Nazareth: Big Dogs

Big Dogs
(Eagle Rock)

You got to give Nazareth credit for having the nerve to release a new album in this mess they call the music industry. Stronger bands gave up years ago. Still, they persist after more than 40 years of recording and performing. Few know that the band is from Scotland (Dunfermline to be exact) and that they named themselves after Nazareth, PA; which they found as a reference in the first line of The Band’s song “The Weight” (“I pulled into Nazareth / Was feelin’ about half past dead…”). Founded by existing members singer Dan McCafferty and bassist Pete Agnew, the band is currently rounded out by Agnew’s son Lee on drums and, since 1994, Jimmy Murrison on guitar.

Big Dogs is not the greatest album in the world. It’s noteworthy, though … for the simple fact that the recording and the musicianship is exemplary. The guitars are huge and reminiscent of 70s Nazareth. All in all, this is a great wonderful slice of hard rock/blues rock. Unfortunately, McCafferty’s vocals have seen better days and while he holds it together for most of the album, there are moments when it’s nearly downright impossible to make it through the song for want of him to cough up whatever was hiding out in his gullet when he was recording his take. Still, it’s worth a listen … especially if you’re in need of some ass-kickin’ rock like they used to serve up back in the day.