Maggie Bell – Suicide Sal (1975)

FrontCover1The success of Angel Air’s series of Maggie Bell reissues can be easily judged by the Scottish singer’s return to the U.K. after residing for years abroad, a planned autobiography, and her intention of touring. Although critically feted in the U.K., Bell, both solo and with her former band Stone the Crows, never quite achieved the commercial breakthrough everyone had so expected. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride, Bell’s recording career was punctuated by a sole Stone the Crows charting album. With that band’s demise in 1973, the soul singer went solo, releasing the (again) critically acclaimed Queen of the Night album, with 1975’s Suicide Sal following. A tougher, more energized set than its predecessor, Sal’s electrifying live feel reflects the incendiary stage shows Bell and her new backing band had been playing in the intervening time between recordings. The two bonus tracks, recorded at a gig later that year, capture their live ferocity. Intriguingly, the funky, fiery title track, an homage to Bell’s Aunt, a music hall star, is one of only two originals on this set. The second, the lavishly bluesy “If You Don’t Know” was penned by band keyboardist Pete Wingfield, and boasts a guesting Jimmy Page on guitar. The storming “Coming on Strong” also has a Bell connection, being co-penned by ex-Crow Colin Allen and Zoot Money.

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The rest of the album comprises astutely chosen covers drawn from an eclectic selection of artists. One of the standouts is “It’s Been So Long,” a powerful gospel number written by the Pretty Things’ Phil May, who not only rewrote some of the lyrics for Bell, but added his backing vocals to the song. Free’s classic “Wishing Well” gets a sensational workout, while that band’s offshoot Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu & Rabbit’s “Hold On” is taken to new emotive heights. From barrelling Beatles pop to the Sutherland Brothers poignant Gaelic ode, from ballads to hefty rock & roll, Bell struts across this set with style and such assurance, that even Aunt Sal must have been impressed. One of Britain’s greatest soul singers, showcased at her best, this magnificent album also includes an excellent, expansive biography of this crucial artist. (by Jo-Ann Greene)

MaggieBell02
Maggie Bell (born 12 January 1945, Maryhill, Glasgow, Scotland) is a Scottish rock and blues-rock singer. Vocally regarded by some as Britain’s answer to Janis Joplin.

From a musical family, she sang from her teenage years, leaving school at the age of fifteen, to work as a window dresser by day and singer at night. Bell was introduced to Leslie Harvey, by his older brother Alex, after getting up on stage to sing with him (Alex). Leslie Harvey was, at that time, a guitarist with the Kinning Park Ramblers. Bell joined the group as one of the vocalists. After the band split up, Bell moved to the Mecca Band at the Sauchiehall Street Locarno, and later to the Dennistoun Palais Band.

She then rejoined Harvey, forming a group, initially known as Power, eventually travelling to Germany to sing on United States Air Force bases in the mid 1960s. Peter Grant, who was managing The Yardbirds at the time, spotted Power playing at one of these bases, and agreed to produce and manage them, impressed by the vocal ability of Bell and the guitar playing of Harvey. Power was renamed as Stone the Crows, an expression used by Grant upon hearing this band.

This group lasted until 1973, finding that Harvey’s death from accidental electrocution, on 2 May 1972, took too much out of the group for them to continue. The live chemistry between Bell and Harvey was missing. Peter Grant remained as Bell’s manager after the split, and organised her first solo album, Queen of the Night, which was recorded in New York with record producer Jerry Wexler.

MaggieBell03

Although critically feted in the U.K., Maggie Bell never quite achieved the commercial breakthrough everyone had so expected — always a bridesmaid, never a bride.

Her second album, 1975’s Suicide Sal is tougher, more energized set than its predecessor. Sal’s electrifying live feel reflects the incendiary stage shows Bell and her new backing band had been playing in the intervening time between recordings.

The two bonus tracks, recorded at a gig later that year, capture their live ferocity. Intriguingly, the funky, fiery title track, an homage to Bell’s Aunt, a music hall star, is one of only two originals on this set. The second, the lavishly bluesy “If You Don’t Know” was penned by band keyboardist Pete Wingfield, and boasts a guesting Jimmy Page on guitar. The storming “Coming on Strong” also has a Bell connection, being co-penned by ex-Crow Colin Allen and Zoot Money.

