Monday, June 11, 2012

Spotlights on: STONE THE CROWS

   Stone the Crows was a tough Blues-Rock band that came out of the pubs of Scotland in the late '60's.
In the beginning they had everything that a newly founded band could hope for. An extremely good female singer (Maggie Bell), a very talented guitar player (Les Harvey, the brother of Alex Harvey), a rhythm session (bass & drums) which were playing with John Mayall before Stone the Crows, and the manager of Led Zeppelin (Peter Grant) as their producer. What else they could hope for? Some publicity I guess! Well, unfortunately it never came! Since the fist time I have listened to them (about 20 years ago), I wonder the same thing.Why they didn't become more famous?
   Let's take a quick look in their (short anyway) career:
Maggie Bell was a winner of several Top Girl Singer awards in the UK,  and with her rough voice that resembled to the voice of Janis Joplin, seemed to be the ideal singer for a Blues-rock band. The guitarist was very talented and kınd of known in the music business mostly because of his brother. The bassist/vocalist (James Dewar) and the drummer (Collin Allen) were known because of their participation in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. In the band's first line up was also John McGinnis on keyboards.
   Their first record (Stone the Crows, 1970) was an excellent debut album, received good critics, but failed to become known. It contains one of their greatest songs, 'The Touch of your Loving Hand', and also a very good cover version of 'The Fool on the Hill'. (Originally by The Beatles).
Their second album (Ode to John Law, 1970) again received good critics, but failed to achieve massive sales.
These 2 years they were performing as an opening act for Led Zeppelin, but as it seemed not even that didn't help...
   In the early 1971 the bassist/vocalist quits the band to join Robin Trower. (ex-Procol Harum).  A couple of months later the keyboard player quit the band as well. They recruit Steve Thompson as bass player, (but not as a singer), and they release their third album (Teenage Licks, 1971). After the release of 'Teenage Licks' a tragic incident happened: During a concert at the Swansea University, Les Harvey was electrocuted on stage and died.
That appeared to be the band's end, but they found the strength to continue. (Not for long though).
   Jimmy McCullogh joined the band as the guitar player, (before he was playing with Thunderclap Newman), and the band released their fourth -and last- record 'Ontinuous Performances' (1972). This record, although is not so good as the 3 previews ones it reached at No.33 in the UK album charts.
   At the start of 1973 the band splits up, with Jimmy Mc Cullogh joining Paul McCartney's Wings, and Maggie Bell started a solo career. (In her solo career she recorderd 4 albums in total, but only 2 of them were released).
   It is really pity that this band never received the recognition it deserved. Especially for the fans of Blues-Rock this band was an example of how the 'white folks' know how to play the Blues!