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2023/4 Albums Thing 311 - Slade “Nobody’s Fools”

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“Nobody’s Fools” was released 16 months after “Slade In Flame”. Now that might not seem a very long time but “Slade In Flame” was issued in 1974 and “Nobody’s Fools” in 1976. In that musical timeframe David Bowie had moved from “Diamond Dogs” to “Station To Station”, the times were indeed a-changing. 

All Slade had released in the interim was the non-album single "Thanks for the Memory (Wham Bam Thank You Mam)" which reached a respectable #7 in the summer of 1975 (the suffix “(Wham Bam Thank You Mam)” was added to the title so it wouldn’t be confused with the 1930’s standard of the same name). With its keyboard led, almost funky sound it again demonstrated that Slade were moving on from Glam Rock.

Slade had spent much of the time after the release of “Slade in Flame” trying, and spectacularly failing, to break America. They had neglected their UK fans in all honesty and when they got back in 1976 with their overtly US influenced album, things, and their fanbase, had moved on. Glam Rock was no longer a thing, Punk Rock was stirring and about to kick down some doors and make its entrance. Slade were now part of the old guard that Punk would try to sweep away.

“Nobody’s Fools” was Slade’s first album since “Slade Alive!” not to reach the top 10. They still managed a couple of hit singles, “In For A Penny” and Let's Call It Quits” both reached #11 in the UK but 3rd single “Nobody’s Fool” failed to chart at all. 

Their sound was now very smoothed out compared to even “Slade In Flame”, “Americansed” is the only way to describe it. The album was recorded during a six week period in mid 1975 at the Record Plant in New York. American singer Tasha Thomas was hired to provide backing vocals and further sweeten their sound.

There are of course remnants of the old Slade. “Get On Up”, “Let’s Call it Quits”, “Scratch My Back” and “Do The Dirty” are what their audience wanted and expected from them (although the latter two show the influence of all that time Stateside). On the flip of that “Nobody’s Fool” and  ”L.A. Jinx" are both West Coast, almost Doobie Brothers style pop/soul tracks, "Pack Up Your Troubles”, "I'm a Talker" and to an extent “In For A Penny” verge on Folk-pop, closing song “All The World Is A Stage” is a big production number, grandly produced wrap up.

Which leaves your writer being forced only to make mention of the laughable "Did Ya Mama Ever Tell Ya”. I think I may have said this previously, I will definitely say something very similar in the none too distant future but, much like in the bizarre event that Bob Marley had ever had a go at Glam Rock I don’t ever want to hear it, I NEVER WANT OR WANTED TO HEAR SLADE TRY REGGAE !!! It’s not even Reggae, it’s cod-Reggae in the style of the equally laughable Police and 10cc with the cringe fest that is “Dreadlock Holiday”. Listen up, in almost 100% of attempts white musicians fail miserably when they attempt Reggae (early UB40 got away with it and don’t forget they were a multi-racial group, The Clash came at it from a different angle and did OK, The Ruts were pretty darned good at it). Just like Handsworth’s Steel Pulse steered well clear of cod-Glam likewise a bunch of hairy rockers from the Black Country should never have gone near the one drop ! Listen in at your own peril…

I vividly remember receiving this as a Xmas present n 1976 and being very excited about it and that’s maybe why I have a soft spot for it. But time and experience has told me that my youthful excitement was for a record that was the wrong one at the wrong time. Let’s just say Slade’s timing was so off it proved almost terminal for them. At the point they’d decided to smooth off the rough edges and go all out American AOR, Punk (upon which they were undoubtedly an influence) was on the rise. Many of their fans saw the time spent trying to crack the States and this less raucous sound as big F-you to the audience that had made them. They would have hits further down the road but Slade’s heyday was well and truly over.

Get On Up - https://youtu.be/_1L_qjY1r68?si=wT6QCu2txX-VJytI

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