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Thursday, 29 December 2016

Stone The Crows “Teenage Licks” 1971 UK Prog Blues Rock

Stone The Crows  “Teenage Licks”  1971 UK Prog  Blues Rock 
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Stone the Crows full all studio albums 1970-73 full vk

This third album from Scotland’s Stone the Crows was as close to hitting on all cylinders as they ever came in the studio. With some personnel changes following Ode to John Law (a new bassist and keyboard player), they powered through the disc, with “Big Jim Salter,” “I May Be Right I May Be Wrong,” and their version of Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice” being the absolute standouts. The figureheads of vocalist Maggie Bell and guitarist Les Harvey had never sounded better as they worked in a pure rock vein, abandoning the blues aspect of their sound (Indeed, “Aileen Mochree” took them into Gaelic, a pleasant, brief side track) – check “Mr. Wizard” to get a good picture of where they were really headed. Of course, it wasn’t a one-dimensional sound; the keyboard-dominated “Seven Lakes” was full of pseudo-classical portentousness, almost de rigeur for the period. But it was when they rocked that Stone the Crows were at their best, and with this album they seemed truly poised to move up to the big time….by Chris Nickson…allmusic……


Teenage Licks is a total success as it is filled with energy, thanks to the exceptional vocal parts by Maggie Bell but also the brilliant guitarist Leslie Harvey. Teenage Licks is considered the fans’ favourite album… 

…Ontinuous Performance is their fourth album, substantially already finished when Leslie’s accident occurred. Therefore, we hardly hear the guitar of the new guitarist, only present on the track, ‘Sunset Cowboy’ - a tribute to Leslie, which is very emotional. For the rest we are in familiar territory: 'King Tut’ is an all instrumental and boiling in swing, Leslie soaring with his instrument during a performance of unforgettable beauty, the title inspired by the Tutankhamen exhibition at the British Museum. ,,,Highlands Magazine (November 2015)...~


There’s funky abandon to Les Harvey’s riffs and Colin Allen’s drumming that feel so relaxed in the brass-splashed paean to drugs 'Mr. Wizard,’ yet their bluesy flow infuse 'Faces’ and Dylan’s 'Don’t Think Twice’ with a spiritual uplift, whereas the live rendition of Freddie King’s 'Going Down’ redresses the balance. But acoustic fibre of 'Seven Lakes’ offers a perfect ride into the sunset, its jazzy gauze pointing to the band’s swan song: 'Ontinuous Performance.’ It would always be blackened by Les’ untimely passing – the guitarist was electrocuted and died on-stage – yet his playing on 'Niagara,’ where the ensemble interplay is at its tightest, and on 'Penicillin Blues’ feels economic but fiery, while he delivers a stately, if understated, solo on the piano-driven 'One More Chance.’ 
Still, the punchiest tracks of the album were cut with Jimmy McCulloch, en route from THUNDERCLAP NEWMAN to WINGS, whose guitar ups the brass-spiked panache of 'Good Time Girl’ and soars from the sublime harmonies of 'Sunset Cowboy’ which pays homage to the CROWS’ fallen hero. It was also a fall for the group as Harvey’s demise sucked the soul of them and, as being cold couldn’t be an option for STC, the quintet broke up soon to never return. A sad story with a great soundtrack. DMME.net (November 2015)....~


…Maggie Bell’s raucous vocals impress on originals like 'Big Jim Slater’ and 'Faces’. Guitarist Les Harvey, horrifyingly, was electrocuted on stage before Ontinuous Performance was completed with Jimmy McCulloch replacing him on two tracks, including a tribute to Harvey, 'Sunset Cowboy’. ....Blues In Britain (November 2015) ....~

Teenage Licks, their third album, came quickly in 1971. Their sound had grown even stronger and more potent; vocalist Maggie Bell was quickly becoming one of the best female blues vocalists since Janis Joplin, and the music reflected that. The red-hot rockers of 'Mr. Wizard’ and 'Big Jim Salter’ were paired up with the powerful ballads of 'Faces’ and 'Seven Lakes,’ while a take on Bob Dylan’s 'Don’t Think Twice’ brings a definite tenderness to the masterful lyrics… 

…1972’s Ontinuous Performance is a fine record; McCulloch is an excellent replacement, and the songs are bigger, grander, and tougher. 'Good Time Girl,’ 'Niagra’ and 'Penicillin Girl’ are their strongest numbers, showing that in spite of the losses, their continuation looked to be an admirable feat that couldn’t stop the band’s progression. The music buying audience agreed; Ontinuous Performance was their best selling record. ....The Recoup (November 2015)...~

