Uriah Heep — Firefly (1977)
Uriah Heep started to record their tenth studio album in October 1976, when they had found a new vocalist to replace David Byron, who was sacked in the summer 1976, and a new bassist to replace John Wetton, who left the band after Byron. «Firefly» was the first of three albums recorded with the singer John Lawton (ex-Lucifer’s Friend, ex-Les Humphries Singers).
Ken Hensley wrote seven tracks for the album; «Who Needs Me» was written by Lee Kerslake. «The Hanging Tree» was written by Hensley and his new co-author and colleague, Jack Williams. Gerry Bron was back in the producer’s chair — and, according to Jack Williams, he was not tolerant to any kind of criticism*. Jack Williams said: “Ken and I had done this wonderful demo of the song “Firefly”, and when I dared to criticise what was being done to it, Gerry had me banned from the studio”.
«Firefly» was released in February 1977 by Bronze Records in the UK (Warner Bros. in the U.S.). The song «Wise Man» was also released as a single and became a hit in the UK, but the album did not chart.
- The Hanging Tree (Hensley, Jack Williams) 3:40
- Been Away Too Long (Hensley) 5:03
- Who Needs Me (Kerslake) 3:39
- Wise Man (Hensley) 4:40
- Do You Know (Hensley) 3:12
- Rollin’ On (Hensley) 6:21
- Sympathy (Hensley) 4:44
- Firefly (Hensley) 6:21
- John Lawton — vocals
- Mick Box — guitars
- Trevor Bolder — bass-guitar
- Lee Kerslake — drums, vocals
- Ken Hensley — keyboards, guitars, vocals.
Producer — Gerry Bron
Engineer — Peter Gallen
Assistant — John Gallen
Cover concept and coordination — Gail Clark
Artwork — Martin White (cover painting), Rici di Tommasso/Cream (inside drawings).
Bonus tracks on reissue CDs:
- Crime Of Passion (B-side of “Wise Man” single) (Hensley, Box, Kerslake) 3:37
- Do You Know (demo) (Hensley, Box, Kerslake) 3:16
- A Far Better Way (Hensley, Box, Kerslake, Bolder, Lawton) 5:50
- Wise Man (TV backing track) (Hensley) 4:48
- Crime Of Passion (B-side of “Wise Man” single) (Hensley, Box, Kerslake) 3:36
- A Far Better Way (out-take) (Hensley, Box, Kerslake, Bolder, Lawton) 6:07
- I Always Knew (out-take) (Hensley, Box, Kerslake, Bolder, Lawton) 4:02
- Dance Dance Dance (out-take) (Hensley, Box, Kerslake, Bolder, Lawton) 3:43
- Been Away Too Long (demo) 5:00
- Do You Know (demo) 3:13
- Who Needs Me (live) (Kerslake) 9:48
- Wise Man (TV backing track) 4:51
* See Dave Ling’s liner notes for the 2004 reissue CD.
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