Saxon – Saxon, Wheels of Steel, Strong Arm of the Law, Denim and Leather, Power & The Glory, Crusader (reissues)
Re-Released: 2018, BMG
Reviewer: Robert Williams
BMG has reissued the first six Saxon albums in glorious, hard cover 24 page media books. Each reissue contains a plethora of rarities including demos, band rehearsals and live tracks. Now I want to point out that as a die-hard Saxon fan I had some original pressings that I already treasured and enjoyed quite frequently. So why the need for reissues then? Brother, you don’t know the half of it.
Saxon’s debut album comes with the Son of A Bitch demos (Pre-Saxon) from 1978, plus Tommy Vance’s Friday Rock Show BBC Session from 1980 and three live tracks from the band’s appearance at the Monsters of Rock Festival at Castle Donington in 1980! The “Wheels of Steel” reissue has a few band rehearsal tracks from 1980, the “Stallions of the Highway” live B side and five more tracks from the band’s performance at Monsters of Rock 1980 including a barn burning live rendition of “Machine Gun”!
On the “Strong Arm Of The Law” reissue fans are treated to four on air broadcast performances that originally aired on the BBC in April of 1982, an alternate version of “To Hell And Back Again” an early version of “Sixth Form Girls” at that time entitled “Mandy” and a couple of Abbey Road remixes of “20,000 Feet” and “Heavy Metal Thunder” from 2009. “Denim and Leather” might have some of the choicest bonus material. We get a “20,000 Feet” remix plus “Bap Shoo Ap” from Donington 1980, not to mention seven live tracks from the “Denim and Leather” tour in 1981.
Bonus material on the “Power & The Glory” disc includes two never before released tracks from the “Power & The Glory” recording session in “Make ‘Em Rock” and “Turn Out The Lights”. Plus seven demo tracks of material that would eventually become the “Power & The Glory” album. Similar to the “Power & The Glory” reissue, the “Crusader” reissue also contains demo recordings of what would ultimately become Saxon’s sixth studio album plus an outtake from the demo sessions with “Living For The Weekend”.
Believe me, this is a lot of Saxon to take in, to absorb. And you know what? You could completely lose track of time and lose yourself in the glory of heavy metal in the process. This is the motherload. I didn’t know I could make anymore additions to my most treasured CD’s in my alphabetically organized collection but these Saxon reissues are the holy grail as far as I’m concerned. I gave my originals to a close friend and have been thoroughly enjoying these reissues ever since. I mean, really… I can’t overstate this… these are by far the most well done reissues I’ve ever seen or heard. What a stellar job that must have taken a lot of involvement from the band, the label and rock historians to produce such an outstanding product. I can’t recommend these six reissues enough. You will not be disappointed.