"Play It Loud" was Slades 1st studio U.K. album, released under their new name Slade (having previously been known as The 'N Betweens and Ambrose Slade), it was released and produced by Chas Chandler via Polydor record label on 28th November 1970.
This album failed to appear on the U.K. chart. With very little promotion and advertising, the album failed to reach a wide audience. The absence of a 'hit' single was also a factor in this. It is regarded by some as an influential rock release, foreshadowing punk rock nearly 7 years prior to its U.K. explosion.
The band appeared on the U.K. show Disco 2 to promote the album. They made 3 appearances during 1970.
Slade, in this incarnation, had adopted a "skinhead" image by suggestion of their manager Chas Chandler.
After the commercial failure of the album "Beginnings" as Ambrose Slade, Chas Chandler decided to shorten the band's name to 'Slade'. It was also Chandler's decision to court controversy by projecting the band as skinheads for the single called "Wild Winds Are Blowing". Dave Hill and Jim Lea were mortified by a revised image based upon Dr Marten boots, braces, cropped hair and aggressive 'bovver boy' posturing. By 1970 the skinhead craze was starting to become passé.
"We got a lot of flak for being a skinhead band, so gradually we changed," Noddy Holder told Classic Rock in December 2005. "We replaced Doc Martens with platform boots. We became more colourful and then it all went berserk, Dave the Superyob with his spacesuits and all the rest. It was a great laugh."
Yet Slade were still skinheads when they released their 2nd album, "Play It Loud", in November 1970. By this time, Chandler had moved the band onto Polydor record label, also assuming responsibility for the group's production. Slade themselves were also working hard at writing their own material. Although it had once again failed to chart, "Play It Loud" was and remains an underrated piece in Slade's catalogue. Noddy Holders voice was beginning to show its great potential and songs like "Shape Of Things To Come" (the records first single), "Raven", "Dapple Rose" and "Know Who You Are" (which also was released as a single) offered solid proof of the band's talent.
"Play It Loud" was released via Polydor record label on 28th November 1970.
"Play It Loud" is the band’s 1st proper album, and the 1st released under the name Slade, 1 previous album had been released under the name Ambrose Slade, yet another as the N’ Betweens. While the 2 previous albums had relied heavily upon covers and songs by outside writers, "Play It Loud" was composed almost completely by drummer Don Powell, bassist Jim Lea, and singer Noddy Holder. It’s Slade before they were all crazee, before the platform boots and shiny spacesuits, more early Deep Purple than Gary Glitter.
The name "Play It Loud" may be a sad predictor of the type of albums the band would release later on, but it’s apt nonetheless. You can’t help but want to play this one loud, on an iPod or tinny computer speakers, it’s impossible to appreciate the wallop Slade packs. It’s rough, garagey and artless like a collection of the best songs culled from Slade’s later albums and b - sides.
"Play It Loud" was originally released on 12" vinyl and 8 track cartridge.
In U.S.A., the album was released via Cotillion record label to little impact.
The album was re issued during 1971 in Germany where it featured new artwork.
In 1973, the album was re issued in Japan with new artwork, as well as being released for the first time in Canada, with the original artwork. This Canadian release proved successful as the album peaked at number 40.
Aside from the band's live performances, the album had no music videos for the singles.
The band appeared on the U.K. show Disco 2 to promote the album. They made 3 appearances during 1970. 3 songs were performed from the album, "Shape Of Things To Come'", "Know Who You Are" and "Sweet Box". All 3 performances have never surfaced since broadcasting.
"Play It Loud" failed to enter the U.K. top 100 album chart.
Track listing - 12" LP U.K.
A1. Raven (Noddy Holder, Jim Lea, Don Powell) - 2:30
A2. See Us Here (Noddy Holder, Jim Lea, Don Powell) - 3:10
A3. Dapple Rose (Jim Lea, Don Powell) - 3:25
A4. Could I (James Griffin, Robb Royer) - 2:45
A5. One Way Hotel (Noddy Holder, Jim Lea, Don Powell) - 2:35
A6. The Shape Of Things To Come (Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil) - 2:15
B1. Know Who You Are (Dave Hill, Noddy Holder, Jim Lea, Don Powell) - 2:50
B2. I Remember (Jim Lea, Don Powell) - 2:50
B3. Pouk Hill (Noddy Holder, Jim Lea, Don Powell) - 2:20
B4. Angelina (Neil Innes) - 2:45
B5. Dirty Joker (Jim Lea, Don Powell) - 3:20
B6. Sweet Box (Jim Lea, Don Powell) - 3:20
"Raven" written by Holder, Lea and Powell, is the album's opener. The song featured on the 1972 European compilation 'Coz I Luv You' whilst the band performed the track in the early 70s during a live BBC studio session. This performance was officially released in 2009 on the 2 disc set Live at the BBC, after years of appearing on bootlegs.
See Us Here
"See Us Here" written by Holder, Lea and Powell, Allmusic.com wrote "Things to come is exactly what this album is, from the Ten Years After inspired original "Raven" to the more ominous "See Us Here," which is Holder sounding as sinister as Ozzy. Slade has gone from redoing classics of the genre to copping riffs and writing their own rock essays. "See Us Here" is subtle Black Sabbath, when the Sabs are on their best behaviour."
The band performed the track in the early 70s during a live BBC studio session.
"Dapple Rose" written by Lea and Powell, a song that refers to a horse, this was the b - side to Slades original single 'Know Who You Are'.
For a September 2009 interview for a Slade fan forum, Powell was asked what inspiration was behind the song. Powell replied "Regarding Dapple Rose, I’ve always had a fondness for horses and where I lived with my parents there were some fields over the back and there were always gypsies camping there. They used to have these horses and donkeys and they always looked dead to me. They were not looked after which was sad. As for other songs, for instance 'I Remember'… I don't remember!!"
