Uriah Heep

Come Away Melinda: A Collection of Classic Uriah Heep Ballads

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Ballads? What ballads? They don't need no stinkin' ballads. Actually, most of these aren't true ballads, which are defined as either romantic/sentimental songs ("Rainbow Demon" darlin'?) or songs that repeat the same melody from stanza to stanza (think of that guy playing the acoustic guitar in Animal House). Uriah Heep did eventually write honest-to-goodness ballads, some of which are featured here: "Your Turn to Remember," "Free Me," and "Come Back to Me." For the most part, though, this is the trippy and mellow side of Heep, likely to please those whose tastes run toward Crosby, Stills & Nash or Barclay James Harvest. The selection is almost all Byron-era material; just two tracks with John Lawton are tacked on at the end. Thus, this functions as a kind of "classic" Heep compilation with an eye toward some of their more sublime but overlooked album tracks. Frankly, Castle has milked the Heep catalog to the point of soreness, so there are plenty of compilations to pick and choose from, the original albums notwithstanding. It's a generous helping at 18 tracks, so you get your money's worth with Come Away Melinda, but for a few dollars more you could buy a double-disc collection of early material like The Best of Uriah Heep or Travellers in Time, both of which strike a better balance between the hard and soft sides of Heep. Again, the digitally remastered sound is excellent (in their defense, Castle has done a marvelous job of remastering Heep's old catalog), so this disc (or someplace just like it) sparkles over the early CDs and vinyl. It's listeners' turn to remember, again.

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