Category Archives: Best Of
Bell’s raw emotional directness is in keeping with Janis Joplin’s. Yet even in the throes of passion, the Glasgow native retains close sight of a lyric’s narrative meaning. She really works wonders with Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee’s ‘Penicillin Blues’. The eight solo career tunes on disc two encourage full investigations of her albums ‘Queen Of The Night’ (produced by Jerry Wexler) and ‘Suicide Sal’, both Angel Air reissues.
Downbeat Magazine (November 2018)
There’s irrepressible energy to “Big Jim Salter” where Harvey’s guitar riff and Leahy’s organ roll reign supreme before psychedelic funk takes over yet, for all the electric attack the ensemble used to unleash, there’s exquisite acoustic discipline making “Blind Man” – where six-string lace and voice are laid bare – profoundly emotive…
…The country-tinctured “I Was In Chains” can be Maggie’s anthem for she never found the freedom required to carry on to stardom with STC or on her own, but whereas their legend keeps on thrilling new listeners, she’s still out there – still, belting out blues with the same vim. And these two CDs are a nice introduction to the world of those who might fly high yet didn’t have time to soar. ****
DMME.net (September 2018)
The first CD of this double compiles tracks from all four albums by Scottish blues-rockers Stone The Crows, recorded from 1970 to 1973. The playing is terrific and Maggie Bell sings strikingly although the tracks where she performs with restraint have aged the best…The second CD mostly comprises tracks from Bell’s first two solo albums, the Jerry Wexler-produced ‘Queen Of The Night’ (1974), which features musicians like Steve Gadd and Cornell Dupree, and ‘Suicide Sal’ (1975), Bell’s singing is more consistent than on the Stone The Crows material and she interprets, beautifully the likes of Mike Moran’s ‘No Mean City’ (theme from Taggart), Paul Kossoff/Simon Kirke’s ‘Hold On’, Alice Cooper’s ‘Only Women Bleed’ and Pete Wingfield’s ‘If You Don’t Know’ (on which Jimmy Page plays guitar).
RnR Magazine (September 2018)
A double disc CD package, this set is split between group and solo. The first disc cherry picks from Stone The Crows’ first four albums (lots of blues rock highlights are amongst them) and focuses upon the work completed between 1970 and 1973. The second CD is rather more targeted as it looks at Bell herself dipping into her first two solo LPs from 1974 and 1975 (arguably the more focused creations). There’s two exceptions to that neat list and its the live track from 1993, entitled Only Woman Bleed plus the track No Mean City which was used as the theme tune to TV’s drama show, Taggart. Supporting musicians including Jimmy Page, Phil May and Geoff Whitehorn.
…Bass is honed and punchy, giving the music a fast paced element while there is enough space around the soundstage to prevent any cluttering claustrophobia. That is, despite the profusion of backing singers and musicians, there’s plenty of instrumental separation to provide a relatively open and detailed presentation.
The Audiophile Man (August 2018)
Stone The Crows were – in the early 1970′s – a staple at festivals, popular on the student circuit, and managed by Led Zep’s supremo Peter Grant. Their early rise was effectively curtailed after May 1972 when their guitarist Les Harvey was electrocuted on stage in Swansea and sadly became another member of the “27 Club”.
Angel Air have done much to keep the band’s memory alive, and also highlighting their feisty singer Maggie Bell with several solo albums. The first disc showcases songs from the band’s four albums including – from the debut in 1970 – the glorious vocal pairing of Maggie Bell and Jim Dewar on two covers (a Josh White song ‘Blind Man’ and the Beatles’ ‘Fool On The Hill’)…
…The second disc highlights Maggie Bell’s solo work in the 1970s, extracted from the two albums ‘Queen Of The Night’ and ‘Suicide Sal’ expanded with the Taggart TV theme and a bonus live track.
Although Maggie semi-retired to Holland in the eighties – “with a husband and a dog” – in the last decade she has returned to Blighty and performed with several artists including long-time musical journeyman Colin Allen. She still performs regularly in Europe and the UK.
As a dip in the water for the newbie this compilation fits the bill but in truth the full albums are worthy of investment and are still available via Angel Air, with the four Stone The Crows albums housed on two double CDs. Given also that one side of the debut included the 17 minute ‘I Saw America’ and the omission here of ‘Love 74′. 4/5 Stars
Get Ready to ROCK! (August 2018)
Five of the first six tracks on CD 1 come from the band’s 1971 and 1972 albums, Teenage Licks and (the strangely named) Ontinuous. Barroom belter, ‘Good Time Girl’ and the Rolling Stonesy ‘Big Jim Salter’ are compact, smouldering packages of blues rock…The second disc is taken from Bell’s two splendid solo albums, favouring her second release, Suicide Sal, (1973). Angel Air’s first series of Bell remasters thrust her back into the spotlight, opening up her music – and her voice – to a new generation of fans. Some of the tracks here are simply timeless. The theme song to the TV Detective, Taggart, only scratched the surface. To the curious who investigated further, an undertow of incendiary, fiery performances was lying in wait, proving that Bell was not a blues, rock or soul singer, but was all of the above.
The Midlands Rocks (July 2018)
A good collection of songs that have stood up remarkably well to the tests of time, this best of set is an excellent way to discover the much underrated talent of Maggie Bell.
Sea Of Tranquility (July 2018)
Angel Air Records, a British independent label, has released ‘Best Of’, with the first album focusing on the Stone The Crows period, and the second one focusing on Maggie’s two solo experiences. In addition, ‘No Mean City’, the theme from the TV series Taggart, and the song ‘Only Women Bleed’ recorded live in Glasgow in 1993 were added. What a chance to (re) discover these wonders, such as ‘A Fool On The Hill’, a cover of The Beatles, the psychedelic ‘Ode To John Law’, and especially those moments of pure emotion that are ‘Sunset Cowboy’ and ‘The Touch Of Your Loving Hand’.
Prog Female Voices (Translated – June 2018)
Stone The Crows! – this is a super, blues explosion o hits and near misses from a lady who can certainly sing straight from the heart, and with as much soul. On her “new” release on Angel Air Records, Maggie Bell lets her hair down and so it’s a case of – let the good times roll! Across two CDs and twenty tracks…she’s been scandalously underrated and underappreciated over the years, however, I believe – looking back – history of rock will judge her far more kindly, and that proper recognition can begin with this brilliant treat of back catalogue…
Mark Watkins, Dare (June 2018)
CD 1 of this double set is devoted to Glasgow’s very talented Stone The Crows, with all tracks taken from their 4 albums recorded between 1970 and 1973…CD 2 is devoted to Maggie Bell with all tracks taken from her first 2 solo albums…
Bev Bevan, Sunday Mercury (June 2018)
…this fine 2CD set is divided equally between her exploits with Stone The Crows and later as a solo performer, including excellent covers of Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice” and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee’s “Penicillin Blues” as well as a touching tribute to the then recently departed Les Harvey in the shape of keyboardist Ronnie Leahy’s elegiac “Sunset Cowboy”.
Kevin Bryan, regional newspapers (June 2018)