Slade - Whatever Happened To Slade? (1977) Jan 23, 2010 18:18:24 GMT -5
Post by Erik Rupp on Jan 23, 2010 18:18:24 GMT -5
Whatever happened to Slade?
Well, they fell in and out of favor over a 15+ year span, before finally semi-disbanding. By the time they wrote and recorded Whatever Happened To Slade they were already on the outs (for the first time). They took a look around to assess where the music industry was, and what kind of music was big with Rock fans. They determined that in the face of Punk Rock's assault they needed to strip their music back down and make a raw, hard-edged Rock album that could hold up against such rowdy competition. While the album is one of their best, it barely made a dent on the charts and was considered to be a commercial bomb. A dud of major proportions.
The irony of such a quality album failing to find an audience hasn't been lost even though more than three decades have passed since it's release. Their long time producer, former Animal Chas Chandler (a major force in Jimi Hendrix' career) didn't partuclarly care for the material. He didn't, "Get," Punk, either - or it's impact on the musical landscape in the U.K.
The end result of his battles with the band is a rather powerful, straightforward Hard Rock album with some very strong songs. While Chandler may not have been enthusiastic about the album, the band certainly was, and with good reason.
They had written some of the hardest and heaviest songs of their career, and while the songs lacked that glam bounce they more than made up for that with attitude. Whatever Happened To Slade is a very British sounding album, adding some Zeppelin, Humble Pie, and even Black Sabbath influences to the Slade formula.
Opening cut, "Be," is just one example. The scat-like, almost rapped vocals in the verse are shot out in machine-gun fashion leading into a Zeppelin-esque chorus. The song's quality easily matches it's attitude.
There isn't a weak song on the album. From the opener to closing track, "The Soul, The Roll, and The Motion," there isn't a clunker in the bunch. From the straightforward rockers ("Big Apple Blues," "Dogs of Vengeance," "The Soul, The Roll, and The Motion") to the more boogie influenced songs ("When Fantasy Calls," "One Eyed Jacks With Moustaches") to more adventurous Hard Rock songs ("Lightning Never Strikes Twice," "It Ain't Love, But It Ain't Bad") to the other variations on their Hard Rock style, every single song is a killer.
The audio production on the album is pretty much the best on any Slade album to that point as well. The mix has the guitars up front, but still has a prominent role for the bass, and the drums cut through just enough to lay down a strong foundation.
While the album failed to sell well that wasn't an indication of the quality of the release at all. Whatever Happened To Slade is a great Hard Rock album, and is well worth checking out.
The bonus tracks on the CD release (nine in all) are of varying quality (both song-wise and audio quality wise as many of them seem to have been mastered from old 7" vinyl singles with some noticeable groove wear), but are all welcome just the same.
Whatever Happened To Slade? Well, in 1977 they put out a great album that was criminally overlooked by British Rock fans.