℗ 1975 Mercury Records SRM 1 1074
This 1975 album was the first solo outing for David Byron, the lead singer for Uriah Heep. It isn't a big surprise that a good portion of the album sounds a lot like the group that gave him his day job: sturdy organ-driven hard-rockers like "Silver White Man" and "Hit Me With a White One" would not be out of place on a typical Uriah Heep album from this period. The fact that every then-current member of Uriah Heep makes at least one appearance on this record further aids this deja vu feeling. What is surprising about Take No Prisoners is how solid and consistent it is for a between-albums solo venture. The album begins powerfully with "Man Full of Yesterdays," a mid-tempo rocker with a moody, dramatic arrangement that blends an emotional Mellotron-driven sound with autobiographical lyrics. From there, Byron deftly blends his Heep-styled rockers with a variety of roots rock and soul experiments that blend in well with the other, more traditional material: "Steamin' Along" tackles funk with surprising deftness while "Saturday Night" adds a likable country-rock element to its amped-up rock & roll attack. "Love Song" proves that Byron could do a straight ballad with surprising sensitivity and further benefits from a lovely arrangement built on a gentle harpsichord sound. Plenty of sharp rockers are interspersed between these experimental tracks, the best being "Midnight Flyer," a cleverly arranged rocker that alternates spooky, mid-tempo verses with a scorching chorus to create an exciting burst of hard rock. Overall, Take No Prisoners lacks a breakout single or the kind of genre-expanding elements that will win over the casual listener, but it is a well-crafted album that will definitely find favor with Uriah Heep fans. — Donald A. Guarisco.