A project that really started 20 years ago has finally been completed and released, and was well worth the wait for Uriah Heep fans. Over 20 years ago, singer Bernie Shaw hooked up with some fellow Canadian musicians on a trip back home to British Columbia, played a couple of local shows as “In Transit”. The guitarist was Dale Collins, who in turn recorded a 3-track CD with Shaw titled “Picking Locks”, which included 2 Collins compositions “Hey Jimi”, “Here We Go”, and a cover of the David Essex hit “Rock On”. For years these songs have been put out there via youtube and various discussion forums, with the mention of an album to come. That day has finally come, as “Too Much Information” is an 8 song album, which includes re-records of the tracks recorded on Picking Locks, as well as 5 more tracks written by Dale Collins [one co-write with Bernie]. Collins recoded the instruments [most of which he played, except for the drums] at his studio in Alberta, while Bernie would eventually record his vocals in England. Although I initially enjoyed the Picking Locks tracks many years back [tho i’m not a huge fan of the David Essex song], it had been so long, I was even skeptical “if” this album would ever happen and just how good it might end up. Well, I am A – happy to finally see it released [and hear it], and B it has been a pleasant surprise, which [despite only having 8 tracks] has plenty to get into with each listen.
The first 2 tracks are easily likeable, both with guitar intros [my 12 year old pointed out that they remind him of Iron Maiden] – “So Many Times” is a steady rocker, while “Alone” is my favorite track here, it has a heavy intro, but settles down into a cool mid-tempo rock tune with heavy and acoustic guitar, some Heep-like harmonies in the background, a cool solo from Dale, and Bernie nails a very memorable chorus. Among other favorites include the “Hey Jimi” update – it’s a great tribute to Jimi Hendrix, highlighted by Collins’ guitar playing, plus a bit of piano with Bernie giving a solid delivery on this tale. “Sad Song”, another re-record from way back is a power-ballad, it starts out softly on piano and builds up in to a big chorus, as Bernie is perfectly suited to this type of thing; fantastic production! There is no filler here, with the title track, “Just A Little Bit”, the cover of “Rock On” – all enjoyable to hear. Although, for many – Bernie Shaw may be the initial draw to Too Much Information [being the lead singer of Uriah Heep for the past 32+ years], and he does a superb job on all of these tracks, huge credit must go to Dale Collins as songwriter, and more so for his guitar performances that highlight so much here. For proof, check out the re-record of “Here We Go” – love the extended guitar intro, and last few minutes of soloing; huge highlight here. … Of course you can find this album on youtube, but it’ll sound much better on the turntable or [in the car] CD player!
Not sure what the long-term plan is for this project, but suspect that after 20 years not to hold my breathe on any quick follow-up! Just happy to finally have this, and will be looking forward to any other projects either artist may have on the go in the future [aside from the obvious].