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Thursday, 9 November 2017

Maggie Bell (with Jimmy Page) “"Suicide Sal” 1975 UK Blues Rock Classic Rock


Maggie Bell (with Jimmy Page) “"Suicide Sal” 1975 UK Blues Rock Classic Rock
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The success of Angel Air’s series of Maggie Bell reissues can be easily judged by the Scottish singer’s return to the U.K. after residing for years abroad, a planned autobiography, and her intention of touring. Although critically feted in the U.K., Bell, both solo and with her former band Stone the Crows, never quite achieved the commercial breakthrough everyone had so expected. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride, Bell’s recording career was punctuated by a sole Stone the Crows charting album. With that band’s demise in 1973, the soul singer went solo, releasing the (again) critically acclaimed Queen of the Night album, with 1975’s Suicide Sal following. A tougher, more energized set than its predecessor, Sal’s electrifying live feel reflects the incendiary stage shows Bell and her new backing band had been playing in the intervening time between recordings. The two bonus tracks, recorded at a gig later that year, capture their live ferocity. Intriguingly, the funky, fiery title track, an homage to Bell’s Aunt, a music hall star, is one of only two originals on this set. The second, the lavishly bluesy “If You Don’t Know” was penned by band keyboardist Pete Wingfield, and boasts a guesting Jimmy Page on guitar. The storming “Coming on Strong” also has a Bell connection, being co-penned by ex-Crow Colin Allen and Zoot Money. The rest of the album comprises astutely chosen covers drawn from an eclectic selection of artists. One of the standouts is “It’s Been So Long,” a powerful gospel number written by the Pretty Things’ Phil May, who not only rewrote some of the lyrics for Bell, but added his backing vocals to the song. Free’s classic “Wishing Well” gets a sensational workout, while that band’s offshoot Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu & Rabbit’s “Hold On” is taken to new emotive heights. From barrelling Beatles pop to the Sutherland Brothers poignant Gaelic ode, from ballads to hefty rock & roll, Bell struts across this set with style and such assurance, that even Aunt Sal must have been impressed. One of Britain’s greatest soul singers, showcased at her best, this magnificent album also includes an excellent, expansive biography of this crucial artist…..by Jo-Ann Greene…allmusic…


Maggie was in great voice when she made ‘Suicide Sal’ and these sessions confirm she is one rock’s most versatile artists. She pours her heart and soul into an array of ballads and belters, standards and originals. Among the highlight are a funky version of Free’s 'Wishing Well’ and The Beatles 'I Saw Him Standing There’. The album was recorded at Ringo Starr’s studios, which once belonged to John Lennon, and was produced by Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records, whose other clients included Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin. Maggie’s sessions included an appearance by guest guitarrist Jimmy Page, who solos effectively on 'If You Don’t Know’. But who was 'Suicide Sal’ Well, you’ll have to buy the CD to find out! And watch out for the two bonus-live-cuts (Angel Air)….


“Suicide Sal”(1975) was the second solo album, on Atlantic Records, to be released by white, soul /blues belter, Glasgow-born Maggie Bell, sometimes called the Scottish Janis Joplin. Bell, formerly lead singer of the well-known Scottish group “Stone the Crows,” has a voice unrivaled for its passion and power. She came from a musical family, began singing with local dance bands as a kid, and went to Germany in the late 1960’s, to sing at American military bases, where she certainly picked up a few songs for the repertory. Nevertheless, Bell generally concerns herself, in the repertory I know, at least, with women’s issues. 

The album that followed on the heels of Queen of the Night was produced by the label’s famed Jerry Wexler, as was its predecessor. Of that album, Bell says, “The funny thing about `Queen of The Night’ is that I made two previous albums for Atlantic in New York - one with Felix Papalardi of Mountain, and the other with Felix Cavaliere of the Young Rascals - which were never released.” The studio threw top-drawer talent at those pre-“Queen,” unreleased albums – Luther Vandross backed her– as it did at “Queen,” and “Suicide.” 