MaggieBell04

The rest of the album comprises astutely chosen covers drawn from an eclectic selection of artists. One of the standouts is “It’s Been So Long”, a powerful gospel number written by the Pretty Things’ Brian May, who not only rewrote some of the lyrics for Bell, but added his backing vocals to the song. Free’s classic “Wishing Well” gets a sensational workout, while that band’s offshoot Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu & Rabbit’s “Hold On” is taken to new emotive heights. From barrelling Beatles pop to the Sutherland Brothers poignant Gaelic ode, from ballads to hefty rock & roll, Bell struts across this set with style and such assurance, that even Aunt Sal must have been impressed.

One of Britain’s greatest soul rock singers is showcased at her best with this magnificent album. (by Chris goes Rock)

In other words: The best solo-album that Maggie Bell ever recorded !!!

Single

Personnel:
Maggie Bell (vocals)
Brian Breeze (guitar)
Paul Francis (drums)
Delisle Harper (bass)
Peter Wingfield (keyboards)
+
Hugh Burns (guitar on 06. + 10.)
Roy Davies (keyboards on 06. + 08.)
Ray Glynn (guitar on 02. + 05.)
Jimmy Jewell (saxophone on 10.)
Cuddley Judd (bagpipes on 03.)
Mickey Keene (guitar on 01.,03. + 09.)
Jimmy Page (guitar on 04. + 07.)
Clark Terry (guitar on 02. + 04.)
+
background vocals:
Bill Laurie – Brian Breeze – Mark London

BackCover1

Tracklist:
01. Wishing Well (Bundrick/Kossoff/Rodgers/Kirke/Yamauchi) 3.33
02. Suicide Sal (Trengrove/Bell/London/Clifford/Wingfield) 3.44
03. I Was In Chains (Sutherland) 3.03
04. If You Don’t Know (Wingfield) 3.54
05. What You Got (Armstrong) 2.55
06. In My Life (Courtney/Sayer) 3.10
07. Comin’ On Strong (Allen/Money) 4.07
08. Hold On (Kossoff/Kirke) 4.49
09. I Saw Him Standing There (Lennon/McCartney) 4.18
10. It’s Been So Long (May) 4.40
+
11. Coming On Strong (live) (Allen/Money) 5.54
12. Going Down (live) (Nix) 5.14

LabelB1

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Maggie Bell & Midnight Flyer – Live Montreux July 1981 (2007)

FrontCover1For Midnight Flyer, 1980 dawned bright. They recorded their superb self-titled debut album and then embarked on a European tour, opening for Bob Seger. Even the departure of keyboardist John Cook after the band left the studio hadn’t slowed Midnight Flyer down. Chris Parren, the perfect replacement, was swiftly enlisted and took to the stage. As 1981 began, Flyer flew back to Europe to support AC/DC, and their album arrived in February while the band bounded back and forth across the Channel, now headlining their own shows. In the autumn, they reunited with the down under bad boys, opening for their U.S. tour. However, the highlight of the busy year came in mid-summer, as Flyer climbed onto the Montreux festival stage and ripped through one of the best shows of their all-too-brief career. Live Montreux July 1981 features the bulk of their show that day, as the band rips through its set, then is joined for two numbers by blues legend Taj Mahal and by the Telecaster master Albert Collins for a further pair. The album kicks off with a rampaging “Hey Boy,” one of five songs from their studio album the band performed, the highlight arguably being their glorious take on “Rough Trade.”

MaggieBellLive

Parren is on fire throughout the show, one-upping Ant Glynne at every conceivably turn, with the good-natured guitarist tossing flaming licks and riffs straight back at the keyboardist. The pair’s dueling was a show in itself, anchored by Dave Dowle and Tony Stevens’ solid rhythms, but Maggie Bell wasn’t giving up the spotlight without a fight, demanding and getting the audience’s nearly undivided attention with a performance determined to bring down the house — which it did.

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By the time the band swung into an electrifying take of “Penicillin Blues,” a song Bell had been covering since her Stone the Crows days, the crowd was on its feet and shouting along. Taj Mahal joins Bell for showstopping versions of “Bring It on Home to Me” and “Chain Gang,” with the album ending with a smoldering “Stormy Monday Blues,” the bandmembers almost awestruck by Collins’ stunning guitar skills, but quickly regaining their composure. It was a phenomenal show, the sound quality exceptional, and the band at its very, very best. Unforgettable. (Jo-Ann Greene)

Booklet04A

Personnel:
Maggie Bell (vocals)
Dave Dowle (drums)
Ant Glynne (guitar)
Chris Parren (keyboards)
Tony Stevens (bass)
+
Albert Collins (guitar, vocals on 12. + 13.)
Taj Mahal (guitar, vocals on 10.)

