STONE THE CROWS Stone The Crows / Ode To John Law


…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 (August 2016)

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)


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