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The Magician`S Birthday - Uriah Heep Import

4.5 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, January 1, 2015
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Editorial Reviews

2003 expanded deluxe edition reissue of 1972 album includes nine bonus tracks, 'Silver White Man' (Instrumental Version - Prev. Unreleased), 'Crystal Ball' (Prev. Unreleased Version), 'Gary's Song' (Outtake Prev. Unreleased), 'Silver White Man' (outtake - Prev. Unreleased), 'Echoes in the Dark' (Prev. Unreleased), 'Proud Words' (Prev. Unreleased Version from MB Sessions), 'Rain' (Prev. Unreleased Version), 'Happy Birthday' (Prev. Unreleased), & 'Sunrise' (Single Version). Castle.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 1, 2015)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: SANCTUARY
  • ASIN: B0002ADY1K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,847 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The follow-up album to "Demons and Wizards", recorded in the same year, and while still touring constantly (a grueling pace that was to lead to problems down the road for many of the members), this album maintains the quality of its legendary predecessor.
"Rain" is a beautiful ballad, delivered perfectly and subtly by the now sadly overlooked David Byron, one of the greatest singers in rock history (all of Byron's works should be required listening for modern vocalists, he was a master of dynamics, an art that has been sadly lost in recent years). "Sweet Lorraine" is incredibly catchy ear candy, and was the radio standard from the album. "Tales", "Blind Eye" and "Echoes In The Dark" are moody, mystical, ominous, and emotionally moving, with Byron's vocal performance particularly shining on them as well. "Spider Woman" is a bit of a throw-away, but plenty of fun, with some excellent slide guitar work from Ken Hensley.
Which leaves the album's opening and closing tracks: "Sunrise", the opener, was the first Heep song I ever heard, and led me to become a lifelong fan; the group's trademark vocal harmonies have possibly never been so well displayed as on this song, which became a long-time concert opener. The title track, which closes the album, is an epic, multi-sectional tour-de-force, with an excellent, blistering, extended guitar and drum duet by Mick Box and Lee Kerslake in the middle, and some amazing vocals from both the aforementioned Mssrs. Byron and Hensley. A more than worthy successor to "Demons and Wizards", and a must-have album for Heepsters or classic rock fans in general.
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Format: Audio CD
Amazon did not update the extra tracks that are available on this 2004 Sanctuary update Re-mastered version of this classic, so here is the correct title listing:
1. Sunrise
2. Spider Woman
3. Blind Eye
4. Echoes in the Dark
5. Rain
6. Sweet Lorraine
7. Tales
8. Magician's Birthday
9. Crystal Ball [#][*][Outtake]
10. Silver White Man [#][*][Outtake]
11. Proud Words on a Dusty Shelf [Alternate Version][#][*]
12. Echoes in the Dark [Edited Version][#][*]
13. Rain [Edited Version][#][*]
14. Happy Birthday [#][*]
15. Sunrise [Single Edit][#][*]
16. Gary's Song [#][*][Outtake]
17. Silver White Man [*][Instrumental][Outtake]
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Format: Audio CD
This album is one of the all time greats. Uriah Heep are a much underrated band, mainly remembered in the US for one or two hits (ie Stealin' and Easy Livin') and for being one of the apparent main inspirations for Spinal Tap. But during the early 70's, they were one of the finest bands around. David Byron was one of the best rock vocalists EVER, second only to Freddie Mercury, while Mick Box cranked riffs and technically simply but effective solos. Ken Hensley played keyboards, played some of the more impressive guitar parts and also contributed a great deal of excellent songwriting to the band's repetoire. And Gary Thain and Lee Kerslake were one of the most solid rhythm sections around, combining Thain's melodic bass playing with Kerslake's workmanlike drumming. Oh, and everyone sang back up vocals (lest you should wonder where the great vocal harmonies on the record came from).
Every song on this record is a winner, from the opener Sunrise to the 10 minute title track finale. In between, a diverse array of tunes are encountered, from the hard rockin' boogie of Sweet Lorraine to the ballad Rain. Even the cover artwork (by the legendary Roger Dean, who had built up a reputation for doing artwork for many bands in England over the preceding few years, and was on the verge of beginning his decades long association with progressive rock giants Yes) is brilliant.
Unfortunately, it couldn't last. Gary Thain developed a serious drug problem, which led to him nearly being electrocuted onstage a few years later. He was kicked out of the band, and died of an overdose in 77. David Byron last two more albums, but was also booted from the group, for drinking too much. He went onto release a couple solo albums before dying in 1984.
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Format: Audio CD
"The Magician's Birthday" was the second Heep album by the classical line-up featuring Hensley, Byron, Box, Thain and Kerslake. It was also the second album with a Roger Dean cover. And moreover, it was the second album the band released in 1972.

After a long 1972 tour Uriah Heep were rushed back into the Lansdowne studios to record a follow-up to their break-through and much acclaimed album "Demons and Wizzards".

As Hensley states in the notes, they felt that were never really given the time it took to record the album, which was originally planned to be a "complete" concept album. Though it may have been rushed it nearly matches its great predecessor. The band, and especially Hensley as a songwriter, were at the peak of their creativity and many of these songs have become classics and favourites. The extensive list of bonus-tracks clearly illustrates what a great period this was for the band. Unfortunately the hard work took its toll on some of the band-members; but that's another story.

The first track, Hensley's dramatic "Sunrise", is the perfect opener, with great lead and harmony vocals.

Another highlight is the melodic rocker "Blind Eye", driven by acoustic guitars and featuring a nice twin-guitar theme; also a Ken Hensley song.

Two songs released as single A-sides were "Spider Woman" (Europe) and "Sweet Lorraine" ( America), and where the first is a rather traditional heavy-rocker, "Sweet Lorraine" has all it takes to become a classic. Great whining riff, fine breaks and a catchy chorus. Simply one of the most memorable Heep recordings; written by Box, Byron and Thain.
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BEST AMERICAN BAND 70'S
Kansas (first five albums) was the best American rock band of the 70s.
Aug 18, 2015 by Perry Cunningham |  See all 2 posts
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The Magician`S Birthday  - Uriah Heep
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