Booklet05A

Tracklist:
01. Hey Boy (Stevens) 3.36
02 Danger Money (Dowle) 5.37
03 Love Games (Dowle) 4.42
04. Sweet Lovin’ Woman (Dowle/Glynne) 5.55
05. Poor Little Jimmy (Dowle/Glynne) 3.40
06 Rough Trade (Bell/Cook) 4.10
07 French Kisses (Dowle) 4.28
08 Too Much Love (Dowle/Glynne) 6.05
09 Penicillin Blues (Terry/McGhee) 3.04
10. Bring It On Home To Me (Cooke) 6.10
11. Chain Gang (Cooke) 5.17
12. Blues Jam (Collins/Glynne/Stevens/Dowle/Parren) 11.36
13 Stormy Monday Blues (Walker) 6.10

CD
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Maggie Bell & Midnight Flyer – Live Montreux July 1981 (2007)

FrontCover1
For Midnight Flyer, 1980 dawned bright. They recorded their superb self-titled debut album and then embarked on a European tour, opening for Bob Seger. Even the departure of keyboardist John Cook after the band left the studio hadn’t slowed Midnight Flyer down. Chris Parren, the perfect replacement, was swiftly enlisted and took to the stage. As 1981 began, Flyer flew back to Europe to support AC/DC, and their album arrived in February while the band bounded back and forth across the Channel, now headlining their own shows. In the autumn, they reunited with the down under bad boys, opening for their U.S. tour. However, the highlight of the busy year came in mid-summer, as Flyer climbed onto the Montreux festival stage and ripped through one of the best shows of their all-too-brief career. Live Montreux July 1981 features the bulk of their show that day, as the band rips through its set, then is joined for two numbers by blues legend Taj Mahal and by the Telecaster master Albert Collins for a further pair.

Live01The album kicks off with a rampaging “Hey Boy,” one of five songs from their studio album the band performed, the highlight arguably being their glorious take on “Rough Trade.” Parren is on fire throughout the show, one-upping Ant Glynne at every conceivably turn, with the good-natured guitarist tossing flaming licks and riffs straight back at the keyboardist. The pair’s dueling was a show in itself, anchored by Dave Dowle and Tony Stevens’ solid rhythms, but Maggie Bell wasn’t giving up the spotlight without a fight, demanding and getting the audience’s nearly undivided attention with a performance determined to bring down the house — which it did. By the time the band swung into an electrifying take of “Penicillin Blues,” a song Bell had been covering since her Stone the Crows days, the crowd was on its feet and shouting along. Taj Mahal joins Bell for showstopping versions of “Bring It on Home to Me” and “Chain Gang,” with the album ending with a smoldering “Stormy Monday Blues,” the bandmembers almost awestruck by Collins’ stunning guitar skills, but quickly regaining their composure. It was a phenomenal show, the sound quality exceptional, and the band at its very, very best. Unforgettable. (by Jo-Ann Greene)

Booklet05APersonnel:
Maggie Bell (vocals)
Dave Dowle (drums)
Ant Glynne (guitar)
Chris Parren (keyboards)
Tony Stevens (bass)
+
Albert Collins (guitar, vocals on 12. + 13.)
Taj Mahal (guitar, vocals on 10. + 11.)

Booklet06ATracklist:
01. Hey Boy (Stevens) 3.37
02. Danger Money (Dowle) 5.37
03. Love Games (Dowle)  4.42
04. Sweet Lovin’ Woman (Dowle/Glynne) 5.55
05. Poor Little Jimmy (Dowle/Glynne) 3.40
06. Rough Trade (Bell/Cook) 4.10
07. French Kisses (Dowle) 4.28
08. Too Much Love (Dowle/Glynne) 6.05
09. Penicillin Blues (Terry/McGhee) 3.04
10. Bring It On Home To Me (Cooke) 5.00
11. Chain Gang (Cooke) 5.17
12. Blues Jam (Collins/Dowle/Glynne/Parren/Stevens) 11.36
13. Stormy Monday Blues (Walker) 6.10

CD1* (coming soon)
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