This double CD set features all the original tracks from the albums Teenage Licks and Ontinuous Performance…plus four additional live bonus tracks. Guitarist Les Harvey died during the recording of Ontinuous Performance and was replaced by McCulloch. But the band never really recovered from the loss and eventually abandoned ship. Because the popularity of Stone The Crows was somewhat geographically limited at the time, this reissue will hopefully make a whole new legion of fans aware of the band. There’s a lot to sink your teeth into here. Twenty tracks in all including “Don’t Think Twice,” “Seven Lakes,” “Let It Down,” “On The Highway,” “Sunset Cowboy,” and “Good Time Girl.” ...babysue (October 2015).....~


…The band were fronted by Les Harvey guitar (Alex’s younger brother) and the incomparable Maggie Bell on vocals. And for me and I guess many others its Maggie’s vocal pyrotechnics that linger. I always thought of her as Britain’s own Janis Joplin as I’m sure many did. Essentially a blues/rock band I loved, and still do that 'dirty’ guitar blend with Maggie’s abrasive vocal which blazes from the kick off on tracks like 'Big Jim Salter’, 'Faces’ and Dylan’s 'Don’t Think Twice’, just three of the highlights of the eleven (2 live) tracks on Teenage Licks originally released in 1971. ....SMART - Seventies Music And Retro Talk (October 2015)....~

Thanks must be made to Angel Air for making sure these recordings are once again available for fans to either discover for the first time or finally get a CD copy of their old vinyl versions. Though their first albums are the cream of the crop, there’s still plenty of exciting blues rock here to enjoy, featuring the amazing skills of one Maggie Bell. .....Sea Of Tranquility (October 2015)....~

'Teenage Licks’ is the proof that this band knew how to make good music without falling into banality. Strong guitar riffs, backed by the powerful sounds of a Hammond organ, we immediately have to deal with both in the opener 'Big Jim Salter’, and that a keyboard is still an instrument that generates added value is made clear in 'Faces’. Keys and Chords (October 2015).....~

They did bequeath a fine body of work to posterity during their short time together however, and newcomers to Stone The Crows’ gritty brand of bluesy rock would be well advised to lend and ear to tracks such as 'Penicillin Blues’, 'Big Jim Slater’ and the elegiac 'Sunset Cowboy’..... Kevin Bryan, Regional Newspapers (October 2015)....~

The band were dealt a massive blow on May 3 1972 when Les was electrocuted onstage at the Swansea Top Rank club and died. The band elected to carry on and brought in Jimmy McCulloch from Thunderclap Newman to finish the recording of the Ontinuous Performance album. ....Bev Bevan, Sunday Mercury (August 2015)....~


Formed around Scottish singer Maggie Bell the band worked initially in clubs and air bases around the UK and Europe before arriving in London in 1969 where they were christened by their manager, Led Zeppelin Svengali Peter Grant. 
The group had fantastic talent in vocalist Bell, guitarist Les Harvey, bassist Jim Dewar and drummer Colin Allen. As teenagers Maggie and Les had worked together in a local group. 
stonethecrowsMaggie (born in Glasgow on 12 January 1945) came from a musical family who supported her ambitions. Les was the younger brother of singer Alex Harvey who led the Sensational Alex Harvey Band (SAHB). 
Maggie was just 17 years old when she started singing professionally in the city’s Locarno Ballroom. She soon found herself earning £70 a week singing pop hits of the day under the spotlights. It was a much better life than earning a pittance as a window dresser. 

Maggie and Stone the Crows were thrown into a cross-country American tour some four months after they came into being. Most of it was a supporting act for Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen. 

Stone The Crows (Polydor) was produced by Mark London and released in 1970. Jimmy Dewar shared some vocal duties with Maggie and co-wrote the material. “We recorded the album in Advision studios, London, with Jimmy Dewar and John McGinnis. Jimmy was a great singer and he sounded a bit like David Clayton Thomas of Blood, Sweat & Tears. We shared the vocals on that album and we made a great team.” 

After their second effort Ode To John Law (1970), John McGinnis and Jimmy Dewar quit and were replaced by Steve Thompson (bass) and Ronnie Leahy (keyboards). 

The next album Teenage Licks (1971), proved to be their most successful and from then on Stone The Crows played all the major rock festivals. Maggie won the Best Female Vocalist award in the annual Melody Maker readers poll and with her raunchy, sincere style she was hailed by many critics as the natural successor to Janis Joplin.
Tragedy struck the band when Les Harvey was electrocuted on stage by a live microphone at the Top Rank ballroom in Swansea, Wales, on 3 May 1972. He was about to announce the first number of the group’s set at the Swansea University Coming Out Ball. 

Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation was given immediately, but he died a few hours later in a local hospital. 

