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Nazareth: Rock 'n' Roll Telephone

If you are a legendary rock 'n' roll singer, ready to retire, and want to go out with a bang, it doesn't get much better than Nazareth's latest album Rock 'n' Roll Telephone, the last to feature founding member Dan McCafferty, who is stepping away from the band due to health issues that keep popping up on the road. Though he's officially retired from live performances, McCafferty did want to finish up the recording of the Scottish hard rock bands latest album, and after listening to this barnburner, you'd be hard pressed to tell that there's anything wrong the influential vocalist. Featuring the steady line-up of McCafferty, original member Pete Agnew (bass), Jimmy Murrison (guitars), and Lee Agnew (drums, and Pete's son), all who have played together in this formation since 1999, Rock 'n' Roll Telephone shows a band perfectly in sync with each other and still highly relevant in the hard rock world here in 2014.

The album kicks off with two lethal hard rockers, the ultimately addicting "Boom Bang Bang", one of the catchiest songs this band has done in ages, and the crunchy "One Set of Bones", both featuring some great riffs courtesy of Murrison and McCafferty's leather lunged vocal delivery. "Back 2B4" is a hook laden pop number with some irresistible melodies, a great chorus, and lush acoustic guitar a perfect world this is an instant radio hit. The somewhat folky, even proggy ballad "Winter Sunlight" contains a lovely vocal from McCafferty and layers of backing vocals & acoustic guitars, while the title track brings back the heavy guitars of Murrison and some stomping rhythms, McCafferty once again snarling with plenty of piss & vinegar. Great '70s styled heavy rock is what "Punch a Hole in the Sky" is all about, a classic sounding Nazareth hard rocker with a little pinch of Aerosmith swagger, as McCafferty wails over some beefy riffs and raunchy lead work from Murrison. The first real lackluster tune on the album appears next, the pop ballad "Long Long Time". It's a nice enough tune, but not very indicative of Nazareth. The bluesy ballad "The Right Time" fares a little better, though it's still nothing spectacular. "Not Today" and "Speakeasy" both pick up the pace, the latter especially hits the mark with some memorable hooks, a potent McCafferty vocal, and some crisp hard rock riffs. This very fine album closes with the upbeat heavy rocker "God of the Mountain", featuring Murrison's massive riffing and busy rhythms from the Agnew's over which McCafferty spews his gravelly vocals.

Despite a couple of average songs, the majority of Rock 'n' Roll Telephone is one hell of a hard rocking ride from Nazareth. McCafferty is on top of his game in a big way, and there's no doubt he will be missed. New singer Linton Osborne has already taken over, and will begin his new role in the band on their current tour, leaving only Pete as the sole founding member. With a mountain of excellent music over the course of their 45 year career, the band have released a killer swan song for Dan McCafferty, who does his part by putting in one of his best vocal performances in recent years. Even though he can't handle touring due to his health, it's a shame he won't still be able to record with the band, but both parties have agreed it's the best move for both. To Dan I say, thanks for all the years of great music, your voice was and is truly unique & influential, and to the remaining members of Nazareth, best of luck with Linton and we'll hopefully see you out on the road!

Track Listing
1) Boom Bang Bang
2) One Set of Bones
3) Back 2B4
4) Winter Sunlight
5) Rock 'n; Roll Telephone
6) Punch a Hole in the Sky
7) Long Long Time
8) The Right Time
9) Not Today
10) Speakeasy
11) God of the Mountain

Added: June 5th 2014
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2337
Language: english

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