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Sladest
Slade

Reprise MS 2173
Released: October 1973
Chart Peak: #129
Weeks Charted: 7

Don PowellJimmy LeaDave HillNoddy HolderIf ever there was a sure shot for smash singles success in the States, Slade seemed to be it. During the past two years they issued eight hit 45s, the last seven of which went Top Three in England, each characterized by powerful rhythm chording, a raw, throat-scrapping vocal by Noddy Holder, and relentlessly building choruses which hook the listener into an awestruck, hypnotic trance. There's no chance to ponder the lyrics, but they, too, are sharp -- the rallying cry of a new generation of rock & roll ravers (with an occasional bit of wry self-depreciation as well).

But Slade hasn't scored a bona fide hit here yet. Dissatisfied, the group left Polydor (not known for burning up the charts with rock material) for Warner/Reprise (whose image, interestingly, is much more than of an LP company, rather than 45 wizards).

Sladest, their first release on the new label, is a comprehensive collection of the group's British hits to date, many of them difficult to obtain here previously. It provides an unimprovable perspective on their past successes, as well as some of the wildest all-stops-out rock & roll you'll ever hear.

The back cover lists the singles in chronological order, starting with their first breakthrough, "Get Down and Get With It" from summer '71, a frantic jerk tune credited to former Huey "Piano" Smith & the Clowns vocalist Bobby Marchan, and the song most accurately capsuling their live stage act, with frequent hand-clapping and boot-stomping interludes. Both sides of the latest British single, "My Friend Stan" and B side "My Town," also are included, with "My Town" sounding stronger than the more whimsical, unusually blithe "Stan."

In between are the classic Slade stompers. "Look Wot You Dun" features a relatively subdued and melodic opening, but builds to a frenetic climax. "Coz I Luv You" is the oddest number, spotlighting bassist Jimmy Lea's violin. "Take Me Bak 'Ome," "Mama Weer All Crazee Now," "Gudbuy T' Jane," "Cum on Feel the Noize" and "Skweeze Me Pleeze Me," an immensely successful string of singles extending from May '72 to August '73, mark the introduction and refinement of a brilliant 45 formula -- surging power chords and unremitting build-ups to the most frenzied finishes imagineable, echo-boosted chants, handclaps and stomping, with more sheer impact than any records so far in the Seventies.

"Cum on Feel the Noize" has the best tune of the batch, "Mama Weer All Crazee" is the quintessential rocking anthem, and the series as a whole generated raw excitement paralleled only by the colossal crush of Stones, Who and Small Faces singles of 1965-6.

It remains to be seen whether Slade, having thus far avoided American stardom, can belatedly break through with their new label. "Skweeze Me Pleeze Me," rather than the weaker "My Friend Stan," is the first single choice here. Meanwhile, the essence of the first two successful years has been distilled on Sladest, and by my lights it turns out to be the best rocking album of the year.

- Ken Barnes, Rolling Stone, 12/6/73.

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Slade has been one of the top British bands for two years now, but they have yet to break through in this country as a major act. They have been known primarily as a singles band, with each single an exercise in the controlled wall-of-sound style of rock. Noddy Holder's vocals are frantic, Dave Hill's guitar is loud and full of great riffs, and the group's songs are full of the drive and repetition good rock is made of. Now Warners, on the label's first Slade LP, has made an extremely smart maneuver. Warners has included all of the group's major hit records, which serves the dual purpose of introducing them as a singles band as well as giving them an almost fresh start with the American listening public. This could be the real start of Slade. Best cuts: "Look Wot You Dun," "Mama Weer All Crazee Now," "Gudbuy T'Jane," "Cum On Feel the Noize."

- Billboard, 1973.

This includes "Gudbuy t' Jane" and "Mama Weer All Crazee Now," the best cuts on Slayed? because it compiles the English hits of these Anglopop phenoms. I take it the reason "Gudbuy" and "Crazee" are the best cuts on Sladest as well is that these Anglopop phenoms turned into raving maniacs only recently. Clearly, it's what they were meant to be, and although Slayed? is less tuneful, I prefer it. You don't ask an air raid siren to play "Stardust," or even "Glad All Over." B+

- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.

Sladest contains all of the British band's finest moments, including "Look Wot You Dun," "Mama Weer All Crazee Now," and "Cum on Feel the Noize." * * * *

- Stephen Thomas Erlewine, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.

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