“Suicide” was initially recorded at Ringo Starr’s studio at Tittenhurst Park in England, which had once been John Lennon’s home: it’s where they filmed John and his wife Yoko for their long-lived anthem"Imagine.“ In continuance of the Beatles’ influence, Bell gives us a rollicking take of "I Saw Him Standing There,” by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. She says, “I used to do a great version of that on stage with Pete Wingfield. I thought it was just as good as Joe Cocker’s `With a Little Help from My Friends.’” 

Bell wrote the title song herself: she has said that Suicide Sal, a great music hall queen of the time, was an aunt. That performer was immensely popular in Scotland, and particularly in Glasgow, her home town, where everyone called her “Suicide Sal - she’s everyone’s pal.” “I Was in Chains” is a well-loved, nostalgic Scottish favorite, written by the Sutherland brothers: it comes with bagpipes. Jimmy Page of “Led Zeppelin” chipped in on “If You Don’t Know,” which was written for Bell by her one-time pianist/keyboarder Pete Wingfield. We also get the hard rocking “What You Got,” and “In My Life,” a ballad by Leo Sayer and Dave Courtney. “It’s Been So Long” rounds off the album. 

It wasn’t easy for a girl singer to break through the rock and roll barriers of the 1970’s. There weren’t many female artists around, and surely very few Scots girls singing the blues professionally. Maggie and her remarkable voice live quietly in Rotterdam, Holland these days: she’s married a Dutchman. She still sings and tours….by….Stephanie De Pue ….amazon


In 1975 MAGGIE BELL’S second solo album was released to much critical acclaim having been recorded at RINGO STARR’s Studio, Tittenhurst Park, Ascot, England 'Suicide Sal’ was a different sort of album to its 
predecessor 'Queen Of The Night’ as she had been playing live over the past year and the material had already been “road tested” and she captured on this release more of a 'rockier’ live feel. 
Fellow label mate JIMMY PAGE of Led Zeppelin even played on one of the tracks. 
The release did particularly well in Germany and USA with one reviewer Tom Nolan stating “This LP signals Maggie Bell’s arrival as the fine, powerful singer we had been touted to expect. I have a feeling people will be playing this one for years” Enough said…


“SUICIDE SAL” was a different sort of album to its predecessor “QUEEN OF THE NIGHT” as she had been playing live and the material had already been “road tested” and she captured on this release more of a “rockier” live feel. Fellow label mate JIMMY PAGE of Led Zeppelin even played on one of the tracks. Includes informative sleeve notes written by KEITH SMITH editor of Two Miles From Heaven……


Although critically feted in the U.K., Bell, both solo and with her former band Stone the Crows, never quite achieved the commercial breakthrough everyone had so expected. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride, Bell’s recording career was punctuated by a sole Stone the Crows charting album. With that band’s demise in 1973, the soul singer went solo, releasing the (again) critically acclaimed Queen of the Night album, with 1975’s Suicide Sal following. A tougher, more energized set than its predecessor, Sal’s electrifying live feel reflects the incendiary stage shows Bell and her new backing band had been playing in the intervening time between recordings. The two bonus tracks, recorded at a gig later that year, capture their live ferocity. Intriguingly, the funky, fiery title track, an homage to Bell’s Aunt, a music hall star, is one of only two originals on this set. The second, the lavishly bluesy “If You Don’t Know” was penned by band keyboardist Pete Wingfield, and boasts a guesting Jimmy Page on guitar. The storming “Coming on Strong” also has a Bell connection, being co-penned by ex-Crow Colin Allen and Zoot Money. The rest of the album comprises astutely chosen covers drawn from an eclectic selection of artists. One of the standouts is “It’s Been So Long,” a powerful gospel number written by the Pretty Things’ Phil May, who not only rewrote some of the lyrics for Bell, but added his backing vocals to the song. Free’s classic “Wishing Well” gets a sensational workout, while that band’s offshoot Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu & Rabbit’s “Hold On” is taken to new emotive heights. From barrelling Beatles pop to the Sutherland Brothers poignant Gaelic ode, from ballads to hefty rock & roll, Bell struts across this set with style and such assurance, that even Aunt Sal must have been impressed. One of Britain’s greatest soul singers, showcased at her best, this magnificent album also includes an excellent, expansive biography of this crucial artist……


