “Mean Streets” title may fool you, however, it is a song that can be enjoyed loud while doing a psyche-out dance by yourself, with no witnesses… of course. “Dying Breed” is a haunting, Hard & Heavy epic, clocking in at 13:23, don’t think for one second Nazareth has lost their flare for some sinister Rock ‘N’ Roll! Just when you think this song has neared its end… keep this CD playing… for “Dying Breed” is a creeper and a keeper!
“The Newz” carries it weight with the utmost musical integrity of its songs. “Road Trip”, “The Gathering”, “Warning” and “Liar” are the heavyweights, with “Gloria” being the ultra-cool and reflective ballad and “A Day At The Beach” reinstating the “fun-side” to Hard Rock. Mix in the underrated guitar play of Jimmy Murrison and the astute drumming of Lee Agnew, coupled with the legendary Pete Agnew on bass and the sandpapered vocals of Dan McCafferty… and you have one ultra solid, Classic Hard Rock album, one that rises from the pack for this lifetime Nazareth fan and Rock ‘N’ Rollaholic.
Setting any Nazareth fan bias I may bestow aside, “The Newz” should not disappoint those looking for a quality album of songs. This is a Hard Rock album that is a throwback to those days when creating songs really did matter, days when those overly glorified radio hits were just a shot in the dark.
Rating: Out of 10
- Goin’ Loco
- Day At The Beach
- See Me
- Enough Love
- Mean Streets
- Road Trip
- Keep On Travellin’
- Loggin’ On
- The Gathering
- Dying Breed
Dan McCafferty – lead vocals
Pete Agnew – bass guitar, backing vocals
Jimmy Murrison – guitars
Lee Agnew – drums