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The eponymous 1970 release is a solid blues rock album that introduced the band to the world. The vocal talents of Maggie Bell and bassist Jimmy Dewar (who would later front Robin Trower’s band on albums such as the 1974 masterpiece Bridge Of Sighs) are showing, even though they are not quite at peak yet, as is Les Harvey’s guitar. John McGinnis, on the other hand, shows a more stable and inventive grip on his keyboard instruments…
The second, 1971 album sees the band honing its songcraft. The transition from the aforementioned, somewhat jam oriented “I Saw America” to more structured tunes with almost prog-rock character into them is felt from the very opening, with a detailed instrumental, proto-prog styled intro leading into the melody of “Sad Mary.” Even simpler songs like “Things Are Getting Better” (which carries a bit of a Joe Cocker influence) maintain an epic sense due to a clever buildup…
Maelstrom Zine (March 2016)
Stone The Crows, ah yes. Angel Air recently released all four albums made in the early 70′s by this truly top notch band, and we’re talking two doubles here: Stone the Crows/Ode to John Law and Teenage Links/Continuous Performance. Since when did Angel Air not give you a good deal?
It is obvious even to a clunk-head from the opening bars of first track ‘The Touch Of Your Loving Hand’ on Stone the Crows that this is one helluva hot band, what with Maggie Bell’s vocals and Leslie Harvey’s lead guitar – how can anything go wrong? La Bell is quite simply overwhelming, Glasgow’s queen of raunch and roll. They don’t make singers like that in the south. As for the tragic Mr. Harvey, he was some guitar player to boot….
…Ode to John Law kicks off with a bit of Hammond and bass. ‘Sad Mary’ was written by keyboard player John McGinnis and as well a retro feel, it features some pretty cool interplay before verging into a bit of funk. Then Maggie enters magisterially, ably supported by Les…Spiffing stuff all ’round!
Music-News (December 2015)
…the piano led, gospel-flavoured ‘The Touch Of Your Loving Hand’, on which both Bell and Dewar sing magnificently and Harvey solos exquisitely, is almost worthy of Ray Charles.
R2 Magazine (November 2015)
The double CD reissue of Stone The Crows’ self-titled 1970 album and the 1971 album Ode To John Law is a reminder of what a beautiful musician/guitarist Les Harvey was, for his playing is sensitive, fluent and imaginative throughout…material like the Harvey-Dewar composition ‘The Touch Of Your Loving Hand’ with Bell being particularly riveting on Percy Mayfield’s ‘Danger Zone’. There are four bonus tracks culled from the band’s Radio Sessions 1969-1972 album.
Blues In Britain (October 2015)
The band would survive the electrocution death of their guitarist Harvey (during a concert no less) and go on to record two more albums before calling it a day. Those albums are a story for another day, but here you have the important beginnings of one of the most underrated blues rock acts of the early 1970s.
Sea Of Tranquility (October 2015)
Originally released on Polydor in 1970, their self-titled debut has much to commend it, including the ferociously cranked ‘Raining In Your Heart’, powerful re-workings of Josh White’s ‘Blind Man’ and ‘A Fool On The Hill’, and the 17-minute epic ‘I Saw America’.
Shindig Magazine (October 2015)
Their two best songs, ‘The Touch Of Your Loving Hand’ and ‘Raining In Your Heart’ open their 1970 debut and the band’s energy sweeps all before it…
Classic Rock Magazine (October 2015)
So here we have the first two albums remastered and reissued with four bonus tracks added. We never heard these albums when they were originally released so hearing them now is a particularly eye and ear-opening experience. The band played interesting blues/rock with a progressive twist. And those trademark vocals were definitely the focal point of the music. If you wanna see/hear some interesting stuff, type in “Stone The Crows live” into YouTube and you’ll find a wealth of cool videos that show how cool this band looked and sounded in the early 1970s. Once again, the fine folks at Angel Air breath fresh new air into recordings that will entertain an entire new generation of listeners…
babysue (September 2015)
The excellent Stone The Crows were seemingly designed for rock stardom when they made their vinyl bow in 1970, but guitarist and creative mainstay Les Harvey’s untimely death in a freak on stage accident two years later effectively signalled the band’s demise too. This splendid two-CD reissue revives the first two albums that the Glaswegian blues rockers recorded before this tragic event, with vocalist Maggie Bell and Jim Dewar in fine fettle as they share the limelight with Harvey during grittily compelling ditties such as ‘Raining In Your Heart’, ‘I Saw America’ and ‘Mad Dogs And Englishmen’.
