W 2800 Wonderworld
Produced by Gerry Bron
Released on June 1974
UK CHART POSITION #23 . . . US CHART POSITION #38
Find it at GEMM
W 2800 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

A nother album better sampled than swallowed whole, Wonderworld was the last to feature bassist Gary Thain and thus for some marks the end of Heep’s classic period. The post-Magician albums could be summed up as something borrowed, something bluesy, some are good and some are doozies (a variation on the bridal theme for a group perennially left at the altar). It certainly starts out promising with the proggy “Wonderworld” and “Suicidal Man,” the latter perhaps modeled on Yes’ “Beyond And Before.” But the band stumbles soon after their acrobatic display with “The Shadows and The Wind” (Heep’s harmonies could be remarkably shrill sometimes), steadying slightly with the competent rocker “So Tired.” Ken Hensley’s reflective “The Easy Road” restores some dignity to the proceedings, including tasteful orchestration. The second side kicks off with “Something or Nothing,” selected as the album’s single but despite a good melody a track lacking integrity. “I Won’t Mind” unleashes Mick Box in an otherwise bland blues-rock number that meekly follows Hendrix’ “If Six Was Nine,” while “We Got We” is about as good as it sounds. The album ends with “Dreams,” Heep hanging by a thread to Morpheus’ dark robe but at this juncture a welcome return to fantasy (they would revisit this theme for Innocent Victim’s “Illusion”), even invoking the mad machines of ELP’s “Karn Evil 9” at the end. Despite fitful moments of flash, Heep was fast becoming a generic hard rock band. Thain’s basswork and Hensley’s synthesizers provide elements of character, but the remaining trio seems too willing to plod along. Just when you think Heep gets it, say on the crunching “Suicidal Man,” they limp through some lamewad number like “We Got We.” So Wonderworld becomes a Steve Balboni of an album, a power hitter with an alarming number of strikeouts. No compilation to date seems to have distilled the best parts of this effort, so fans will have to cough up the money eventually, making the expanded reissues with remastered sound the better route to Wonderworld.

W-2800 back cover
W-2800 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. WONDERWORLD    (Ken Hensley)    4:29
  2. SUICIDAL MAN    (Mick Box/David Byron/Ken Hensley/Lee Kerslake/Gary Thain)    3:38
  3. THE SHADOWS AND THE WIND    (Ken Hensley)    4:29
  4. SO TIRED    (Mick Box/David Byron/Ken Hensley/Lee Kerslake/Gary Thain)    3:39
  5. THE EASY ROAD    (Ken Hensley)    2:43
  6. SOMETHING OR NOTHING    (Mick Box/Ken Hensley/Gary Thain)    2:56
  7. I WON'T MIND    (Mick Box/David Byron/Ken Hensley/Lee Kerslake/Gary Thain)    5:59
  8. WE GOT WE    (Mick Box/David Byron/Ken Hensley/Lee Kerslake/Gary Thain)    3:39
  9. DREAMS    (Mick Box/David Byron/Ken Hensley)    6:10

    1996 Essential bonus tracks
  10. WHAT CAN I DO
  11. DREAMS (LONG VERSION)
  12. SOMETHING OR NOTHING (LIVE)
  13. THE EASY ROAD (LIVE)

    2004 Sanctuary bonus tracks
  14. WHAT CAN I DO
  15. LOVE, HATE & FEAR
  16. STONES THROW
  17. DREAMS (EXTENDED VERSION)
  18. I WON'T MINID (LIVE)
  19. SO TIRED (LIVE)

CREDITS

MICK BOX -- guitars
DAVID BYRON -- vocals
KEN HENSLEY -- organ, vocals
LEE KERSLAKE -- drums
GARY THAIN -- bass
Michael Gibbs -- orchestral arrangement (5)
Peter Gallen -- recording engineer
Hans Menzel -- Musicland engineer
Macki -- Musicland engineer
Graham Hughes -- photography and concept

return to URIAH HEEP discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK June 1974 Bronze LP/CS ILPS 9280 gatefold, picture sleeve
US June 1974 Warner Bros. LP/CS W 2800  
AUSL   Bronze LP L36388 picture sleeve
GER/NET 1974 Bronze LP 87931 IT lyric sleeve
JPN 1974 Bronze LP YP-7067-BZ lyric insert
NZ   Bronze LP 6357 228 lyric insert
YUG   Jugoton LP LSB 70655  
NET   Bronze LP 28198 XAT  
US 1990? Roadracer CD/CS RRC-9352  
UK 1992 Castle CD CLACD 184  
RUS 1993 SNC LP ME2039  
UK 1996 Essential CDX ESMCD-380 digital remaster w. 4 bonus tracks
US October 26, 1999 Castle Music America CDX 528 digital remaster w. 4 bonus tracks
UK September 11, 2001 Sanctuary CD 81103 w. bonus tracks
UK 2004 Sanctuary CDX SMRCD012 digital remaster w. 6 bonus tracks

 

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