Play It Loud

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This article is about the Slade album. For the advertising campaign, see Game Boy line#Play It Loud!. For the metal festival, see Play It Loud! Festival. For the album by Chris Cagle, see Play It Loud (Chris Cagle album).
Play It Loud
Studio album by Slade
Released 28 November 1970
Genre Rock
Length 34:05
Label Polydor (UK), Cotillion (US)
Producer Chas Chandler
Slade chronology
Beginnings
(as Ambrose Slade, 1969)
Play It Loud
(1970)
Coz I Luv You
(1972)
Singles from Play it Loud
  1. "Shape of Things to Come"
    Released: 12 March 1970
  2. "Know Who You Are"
    Released: 20 September 1970

Play It Loud is the first album by the British rock group Slade (and their first under this name, having previously been known as The 'N Betweens and Ambrose Slade). It was released on 28 November 1970 but did not enter the charts.

With very little promotion and advertising, the album failed to reach a wide audience. The absence of a 'hit' single was also a factor in this. It is regarded by some as an influential rock release, foreshadowing punk rock nearly seven years prior to its UK explosion.

The band appeared on the UK show Disco 2 to promote the album. They made three appearances during 1970. Three songs were performed from the album; Shape Of Things To Come, Know Who You Are and Sweet Box. All three performances have never surfaced since broadcasting.

Slade, in this incarnation, had adopted a "skinhead" image by suggestion of their manager Chas Chandler.

Play It Loud was remastered in 2006 and released with the Ambrose Slade album Beginnings on a single CD. Bonus tracks are the singles "Wild Winds Are Blowing" and "Get Down And Get With It".

Background[edit]

After the commercial failure of the album Beginnings as Ambrose Slade, Chas Chandler decided to shorten the band's name to 'Slade'. It was also Chandler's decision to court controversy by projecting the band as skinheads for the single called 'Wild Winds are Blowing'. Dave Hill and Jim Lea were mortified by a revised image based upon Dr Marten boots, braces, cropped hair and aggressive 'bovver boy' posturing. By 1970 the skinhead craze was starting to become passé.

"We got a lot of flak for being a skinhead band, so gradually we changed," Holder told Classic Rock in December 2005. "We replaced Doc Martens with platform boots. We became more colourful and then it all went berserk - Dave the Superyob with his spacesuits and all the rest. It was a great laugh."

Yet Slade were still skinheads when they released their second album, 'Play It Loud', in November 1970. By this time, Chandler had moved the band onto Polydor Records, also assuming responsibility for the group's production. Slade themselves were also working hard at writing their own material. Although it had once again failed to chart, 'Play It Loud' was and remains an underrated piece in Slade's catalogue. Holder's voice was beginning to show its great potential and songs like 'Shape of Things to Come' (the records first single), 'Raven', 'Dapple Rose' and 'Know Who You Are' (which also was released as a single) offered solid proof of the band's talent.[1]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Raven" (Holder/Lea/Powell) - 2:37
  2. "See Us Here" (Holder/Lea/Powell) - 3:12
  3. "Dapple Rose" (Lea/Powell) - 3:31
  4. "Could I" (Griffin/Royer) - 2:45
  5. "One Way Hotel" (Holder/Lea/Powell) - 2:40
  6. "Shape of Things to Come" (Mann/Weil) Did Not Chart - 2:18
  7. "Know Who You Are" (Holder/Lea/Hill/Powell) Did Not Chart - 2:54
  8. "I Remember" (Lea/Powell) - 2:56
  9. "Pouk Hill" (Holder/Lea/Powell) - 2:24
  10. "Angelina" (Neil Innes) - 2:50
  11. "Dirty Joker" (Lea/Powell) - 3:27
  12. "Sweet Box" (Lea/Powell) - 3:25

Track listing (France)[edit]

  1. "Coz I Luv You"
  2. "Raven"
  3. "Could I"
  4. "I Remember"
  5. "One Way Hotel"
  6. "Know Who You Are"
  7. "Get Down And Get With It"
  8. "Angelina"
  9. "Pouk Hill"
  10. "Dirty Joker"
  11. "See Us Here"
  12. "Sweet Box"

Song information[edit]

Raven[edit]

"Raven" is the album's opener, written by Holder; Lea and Powell.

