Nazareth “Hair of the Dog”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#516 in the Series) is Nazareth, Hair of the Dog

Listening to this album, along with good classic “old school” rock music in general, triggers a certain internal emotion that makes one long for the simpler times.  A time when being “face booked” meant waking up at 6:30 on a Sunday morning, naked, with your face planted in the unshaven arm pit of a chick named Shasta or Magnolia, neither of which could be correct since most of your brain cells were probably so fried that morning you were rendered incapable of remembering whether or not you even knew her name in the first place.

A time when you did not need mountains painted on the can to turn blue to tell you your beer was cold, and you certainly did not need your beer bottles to be ridged so the beer could get down your gullet faster.

This was also a time that when you ran out of “smoke” you were forced to drive at unhealthy speeds in a souped-up ‘67 Mustang or a an equally impressive ’69 Super Bird through the bowels of the Santa Cruz mountains to some unnamed cabin in some also unnamed woods and play the Northern California version of “Let’s Make a Deal”.  In today’s quick-fix world this same supply of “smoke” would be delivered to your door, paid for by credit card, with an infinite variety to choose from, all provided courtesy of your nearest “medicinal purposes only” facility with free rolling papers included, and would be covered by your insurance if you were really lucky.

The kids have it so easy these days.

But I digress.  The two coolest, most iconic instruments in rock without a doubt are the Cowbell and the Hammond Organ.  This radical statement might offend the Zamfir groupies out there but facts are facts.  The Pan Flute is right there just below the tambourine and a notch above the triangle on the Cool-O-Meter of Rock music instruments.  But there is hope, no one thought the much maligned ukulele would have the Paul Reubenesque career renaissance it has experienced following the Tiny Tim Debacle of the 60’s.

Nazareth’s sixth album Hair of the Dog actually begins with the joyous refrains of a Cowbell with “Hair of the Dog” which stands on the medal stand with the Bronze Medal Cowbell Award going to “Mississippi Queen”, the Silver Medal going to “Hair of the Dog”, and the Gold Medal going to “Don’t Fear the Reaper”.  The song known in some circles as “Son of a Bitch” mostly because this is repeated several times throughout the song and “Hair of the Dog” is never mentioned actually.  The song prominently features the vocals of lead singer Dan McAfferty who sounds like a cross between Joe Walsh and Ronnie James Dio.

“Love Hurts” is the monster hit on this album and was actually a hit for the Everly Brothers in 1960 and also again by Gram Parsons and EmmyLou Harris.  The  song peaked at number 97 on the U.S. charts, reached number 5 on the U.K. charts, and number 1 on the Norwegian charts and spent an astonishing 57 weeks in the top 10.  I am not sure what to make of that previous nugget of trivia other than that they must have extremely long winters in Norwegia, or rather Norway.  It is also one of the few ballads by a hard rock band that is worth the papyrus it was written on.  The Kiss ballad “Beth” certainly is not, and the Poison ballad “Every Rose has its Thorns,” well, enough said.

This album is a boogie-rock classic.  The cover versions selected by the band are clever and show that Nazareth was always a step ahead of the band they portrayed themselves to be.  The cover of the Crazy Horse classic “Beggars Day” is a prime example and the song “Please Don’t Judas Me” should be a classic just for the song title alone.

“Whiskey Drinkin’ Woman” is my favorite song on the album.  It sounds like it could have been made in 2011 on a Joe Bonamassa album.

In the interests of full disclosure I first heard this album when I was visiting an old high school buddy in his trailer home 2 years out of high school, he introduced me to Nazareth.  About the time we were chilling after the somewhat low vibe refrains of  “Love Hurts” and jamming to the Led Zeppelin sounding fourth track “Changin’ Times”, a song where the vocals sound eerily like Brian Johnson era AC/DC, a circa ’78 trailer park MILF  knocked on the door asking us to turn the music down.  Apparently the sound insulation in these trailers is not quite up to par, I was not aware.  We attempted to solve this neighborly dispute by inviting her in to listen to some music and enjoy a little Jack and coke with us.  She gracefully turned us down only to return 20 minutes later with a ½ bottle of Mad Dog 20-20, and a whole bottle of Boones Farm Tickle Pink, and two doobies…….which were not brothers in case you are wondering.

This review should stop here and let’s just say that this album is a Classic Rock staple and should be in every music fans library, and we will leave it at that.

— Bernie Sparrow San Francisco, California USA

Track listing

All lyrics written by Manny Charlton, Dan McCafferty, Pete Agnew, Darrell Sweet except indicated.

  1. “Hair of the Dog”  4:09
  2. “Miss Misery” 4:40
  3. “Love Hurts” 3:53
  4. “Guilty” (Intrnl editions) Randy Newman 3:38
  5. “Changin’ Times” 6:03
  6. “a) Beggars Day b) Rose In The Heather” 6:31
  7. “Whiskey Drinkin’ Woman”  5:29
  8. “Please Don’t Judas Me”  9:48
  9. “Love Hurts” 3:53

Personnel

Nazareth

  • Dan McCafferty – vocals, talk box on “Hair Of The Dog”
  • Manny Charlton – guitars, synthesizer
  • Pete Agnew – bass guitar, backing vocals
  • Darrell Sweet – drums, backing vocals

Additional musicians

  • Max Middleton – piano on “Guilty”
  • Simon Phillips – tabla on “Please Don’t Judas Me”
  • Vicki Brown, Liza Strike, Barry St. John – backing vocals on “Guilty”
  • Vicky Silva – backing vocals on “Please Don’t Judas Me”

Links


Posted by Larry Carta


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