The Cerberus-like beast on the cover might symbolize the bite that lies within but the devil's in the detail, and the heinous creature distracts the eye from other significant element of the artwork, namely heather. This, the most Scottish of all plants, is what the titular dog seems to be guarding and this is what entwines the fantastic, YES-esque corals on the backside - an antidote to the progressive elements of "Rampant", perhaps? But then, there's a small matter of giving the fans what they want, what with them seeing the band as a genuine hard rock piece, which NAZ have never been: hence the "cure like with like" homeopathy principle in the heart of the "hair of the dog" expression, even though the band meant "heir" for the album title to mean "Son Of A Bitch". It's that humorously spiky!
...and heavy, too. The quartet were always ready to admit their influences, so the stop-and-go sway of "Changing Times" is a tongue-in-cheek playing the LED ZEP game with a Scottish tune emerging out of it, while the opener "Hair Of The Dog" heavily mangles the "Ticket To Ride" riff for the next decade, Yet there's a catchy zip in the compositions and the delivery to blow any purist off their feet and pull them into the witches' brew that this record is. Everything about it is exemplary: Darrel Sweet's imaginative percussion which starts the proceedings, the memorable lyrics spliced with Dan McCafferty's all-encompassing warble, Pete Agnew's bottom-end depth, the clever mix observed by Manny Charlton - just notice how his spacey guitar flight goes underneath the strum on the single "Love Hurts", the ensemble's biggest hit. In truly Highlanders' way, the space between the notes is as important as the notes themselves here; thus, the tension builds on and on from the title track's chopped phrases and the vocoder solo, performed live with a bagpipe, to the bewitching, slow vortex of "Please Don't Judas Me" where the base raga drone insensibly transmutes into the clear Celtic sound and soars skywards.
It fills also "Rose In The Heather", an airy instrumental tagged to the marching take on the CRAZY HORSE's "Beggar's Day" that NAZARETH, as usual, make their own. Fathom such a drift with the country-cum-gospel, Uncle Ray-styled reading of Randy Newman's "Guilty" that offsets the overall weight most compelling on the "Miss Misery" killer threat, an adorable Jack The Ripper of a song with the irresistible chorus and a slide slyness which hastens its pace and feeds, later on, into the charmingly bopping blues "Whiskey Drinkin' Woman", and you have the essence of the Dunfermline squad. Now, the erstwhile American excursion, its vestiges evident on single cuts "Railroad Boy" and "Holy Roller", is brought down to the glen alongside the English psych of TOMORROW's "My White Bicycle", turned by NAZ into another chart-biter. With a handful of live BBC recordings to round it all off, this is the reissue to grace even the most demanding collection.
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