Referring to the song title "The Shape of Things to Come", allmusic.com wrote "Things to come is exactly what this album is, from the Ten Years After inspired original "Raven"."

The song featured on the 1972 compilation Coz I Luv You whilst the band performed the track in the early 70s during a live BBC studio session. This performance was officially released in 2009 on the two disc set Live at the BBC, after years of appearing on bootlegs.

The track is a recommended track by allmusic.com.

See us Here[edit]

"See us Here" was written by Holder; Lea and Powell.

Allmusic.com wrote "Things to come is exactly what this album is, from the Ten Years After inspired original "Raven" to the more ominous "See Us Here," which is Noddy Holder sounding as sinister as Ozzie. Slade has gone from redoing classics of the genre to copping riffs and writing their own rock essays. "See Us Here" is subtle Black Sabbath, when the Sabs are on their best behaviour."[2]

The band performed the track in the early 70s during a live BBC studio session. This performance was officially released in 2009 on the two disc set Live at the BBC, after years of appearing on bootlegs.[3]

Dapple Rose[edit]

"Dapple Rose" was written by Lea and Powell, a song that refers to a horse. The song was used as the b-side to the 1970 single Know Who You Are.

For a September 2009 interview for a Slade fan forum, Powell was asked what inspiration was behind the song. Powell replied "Regarding Dapple Rose: I’ve always had a fondness for horses and where I lived with my parents there were some fields over the back and there were always gypsies camping there. They used to have these horses and donkeys and they always looked dead to me. They were not looked after which was sad. As for other songs, for instance I Remember… I don't remember!!"[4]

Allmusic.com wrote "One of the album's most outstanding tracks is "Dapple Rose," a take-off of the Move when Jimmy Miller gave that band their number one British hit, "Blackberry Way." The violin adds to the majesty of the big vocals and pretty guitar, delivering a commercial performance very unlike the stuff that would make them famous."

Allmusic.com also spoke of the song in a review for the 2006 Salvo double remaster of the 1969 Beginnings debut album and Play It Loud. "Dapple Rose, One Way Hotel, Pouk Hill, and covers of The Shape of Things to Come and Journey to the Centre of Your Mind are all dynamite, with the originals as indicative of the band's innate ear for a melody and the covers representing Slade at their floor-shaking, foot-stamping hardest."

The song featured on the 1972 compilation Coz I Luv You.[5]

The song was later covered by punk band Riot/Clone, appearing on the album Do You Want Fries with That?, which was released in 2001.[6]

Could I[edit]

"Could I" was written by James Griffin and Robb Royer, originally released in 1969 by the soft rock band Bread.

Allmusic.com wrote "J. Griffin/R.Royer's "Could I" sounds like heavy Chinn/Chapman with a sludgy solid hook that gives birth to an elegant chorus and fade. Very sophisticated, which is where the first album was heading."

The song featured on the 1972 compilation Coz I Luv You and the 2008 compilation Rockers.

One Way Hotel[edit]

"One Way Hotel" was written by Holder, Lea and Powell.

Originally, the song was the b-side to the 1969 single Wild Winds are Blowing although this version was slightly altered to the version that appeared on Play It Loud. The original version had a jazz influence within the guitar parts which was remixed and removed for this version.[7]

Allmusic.com spoke of the song in a review for the 2006 Salvo double remaster of the 1969 Beginnings debut album and Play It Loud. "Dapple Rose, One Way Hotel, Pouk Hill, and covers of The Shape of Things to Come and Journey to the Centre of Your Mind are all dynamite, with the originals as indicative of the band's innate ear for a melody and the covers representing Slade at their floor-shaking, foot-stamping hardest."

The song featured on the 1973 UK number one compilation Sladest and the 2006 box set compilation The Slade Box. The original version featured for the first time on CD in 2006, on the Salvo compilation B-Sides.