Allmusic.com wrote "One of the album's most outstanding tracks is "Dapple Rose," a take off of the Move when Jimmy Miller gave that band their number one British hit, 'Blackberry Way'." The violin adds to the majesty of the big vocals and pretty guitar, delivering a commercial performance very unlike the stuff that would make them famous."
"Could I" written by James Griffin and Robb Royer, originally released in 1969 by the soft rock band Bread.
Allmusic.com wrote "J. Griffin, R.Royer's "Could I" sounds like heavy Chinn, Chapman with a sludgy solid hook that gives birth to an elegant chorus and fade. Very sophisticated, which is where the 1st album was heading."
One Way Hotel
"One Way Hotel" written by Holder, Lea and Powell, this was the b - side to Slades original single "Wild Winds Are Blowing" although this version was slightly altered to the version that appeared on "Play It Loud". The original version had a jazz influence within the guitar parts which was remixed and removed for this version.
The Shape Of Things To Come
"The Shape Of Things To Come" written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Slade originally released their version via Fontana record label on 6th March 1970 and failed to appear on the U.K. chart.
1st performed by the band 'Max Frost and The Troopers' on the 1968 album of the song's name.
The song was released as the lead single from the album, under Fontana record label, becoming the band's final release on that label. The band performed the song on Top of the Pops, their 1st appearance on the show, despite the song failing to chart in the U.K. This performance has not been seen since the original broadcast.
The band appeared on the U.K. show Disco 2 to promote the "Play It Loud" album making 3 appearances during 1970. 3 songs were performed from the album in total which were "Shape Of Things To Come", "Know Who You Are" and "Sweet Box". All 3 performances have never surfaced since broadcasting.
Allmusic.com wrote "Also there is less cover music here. What sounds like the opening to the Yardbirds version of Graham Gouldman's 'For Your Love' emerges as Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil's "The Shape Of Things To Come.""
Know Who You Are
"Know Who You Are" written by Hill, Holder, Lea and Powell, this was originally released as a single by Slade via Polydor record label on 18th September 1970 and failed to appear on the U.K. chart.
This was released as the 2nd and final single from the album "Play It Loud". The single was unsuccessful, much like the band's releases of the time. The single was the band's debut single on Polydor record label after leaving Fontana record label.
The song had originally appeared on the band's 1969 debut album "Beginnings" under the name "Genesis". "Genesis" was an instrumental track, whilst this version is a reworking, featuring vocal. The song was later recorded live for the 1972 album "Slade Alive!".
The band appeared on the U.K. show Disco 2 to promote the "Play It Loud" album making 3 appearances during 1970.
Allmusic.com wrote ""Know Who You Are" is a wonderful study here, the band is more proper dipping into that Yardbirds bag again on this original. By the time it was re released on 'Slade Alive!', only 2 years later, the song would become part of their glam success. But here, Neville 'Noddy' Holder is kept on key by Chas Chandler, and that restraint makes for an intelligent album of rock which draws from all of the aforementioned sources, Ten Years After, Sabbath, The Move, Yardbirds, as well as the Beatles, Steppenwolf, and Kaleidoscope U.K. Surprisingly, there's no Animals or Hendrix that can be seen on the surface."
"I Remember" written by Lea and Powell, Allmusic.com wrote "Still searching for the magical songwriting formula, the Holder, Lea songwriting team of the future has yet to gel in its place, Lea and Powell turn in a less commercial but equally raucous brew, most noteworthy across the likes of "Sweet Box", "Dirty Joker", and "I Remember"".
"Pouk Hill" written by Holder, Lea and Powell, The song's lyrics referred to the event of creating the artwork for the 1969 debut album "Beginnings". The cover featured a photo of the band on Pouk Hill in Walsall. The band didn't enjoy the photo session due to the cold weather which is described in this song. The line "Dick took a shot and he got us" refers to the photographer Richard Stirlin.
Allmusic.com wrote "Surprisingly, there's no Animals or Hendrix that can be seen on the surface, an original like "Pouk Hill" leaning more toward the rock side of things than the blues embraced by Jimi and Eric Burdon."
"Angelina" written by Neil Innes, originally performed and released as a single in 1970 by the rock band 'The World'.
Allmusic.com wrote "Nick Innes' "Angelina," however, takes that early pop blues sound Z.Z.Top gave to their early '70s single 'Francene' and shows what that style sounds like when performed by Englishmen as opposed to Americans."
"Dirty Joker" written by Lea and Powell, Allmusic.com wrote ""Dirty Joker" seems almost anti gay, a paradox for a band that would be so essential to the glam blitz which Bowie, T. Rex, and Mott the Hoople were all part of."
Allmusic.com also wrote "Still searching for the magical songwriting formula, the Holder, Lea songwriting team of the future has yet to gel in its place, Lea and Powell turn in a less commercial but equally raucous brew, most noteworthy across the likes of "Sweet Box", "Dirty Joker", and "I Remember".
"Sweet Box" written by Lea and Powell, is the album's clincher. Allmusic.com wrote "There should be more similarities to Mott, but there are not, the final track, "Sweet Box," taking a Beatles riff from 'She Said' and mutating it beyond recognition, experimenting with rock & roll in an inspiring way."
The band appeared on the U.K. show Disco 2 to promote the "Play It Loud" album making 3 appearances during 1970.
Dave Hill - lead guitar, backing vocals
Noddy Holder - lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Jim Lea - bass guitar, electric violin, backing vocals
Don Powell - drums
Chas Chandler - producer
George Chkiantz - engineer
Anton Mathews - mixing engineer
Gered Mankowitz - photography
Hamish and Gustav - sleeve design