And so HNE Recordings’ excellent Crusade to bring nifty little CD box set collections into the homes of the listening public continues, this time with an entertaining look into the post-Uriah Heep world of vocalist supreme David Byron.

Byron of course, shuffled off this mortal coil some while ago, and his songwriting foil during the period this collection covers, Robin George, has also recently left us, making this a doubly poignant trip back back in time.

The main guts of the release is the On The Rocks album, hailed as Byron’s return to hard rock after a misguided time in the wilderness dabbling in other spheres. George, as was to happen a number of times in his career, was brought in to help out (he worked, as I’m sure you’re aware with the likes of Glenn Hughes, Robert Plant, Phil Lynott and Magnum, amongst others), and his distinctive guitar playing and songwriting signatures are all over OTR…

The album is a rollicking trip through the seventies Brit hard rock playbook, occasionally sounding like early Magnum, or more usually an amalgam of Free, Bad Company and Whitesnake. Through it all Byron reminds the listener just what a talent he was; Songs like Fool For A Pretty Face and Little By Little absolutely drip with ‘of their time’ joie de vivre; Despite the primitive sound, the class shines through, and you’re left shaking your head ruefully at the thought of what might have been had this partnership blossomed and survived the ravages of Byron’s alcoholism.

CD features live band rehearsals and recordings of a contemporaneous live performance in Liverpool; Uriah Heep fans may be said to hear that only a couple of Heep songs feature on the live recording – July Morning and Sweet Lorraine – but this is well worth a listen nonetheless.

The third disc collects demo recordings made by George and Byron over the time of their collaboration together, and the whole things has to be worth an investment if you’ve ever enjoyed Byron’s magnificent vocal presence and power or George’s superb guitar playing and songwriting.

On The Rocks… Again releases on June 28th.