Five Miles Bootleg
recorded Fall 1979
- Mick Box (G)
- John Lawton (LV)
- Ken Hensley (K G V)
- Trevor Bolder (B)
- Lee Kerslake (D)
Overview: Five Miles is the name of the recording sessions with producer Jimmy Miller that were nearly completed when John walked, followed shortly by Lee (or was it the other way around?). Four of the songs have been mixed and officially released; one appears on the Fallen Angel remaster, the other three on the A Time of Revelation box set. Three were re-recorded with John Sloman during the Conquest sessions.
The first time I heard the tape (c. 1995 before the remasters), I thought the album was too lightweight, but as Iíve listened to it, it has really grown on me and I like it better than Innocent Victim and Fallen Angel, even with most of the tracks unmixed. Itís actually quite a good balance between light and heavy, and not quite as poppy as the previous two albums.
To get this album (as well as other Heep-related rarities), visit the Travellers in Time website and select the Heepster Mailing List Rarities. Also available is the Uriah Heep Live Archives, with downloadable album artwork by yours truly.
* - Officially released on the A Time of Revelation box set.
- Let It Ride*. A brilliant heavy rocker ala the best of Ted Nugent or BTO with a great crunchy riff atop a galloping beat. Wonderful sing-a-long chorus with a great bluesy bridge. Mick and Ken add in a wicked dual-guitar solo. Definitely one to crank up in the car!! Grade: A+
- Life is a Dream. Incredibly catchy pop song that starts right in with the chorus for a nice twist. Johnís blues growl keeps the song from becoming the annoying ditty it wouldíve been with a lesser singer. Lovely, melodic solo thatís either double-tracked or another dual guitar duet from Mick & Ken. The a cappella break and multiple key changes on the outro is marvelous. Grade: A-
- Feelings*. Same chorus, different verses from the Conquest version. This version is considerably heavier as well, not just from Lawtonís voice, but also a crunchier guitar, stronger Hammond, and the verse structure. Iíll take this version any day. Grade: A+
- Thatís How I Am. Starting off as a bloody great hard blues rocker with a monster riff, it suddenly transforms into a marvelous slab of heavy prog rock with a flamenco acoustic guitar solo over some great synths, which mutates into a blistering solo from Mick before returning to the chorus. Structurally like Love in Silence, and sounds like it wouldíve fit great on Look at Yourself. Grade: A+
- You And I. Heep really hasnít done anything like this gentle art rock number. It actually sounds more like a track off of the Justin Hayward & John Lodge (Moody Blues) Blue Jays album with its lovely intro and verses, and the heavy string orchestration. The chorus rocks a bit and Trevor plays some great bass. If Ken had sung this, it wouldíve also fit perfectly on his Eager to Please album. Many Heepsters will find this lightweight, but I like seeing them try something new. Grade: B+
- Your Love*. Another heavy, kick ass, riffarama workout that actually reminds of the Ridge Farm session material more than anything else. An unrelenting beat that sounds not quite finished, but Johnís vocal jamming at the end is great. Grade: A
- Never Forget. A gentle country-rock number that reminds me of Eagles more than anything else. Nothing special, just a pleasant attempt at a follow-up to Free Me. Iím sure it wouldíve been Gerry Bronís first choice for a single. Grade: C
- Fools. Much bluesier than the Conquest version, not just Johnís vocals, but also Mickís rhythm and Kenís Hammond. Trevorís basslines are different but just as powerful. Which version you prefer will probably depend on your tastes, both are such great songs. For those Sloman haters, you will love this song after hearing John sing it. Grade: A+
- Tonight. A George Harrison-ish pop treasure with a slight Caribbean flavor. One of those songs that will have hardline Heepsters cringing, except for Mickís guitar solo, but itís got such a great melody and hummable chorus that if youíre willing to listen to the song, youíll find yourself singing along before you know it. John re-recorded this for his Still Payin' My Dues to the Blues album released in 2000. Grade: B+
- I Wonít Change. A lovely acoustic ballad sung by Ken, almost a country song. Another one that wouldíve fit great on Eager to Please. If you love Kenís ballads, I guarantee youíll like this one, it is prime Hensley. Grade: A-
- Been Hurt**. Again, far bluesier than the single version with Sloman, although Trevorís bass is just as funky. Another piece where itíll come down to your personal preference, as both versions are quite good, although I like the blues grind on this. Grade: A
** - Officially released on the Fallen Angel remaster.