Stone the Crows

The BBC Sessions, Vol. 1: 1969-1970

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Stone the Crows, fronted by the absolutely dynamite Maggie Bell (remember the female voice in Rod Stewart's "Every Picture Tells a Story"?), were a band that never scored an audience in America, though they should have. They were a relatively established act in England, where their heavy brand of psychedelic blues-rock went over big in clubs and with crowds. These nine cuts on the Strange Fruit label represent Stone the Crows doing what they did best -- playing live (albeit in a radio studio). Les Harvey was a monster guitarist who had heard Jimi Hendrix and took in his sense of feeling and time in digging into the blues and rock, rather than trying just to ape his method. The 13-minute version of Bob Dylan's "The Ballad of Hollis Brown" is a testament to that. There is also a fantastic workout of Bell's "Freedom Road" here. James Dewar, who left later to become the Robin Trower Band's vocalist, is represented here by two of his originals, "Friend" and "Raining in Your Heart." This first volume of these recordings is indispensable to anyone looking at the hard rocking British heavy blues of the late '60s and early '70s.

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