Ambrose Slade – Beginnings (Vinyl Reissue)


Often viewed as an anomaly in the Slade discography, Beginnings found Wolverhampton’s finest at a crossroads between pub rock stalwarts and stadium-filling stompers. Subsequently, this is a record that finds the group trying on different clothes and the result was an eclectic album that offered an intriguing glimpse of the band to come. Now released under the band’s original name, Ambrose Slade, there’s never been a better time to rediscover this gem, especially with this splatter vinyl reissue.

The seeds of what appears on Beginnings would flower and blossom in the following decade. From the infamous cover (later immortalised on ‘Pouk Hill’ from 1970’s Play It Loud opus) to opening track ‘Genesis’, which would evolve into explosive show opener ‘Know Who You Are’ (check out ‘72 album Slade Alive!). Here ‘Genesis’ evidences the power which would propel Slade through much of the following decade. The riff is addictive and teases the listener, before the whole band kick in to deliver the decisive blow. You can understand why it riled crowds, especially with Noddy’s vocals, yet sans voice it works equally well, and it’s hard to understand why it never got any chart action when released as a single. ‘Genesis’ promised much, and Beginnings largely delivers.

A criticism that has consistently been levelled at this album since its 1969 release, is the plethora of cover versions. Although it was de rigueur for albums to include covers in the ‘60s (almost half of Beatles For Sale were other people’s tunes) you feel that the times had changed when Beginnings hit the streets, and the strength of the four Slade-penned songs makes it all the more perplexing as to why there weren’t more originals included. The covers fall into two categories; the good and the bad; ‘If This World Were Mine’ (Marvin Gaye) and ‘Martha My Dear’ (Paul McCartney) both fall short, but they hit the bullseye with Frank Zappa’s ‘Ain’t Got No Heart’ and, of course, Steppenwolf’s ‘Born To Be Wild’, a track that the band made their own and livened up many a gig (again, see Slade Alive!).

Most of the covers on this album had been honed in the live environment, and collectively they give a good indication of where the band were at. Yet, it’s the self-penned songs that signpost the future, and ‘Roach Daddy’ rolls with that rowdy, drunken swagger that would illuminate later songs, while Noddy Holder’s cigarette ‘n’ whisky rasp is fermenting nicely. ‘Mad Dog Cole’ features some neat interplay between Noddy and Dave Hill guitars, and all that’s missing is a thousand feet stamping in a sweaty club. Of the four originals, only ‘Pity The Mother’ doesn’t really work; it tries a little too hard to be The Beatles, and its sombre tone seems out of place on an album that’s largely upbeat.

In the early to mid-’70s Slade became the biggest band in the land, releasing some of the era’s best anthems and breaking all sorts of records, so much so that their sparkle and bluster overshadowed much of their early work. But, if you want to know where it all began, start at the Beginnings.

Track List:

Side A:

  1. Genesis
  2. Everybody’s Next One
  3. Knocking Nails Into My House
  4. Roach Daddy
  5. Ain’t Got No Heart
  6. Pity The Mother

Side B:

  1. Mad Dog Cole
  2. Fly Me High
  3. If This World Were Mine
  4. Martha My Dear
  5. Born To Be Wild
  6. Journey To The Centre Of The Mind


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.