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10 Jun 2016

Maggie Bell “Queen of the night” 1974 UK Blues Rock

Maggie Bell Queen Of The Night US Promo media press pack

  Maggie Bell “Queen of the night ” 1974. UK Blues Rock

full album

Producer Jerry Wexler puts the earthy vocals of Maggie Bell in a beautiful setting here. She stretchesJohn Prine’s “Souvenirs” to the max with Steve Gadd ably assisting by splashing the drums as deep asBell’s vocals. Her uptempo version of J.J. Cale’s “After Midnight” is more captivating than Eric Clapton’s; she oozes that Etta James sexuality while Reggie Young throws some tasty guitar into the semi-calypso groove. Bell’s identity is unique on much of the material, but a couple of tunes have her paying tribute to some of her sisters. The title track, “Queen of the Night,” is drenched in gorgeous harmonies by the Sweet Inspirations and is pure Genya Ravan, but conversely, the cover of “A Woman Left Lonely,” embraced totally by Janis Joplin on Pearl, is a sweet vocal and totally alien to how Joplin ripped the song to shreds so wonderfully. It works on an entirely different level on Queen of the NightBell’s voice is an instrument that slips into different styles on a moment’s notice. She takes the fun but silly Ringo Starr/Vini Poncia number five hit from the same year and gives it some style, then turns around with Deadric Malone’s “As the Years Go Passing By” and delivers another brand of quality sound. Cornell Dupree’s fabulous guitar leads cook in the background – the frosting on the cake for “As the Years Go Passing By.” Intense and beautiful, it is the real sleeper here. While Merry Clayton was singing backup on Ringo Starr’s “Oh My My” and ex-Black Oak Arkansas Ruby Starrwould track Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed,” Bell broke through her Stone the Crows image to cover a range of ideas, giving even David Clayton Thomas some respectability, taking his original “Yesterday’s Music” to new heights with a Bonnie Bramlett-style touch of gospel. From Will Jennings toCarole Bayer Sager and Peter Allen, Bell’s Queen of the Night is a stunningly marvelous mix of blues, pop, soul, and Southern rock. “We Had It All” builds with a smoldering tension that gives Bell a platform for her inspired phrasings. Sager must’ve been over the top when she first heard this version of “The Other Side.” This is music straight from the heart, which concludes with “Trade Winds,” piano, drums, and Bell’s voice tapering off like the end of a great set at some intimate nightclub. This is an extraordinary creation worth pulling out when you want to appreciate a fine wine like Queen of the Night. by allmusic….
When Stone the Crow’s lead guitarist Les Harvey was fatally electrocuted on stage it was only a matter of time until the remainder of the band called it quits.  That decision came in June 1973 at which point Stone the Crows manager Peter Grant wasted no time using his considerable influence to get Scotish singer Maggie Bell signed to Atlantic Records.  It was equally clear that Atlantic music executives had big plans for Bell.  Quickly signed to the label as a solo act, Bell was teamed with producer Jerry Wexler and the cream of Atlantic’s studio musicians including drummer Steve Gadd, bassist Chuck Rainey, and keyboardist Richard Tee.

Comparing a female singer to the late Janie Joplin is usually the kiss of death - the equivalent of comparing some defenseless male singer/songwriter to Bob Dylan.  Such comparisons are normally meant to praise, but come off undermining the other artist’s talents in the unfair comparison.  That said 1974’s “Queen of the Night” was one of those rare instances where the comparison wasn’t that far off.  If you could close your eyes and picture Joplin as a Scottish born red head  tracks like ‘Caddo Queen’, 'Souvenirs’ and the title track bore more than a passing resemblance to Joplin.  Bell certainly owned a voice the recalled Joplin, but the comparison extended to her 'rock chick’ personna.  Judging by the sullen cover photo she wasn’t someone you wanted to piss off.  Musically the set bounced all over the place including country-blues ('A Woman Left Alone’ - a track Joplin also recorded), hard rock ('Caddo Queen’), jazz ('Trade Winds’), and gimmick pop (a cover of Ringo Starr’s 'Oh My My’).  While the diversity served to showcase Bell’s broad range that lack of focus also made it difficult to figure out what her true strengths were.  She clearly had a deep penchant for the blues and the most hardcore numbers were among her best performances - check out the stunning 'As The Years Go Passing By’.  Call it a qualified success and move on to her next album.  Released as a single her Latin and Calypso-tinged cover of 'After Midnight’ b/w 'As The Years Go Passing By’ Atlantic catalog number 45-3018) hit # 97 on the US charts.  In contrast, released as a follow-up single 'Caddo Queen’ b/w 'Oh My My’ (Atlantic catalog number 45-3040) failed to chart. …..

“Queen of the Night” track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Caddo Queen   (Troy Seals - Will Jennings - Mentor Williams) - 3:35
2.) A Woman Left Lonely   (Dan Penn - Dewey Oldham) - 3:54
3.) Souvenirs   (John Prine) - 5:37
4.) After Midnight   (J.J. Cale) - 2:34
5.) Queen Of The Night   (Ronnie Leahy) - 4:02

(side 2)
1.) Oh My My   (Richard Starkley - Vinny Poncia) - 3:00
2.) As The Years Go Passing By    (Deadric Malone) - 4:21
3.) Yesterday’s Music   David Clayton Thomas - William Smith) - 3:28
4) We Had It All   (Troy Seals - Donny Fritts) - 2:58
5). The Other Side   (Carole Bayer Sager - Peter Allen) - 2:59
6). Trade Winds   (Ralph MacDonald - William Sater) - 5:11

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..