Kevin Bryan, Regional Newspapers (September 2015)
‘Stone The Crows’ was released in the beginning of 1970, and quickly impressed those who heard it. The back-and-forth of album opener ‘Touch Of Your Loving Hand’ showcased both Dewar and Bell, giving both the opportunity to show off their impressive vocal range over a stripped down accompaniment. ‘Raining In Your Heart,’ however, highlights the power of the rest of the band, most notably Les Harvey’s guitar chops…
…The band’s second album, ‘Ode To John Law’, found the band honing its rock groove. Although the material was recorded mere months after the Stone The Crows material, the band had matured quite quickly, as thee songs are tighter and tauter than what appeared on their debut. The songs are sharp, powerful, and hard-hitting, with Bell coming to the forefront as lead singer. Opening ‘Sad Mary’ throws down a powerful hard rock groove that’s met only by the title track and ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen,’ while their ballads ‘Love’ and ‘Things Are Getting Better’ are sublime, beautiful numbers.
These two albums proved that Stone The Crows was a band with a bright future. Unfortunately, fate had other ideas…
The Recoup (September 2015)
The first two albums originally released in 1970 and 1971 include The Touch Of Your Loving Hand, I Saw America, Sad Mary and Raining In Your Heart…
Bev Bevan, Sunday Mercury (August 2015)
The eponymous 1970 debut opens with ‘The Touch Of Your Loving Hand’ (also a live bonus on CD2) introducing two of the best blues-rock vocalists this country has produced: Maggie Bell and Jim Dewar. The joint approach on vocals (echoed by the band’s contemporaries Robert Palmer and Elkie Brooks in Vinegar Joe) continues on ‘Raining In Your Heart’ (included on CD2 as a bonus live track). This track cracks along at a fiery pace with some super Les Harvey guitar and John McGinnis’ keyboard interjections.
Two covers (a Josh White song ‘Blind Man’ and the Beatles’ ‘Fool On The Hill’) give Maggie Bell the chance to stretch out with bluesy accompaniment from Harvey. ‘I Saw America’ filled one side of the original LP and features a number of blues rock to jazz themes with McGinnis’ keys and Harvey’s guitar to the fore. In places, they sound like The Doors at their moody best, with Harvey’s input always tastefully economical, much like Robby Kreiger. ****
That debut album was followed up within a year by Ode To John Law which built upon their ballsy blues rock calling card. Check out the opener ‘Sad Mary’, and ‘Love’ with its insistent and infectious riff whilst Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Danger Zone’ highlights Maggie Bell’s slow blues. With Jimmy Dewar providing bass and vocals (replaced by Steve Thompson in 1972), ex-John Mayall and future-Focus Colin Allen on drums, this band was a veritable ‘supergroup’ at the time with, potentially, a great future. ****
Get Ready to ROCK! (August 2015)
A more subdued moment echoes from the speakers on ‘Things are Getting Better’ which features additional voices for a pretty vocal harmony. On the record (Ode To John Law) is almost surely their biggest hit, ‘Danger Zone’ by Curtis Mayfield. It’s still one of those songs that you do not get out of your subconscious. STC made a sublime cover, with a somewhat psychedelic atmosphere. Listen especially to the interaction between the guitar and the threatening Hammond organ. Sublime!
Keys and Chords (August 2015)
…the live bonus tracks completing the Angel Air reissue transport the listener to a smoky late night hostelry in Glasgow where the house band are performing blues like it should be.
If you are a ’70s person whose musical grounding was formulated during that decade, wherever you have arrived at today, Stone the Crows were there or thereabouts during your formative years and are worthy of another listen.