Maggie Bell (who was also Harvey’s long-term girlfriend) was also hospitalised in a state of collapse. Harvey’s replacement was former Thunderclap Newman guitarist, 19-year-old Jimmy McCulloch. 

Unfortunately, their commercial failure ultimately led to the group’s demise, and Stone The Crows broke up in 1973. 

Colin Allen, their drummer, joined Focus. Maggie released two well-received solo albums produced by Jerry Wexler, Queen Of The Night (1973), and Suicide Sal (1975). 

McCulloch developed a drinking problem, drifting around the London scene until 1975, when he replaced Henry McCulloch (no relation) in Wings. He contributed some memorable guitar work to four Wings albums, then left the band in 1978 to play in a short-lived reconstituted Small Faces. 

McCulloch was found dead in his Maida Vale (London) apartment on 27 September 1979.......


Stone The Crows 

Stone The Crows and Peter Grant 
In 1966 the singer Maggie Bell, a shop window decorator, and the guitarist Les Harvey, made a name for themselves as outstanding musicians in various Glasgower bands. 

Maggie Bell and Les Harvey met each other as teenagers. Les Harvey played in his own band, the "Kenning Park Rangers" and Maggie Bell sang in dance clubs. (Les Harvey's brother Alex Harvey - The Sensationell Alex Harvey Band - was engaged at this time in the Hamburg Star Club). 

Together with Bill and Bobby Patrick, they came to Germany in 1967, where they appeared on US military bases. After the assassination attempt on Martin Luther King the bases were blocked for all foreigners and it went back to Scotland. "Power" was founded here. "Power" were Maggie Bell, Les Harvey, Jim Dewar and John McGinnes. Power was soon known in Scotland through her performances at the Burns Howff Bar (Glasgow). Another Scottish band, cartoon, had an invitation to a tour in the US. 

Leslie Harvey and the Allman Brothers 

The guitarist fell out and Les Harvey was asked by Mark London (later Crowd's manager) to join the cartoons. Les Harvey stayed two months in the States and came back with a new Stratocaster and a lot of musical experience. He gained the experience among others at the Allman Brothers. 

Power no longer wanted to be considered a cover band and began to write their own songs. The manager of Led Zeppelin, Peter Grant, was drawn to attention by Mark London. He visited one of their gigs at Burns Howff. According to legend, he cried enthusiastically "Stone The Crows !!!" 

Mark London took power under contract, changed the name to "Stone The Crows" and gave the John Mayall and Zoot Money drummer Collin Allen. 

In 1970 the first LP "Stone The Crows" was released. A great album that unfortunately did not find enough buyers. It was a hit. The next album "Ode To John Law" also remained commercially unsuccessful. 

Les Harvey and the accident 

John McGinnis and Jimmy Dewar left the crows and were replaced by Steve Thompson and Ronnie Leahy. This was followed by the most successful album "Teenage Licks". Maggie Bell got the title of Melody Maker as the best female singer and successor of Janis Joplin. 

Although the records sold only slowly, "Stone The Crows" were a popular band at international festivals. As the success wanted to hire, the setback came: 

At a gig in Swansea's Top Rank Ballroom on 05/03/1972 Les Harvey died of an electric shock through his guitar on stage. 

The band wanted to continue and hired Peter Green from Fleetwood Mac. The rehearsals went well, but when it came to the first gig, during the Lincoln Festival, Peter Green was not able to perform and said. 

Jimmy McCulloch of Thunderclap Newman jumped in and took part in the recordings for "Ontinuous Performance". McCulloch was still very young, but already showed great potential as a guitar player. He could not be a full substitute for Leslie Harvey at that time. 

In 1973 Maggie Bell released "Stone The Crows". Jimmy McCulloch went to the Wings, Colin Allen to Focus, Thompson to Denny Laine and Leahy became a student. In the Rock Circus, we find some of the crows at the Dukes of Miller Anderson. 

Maggie Bell recorded "Queen Of The Night" and "Suicide Sal" with Jerry Wexler. Good albums, but the audience was not very successful. 

Two other albums were never released by Atlantic Records. Producers were Felix Pappalardi and Felix Cavaliere........~ 


Scottish blue rock act Stone the Crows were dealt more than a few blows as they attempted to record their third album in 1971. Bassist/vocalist James Dewar had jumped ship to be the sole vocalist in Robin Trower's band, and keyboard player John McGinnis had enough of life on the road and became a teacher. This left vocalist Maggie Bell, guitarist Leslie Harvey, and drummer Collen Allen to look for replacements, and in came bassist Steve Thompson and keyboard player Ronnie Leahy. With Maggie now as the main focal point from a vocal perspective, the sound of the band changed slightly, and things got even more dicey when Harvey was electrocuted on stage in 1972, before the band had even finished their soon to be fourth album. In would come ex-Thunderclap Newman (and soon to be Wings) guitarist Jimmy McCulloch. However, things were never the same, and the band split soon afterwards with four albums in just over two years. This 2CD Angel Air Records set collects the two long out of print albums Teenage Licks and Ontinuous Performance, and while they are perhaps not quite as impressive as the band's first two releases, they are still prime examples of fiery early '70s blues rock. 

