I have owned the vinyl album of No Mean City by Nazareth since 1983. No, I could never part with this album at all over the years, never. For years I could never find No Mean City on CD, it most likely had been out of print for some time. To this day, No Mean City does not seem to be that readily available anywhere, on CD and especially on vinyl. Who knows, maybe there is an independent record store somewhere that has dozens of copies in their inventory… I just never come across this Nazareth classic myself. With the brilliant, Old School, Classic Hard Rock heard on this album, combined with the album cover artwork, makes for a keeper. I actually bought this album as a cut-out, back when Strawberries Records & Tapes was around. Back in the early 1980′s, cut-out bins found in any record store was Rock and Roll Heaven! You could always find cool albums in these cut-out bins at real discounted prices, many times there were hidden heavy gems in them. My copy of No Mean City has a cut in the top right corner of the album jacket – this never bothered me one bit. The enjoyment this album’s music has given me all these years more than makes up for any cosmetic defect on it’s exterior.
Remembering the actual price I paid for No Mean City back in 1983 is a tad gray now… it probably set me back three or four bucks at the most. This is one of those albums that I would hold and stare at the front cover artwork, while my turntable played the tunes. The artwork for No Mean City screams Heavy Metal, still this is a true Hard Rock album from Nazareth. Getting nostalgic about Rock and Roll is something I cannot shake loose, Nazareth is one of those bands that epitomizes Classic Rock and gets my nostalgia adrenaline going. No Mean City takes me back to when I had nothing to worry about other than graduating High School. Whenever I listen to this album, everything feels cool around me, uh, that is real cool.
All eight songs on this great album are terrific, there are a few standout favorites of mine, beginning with Simple Solution Part 1 & 2. This song is loaded with strong grooves, carrying it’s melodic Hard Rock weight due in part to Dan McCafferty on lead vocals, Pete Agnew on bass and backing vocals and Manny Charlton on guitar. Star is a Hard Rock ballad that maintains it’s heaviness through Dan McCafferty’s raspy, sandpapered vocals. To this very day, I still cannot believe that Star was not a huge hit from this album. The lyrics and music of Star are just as great as the Nazareth cover song Love Hurts from their Hair Of The Dog album, in my Metal opinion. May The Sunshine is a Folk Rock meets Hard Rock song. This song is just a great sing along, upbeat in it’s lyrics and melody, a song I never expected to hear upon my very first listen to No Mean City. Since my first introduction to this album all those years ago, I could not see my music collection being the same without it. If you are into Classic Rock and/or Hard Rock, especially from the late ’70′s, Nazareth and No Mean City is a must listen – Hard Rock treasure.
* The late Darrell Sweet was the drummer and Zal Cleminson was also a guitarist for Nazareth on No Mean City. Both of these musicians were just as important to making this album sound so great to me.
* No Mean City was released on A&M Records, in January of 1979.
* No Mean City was the tenth studio album from Nazareth.
* Nazareth is still Rocking to this day… with original members Dan McCafferty on lead vocals and Pete Agnew on bass. Pete Agnew’s son, Lee Agnew, plays drums and Jimmy Murrison plays guitar. This Nazareth lineup released a new studio album – The Newz, in 2008… and it is damn cool and good. I will leave The Newz album for another post in the future.