Friday, 26 April 2019

Slade - The Gospel According To Rasputin (1974)

Slade dominated the UK singles charts during the early 1970's, outperforming chart rivals such as Wizzard, Sweet, T. Rex, Suzi Quatro, and Mud, and achieving twelve Top 5 hit singles in the UK between 1971 and 1974, three of which went straight to number 1. No other UK act of the period enjoyed such consistency in the UK Top 40, and this feat was the closest any group had come to matching the Beatles' 22 Top 10 records in a single decade, selling more singles in the UK than any other group of the 1970's. Their first album 'Beginnings' was actually released in 1969 under the name Ambrose Slade, but was a commercial failure, as was the instrumental single 'Genesis' and its follow-up 'Wild Winds Are Blowing'. During the recording of the album they were visited by the Animals' bassist Chas Chandler, who was branching out into management, and he offered to manage them, and as Chandler had previous managerial experience with Jimi Hendrix, the band accepted. Chandler was not pleased with the debut album and thought the band would benefit from writing their own material and a change of image, so they adopted a skinhead look as an attempt to gain publicity from what was a newsworthy youth fashion trend, and they shortened their name to Slade. 
Under this name they released a new single, a cover of 'Shape of Things to Come', which also failed to chart, so Chandler moved them to Polydor Records, believing a higher-profile label would boost sales, and lyrics were added to the instrumental 'Genesis' from the band's debut album, becoming their next single 'Know Who You Are'. This single also failed to make an impression on the UK chart, and so after he'd been managing the band for almost two years without success, Chandler suggested releasing a version of the Bobby Marchan song 'Get Down and Get With It', originally performed by Little Richard, and in 1971 Slade finally got their first Top 20 hit. The band members grew their hair long and allied themselves to the glam rock movement of the early 1970's, with Hill's stage costumes becoming more and more bizarre. Chandler now demanded the band write a follow-up single themselves which led to Lea and Holder writing 'Coz I Luv You', written in half an hour, and kick-starting a writing partnership which would continue throughout Slade's career. The single reached number 1, and Slade became a household name, releasing 'Look Wot You Dun' and 'Take Me Bak 'Ome' in 1972, and from that point on they never looked back. 
Noddy Holder and Jim Lea were such a prolific songwriting partnership that nearly every single they released during that decade had an exclusive b-side, often showing a different side to the band than the foot-stomping glam rock of the A-side. Although their early singles weren't in the glam-rock style, some of them were really good songs, especially 'Wild Winds Are Blowing' and 'Know Who You Are', as well as albums tracks like 'Pouk Hill', and I'd urge you to try one of the many compilations of their early work, as they were very under-rated in their early days. This collection, however, concentrates just on the b-sides of their singles for the six years from 1969 to 1974.



Track listing

01 One Way Hotel (b-side of 'Wild Winds Are Blowing' 1969)
02 C'mom C'mon (b-side of 'Shapes Of Things To Come' 1970)
03 Do You Want Me (b-side of 'Get Down And Get With It' 1971)
04 The Gospel According To Rasputin (b-side of 'Get Down And Get With It' 1971)
05 My Life Is Natural (b-side of 'Coz I Luv You' 1971)
06 Man Who Speeks Evil (b-side of 'Mama Weer All Crazee Now' 1972)
07 Candidate (b-side of 'Look Wot You Dun' 1972)
08 I Won't Let It 'appen Agen (b-side of 'Gudbuy T' Jane' 1972)
09 Wonderin' Y (b-sdie of 'Take Me Bak 'Ome' 1972)
10 I'm Mee, I'm Now, And That's Orl (b-side of 'Cum On Feel The Noize' 1973)
11 Don't Blame Me (b-side of 'Merry Xmas Everybody' 1973)
12 My Town (b-side of 'My Friend Stan' 1973)
13 Kill 'Em At The Hot Club Tonite (b-sdie of 'Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me' 1973)
14 She Did It To Me (b-sdie of 'The Bangin' Man' 1974)
15 O.K. Yesterday Was Yesterday (b-side of 'Far Far Away' 1974)
16 So Far So Good (b-side of 'How Does It Feel?' 1974)

Enjoy / Enjoy

2 comments:

  1. Once they hit their stride Slade's songwriting was as consistent as the best of them. British rock in general from '70 - '74 is probably my favorite era and locale for music. Faces, Stones (Mick Taylor period), T.Rex, Bowie, Deep Purple, Slade, Wings, Zep... I just wonder if I had been born a few years earlier and had been aware of it when it happened if I would feel the same. I discovered all of that in the late 70s.

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  2. B-sides besides! Brilliant flip side comp for one of greatest good time bands of all time. Thanks so much for the great effort and thought you put into your work here, Our listening is all the better for it.

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