SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Words In The Distance 1994-1998(3cd Set) Uriah Heep


WORDS IN THE DISTANCE 1994-1998 (3CD SET) Uriah Heep
This remastered beautifully presented clam box release with informative booklet brings together 3 albums from a band that have become a rock institution. The albums in question being ‘Sea Of Light’ ‘Spellbinder’ (live concert) and ‘Sonic Origami’. I’m going to work backwards, bear with me. 1998’s ‘Sonic Origami’ is classic Heep, symphonic with a moving opening track ‘Between Two Worlds’ written by Mick Box as a tribute to original vocalist David Byron and Gary Thain who both sadly passed away in 1985 and 1975 respectively. And unusually for a band that writes their own material there is a cover of Survivors ‘Across the Miles’ which is great, although see the sleeve notes for Micks comments! ‘Golden Palace’ is another standout track, as I say all ‘classic’ Heep. Released in 1996 ‘Spellbinder’ see’s the band playing live in Germany (where they are huge) to an obviously rapt audience. I’m not big on ‘live’ albums in general but this certainly catches a band on blistering form and was recorded for a German radio broadcast primarily. ‘Devils Daughter’ ‘Wizard’ and ‘Gypsy’ are just three highlights and its the next best thing to being there in person it certainly pulls you in to the night. However its 1995’s ‘Sea of Light’ that is the jewel in the crown. When it was released back in ’95’ I was sent a copy that co-incided with me doing a rock radio show and it was love at first listen! I played it to death! From the opening wailing guitar chords of ‘Against The Odds’ thru the insanely catchy ‘Sweet Sugar’ the hauntingly beautiful ‘Mistress Of All Time’ EVERY track is a tour-de-force. Its not just a great Heep album its a GREAT rock album up there with anything Purple, Rainbow, you name it have ever produced. This is first division rock at its finest, the whole album is so cohesive, the running order of the tracks is perfect, the energy and togetherness of the band is awesome. Die hard UH fans on its release said it was ‘a return to form’ that is damning with faint praise in my opinion. S.O.L is the apogee of a band with all the stars aligned. If you are a serious rock fan this album should be in your collection and played regularly and LOUDLY weekly you’ll feel all the better for it! And just to cap it off you can enjoy the evocative unmistakable Roger Dean artwork (remember those Osibisa covers). Well that’s my ‘umble’ opinion…….

For more information go to

Til next time, stay warm…….Colin

John Williams… I am sure when we used to gig at The Crown the bloke that owned it was Alex, he was with Uriah Heep

Alan Esdaile… Your right John, he was the drummer.

Image – The Cobweb St Leonards 29th November 1969


supplied by Sarah Harvey

Sarah Harvey… The Cobweb 29-11-1969. Know nothing about ‘Image’ and trying to do a Google search on them is darn near impossible.

Jim Breeds… Image. Take a look at this FB page’s About section. Could it be? “formed in 1999” but “they decided to take over the name IMAGE, which was the name of Bryan and Greg’s father’s band in the early 80’s.” Probably not the same Image, then. Ah well, I tried 

Pauline Richards… Remember it well. Roger Saunders and that floor that made your clothes see through!!

Radio Caroline – poster 1977/1978

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                 supplied by Kevin Carlyon

Kevin Carlyon… Used to print these for myself to give out to people in 1977/1978. It got around the law by advising people not to listen!!  I printed thousands to distribute.

Jan Warren… No, don’t remember the flyers as I moved to London in early 1974, but I remember the pirate radio stations in the 60s, especially Radio Caroline, and all the “jingles”!! – happy days!! 🙂

Leigh Wieland Boys… I am sure a local Hastings lad (friend of my brother’s) possibly called Dave Cox? Became a DJ with Radio Caroline – does that ring a bell with any one?


From The Jam & Secret Affair – Mod Special – White Rock Theatre 30th March 2017


From The Jam featuring Bruce Foxton, original Jam member along with Russell Hastings will be performing all the Jam’s greatest hits expect to hear, Start, That’s Entertainment, In The City, Beat Surrender, Down In The Tube Station, Eton Riffles, plus many more.

Along with special guest Secret Affair performing their hits My World, Time For Action and more, with a DJ playing classic mod tunes. This is must-see show for any mod fan.

further information

Matt Thomas… From The Jam featuring original Jam members Bruce Foxton & Rick Buckler

Judith Hayward… Oh yeah!!

St Clements Caves – August 1975 – Shaft, Tanglewood, Rubber Band & Raven.

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Mick O’Dowd… Weren’t (Black ) Raven and Rubberband one of the same Alan?

Alan Esdaile… Yes Mick, they were but odd that one poster says Rubber Band tonight and Raven next week. Maybe a different Raven?


Mick O’Dowd… Didn’t Black Raven suddenly disappear and reappear as Rubber Band when a single by RB materialised. Never quite understood that.