Maggie Bell , born January 12, 1945 in Glasgow, earned her first spurs as a lead vocalist in the rock band Stone The Crows, founded in 1969 by her and guitarist Les Harvey . The group’s popularity quickly grew, mainly due to the great voice of her singer in Europe. Soon, Maggie Bell was traded as the British counterpart to Janis Joplin . 
When Les Harvey touched an ungrounded microphone during a sound check in the 'Swansea Top Act Ballroom’ on May 3, 1972 and died of an electric shock, Stone The Crows’ further career seemed to be over. But under Maggie’s direction, the band continued for a year before finally leaving in 1973. The loss of the lead guitarist could not be compensated in the long term. 
After intensive tours of the US under her own name and the recordings of her first solo album “Queen Of The Night” 1975 began work on the new studio production of the Scottish singer. The scene of the event was Ringo Starr ’s 'Startling Studio At Tittenhurst Park’ in Ascot. This is where “Suicide Sal” was the first solo work by Maggie Bell on English soil since the split by Stone The Crows . 
Even today, the shouter likes to remember the sessions where the whole band, along with Ringo and his wife Maureen, stayed in the studio’s twenty-six rooms: “It was a beautiful house with independent gardens There were wonderful people in the little cottages and in the hallway there were no restrictions on noise and parking. ” 
Mark London was hired for the production , and the entire song material consisted of titles that had been performed countless times on stage. Part of the party was the complete touring band of Maggie Bell , so all people who knew each other for years and were perfectly matched to each other. That gave the album a certain “live feeling”. 
“Suicide Sal” starts off with a pumping bass-driven cover version of the free classic “Wishing Well” from their 1973 album “Heartbreaker”. This song was a special need for Maggie Bell , as she has always adored Paul Rodgers as a “great rock singer” , whom she then got to know and appreciate on a tour, together with Bad Company . 
It follows the title song of the album. At the same time the only piece that Maggie Bell co-wrote. In the text she sets a worthy memorial to her aunt Charlotte Bell , called 'Suicide Sal’, who was very close to her personally. 
“I Was In Chains” deals in the text with the period of emigration, when thousands of Scots emigrated to Australia, New Zealand or Canada. Fittingly, this ballad is almost in the style of Scottish folklore recorded and sung. 
Then it gets harder and bluesier. Maggie sings “If You Do not Know” incredibly intense and full of emotion, and in the middle section, Jimmy Page contributes a guitar solo. 
“What You Got” is the hardest song of the album and goes right with his boogie rhythm. Following is my personal reference tip. Written by Leo Sayer and Dave Courtney , “In My Life” is a wonderful, quiet track that brings Maggie Bell’s voice to life . 
In the typical Stone The Crows style, Maggie rocks “Coming Strong” forward. No wonder, the song comes from the pen of the former drummer of the band, Colin Allen . 
Two more very successful cover versions follow with the contemplative “Hold On” by Simon Kirke and Paul Kossoff and the Beatles number “I Saw Him Standing There”. The album ends with the gospel “It’s Been So Long”. Written by Phil May , and first published on the Pretty Things album “Silk Torpedo”. Especially for Maggie changed the Pretty Things -Mastermind some text passages and also participated in the backing vocals. 
To sum up, “Suicide Sal” is a very beautiful and versatile album, with which Maggie Bell proves her great ability even as a solo singer. Musically, she is optimally supported. The songs are not overloaded at any time. On the contrary, the various instruments are rather sparse and used exactly to the point in order to pay tribute to this outstanding voice. 
As bonus tracks, there are two live recordings of the 1975 American tour, which show how the post office went on stage. Unfortunately, the sound quality of these two tracks is not so plump, but after all, the recordings are already over thirty years old…..Jürgen Bauerochse…


