Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Stray Dog - Fasten Your Seat Belts (1973 us, weighty hard rock with psych and blues touches)


Stray Dog started their journey in 1968 (under the name Aphrodite) Originally formed in Texas from there they moved to Denver, Colorado, they became very popular with the audience's in Denver, playing a southern blues-rock style and giggin' in the midwest led by veteran vocalist/guitarist William Garrett "Snuffy" Waldren, bassist/vocalist Alan Roberts and Randy Reeder on drums for five years.

While playing in a Denver club in 1973, Emerson, Lake and Palmer were also playing in town and so the story goes Greg Lake(or his manager)  Neville Chesters walked in the club and saw the band playing and signed them to ELP's newly formed label, Manticore. The deal was signed and part of the contract was that the band fly over to the U.K. as soon as possible and start recording. Drummer Randy Reeder stayed behind and was replaced by Lee Sampson who played with the proto-metal power trio, Noel Redding's Road.

Stray Dog's self-titled album was cut in a few short weeks in 1973 with Greg Lake producing the album as it was basically ignored by fans and critics called it mindless heavy metal. The band went on tour with ELP in Europe and the U.S. Thick, well oiled blues rock with a metallic groovey glam rock sheen with the Texas swagger of boogie similar to that of Bedlam, Tucky Buzzard and hard sonic sound of Neil Merryweather's Space Rangers. Proto- awesomeness!

There are some very bright spots here - ''Tramp'' has a wicked bass part non-stop thorughout and the drummer clearly could have played in most prog-bands of the time - but it is primarilly power-trio rock (bass, guitar, drums) built off a blues root. This song will rock your socks off and definately feels longer than 5:32.

''You Know'' suffers from a muddy recording but is essentially a continuation of power trio rock - with the constant movement in the bass line reminding me of the kind of stuff Thin Lizzy was up to on Bad Reputation.

"The Journey" is closest to what you may call proggy as it is more then 10 minutes long and goes through a number of changes musically speaking. The song is filled with instrumental hightlights - this band could really rock. For the most part - a song by song listing will continue to say the same thing - recording muddy, power trio rock - excellent [pick one or more: /bass/guitar/drums] part.

"Drive My Car" - the one by the Beatles! no less. Stray Dog put a groove on this song that is very cool and I enjoy it a lot. Sound/mix is not particularly good. Tramp/Dog's blues (live) This band could rock out a live joint.

In some ways this band reminds of Albert Lee, in others of T-Rex and yet other times Little Feat. In most ways this album is power-rock by talented (and poorly recorded) musicians. Unless I am missing something from the first 2 albums, Stray Dog is associated with prog music only due to their releation ship with ELP and particularly Greg Lake.

1974 saw the addition of Walden's long time friend Tim Dulaine who was with the Texas rockers Buckwheat Honey who added lead vocals and guitars with writing six songs for the band's new album, ''While You're Down There '' and also added session keyboardist Luis Cabaza. The album was recorded in L.A. at the Record Plant with Austin Godsey producing. With the personel changes and Snuffy Walden taking a back seat to Dulaine the result was more of a "commercial" sounding hard rock and the catchy hooks.

The band members went thier own way with Walden joining Free due to the incapicitation of Paul Kossof and worked with Kossoff in Back Street Crawler, Eric Burden and released some solo material and is now in the movie and T.V. business. Dulaine went onto a solo career.
by Adamus67
Tracks
1. How It Is (The Sacred Mix) - 2:30
2. Tramp (Fat 'n' Sassy Mix) - 5:32
3. You Know - 3:46
4. Crazy ('Bout To Lose My Mind Mix) - 5:12
5. The Journey - 10:33
6. Drive My Car - 3:24
7. Tramp (Live) - 7:13
8. Dog's Blues (Live) - 1:45

Stray Dog
*Alan Roberts - Bass, Vocals
*Leslie Sampson - Drums
*Snuffy Walden - Guitar, Vocals
with
*John Bundrick ('Rabbit') - Organ, Piano
*Mel Collins - Flute

Free Text

1 comment:

  1. Great article! I was there in the basement of the place where Randy Reeder lived, & I watched Aphrodite develop their signature sound! They were amazing.

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