Thursday, January 19, 2017

Maggie Bell - Suicide Sal (1975 uk, splendid hard blues classic rock, 2006 remaster)

Scottish soul-rock singer Maggie Bell first gained prominence singing with Stone the Crows, which released its first album in 1970 and broke up in June 1973. Bell went solo with Queen of the Night (featuring the U.S. number 97 "After Midnight") in 1974.

A tougher, more energized set than its predecessor, Suicide Sal is 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. 

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
1. Wishing Well (John "Rabbit" Bundrick, Paul Kossoff, Paul Rodgers, Simon Kirke, Tetsu Yamauchi) - 3:33
2. Suicide Sal (Chris Trengrove, Maggie Bell, Mark London, Mike Clifford, Pete Wingfield) - 3:45
3. I Was In Chains (Gavin Sutherland, Iain Sutherland) - 3:03
4. If You Don’t Know (Pete Wingfield) - 3:54
5. What You Got (Charles Armstrong) - 2:54
6. In My Life (David Courtney, Leo Sayer) - 3:11
7. Comin On Strong (Colin Allen, Zoot Money) - 4:07
8. Hold On (Paul Kossoff, Simon Kirke) - 4:49
9. I Saw Him Standing There (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 4:18
10.It’s Been So Long (Phil May) - 4:34
11.Comin On Strong (Colin Allen, Zoot Money) - 5:55
12.Going Down (Don Nix) - 5:10
Bonus Live Tracks 11-12

*Maggie Bell - Vocals
*Brian Breeze - Guitar, Vocals
*Hugh Burns - Guitar
*Roy Davies - Keyboards
*Paul Francis - Drums
*Ray Glynn - Guitar
*Delisle Harper - Bass
*Jimmy Jewell - Saxophone
*Cuddley Judd - Bagpipes
*Mickey Keene - Guitar
*Billy Lawrie - Bass
*Mark London - Vocals
*Jimmy Page - Guitar
*Clark Terry - Guitar
*Pete Wingfield - Keyboards

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