The Shape of Things to Come[edit]

"The Shape of Things to Come" was written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, first performed by the band Max Frost and The Troopers on the 1968 album of the song's name.

The song was released as the lead single from the album, under Fontana Records, becoming the band's final release on that label. The band performed the song on Top of the Pops, their first appearance on the show, despite the song failing to chart in the UK. This performance has not been seen since the original broadcast.

The band appeared on the UK show Disco 2 to promote the Play It Loud album making three appearances during 1970. Three songs were performed from the album in total which were Shape of Things to Come, Know Who You Are and Sweet Box. All three performances have never surfaced since broadcasting.

Allmusic.com wrote "Also there is less cover music here. What sounds like the opening to the Yardbirds version of Graham Gouldman's "For Your Love" emerges as Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil's "The Shape of Things to Come.""

Allmusic.com spoke of the song in a review for the 2006 Salvo double remaster of the 1969 Beginnings debut album and Play It Loud. "Dapple Rose, One Way Hotel, Pouk Hill, and covers of The Shape of Things to Come and Journey to the Centre of Your Mind are all dynamite, with the originals as indicative of the band's innate ear for a melody and the covers representing Slade at their floor-shaking, foot-stamping hardest."

The band performed the track in the early 70s during a live BBC studio session. This performance was officially released in 2009 on the two disc set Live at the BBC, after years of appearing on bootlegs.

The song featured on the 1972 compilation Coz I Luv You, the 1973 UK number one compilation Sladest, the 2006 box set compilation The Slade Box, the 2007 American compilation In for a Penny: Raves & Faves and the 2008 compilation Rockers.

The track is a recommended track by allmusic.com.

Know Who You Are[edit]

"Know Who You Are" was written by the entire band and was released as the second and final single from the album. The single was unsuccessful, much like the band's releases of the time. The single was the band's debut single on Polydor Records after leaving Fontana Records.

The song had originally appeared on the band's 1969 debut album Beginnings under the name Genesis. Genesis was an instrumental track, whilst this version is a reworking, featuring vocal. The song was later recorded live for the 1972 album Slade Alive!.

The band appeared on the UK show Disco 2 to promote the Play It Loud album making three appearances during 1970. Three songs were performed from the album in total which were Shape of Things to Come, Know Who You Are and Sweet Box. All three performances have never surfaced since broadcasting.

Allmusic.com wrote ""Know Who You Are" is a wonderful study here; the band is more proper dipping into that Yardbirds bag again on this original. By the time it was re-released on Slade Alive, only two years later, the song would become part of their glam success. But here, Neville "Noddy" Holder is kept on key by Chas Chandler, and that restraint makes for an intelligent album of rock which draws from all of the aforementioned sources, Ten Years After, Sabbath, "The Move," Yardbirds, as well as the Beatles, Steppenwolf, and Kaleidoscope U.K. Surprisingly, there's no Animals or Hendrix that can be seen on the surface."

For the French edition of the band's breakthrough 1971 single Get Down and Get With It, Know Who You Are was the b-side whilst it was one of two b-sides for the Mexican edition of the single. For the Singapore release of the 1972 single Take Me Bak 'Ome, the song appeared as a bonus track.

The band performed the track in the early 70s during a live BBC studio session. This performance was officially released in 2009 on the two disc set Live at the BBC, after years of appearing on bootlegs.

The song featured on the 1973 UK number one compilation Sladest and the 2006 box set compilation The Slade Box.

I Remember[edit]

"I Remember" was written by Lea and Powell.

Allmusic.com wrote "Still searching for the magical songwriting formula, the Noddy Holder/Jim Lea songwriting team of the future has yet to gel; in its place, Lea and Don Powell turn in a less commercial but equally raucous brew, most noteworthy across the likes of "Sweet Box," "Dirty Joker," and "I Remember.""

