HardReviews 5
by Martin Popoff

Inside Uriah Heep The Hensley Years: 1970 - 1980 - An Independent Critical Review
(Classic Rock Productions)

First off, it must be noted that one could acquire this in standard DVD case, as The Hensley Years 1970 - 1976, or, as reviewed here, resplendent two DVD, bookcase form, with 52 page song-by-song-explained book, the whole decade included. Anyhoo, this controversial but for the most part very enjoyable series of DVDs pits some of UK's top critical aristocracy along with assorted musicians and producers against the catalogues of the greats. The Heep editions are also way better and slightly worse than the others though. First, they are better because of CRP's business connections with Heep. Ergo, the gang have gone a cut above and gotten in a bunch of insiders to say their bits, including John Lawton, Ken Hensley, Trevor Bolder, Mick Box and the elusive Gerry Bron. Seeing the guys talk about the Heep catalogue (a raft of records that range from the evangelically brilliant to the infinitely wrong), was illuminating, rewarding, arresting. The critical talk was good as well, but therein lies the negative of being so linked with the band: these records got off all too lightly, the CRP team often throwing around three and four star ratings when ones and twos are the established, pretty much unassailable norms. Still, infuriating as the ass-kissing was at times, I got a charge out of the comments, the rare live footage, Hensley's candor, Lawton's eyeliner and bad hair then, his decent hair now, Lawton's incredible pipes then and now, Byron's bad on-stage singing, and frankly, his not so hot skills as a front man, despite the panel's fawning praise to the contrary.
Rating 8