Category Archives: STONE THE CROWS
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)
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)
Two different STC line-ups and each with their own air of authority, creativity and of course, soul. Disc 1 has the formidable vocal pairing of Maggie Bell and the late great Jimmy Dewar, next to be vocalist in Robin Trower’s trio…Stone The Crows were fabulous live, as I can attest. Very powerful and bluesy, yet up with the nascent prog rockers for musical skill and adventure…The last three tracks on CD2 include both new bassist Steve Thompson and guitar man Jimmy McCullough-probably eating his last bacon sandwiches before joining Wings’ strict regime?
Blues Matters (October 2015)
For gutsy blues music you’ll need to go a long way to hear someone better than Stone The Crows
Martin Hutchinson, The Bolton News (May 2009)
…these 19 tracks come together as the fullest collection spanning the whole of the Glaswegian finest’s existence and presenting each of their line-ups. *****
www.dmme.net (June 2009)
This 2 CD set brings together all the band’s radio sessions from different shows…
Classic Rock Society (June 2009)
There isn’t one ounce of filler to be found anywhere on these two discs…
Ryan Sparks, Classic Rock Revisted (June 2009)
This 2 CD collection contains a number of radio sessions throughout the band’s career, with disc 1 covering 1969-’70 and disc 2 1971- ’72. As you would expect from a collection like this, there are a couple of tracks that are repeated but this takes nothing away from the quality of the performances.
The CD’s accompanying booklet contains comprehensive notes from the band’s drummer Colin Allen. ****/5
Nikk Gunns, www.getreadytorock.com (June 2009)
…brings together all the extant radio sessions…Fine performances of songs such as ‘Penicillin Blues’, ‘On the Highway’ and ‘Raining In Your Heart’ are given an airing alongside a typically muscular cover of Dylan’s ‘Ballad Of Hollis Brown’.
Kevin Bryan, Stirling Advertiser (July 2009)
The first CD and the first tracks on the second are the prime exhibits here, featuring the band’s original lineup.
www.maelstrom.nu (October 2009)
A great blues/rock/soul outfit denied their rightful share of acclaim by events, for me there are echoes of Badfinger and their own tragic history. At least we can enjoy what both ensembles achieved.
Blues Matters (October 2015)
Montreux Festival has always been a place for many a great performance, and this one is no exclusion, having caught this magnificient British quintet at their deliciously rawest. Nobody knew then that by May Leslie Harvey, whose thick guitar slices drive this concert on, would be gone for ever. If not for the fatal electrocution, he may well have turned into a player of much large calibre. Harvey’s mastery of the instrument shines in “Love”, the band opting for the set comprised of material from the “Ode To John Law” album, more familiar to the audience than songs from the current “Teenage Licks”.
www.dmme.net (July 2008)
They’re firing on all cylinders, and play with lots of light and shade…
Alan Egerton, Classic Rock Society (August 2008)
Formed in Glasgow in 1969 Stone The Crows were fronted by Maggie Bell, playing blues rock they were mentored by Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant and released 4 albums before splitting up in 1972.
This live CD/DVD set features 2 gigs- the first recorded in Montreux in 1972 and featuring guitarist Leslie Harvey who was electrocuted during a sound check just weeks later. The 5 songs here weighing in at a shade under an hour, these include ‘Friends’, ‘Penicillin Blues’ and the Bob Dylan penned ‘Hollis Brown’.
The DVD comes from 1973 and was recorded for Germanys Beat Workshop, tracks here include ‘Going Down’, ‘Sunset Cowboy’ and ‘Good Time Girl’.
Extras on the DVD include interviews with band members Maggie Bell and Colin Allen, and a history of the band. ***
Nikk Gunns, www.getreadytorock.com (August 2008)
Audio surprisingly for 30+ years old material is good…
Amplifier, Issue 99
…a taste of the clatter and intensity of the Glaswegian combo in full flight…a characteristically smouldering blend of blues-fuelled rocking…
Steve Caseman, RocknReel (October 2008)
This live recording, taken from the personal archives of vocalist Maggie Bell, catches Stone the Crows at the height of their powers…This phenomenal band were one of the best British Blues Rock groups of the era and this wonderful live recording captures them in all their glory and is an indispensable piece of Rock history…
Steve Ward, Classic Rock Society (June 2002)
…the vibe that emanates from these brain-scorching fifty-plus minutes provides enough joy for any fan of mind-expanding, psychedelic blues-rock fever.
Jeff Monk, Mohair Sweets (June 2002)
…the protracted playing time was another sign of the times back then. No band worth their bell bottoms would bring in a number under six minutes long…It takes some staying power to see this all the way through but it’s worth the effort.
Tony Shevlin, East Anglian Daily Times (July 27 2002)
Progressive Rock rules OK, well it did back when this album came out and this is a shining example of the art…I have to say this is an exceptional piece of work, a lot of it sounds like jamming, especially on the twenty-one minute cover of Bob Dylan’s Hollis Brown. Leslie (Harvey) was a master of what he did and was a sad loss, but I am elated that this album has finally seeen the light of day, it’s outstanding.
Modern Dance, Issue 43 (January 2003)
Crows fans will clamour for this set…Thank you Angel Air for uncovering this gem.
Blues Matters (May 2003)
It’s an excellent watch. Mostly for the guitar work, it has to be said, and presents a rare look at a guy who would go on to help create many of the classic songs in the catalogue of Paul McCartney’s Wings and both of the comeback albums by the Small Faces in the mid-70s.
Jukebox (January 2007)
Classic, in every sense
Joe Geesin www.getreadytorock.com (January 2007)
Despite the vintage, sound and picture quality is excellent on this studio recorded set…What appear to be very contemporary interviews with Maggie Bell and Colin Allen add value…All things considered, as good a DVD debut as any of their fans could have hoped for.
Music Week (January 2007)
Maggie Bell was one terrific, bluesy rock singer and this concert captures her and the band at their peak in a 1973 German performance… Bonus material here are interviews with Bell and drummer Colin Allen, who joined the Crows after being in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. There also is a history of the band by Rich Wilson.
Clint Weiler (February 2007)
…a 13 song DVD that captures Bell and her Midnight Flyer band – bassist Tony Stevens, guitarist Ant Glynne, drummer Dave Dowle and keyboard player Chris Farren – at their dramatic peak.
… a decade on from her emergence aboard Stone The Crows (also the subject of an excellent Angel Air DVD), Bell remained one of British blues’ most scintillating performers.
Jo-Ann Greene, Goldmine (June 2007)