The Progressive Aspect (July 2015)
UK/Europe Tour dates 2015/6
Fri 13th November The Hamburg Blues Band Landgasthof
Langenrade Ascheberg, Germany www.ascheberg-rockt.de
Sat 14th November The Hamburg Blues Band Festung Mark Magdeburg, Germany www.festungmark.com
Fri 20th November The Hamburg Blues Band Charly´s Oldenburg, Germany www.charlys-musikkneipe.de
Sat 21st November The Hamburg Blues Band Kubik Goslar, Germany www.kubikgs.de
Fri 4th December The Hamburg Blues Band Blues Garage Hannover, Germany www.bluesgarage-hannover.de
Sat 5th December The Hamburg Blues Band Kulturwerkstatt Hamm, Germany www.kulturwerkstatt-hamm.de
Fri 11th December The Hamburg Blues Band t.b.a
Sat 12th December The Hamburg Blues Band t.b.a
Fri 18th December The Hamburg Blues Band t.b.a
Sat 19th December The Hamburg Blues Band Music Hall Worpswede, Germany http://musichall-worpswede.eu
Wed 23rd December The Hamburg Blues Band Gulfhaus Vechta, Germany www.gulfhaus.de
Wed 6th January Maggie Bell & Dave Kelly Studio Theatre The Hawth Theatre, Crawley
Fri 8th January The Hamburg Blues Band tba
Sat 9th January The Hamburg Blues Band tba Koblenz, Germany
Thu 14th January The Hamburg Blues Band tba Bonn, Germany
Fri 15th January The Hamburg Blues Band tba Bensheim, Germany
Sat 16th January The Hamburg Blues Band tba Schwerin, Germany
Fri 22nd January The Hamburg Blues Band tba
Sat 23rd January The Hamburg Blues Band tba Hamburg, Germany
Watch Linda introduce her latest album ‘The Fetch’ whilst listening to samples of tracks from the new release – available now from Angel Air Records.
‘When Your Life Is Your Own’ is included on David’s forthcoming ‘Anthology’ album, available from Angel Air Records on 4th September 2015.
The track features Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour.
Good Lord, talk about a long break between albums! It was way back in 1971 when Linda Hoyle released her debut, PIECE OF ME. Previously, she’d been in a band called Affinity. Now, 45 years later, we get THE FETCH, which is a reasonably…well, fetching collection of emotive, adult tunes about life and love and yearning.
There’s a drowsy, late-night feel to tunes like “Cut and Run” and “Confessional” that can make you drift off to sleep if you’re just kinda lying around listening. The bass is a bit jazzy and the guitars somewhere between proggy and ambient; all instruments serve Hoyle’s mature voice, which has a warmth and sincerity to it that can pull you in if you are relaxed enough.
At the same time, it’s not really that GRABBY, and Hoyle serves up a sound and aesthetic here that seem to come from a time now forgotten. I guess that is actually the case, and things FORGOTTEN are part of the subject matter here. “I sat beside a suicide whose love I sadly lost/Led a milkman’s horse to water as we slipped across the frost/Spent my youth researching meaning that was cheap at twice the cost” Hoyle sings in “Confessional,” as a litany of various memories floats by lyrically. It’s the sound of a woman who knows she has seen a lot of years, and yet is still moved by things.
….she is able to touch the spirit with her sentiments and her clear emotional delivery. THE FETCH is one woman’s personal update of a life she’s known, many years after the events happened. It’s nostalgic, wise, and melancholy, and unerringly human in an era where cheap gimmicks and flashy technology tend to draw the most attention.
Zachary Mule (February 2016)
Albums like this one are few and far between, and it’s true when you have class, talent and soul like Linda Hoyle has, it will always manifest itself in albums as great as this one.
Classic Rock Society (November/December 2015)
With the tenor of a British Janis Joplin Linda’s voice has aged considerably. But her unique bluesy sound doesn’t change. The music has the feel of a British style AOR and the performance by the talented musicians is likeable. I don’t want you to expect the phantom of Affinity, I want you to judge this as the good work of a veteran female singer.
