CMC International Records, 1998

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


In the eyes of many classic rock fans, the Scottish band Nazareth will always be locked in the year 1976. That was the year their album Hair Of The Dog came out, bringing them their only top ten hit with "Love Hurts" - a song that I'm absolutely sick of hearing.

What many people don't realize is that Nazareth has been slugging it out since then, even if the fickle finger of fame hasn't always been pointing in their direction. Their latest effort, Boogaloo, is their attempt to recapture the spotlight - and they make some good attempts, but they eventually fall a little flat.

The core of the band is still the same as it was 23 years ago - vocalist Dan McAfferty, bassist Pete Agnew, and drummer Darrell Sweet all look like they should be members of The Chieftains. But musically, they still have their chops, even if McAfferty can't hit those high notes as well as he did two decades ago. The trouble is that it takes some time to get used to McAfferty's vocals, which can be grating at times.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

What takes even longer is the listener's ability to get into Boogaloo. I listened to the first half of this disc at least a dozen times, and each time I found myself drifting away for some reason. While there are some strong songwriting efforts on this disc, there just isn't anything to hook the listener in for the long haul. "LoverMan" and "Talk Talk" come the closest, but others like "Light Comes Down" and "Cheerleader" seem like weak attempts to recapture the glory of days past.

Other times, it seems like Nazareth isn't trying hard enough. "Party In The Kremlin" is possibly the weakest link in this album's chain, while "God Save The South" would have been believable had it come from a Southern band like Lynyrd Skynyrd, not from a Scottish band. But Nazareth does save some of their strongest efforts for the end, such as "Waiting" and "May Heaven Keep You".

I'm sure there are some who think that Nazareth should have packed it in years ago, but the stronger moments of Boogaloo make it hard for me to echo that sentiment. There still is some life in this band, as well as reason enough for people to check them out. But there's not enough excitement that this disc creates to suggest that the band will be experiencing a resurgence in popularity. Still, it's enough to win some new fans, especially some who may be hearing the band for the first time.

What Nazareth needs to do differently is to try and not replow old ground - although I'll give them credit for trying to update their sound into modern times. They need to just go at it full force for the sheer love of it - and that might just be the key to unlock the door to the charts again.

Until then, Boogaloo is a satisfactory effort, but one that suggests this band is still capable of better work.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of CMC International Records, and is used for informational purposes only.