SR-61319 Salisbury
Produced by Gerry Bron
Released on January 1971
US CHART POSITION #103
Find it at GEMM
SR-61319 cover  

H eep raised the stakes on Salisbury (sorry about that, I’m not made of steel), culminating in the sixteen-minute title track which featured (I kid you not) an actual orchestra. I’m guessing the conductor must have asked for half of the money up front. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Uriah Heep. Part of their appeal is that they’re easy to root for as the perennial bull in the china shop, clumsily chasing a state of musical grace that came so easily to ELP, The Doors and others. In a sense Heep, like Godzilla, possesses a giant animal neutrality that works for good and evil irregardless. Harnessing classical elements for something as banal as “Salisbury” should be a crime, but I’d give them a get-out-of-jail-free card for “Lady In Black,” “High Priestess” or “The Park.” It’s hard to believe the same band that wrote the calculatedly contagious “High Priestess” or the epic “Lady In Black” could make such a giant misstep as “Salisbury,” but that’s the eternal paradox of Uriah Heep. Salisbury is by turns a very good album and a very bad one, steeped in the psychedelia of the late ‘60s (when were they even on the ground floor of anything?), but played out with a conviction that you have to admire. Mick Box’ opening guitar licks on “Time To Live,” Ken Hensley’s organ solo on “The Park,” and Paul Newton’s bass playing throughout indicate that Heep was running at one hundred percent. The band gives it their all, whether the song merits the effort or not, and the results are extreme (extremely good or extremely bad). Maybe that’s where Salisbury excels: you may not like every song, but you’ll have a strong reaction to most of them. Note that the US and UK releases differed primarily in track placement. The heavy “Bird of Prey” was replaced on US releases by “Simon The Bullet Freak,” an interesting tale of a man at odds with himself that suggests some of Jesus Christ Superstar’s dynamism. The expanded CD reissue reconciles the pair along with the single edit version of “High Priestess.”

SR-61319 back cover
SR-61319 back cover

TRACK LISTING

    US track listing
  1. HIGH PRIESTESS    3:39
  2. THE PARK    5:38
  3. TIME TO LIVE    (Mick Box/David Byron/Ken Hensley)    4:02
  4. LADY IN BLACK    4:43
  5. SIMON THE BULLET FREAK    3:25
  6. SALISBURY    (Mick Box/David Byron/Ken Hensley, brass and woodwind arr. by John Fiddy)    16:22

    UK track listing
  7. BIRD OF PREY
  8. THE PARK
  9. TIME TO LIVE
  10. LADY IN BLACK
  11. HIGH PRIESTESS
  12. SALISBURY

    CD reissue bonus tracks
  13. SIMON THE BULLET FREAK
  14. HIGH PRIESTESS (SINGLE EDIT)

    All songs written by Ken Hensley unless noted

CREDITS

KEITH BAKER -- drums
MICK BOX -- lead guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals
DAVID BYRON -- lead vocals
KEN HENSLEY -- organ, piano, slide and acoustic guitars, harpsichord, vibes and vocals
PAUL NEWTON -- bass guitar, vocals
Peter Gallen -- recording engineer
Des Strobel -- art director

return to URIAH HEEP discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US January 1971 Mercury LP SR-61319 red label
UK January? 1971 Bronze LP ILPS 9152 gatefold cover
AUS'L   Bronze LP L 36379  
GER   Bronze LP 85691IT  
NET   Bronze LP 88184XAT gatefold cover
FRA 1972 Bronze LP BRO 2006 gatefold cover
RUS   SNC Records LP ME1999  
UK July 1977? Bronze LP BRNA 152 gatefold cover
US   Mercury LP SR-61319 building label reissue
US   Mercury CD/CS 811 389  
UK/GER 1992 Castle LP/CD/CS CLALP/CLACD/CLAMC 106  
UK 1995 Essential CD ESMCD 317 digital remaster
UK June 30, 1998 Castle CDX CMTCD 328 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
JPN 2002 JVC Victor CDX VICP-61829 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
UK 2003? Sanctuary CDX CMRCD 643 digital remaster w. bonus tracks

 

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