Back in simpler times I used to get through a massive amount of music papers – every week without fail I’d buy Sounds, most weeks I’d get NME, about once a month I’d look at something more serious in Melody Maker and on occasion I’d get the more pop focused Record Mirror.
It was through Sounds that I picked up on NWOBHM as soon as the phrase was coined by Geoff Barton (who it turns out I still read in Classic Rock some 35+ years later) and a window was opened that I peered through with the wide-eyed amazement of a teenager peeking into a girls’ dorm. NWOBHM seemed to have everything I wanted – it coupled two of my favourite aspects of music, heavy rock with a punk attitude.
One of the stalwarts was, and still is, Saxon who I managed to see on both their Wheels of Steel and Strong Arm of The Law tours in the early 80s. But before they hit true metal pay dirt there was their first release “Saxon”.
Saxon had been around for about 3 years when they recorded their first album, couple that with the fact that it was released around the same time as Barton was hitting those 6 letters on his typewrite and it’s hardly surprising that it doesn’t fit the typical NWOBHM mould.
The initial two tracks have a prog-like, Rush-like feel to them – no issue whatsoever but probably a bit too earnest for the way the musical tide was turning back then. This is then followed up by “Big Teaser”, probably the greatest song never recorded by Albert Steptoe – I always forget the mental link I have until the word ‘lecherously’ comes through the speakers and then I just can’t get the imagery out of my head.
It’s on side two that the boys really hit their stride and show us where the musical ride is going to take us and them over the subsequent years, decades – “Stallions of the Highway” remains a fundamental call to arms and so more relevant to the UK than “Born to be Wild”……..
Saxon – Saxon (1979) – Vinyl
- Rainbow Theme
- Frozen Rainbow
- Big Teaser
- Judgement Day
- Stallions of the Highway
- Backs to the Wall
- Still Fit to Boogie
- Militia Guard
Rate – 4/5
Listening Since Day One
CDs – 21, Vinyl Singles – 15, LPs – 11, Downloads – 5
Total Tracks: 447, Time: 32h 32m 41s