by Rob Jones
I recall that ‘Slade Alive!’ on cassette was the first full album by an artist that entered my auditory system. That experience drew me with a magnetic presence towards these Wolverhampton Wizards. Quite frankly, I became obsessed with the Noddy Holder, Jimmy Lea, Dave Hill, Don Powell combo over the next several years – even dedicating one bedroom wall to anything Sladest, Slayed or Slade!
However, as the years tally up and the decades vanish it is now 45 years since the release of ‘Slade Alive!’ and as such this TNT tome has resurfaced as a pop product. So what is there to report? Plenty! Genres, movements and scenes galore have passed since the original release of these seven stomping tracks but this collection still stands proud as a rock ‘n’ roll riot. How on earth Holder does not shatter in to little pieces such is the power of his voice and he is ably supported by his soaring sonic sidekicks. Such plaudits help explain the legend of Slade and the following quotes are proof that the strengths of this powerhouse impacted upon artists that followed, e.g.
“I spent most of the early 70’s listening to ‘Slade Alive!’ thinking to myself, ‘Wow – this is what I want to do. I want to make that kind of intensity for myself.’ A couple of years later I was at CBGB’s doing my best Noddy Holder” Joey Ramone (The Ramones)
“Slade speak to me, through the energy of the guitars and music” Noel Gallagher
‘Slade Alive!’ is a firm fans favourite and the boys bombast displays that the superseding years may provide rich pickings for the colourful Midlanders. Holder says of this legendary recording “I think it had the essence of what Slade was all about as a band. It was very basic and raw, it captured a mood and it also helped set us apart from other pop acts. We weren’t just a singles band anymore – we had a credible, raunchy hit album too. We were pop and we were cool. It was perfect.”
The first Slade hit single ‘Coz I Luv You’ needed an album to back it up and a live release was the quickest, easiest and cheapest solution. A £600 fee spread across October 19-21, 1971 captured the fever and fervour of 300-capacity fan-club only gigs at a packed Command Studios, Piccadilly, London. Originally released on 24 March 1972, ‘Slade Alive!’ resided for a staggering 58 weeks on the UK Chart and also scored in the US prior to a lot more acclaim and six UK No.1 hit singles were to follow over the next several years.
Dave Hill perfectly concludes: I believe ‘Slade Alive!’ is such a great album because it’s Slade ‘live on stage,’ at our very best! Our success was based on that album and the principle that we were a great live rock and roll band of our generation.” A fiery blues rock mix capturing a concert atmosphere iced with melody and menace is at the core of this colossus.
NB The new formats via the BMG label include a 180g vinyl LP with a 6 page 12” booklet and a CD with hardback cover and 28 pages of data. The details of which are:
01. Hear Me Calling
02. In Like A Shot From My Gun
03. Darling Be Home Soon
04. Know Who You Are
01. Keep On Rocking
02. Get Down And Get With It
03. Born To Be Wild
01. Hear Me Calling
02. In Like A Shot From My Gun
03. Darling Be Home Soon
04. Know Who You Are
05. Keep On Rocking
06. Get Down And Get With It
07. Born To Be Wild