Nazareth mid 70s to early 80s

Looking back through my ticket stubs, I realise how much I liked Nazareth in the 70s and into the 80s. They released a series of great records throughout that period; their albums from Razamanaz onward are all strong. I recall buying Razamanaz and then hunting out their earlier lps Nazareth and Exercises. Their hit singles: Broken Down Angel, Bad Bad Boy, and covers such as This Flight Tonight, My White Bicycle and Love Hurts are all classics of the time. And their live shows were always fun. Dan McCafferty growling his way through the set, Manny Charlton playing great guitar, particularly his slide guitar on Vigilante Man (much missed from the set today), Pete Agnew bouncing about smiling away on his bass, and Darrel Sweet thumping away at the back. By the late 70s Nazareth had been joined by Zal Cleminson on second guitar. Although it was great to see Zal as part of the line-up I could never quite figure why the added him. They were both excellent guitarists, but in my view the Nazareth set up never really exploited the twin guitars in the way Thin Lizzy or Wishbone Ash did. The alliance with Zal only lasted a couple of years, and by the time Nazareth came to Newcastle City Hall in 1981, Billy Rankin was filling the second guitar slot. I lost touch with Nazareth after the early 1980s, and didn’t return to them for some 20 years. In 2004 I saw a Nazareth gig advertised at Newcastle Arena. At the time the Arena ran a few smaller rock gigs in the foyer of the cavernous venue, and Nazareth was one of those gigs. Support came from the Swedish band Diamond Dogs who were very Faces like, and pretty damn good actually. That night my interest in Nazareth was renewed. I’ve seen them a couple of times since, and hope to continue doing so for some time. Its great that these guys are still rocking, and showing no signs of stopping. Dan McCafferty and Pete Agnew keep the Nazareth brand going, and must enjoy it; long may they do so.  There are increasingly fewer and fewer of our classic rock bands from the 60s and 70s treading the boards, we need to appreciate those that are, while we can.

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