Totally Driven is the 25th studio album by Uriah Heep and the double album contains re-recorded versions of 27 of their best known songs. The album was recorded with the long standing 1986-2007 line up, meaning: Bernie Shaw (vocals), Mick Box (guitar), Trevor Bolder (bass guitar), Lee Kerslake (drums) and Phil Lanzon (keyboards). Uriah Heep, founded way back in London in 1969 has always been a band you loved or hated. They are a rather successful band as 12 of their albums made it into the UK album charts and Demons And Wizards (1972) was their most successful album. I really like the first 6 studio albums and my favourite Heep album of all time is still Uriah Heep Live, recorded in 1973, featuring their best songs Gypsy, July Morning, Look At Yourself, Sunrise and Circle Of Hands.
This double album features a lot of songs from their first six albums; however the lead vocals are performed by Bernie Shaw and not by the notorious Heep singer David Byron. This makes a hell of a difference, as I still cannot really listen and enjoy amazing Heep songs like Gypsy, July Morning, Easy Livin', Traveller In Time, Sweet Freedom or Stealin' with lead vocals from Shaw....Furthermore the Gypsy version on this album features horns and only lasts 3:52. What is that about?? Bird Of Prey and Why Did You Go? are the other two absolute misfits on the first CD, while July Morning, Come Away Melinda and Sweet Freedom are the best songs on CD 1. CD2 contains newer songs from albums like Sonic Origami (1998) (Between Two Worlds, Only The Young and The Golden Palace), Sea Of Light and Different World. The last track on the album is Uriah Heep's super hit Lady In Black from their second album Salisbury, released in 1971, and it is also their most irritating song (to me, that is)-an absolute horror sing-a-long acoustic nagsong; sung by Shaw in an even more irritating manner than Byron did.
Totally Driven is definitely not my favorite Heep compilation, but maybe I should not compare these re-recorded tracks with the original ones; maybe that is not fair. Well, anyway, I think I will slide my Uriah Heep Live disc once again in my CD player and enjoy that spectacular album once again.
** Martien Koolen (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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