“Nobody’s Fools”. Not the Cinderella song, but the sixth studio album by Slade within a 10 year period. It was released in March 1976 and produced by Chas Chandler who was immortalised by his work with Jimi Hendrix on the first three albums.
Slade didn’t exist for me until Quiet Riot covered “Cum On The Feel The Noize” and “Mama Were All Crazee Now”. At the point in time I knew of them, but never listened to them. This would change as the 90’s rolled around and then peer to peer sharing and finally streaming.
If you expect to hear a balls to the wall rock album then this album is not for you. There is some loud rock, but overall, there is soul, R&B and other popular styles.
Doing this review retrospectively, it’s always cool to read what people said about it at the time it was released. It’s pretty obvious that British fans didn’t like it when their acts tried to break in to the U.S market. When artists normally attempted this, the fans would accuse them of selling out. This happened with Slade. And it didn’t help matters when they band kept saying that they moved to the U.S to rejuvenate and get new ideas as they felt stale in the U.K.
So it’s no surprise that this album is Slade’s first to not reach the UK Top 10, and to drop out of the chart after a chart run of only four weeks. It would be their last album to make a UK chart appearance until the 1980 compilation “Slade Smashes!”.
Meanwhile, the U.S press praised it, but it didn’t translate to the breakthrough they wanted.
But the album stands up today. Its variation is what makes it entertaining.
The album’s cover was created to coincide with the band’s 10th anniversary, showing the band adopting the same positions as they had on the cover for their 1970 album “Play It Loud”.
Slade is Noddy Holder on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Dave Hill on lead guitar, Jim Lea on bass and Don Powell on drums. All tracks are written by Noddy Holder and Jim Lea and the album is produced by Chas Chandler.
The piano is dominant and its more soul rock than hard rock/glam rock. Think Rod Stewart and “Maggie May”. And I like it especially the Chorus. It’s arena rock and no one can tell me any different.
Lea wanted “Nobody’s Fool” to be a “twenty-minute epic” but that takes balls to do and the only one who had Balls to do songs like that was Jim Steinman and the only one silly enough to perform them was Meatloaf. But with over a 100 million albums sold worldwide, I guess the fools were the labels who rejected them.
Anyway I digress.
Do the Dirty
“Play That Funky Music White Boy” and any riff from Joe Walsh comes to mind when the intro kicks in. Its funky, its dirty sounding and it rocks.
How could the fans not like this song?
Let’s Call It Quits
It’s bluesy and sleazy. After it became a UK hit, it was served a writ. Allen Toussaint, felt the song was similar to his “Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)”. The case was settled out of court with the band giving Toussaint 50% in song writing royalties, though Lea maintained that he has never heard Toussaint’s version before or since. But the version that everyone knows is from Three Dog Night. And that version came out in 1974, and it got a lot of airplay, so this could be the version that Lea heard.
To me this is a standard blues track musically and as Keith Richards said, “you can’t copyright the blues”. But in this instance the Chorus vocal melodies do sound similar.
Also when you hear the vocal delivery on this song, you can hear from which vocalist, Kevin DuBrow modelled his vocals on.
Pack Up Your Troubles
Sit around the campfire acoustic country about leaving all your troubles behind and heading into the hills with your liquor and wine. It’s adventurous and I like it.
In for a Penny
It’s very Beatles like. “Penny Lane” and “Eleanor Rigby” come to mind.
It is also the only Slade track to feature the accordion and the guitar playing from Dave Hill is more decorative than riff heavy.
And don’t let the accordion deter you, the song is a psychedelic pop rock masterpiece.
Get On Up
It’s back to their hard rock roots.
Hearing this today, all I am hearing is how much Kevin DuBrow borrowed from Noddy Holder in vocal tone, phrasings and lyrical rhymes. Then again, Holder borrowed from a lot of others as well and that is how music evolves my friends. We all take from what has come before to create something new.
I love the clean guitar strummed pattern. Its funky, groovy, and it rocks.
Lyrically the song deals with bad luck the band seemed to suffer whenever they played in Los Angeles like their gear blowing up or getting electric shocks.
Press play to hear the whole interlude section.
And the star of the song are the vocal melodies from Noddy Holder. Unique and original and still rooted in hard rock territory.
Did Ya Mama Ever Tell Ya
It’s reggae like but with a lot of soul rock thrown in and lyrics that deal with nursery rhymes and a lot of innuendo.
Scratch My Back
Another rock track in similar form to “Get on Up”.
I’m a Talker
It sounds like another song that I can’t think off right now, but hey, that’s why I love music. This one is acoustic, fast strummed, very folk-rock, campfire like.
All the World Is a Stage
The drum groove sets up this melodic rock track before melodic rock was a thing. It moves between minor key verses and major key choruses.
Since I am listening to this on Spotify, it is the Expanded Edition with Bonus tracks.
Thanks for the Memory (1975 non-album single)
It was a sign of things to come and the sound to come.
Raining In My Champagne (B-side of “Thanks for the Memory”)
It’s better than the A side in my opinion. Maybe because it sounds like “Twist And Shout” in the Chorus.
Can You Just Imagine (B-side of “In For a Penny”)
A throwback to the sounds of the 60’s.
When the Chips are Down (B-side of “Let’s Call It Quits”)
In the end, this was the album that Slade hoped would break them into the U.S mainstream, instead, this is the album that put Slade out of the mainstream business worldwide, until their 80’s comeback.
But don’t be a fool and ignore it. The band was adventurous and yet they still made it sound like Slade because the songs were written and recorded in between small tours of the U.S with acts like ZZ Top.
And you can hear their blues boogie translate to the grooves here. And at least they learned how to spell properly.