Tachikawa Yoshio (October 2015)
Since the 1971 release of the masterpiece Piece of Me, 44 years later a second solo album is realised. Mo Foster, leader at the time, is taking part. The artwork is Roger Dean and expectation is high. Ray Russell, Katie Husband etc, in the back the legends are active. Organic feeling of floating and beautiful transparency support every track…the expressiveness of the mixture of folk and jazz is amazing.
Itou Masanori (October 2015)
Demanding your full attention, Hoyle’s voice is the star of the show, having lost none of its unique mix of power and delicacy. It’s your guide through 12 tracks of jazzy folk, with melancholy, nostalgic lyrics and notable influences from The Great American Songbook (‘It’s The World’).
Shindig Magazine (October 2015)
On the last track “Acknowledgements” Hoyle lists the artists she has worked with and has been influenced by in a very beautiful tribute . A very classy move by Hoyle. For softer and gentler fare with lovely vocals, The Fetch is in a word sublime. It does not get much classier than this.
Sea Of Tranquility (September 2015)
…Always cozy jazz on ‘Brighton Pier’ which features the cello and a light saxophone. The sound palette is further enriched on ‘It’s A World’ with violin, mandolin and accordion, voice and intoxicating beauty. Distinguished guest BJ Cole (ex-Cochise) provides pedal steel guitar illuminating ‘Snowy Night’…the track ‘Earth and Stars’ is loosely based on Dido’s Lament PURCELL, and frankly we are in a state of grace by so much beauty. The album ends with the beautiful ‘Acknowledgments’, including church organ, piano, acoustic guitar, and is almost religious, with a choir.
Highlands Magazine (September 2015)
This is a surprising return, and a triumphant one. The album has genuine depths in the songwriting and production, whilst Hoyle’s singing is timewarped from the ’70s in an astonishing resurrection of talent. Closer ‘Acknowledgements’ is a hoot, by the way: a hymnal litany of other singers/performers as influence, and acknowledgement of such.
Some Diurnal Aural Awe Blog (September 2015)
…it is a waste of time to judge songs that are better than others in this album because the general level is so high and the arrangements superfine. They are all compositions that, as Hoyle notes, are new – not accumulated over these 44 years of silence…The Fetch is a disk from other times, composed by an extraordinary artist and singer that we no longer find. We continue to wait eagerly for other amazing adventures of the English lady. Long live Linda Hoyle.
Distorsioni (September 2015)
Joining Linda on this album are Mo Foster, Oliver Whitehead, Corrina Silvester, Ray Russell, Gary Husband, and Nick Nicholas. These intricate complex songs feature exceedingly perfect arrangements, super intelligent lyrics, and some truly superb lead vocals. The Fetch seems to exist in that perfect arena where the past meets the present. Twelve cool moody reflective cuts including “The Fetch,” “It’s The World,” “So Simple,” and “Earth and Stars.”
babysue (August 2015)
The Fetch is a highly enjoyable album that defies easy categorisation – Linda would not have it any other way! – and one that any lover of ‘the song’ in all its forms will enjoy, a must for those of us who remember, even at some years remove via the arcane delights of record collecting, the belting jazz rock of Affinity and Linda’s more eclectic 1970 solo album Pieces Of Me.
Linda, having rediscovered her muse, is eager to make more music, and with the tantalising prospect of UK gigs in the hopefully not too distant future, things are looking good for Linda Hoyle, and I for one will be following this late blooming with anticipation.
The Progressive Aspect (August 2015)
The drift may get spiritual as it does in ‘Snowy Night’ when BJ Cole’s steel kisses Linda’s silvery vocals and in the celestial soundscape of ‘Earth And Stars’ that’s based on a Henry Purcell melody, but the singer never veers too much away from jazz, an integral part of her artistic manner. So, although the graceful hope of ‘It’s The World’ is covered with a fiddle-embroidered patina, a brassy uplift wraps the deceptively introspective, if full of funny moments, ‘Confessional’ – rendered nocturnal thanks to Gary Husband’s gentle shots and splashes and Ray Russell’s strum.