SMART 32 – Coffee meet report

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Among the newbies this time was Mick Knight who I haven’t seen for 40 years or more! Mick used to play in a band called ‘Dupree’ which featured Barry Denyer and Andy Bannister at one stage and a changing line up including Piers Clark, Roger Hubbard and Danny Hedge. Hopefully we will get to see some photos soon. Pete Prescott was in conversation with Mick, talking about Steppin Out and other local bands . Mick O’Dowd had with him The Beatles Sgt Peppers Album still with the insert cut outs, The Beatles White Album, The Who Quadrophenia and Expandis Mystic Man 12”. He also had a huge bag full of cd’s and was happy to let anyone have them or for a donation to next years Carnival Radio which pleased Andre Martin. Andre was talking about The Happy Ballroom from 50 years ago when it was going through a very quiet period.  Eric Cawthraw had with him Steamhammers remastered edition of Mountains LP and recommends the band ‘Black Mountain’ who had a really good track called ‘Space to Bakersfield’. Pete Millington was talking about happy memories of The Searchers 1987 pier gig and had with him Billboards Top 100 from the 60’s vol 1 & 2 cds, as well as some interesting photos from Paul Watts 70th birthday. Tony Davis and Sarah Harvey were talking about Tony’s future radio shows and Wendy & Graham Weaver bought along tour programmes from AC/DC  Blow Up Your Video Tour 88, Razors Edge 90/91, Deep Purple Perfect Stranger 84/85 and Status Quo In The Army Now 1986.  Darren Johnson was excited to be going to a private house gig of Iain Matthews, expect a review soon. Laurie Cooksey & Tony Qunta were talking about the next Factrio gig which will take place on the 4th December 2016 at The Fountain in the village of Plumpton at 5.00pm.  Lee Merry had photos of his bedroom wall’s covered in bands he promoted at The Carlisle from the mid 80’s to 2000. He is doing copies and hopefully won’t be too long before we can share them. I had with me albums of The Four Tops Reach Out, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band Framed and Fusion Orchestra Skeleton in Armour. This is just a small bit of what I can remember, anything I missed pleased feel free to add.

Jim Breeds… Sorry we weren’t there.

Alan Esdaile… If you had turned up Jim, you could have popped across the pier and had a go on the snow slide.

Josie Lawson… Be lovely if the meeting had minutes but think it’s just a great together…Used to love spending time in The White Rock Hotel. Attached photo is before the renovation was done and Lawrence used to display one of my poems in frame as you see…they stopped at the renovation….


John Williams… Sorry did not make it mate

Mick O’Dowd… Informative & interesting Meet Alan, as always. Good to see more newbies.

Cheryl White… Shame I missed it. It would have been a great opportunity to speak to the group about Poly Styrene/XRay Spex memorabilia. When is the next one Alan?

Alan Esdaile… Due to Christmas, not till mid January Cheryl. Might be worth you joining the Facebook group Rejects and Reprobates which might be able to help more with Poly Styrene.

Jan Warren… Oh, so very interesting, I wish I could get to these meetings??!! I’ve got Fusion Orchestra, Four Tops and Sgt Peppers!! 🙂 Sgt Peppers is probably my fave Beatles album, but I’m trying to see the “greyish” coloured album underneath it?? …….. first of all I thought Groundhogs (Spilt) or Stones (Aftermath)??? and I thought of a few others – but I’m sure its none of those?? ………… can anyone tell me??? 

Alan Esdaile… That’s The Who Quadrophenia, Jan.

Mick O’Dowd… It seems to me alot of people are getting the wrong impression as to what goes on at the Meets Alan. From reading between the lines of some comments of people who couldn’t attend they are seen as quite formal with speakers etc. Please let everybody know these are as INFORMAL as is humanly possible and you just chat, over a coffee or drink, to anyone who takes your interest. Everybody is welcome and no newbies are allowed to be left unattended for long as Alan always makes sure that someone speaks to them by introducing them to people that might share similar tastes in music etc.(No it’s not a dating agency either!) and from there on in you mingle and chat. Hope this clarifys the situation.

Pete Prescott… Exactly ! I try and make every one. They are so relaxed and great fun.

Darren Johnson… Yes. Enjoy the relaxed informality of it but always interesting stuff to chat about.

Josie Lawson… Very interesting. Thanks. See LOL attended also…best wishes to everyone…

Sarah Harvey… If it wasn’t for the meetings I wouldn’t have met so many wonderful people from the music world…. I have met up with so many friends from yesteryear that I wouldn’t have done otherwise. Its been a catalyst for many band reunions even though some of us haven’t managed it yet……. work in progress 

Tony Davis… I think SMART is a great place to go. Nothing formal just old and new friends chatting over things they have in common – mostly music. Having recently come back onto the music “scene” its been great to catch up with old faces and to make some really good new friends. Well done Alan.

Geoff Peckham… I agree with all the above. Always made welcome, and it’s brought so many musos together, sometimes for the first time, sometimes old buddies. SMART played a big part in Factory’s re-emergence! I only wish I could attend more often.