For a September 2009 interview for a Slade fan forum, Powell was asked what inspiration was behind the song Dapple Rose. Powell mentioned I Remember by stating "As for other songs, for instance I Remember… I don't remember!!"[4]

For the Mexican edition of the band's breakthrough 1971 single Get Down and Get With It, I Remember was the second of two b-sides.

Pouk Hill[edit]

"Pouk Hill" was written by Holder, Lea and Powell.

The song's lyrics referred to the event of creating the artwork for the 1969 debut album Beginnings. The cover featured a photo of the band on Pouk Hill in Wolverhampton. The band didn't enjoy the photo session due to the cold weather which is described in this song. The line "Dick took a shot and he got us" refers to the photographer Richard Stirlin.

Allmusic.com wrote "Surprisingly, there's no Animals or Hendrix that can be seen on the surface, an original like "Pouk Hill" leaning more toward the rock side of things than the blues embraced by Jimi and Eric Burdon."

Allmusic.com also spoke of the song in a review for the 2006 Salvo double remaster of the 1969 Beginnings debut album and Play It Loud. "Dapple Rose, One Way Hotel, Pouk Hill, and covers of The Shape of Things to Come and Journey to the Centre of Your Mind are all dynamite, with the originals as indicative of the band's innate ear for a melody and the covers representing Slade at their floor-shaking, foot-stamping hardest."

The song featured on the 1973 UK number one compilation Sladest and the 2006 box set compilation The Slade Box.

Angelina[edit]

"Angelina" was written by Neil Innes, originally performed and released as a single in 1970 by the rock band The World.

Allmusic.com wrote "Nick Innes' "Angelina," however, takes that early pop/blues sound Z.Z.Top gave to their early-'70s single "Francene" and shows what that style sounds like when performed by Englishmen as opposed to Americans."

The song featured on the 1972 compilation Coz I Luv You.

Dirty Joker[edit]

"Dirty Joker" was written by Lea and Powell.

Allmusic.com wrote ""Dirty Joker" seems almost anti-gay, a paradox for a band that would be so essential to the glam blitz which Bowie, T. Rex, and Mott the Hoople were all part of."

Allmusic.com also wrote "Still searching for the magical songwriting formula, the Noddy Holder/Jim Lea songwriting team of the future has yet to gel; in its place, Lea and Don Powell turn in a less commercial but equally raucous brew, most noteworthy across the likes of "Sweet Box," "Dirty Joker," and "I Remember.""

The band performed the track in the early 70s during a live BBC studio session. This performance was officially released in 2009 on the two disc set Live at the BBC, after years of appearing on bootlegs.

The track is a recommended track by allmusic.com.

Sweet Box[edit]

"Sweet Box" is the album's closer, written by Lea and Powell.

Allmusic.com wrote "There should be more similarities to Mott, but there are not, the final track, "Sweet Box," taking a Beatles riff from "She Said" and mutating it beyond recognition, experimenting with rock & roll in an inspiring way."

Allmusic.com also wrote "Still searching for the magical songwriting formula, the Noddy Holder/Jim Lea songwriting team of the future has yet to gel; in its place, Lea and Don Powell turn in a less commercial but equally raucous brew, most noteworthy across the likes of "Sweet Box," "Dirty Joker," and "I Remember.""

The band appeared on the UK show Disco 2 to promote the Play It Loud album making three appearances during 1970. Three songs were performed from the album in total which were Shape of Things to Come, Know Who You Are and Sweet Box. All three performances have never surfaced since broadcasting.

The band performed the track in the early 70s during a live BBC studio session. This performance was officially released in 2009 on the two disc set Live at the BBC, after years of appearing on bootlegs.