The jolly ‘So Simple’ takes the motion further, though, its joie de vivre defying time, as if there was no gap in Hoyle’s career. Yet she’s an art therapist nowadays so she knows the secret of the ‘assembly required’ method: it’s not about putting things together but about gathering kindred souls for a common purpose. And if this goal was to fetch such a gem, it was worth the wait. ****1/2
DMME.net (August 2015)
Visionary lyrics and a voice that drips expression are never far from view, and The Fetch lines up among this year’s most unexpected comebacks, as well as one of its most welcome.
Goldmine Magazine (July 2015)
Linda proves to us that she certainly has not finished singing because a disc like this can only be created by talented musicians, and each of them has contributed in a glorious way.
Keys and Chords (July 2015)
Hoyle’s impeccable craft and vocal style sound a bit precious against a shifting musical background that scans English folk, fusion, and a bit of prog rock to match the motif of her album cover art.
EL Magazine (July 2015)
There are comic interludes embedded between the full-length songs, and these are successful in spicing things up or in delivering some shorter punches, at times in offbeat musical styles (check out “People”). In a way, this feels like a take on the classic The Who 1967 album The Who Sell Out.
Surprisingly, Deckchair Poets still sounds fresh and energized on this second release despite sticking to the same formula that was used on the first album.
Maelstrom Zine (March 2016)
If you want a break from the heavy albums in your rotation and need something a little lighter to forget about your troubles, look no further than the Deckchair Poets. They just might put a smile on your face.
Sea Of Tranquility (September 2015)
The mood gets sweetly nervous in the funky ‘We’re All Chasing Peter Pan’ whose tight groove hangs on a tasty riff, yet there’s panache in the rockabilly of ‘Bad Is Bad’ wherein Lynden Williams’ voice stages a sway before Geoff Downes slings his piano and then Hammond into boogie. The real action plays out in the lyrics, though, the simmering AOR of ‘Jerk’ wrapping grotesque imagery over its seriousness, and if ‘Quick Joey Small’ glistens with a glitterball kind of fun, the riffs under ‘Everybody Wants To Live In America’ sharpen the piece’s satirical stance and add a bluesy punch to its soulful social swirl.
DMME.net (September 2015)
‘The inspiration behind this album is life in general, the fun side and the serious side.’ Lynden Williams
Fireworks Magazine (Sep/Oct 2015)
‘Jerk’ surely is an anthem penned for all you vegetarians out there: ‘Before we were kippers we swam in the sea / before we were pork chops we lived in Dundee…’ Brilliant, fun, sad, thoughtful and you know that when you jerk you’re still alive. All executed not in an abattoir but in the recording studio – and the result is an upbeat pop song despite the controversial topic. In fact, the band seems to like ‘Tarts’.
Another hooter (no pun intended) is ‘Silicon Boobs’ – no need to get into the self-explanatory title except that the number (anti-plastic surgery as the message is) cracks with fun and is played in a fast-paced folky Skiffle style (sans washboard).
To sum up the meaninglessness of life and of our pathetic existence, the listener is treated to closing track ‘Just Life’ – a wonderful harmonious number that belies the underlying darker message of the lyrics. And it ends abruptly, just like real life!
Music-News (August 2015)
The liner notes from Lynden Williams state that this album is ‘riddled with seaside rock’ and that is a very good description. This is without a doubt, a fun summer album full of enjoyable melodies and optimistic and humorous lyrics. There is really nothing prog about Searching for a Lemon Squeezer. That said, if you are looking for entertaining pop music that includes performances by prominent prog musicians, then this is definitely the album for you.
Dutch Progressive Rock Page (August 2015)
At times, the rock presentation is innocent and rather naive in terms of its delivery, sometimes reminding me of some of the rocking glam acts of the 70s. You know the sort of thing, lots of wide-eyed lyrics, hand claps, reverb-laden vocals in the likes of the track, Quick Joey Small. Then there’s quirky moments from the likes of The Bus Goes On and We Like Tarts that reveals an album infused with humour and, shock horror, social commentary from the unlikely named title, Silicon Boobs.