I usually do not usually listen to bands with female vocals even though there are few voices that really catch my attention. But among the ones I admire, my favorite is that of that phenomenal Scottish singer called Maggie Bell. In spite of having a well scratching timbre in the line Janis Joplin, does not sound like a clone of the same, besides of my opinion to sing with much more technique and with the same degree of feeling and power of the great “mistress” of the rock singers /blues. Apart from the albums of her also excellent band - Stone the Crows, that later I will post here in the blog, Maggie recorded two more solo career, that in case this is the second; It’s a beautiful and perfect classic / blues / rock, and if that’s not enough, to make it more special we have the participation of none other than Jimmy Page. Unmissable!


Musicians 

*Maggie Bell - Vocals 
*Brian Breeze - Guitar, Vocals 
*Hugh Burns - Guitar 
*Roy Davies - Keyboards 
*Paul Francis - Drums 
*Ray Glynn - Guitar 
*Delisle Harper - Bass 
*Jimmy Jewell - Saxophone 
*Cuddley Judd - Bagpipes 
*Mickey Keene - Guitar 
*Billy Lawrie - Bass 
*Mark London - Vocals 
*Jimmy Page - Guitar 
*Clark Terry - Guitar 
*Pete Wingfield - Keyboards


Tracklist 

Medium 1 
Wishing Well 
Suicide Sale 
I Was In Chains 
If You Don’t Know 
What You Got 
In My Life 
Comin’ On Strong 
Hold On 
I Saw Him Standing There 
It’s Been So Long 
Bonus Tracks: 
Comin On Strong (Live) 
Going Down (Live)

Discography 

With Stone The Crows (1968-1973)

Stone The Crows (1970) 
Ode To John Law (1970) 
Teenage Licks (1971) 
Ontinuous Performance (1972)
BBC Radio 1 1971/72 (1998) 
Coming On Strong (2004, also solo recordings) 
Solo two singles with Bobby Kerr as Frankie and Johnny (1966) 
Queen of the Night (1974) 
Suicide Sal (1975) 
Great Rock Sensation (1977, compilation) 
Crimes of the Heart (1988) 
Live at the Rainbow, 1974 (2002) 
Live at Boston, USA, 1975 (2002) 
Coming On Strong (2004, also with Stone The Crows) 
The River Sessions, Live in Glasgow 1993 (2004) with Ronnie Caryl 
Sound & Vision - Best of Maggie Bell (2008, compilation) 
With Midnight FlyerMidnight Flyer (1981, re-release: Angel Air SJPCD 198, 
2005) 
Live at Montreux 1981 (2007, CD/DVD) 
With The British Blues QuintetLive at the Ferry (2007) 
With Jon Lord Blues ProjectJon Lord Blues Project Live (2011) 
Singles"Hazell" - 1978 - Number 37 UK - Swan Song Records 
“After Midnight” - 1974 - Number 97 US Atlantic Records 
“Hold Me” - 1981 - B. A. Robertson and Maggie Bell - Number 11 UK - Swan 
Song Records 
Guest appearances 
It Ain’t Easy (Long John Baldry 1971) [Accompanying vocal on duet “Black 
Girl”] 
Every picture tells a story Rod Stewart, 1971 
Tommy (guest singer with The Who, London Symphony Orchestra and 
Chambre Choir) (1972) 
Banana Moon, Daevid Allen, 1971 
Brian Joseph Friel, Brian Joseph Friel, 1973 
Arrivederci Ardrossan, Brian Joseph Friel, 1975 
Hometown Girls (one track: “Street”), Denny Laine, 1985 
Les voix d'Itxassou Tony Coe, 1989 
A Tribute to Frankie Miller (one track: “Jealousy”), 2003 
Mad Dog Blues (One track: “Wishing Well”), Hamburg Blues Band, 2008 
Television appearancesTaggart (1990) as “Effie Lambie” 
Your Cheatin’ Heart (1990) as “Roxanne” 





watch…..

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


watch…..
Stone The Crows “Teenage Licks” 1971

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

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


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

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

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

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