Nazareth – Boogaloo (1998)

Nazareth_Boogaloo4 out of 5 Stars!

One thing that can easily be said for Nazareth—the Scottish band cannot be classified as a group of “quitters.” After Nazareth’s initial semi-major success in the ’70s began to fade, the band kept rockin’ ‘n’ rollin’ onward, despite the various musical trends that created havoc in the industry through the ’80s, ’90s, and into the new century. And Nazareth never altered its style too drastically, but strove forward into each new decade by continually producing its enjoyable (albeit occasionally spotty—ie. “varied”) style of Hard Rock.

Indeed, apart from one or two albums that fell below the band’s “quality benchmark,” Nazareth’s latter-day albums still contained some fun and delicious music, Hard Rock with a touch of Blues, Country, and AOR mixed in, with Dan McCafferty’s raspy and punchy vocals and Pete Agnew’s thumping and melodic bass lines, regardless of the other musicians that eventually joined the fold throughout the years.

And this album from the late ’90s is no exception. For starters, Boogaloo opens with the gruff and gritty “Light Comes Down,” a blast of rock ‘n’ roll that could have easily appeared on any of the band’s albums from the ’70s. From there, “Cheerleader” is another upbeat boogie-rocker with dastardly vocals, slamming drums, and tinkling piano in the tradition of tracks such as “Razamanaz.” With some brass accompaniment, “Loverman” adds a whisper of funk to the killer beat, while “Open Up, Woman,” “Talk Talk,” “Party at the Kremlin,” “Robber the Roadie,” and “Waiting” all pack the heavy swagger that made Nazareth so special in its early days. Even the more mid-tempo, slower-bluesy tracks “Nothing So Good” and “God Save the South” pack a mighty wallop to the jaw, whereas the final tune, “May Heaven Keep You,” is the only actual ballad included here, yet nevertheless has an impact during the choruses.

Indeed, Boogaloo contains an above-average collection of songs, is probably one of the most consistent albums in the band’s more recent catalogue, and isn’t too far afield from classic albums such as Razamanaz, No Mean City, or Hair of the Dog—in other words, the music is pure Nazareth, and terrific!

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