Teenage Licks features a host of hot tunes, including the smoldering rocker "Mr Wizard", the slow blues piece "Don't Think Twice" (featuring an emotional, Janis Joplin styled vocal from Bell), the heavy rocker "Big Jim Salter", and Harvey's sizzling hard rock licks on the raucous "Keep On Rollin' ". A blistering live "Let It Down", originally written by the first incarnation of the band, is an outstanding bonus surprise here. Leahy contributes more piano on Teenage Licks than we saw on the first two Stone the Crows albums, as opposed to McGinnis' reliance on the Hammond organ, so there is a bit of a different feel here to be sure. With Harvey's death, the band had not completely finished the Ontinuous Performance, so McCulloch put the finishing touches to the songs "Good Time Girl" and "Sunset Cowboy", but Les can still be heard on the crunchy blues rocker "On the Highway", an old school blues number "Penicillin Blues", the upbeat "Niagara", and the atmospheric "King Tut". None of these songs carry the power of anything from Stone the Crows or Ode to John Law, as the band seemed to be going through the motions by this point, delivering solid but unspectacular honky tonk blues. By 1972, it was all over, and Maggie Bell's solo career would begin. 

Thanks must be made to Angel Air for making sure these recordings are once again available for fans to either discover for the first time or finally get a CD copy of their old vinyl versions. Though their first albums are the cream of the crop, there's still plenty of exciting blues rock here to enjoy, featuring the amazing skills of one Maggie Bell....sea of tranquility....~ 


Stone the Crows - the undeservedly forgotten strongest blues-rock band of the early 70s, was created in the late 60s in Glasgow (Scotland) by guitarist Les Harvey (younger brother of Alex Harvey) and singer Maggie Bell. The name Stone the Crows was given to the group by Peter Grant (manager Led Zeppelin), who was so impressed by the young group that he immediately signed a contract with them and became their manager. After the release of the second album, Ode to John Law, there was a change of lineup - John McGinnis and Jimmy Dewar left the band, and they were replaced by Steve Thompson (bass) and Ronnie Leahy (keys). 

The third and most successful album of the band, recorded with a new bass player and keyboard player (Ronnie Leahy previously played with John Mayall, and with Colin Allen there were already two former Bluesbreakers in the band). The group almost completely moved away from psychedelia and concentrated on a powerful hard hard rock with elements of blues. Maggie Bell and Les Harvey, as usual, are good, but the rest of the musicians are not far behind. Big Jim Slater and Mr. Wizard - just a classic of the genre! 

There are two covers on the disc, the rest of the tracks are written by the band’s musicians (One Five Eight wrote keyboard player John McGinnis who had already left the band). Produced by Mark London. The album was first released on CD in 1996 in Germany at Repertoire. 

At the time of the release of this album, the group was on the rise - it won popularity polls, performed with notices in prestigious halls and at all major rock festivals, approaching in popularity to Free and Bad Company. Maggie Bell became the best vocalist in the annual survey of readers of the magazine Melody Maker. But on May 3, 1972, a tragedy occurred - Les Harvey received an electric shock during a performance and died right on the stage....~ 








Line Up

Maggie Bell Vocals 
Les Harvey Guitar 
Jim Dewar Bass 
John McGinnis Keyboards 
Colin Allen Drums 
Steve Thompson Bass 
Ronnie Leahy Keyboards 
Jimmy McCulloch Guitar


Tracklist: 

1. Big Jim Salter 
2. Faces 
3. Mr Wizard 
4. Do not Think Twice 
5. 'Keep On Rollin' 
6. Ailen Mochree 
7. One Five Eight 
8. I May Be Right I May Be Wrong 
9. Seven Lakes 



watch
Stone The Crows  " BBC Radio 1 - Live in Concert 1971-1972" 1998 UK Prog Blues Rock (bootleg)

watch…..
Stone The Crows “Stone The Crows”  1970 UK Prog  Blues Rock debut album

watch
Stone The Crows “Live Crows Montreux ‘72” 2002 UK Blues Rock (bootleg)

watch
Stone The Crows  “Radio Sessions 1969-1972″  2009 2 LP`s & 2 CD`s  UK Prog Blues Rock (bootleg)


watch
Maggie Bell “Live at The Rainbow” 1974 UK Blues Rock

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