Paul Rigby (The Audiophile Man) (July 2015)
Angel Air’s latest anthology showcases a fascinating selection of unpolished demo recordings from the prog-rock keyboards ace, including some pieces which would go on to grace future Greenslade and Colosseum albums and others which have never seen the light of day until today.
Kevin Bryan, Regional Newspapers (October 2015)
Fans of Greenslade and Colosseum will find this interesting and for the uninitiated, there’s certainly enough here to encourage further exploration of the works of Mr. Greenslade and his friends.
Classic Rock Society (September/October 2015)
My favourite track is the more progressive sounding instrumental “Koblenz” which benefits from Dick Heckstall-Smith’s saxophone and an enjoyable symphonic arrangement that at times has a Parson’s feel. The moody blues of “Blues In The Night” is also enjoyable highlighted by Greenslade’s stellar keyboard work. The title track is another winner with its uplifting orchestrations and feel good sound.
Sea Of Tranquility (September 2015)
First a bit of history for those who don’t know. Dave Greenslade is a keyboard player who was a founder member of the band Colosseum, and he had his own eponymous band that was mainly active in the 70s. These original tracks, written between 1979 and the mid-90s have never been released before, and feature his own vocals as well as him playing all the instruments (bar tenor sax played by the late Colosseum member Dick Heckstall-Smith). I have been a Dave Greenslade fan since the early 1970s when, for my third ever gig, saw the superb Greenslade live at Birmingham’s Town Hall. From then on I was a fan for life.
Dutch Progressive Rock Page (August 2015)
These are one man recordings featuring Dave on all instruments and vocals. Nine well-conceived songs that have that nice cool feel of music that was probably made without the confines and restraints of a clock ticking away in the background. A pleasant musical universe where progressive rock meets mature adult pop. An interesting look behind the scenes.
babysue (July 2015)
This intriguing collection is made up of nine preliminary studio recordings, some of which would later emerge as the basis for pieces used in particular Dave Greenslade roles – whether he was composing and playing keyboards as part of the jazz-rock ensemble Colosseum, masterminding the prog band Greenslade or putting out solo albums released simply under his own name. It’s a rare chance to peep behind the curtain at a combination of fulfilled ideas and works-in-progress.
The Beat magazine (July 2015)
Still, ‘Koblenz’ didn’t need words to be touching, although they color its final result, COLOSSEUM’s ‘I Could Tell You Tales’, as Dick Heckstall-Smith’s sax solo does most expressive talking on the original recording, one harking back to Greenslade’s other band’s oeuvre without sounding dated…Such a charting of Dave’s back story requires much more investigation, and possibly a box-set treatment, and it is time indeed to reassess his contribution to popular music.
DMME.net (July 2015)
The album has a ‘summer music’ feel, mostly calm, gentle, melodic, as if moved by a gentle breeze – just beautiful. Occasionally, for example, if at the only time on the CD, another musician may contribute something, it will become gently jazzy. A CD, which should be given on prescription in these times of stress.
musikansich.de (June 2015)
Iron Foot Jack (aka Mike Read) ‘Killing Soho’ (RAJP920) released on 17th July 2015 from Angel Air Records and available from iTunes, Amazon and other digital platforms.
About the track:
Back in 2014 SAVE SOHO was created to articulate the concern for the future of Soho, London’s historic role as a national platform for the performing arts as well as recognizing the rich and valuable musical heritage that Soho has provided to the world since the 50’s.
MIKE READ has produced a killer track that will resonate with music fans and all of Mike’s profits from the single will be donated to House Of St Barnabas, Soho who provide support for homeless people and gets them back to work.
Check out the promo video for David Courtney’s new album ‘Anthology’, available from Angel Air Records on 4th September 2015.
The Contrast’s lyric video for “We Are The Monsters” which features on their album “A Sinister Flick” (SJPCD434) available from Angel Air.
STEVEN VAN ZANDT (Little Steven) “One of the best bands on the planet – and England too”