The song featured on the 1972 compilation Coz I Luv You and the 2007 American compilation In for a Penny: Raves & Faves.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
NME favourable
Q-Magazine 2/5 stars
Allmusic 3/5 stars[8]

NME magazine reviewed the album upon release. "Aggressive - that's what the music and vocalising of Slade seems to be, though they vary the volume with great skill, at times quiet, then turning it up and shouting at the listener as in "Know Who You Are". They also bark out a love song to "Angelina", and get a good rhythm going with handclaps on "Dirty Joker", and on "Sweet Box" they attack the music ferociously with guitars and voices. Of the more tuneful items (and the tune isn't given much of a chance on most tracks) is "Could I". The lead vocalist is inclined to shout too much, but then, maybe that is the appeal of the group. Pity their names and the instruments they play aren't mentioned on the sleeve, where only their pictures appear. Chas Chandler gets the credit of producing."[9]

In August 1991, Q Magazine reviewed CD re-issues of Beginnings, Play It Loud and Slade Alive! in one review, using the opening line "Three re-issues from the Slade archive that cover their pre-Merry Xmas japery". For Play It Loud, a rating of two stars was given, with the review stating "By 1970's Play It Loud, they'd dropped the 'Ambrose' and succumbed to record company ideas, adopting skinhead garb, while giving their sound a tighter groove, best illustrated by the single of that moment, 'The Shape of Things to Come', which led the music press into clamour for non-glamour and a Next Big Thing tag. Some 20 years on, the track still sounds exciting and belligerent but the rest lacks real fire."

Record Mirror magazine reviewed the single "Know Who You Are" upon release, "Chas Chandler, ex-Animal bassist, states categorically that this group will make it. But then he's said that before about Jimi Hendrix. Lost momentarily in a skinhead scene, this group is basically most musicianly. This is a strange, staccato sort of production, lead voice stamping, as in bovver boots, on the lyrics. Stark simplicity behind. The effect is very good indeed. Darn near slayed me - chart chance."[10]

NME reviewed the "Know Who You Are" single upon release, "A powerful item from the skinhead group, making its Polydor debut. The lyric is forcefully delivered, virtually snarled at time. It's a hard-hitting piece of philosophy with a walloping beat, which explodes into a wall of sound in the title hook. Insistent and gripping, but limited in its appeal."[11]

NME reviewed the "Shape of Things To Come" single upon release, "The Midlands group whose main claim to fame is their skinheads. But in this rip-roaring rocker, the quartet also display abundant musical ability. The fervently shouted solo vocal rides above the thunderous beat and raucous guitar sounds, to create a dynamism and a fiery attack reminiscent of the early days of The Who."[12]

The fan trivia of the title order is upside-down and includes a twist at the end of the album similar to a Jig-Saw Puzzle arranged within the production. The order for listening is Side One: Sweet Box, Dirty Joker, Angelina, Pouk Hill, I Remember, Know Who You Are, Side Two: The Shape of Things To Come, One Way Hotel, Could I, Raven, See Us Here, Dapple Rose. Backward song titles improve the overall impression of the album, probably, as originally conceived by the band, although, The Shape of Things to Come, appears to be the best hit title opening, and other arrangements are possible.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1973) Peak
position
Total
weeks
Canadian Albums Chart[13] 40 5

Personnel[edit]

Slade[edit]

Additional credits[edit]

  • Chas Chandler - producer
  • George Chkiantz - engineer
  • Anton Mathews - mixing engineer
  • Gered Mankowitz - photography
  • Hamish and Gustav - sleeve design

References[edit]

  1. ^ Slade's remastered album Beginnings/Play It Loud booklet
  2. ^ Viglione, Joe. "Play It Loud - Slade : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-06-23. 
  3. ^ "Live at the BBC - Slade : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. 13 October 2009. Retrieved 2012-06-23. 
  4. ^ a b "Don Powell interviews". Donpowellinterviews.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-06-23. 
  5. ^ "SLADE Discography @ www.collectadisc.co.uk". Collectadisc.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-06-23. 
  6. ^ "Riot/Clone - Do You Want Fries With That? (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2012-06-23. 
  7. ^ B-Sides compilation 2006 Salvo booklet
  8. ^ Viglione, Joe. "Play It Loud - Slade". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  9. ^ NME magazine 19 December 1970
  10. ^ Record Mirror Magazine 26 September 1970
  11. ^ NME magazine 19 September 1970
  12. ^ NME magazine 21 March 1970
  13. ^ "Results - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2011-08-10.