Stone the Crows

Stone the Crows were a Scottish soul-rock band that released four albums on Polydor between 1970 and 1972. Their guitarist and songwriter Leslie Harvey (brother of Alex Harvey) was electrocuted on stage in 1972. Early bassist James Dewar subsequently fronted the Robin Trower band. Singer Maggie Bell cut two solo albums and later fronted Midnight Flyer.

Members: Maggie Bell (vocals), Colin Allen (drums), John McGinnis (keyboards, 1969-71), James Dewar (bass, 1969-71), Leslie Harvey (guitar, 1969-72), Ronnie Leahy (keyboards, 1971-73), Stephen Thompson (bass, 1971-73), Jimmy McCulloch (guitar, 1972-73)


Background

Stone the Crows formed in late 1969 from the ashes of the Kinning Park Ramblers, a blues-rock band with singer Maggie Bell and guitarist Leslie Harvey. They were introduced by Leslie’s older brother, Alex Harvey, after Bell jumped on stage at a Ramblers gig.

Leslie Harvey (1944–1972), first played with his brother in the Alex Harvey Soul Band, a mid-’60s R&B/beat combo. He passed on an invitation by The Animals and joined The Blues Council, which issued the 1965 album Baby Don’t Look Down but disbanded after a tour van crash that killed their singer and bassist. After the Ramblers, he joined Scottish popsters Cartoone and played on their unreleased second album Reflections.

Bell (b. 1945) cut two 1966 Decca singles in the soul-pop duo Frankie & Johnny with songwriter Bobby Kerr (aka Johnny Curtis). She followed the Ramblers with stints in two Glasgow ballroom bands, the Mecca Band and the Dennistoun Palais Band. In late 1969, she reteamed with Harvey in Power. They hired bassist James Dewar, drummer Colin Allen, and keyboardist John McGinnis.

Dewar (1942–2002) first emerged in Scottish popsters Lulu and the Luvvers, which cut numerous mid-’60s Decca singles before the breakout stardom of frontwoman Lulu. In 1967, he joined soul-rockers Sock It to ‘Em J, which featured up-and-coming Glaswegian belter Frankie Miller. Soon thereafter, Dewar and Miller formed the pop-psych trio Stoics, which issued the 1968 RCA single “Earth, Fire, Air and Water” (b/w “Search for the Sea”).

Allen (b. 1938) got his career start in Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band, an R&B act that also featured (later-Police) guitarist Andy Summers. They morphed into the pop-psych Dantalian’s Chariot, which cut the 1967 single “Madman Running Through the Fields” and an album’s worth of material. In 1968, he drummed on the album Blues from Laurel Canyon by John Mayall and the single b-side “Cracking Up Over Christmas” by original Yardbirds guitarist Top Topham.

Power signed on with Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant, who changed their name to Stone the Crows, a UK/Australian phrase for shock or surprise. He secured them a deal with Polydor and linked then with Mark London, a producer with ties to related earlier acts (Lulu, Cartoone) who acted as their co-manager.


Stone the Crows (1970)

February 1970 on Polydor

1. “The Touch of Your Loving Hand” Jimmy Dewar, Les Harvey 6:03
2. “Raining in Your Heart” Jimmy Dewar, Les Harvey 5:08
3. “Blind Man” Josh White, Jr.; arranged by Maggie Bell and Les Harvey 5:11
4. “The Fool on the Hill” John Lennon, Paul McCartney 4:09
Side twoNo. Title Writer(s) Length
5. “I Saw America” Colin Allen, Les Harvey, Mark London (17:20)

Studio Advision Studios, London

Colin Allen – drums, percussion
Maggie Bell – vocals
Jimmy Dewar – bass guitar, vocals
Les Harvey – acoustic, electric guitars
John McGinnis – organ, piano, keyboards

Robin Black – engineering
Peter Grant – executive producer
Mark London – producer
Christopher Neil – engineering
Chris Welch – liner notes


Ode to John Law (1970)

Oct 1970

1. “Sad Mary” John McGinnis 6:53
2. “Friend” Les Harvey, Jimmy Dewar 6:28
3. “Love 74” McGinnis 6:35
Side twoNo. Title Writer(s) Length
4. “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” Colin Allen, Harvey 3:34
5. “Things Are Getting Better” McGinnis 6:10
6. “Ode to John Law” Allen, Harvey 5:47
7. “Danger Zone” Percy Mayfield 6:21

Studio Advision Studios, London

Colin Allen – drums, percussion
Maggie Bell – vocals
Jimmy Dewar – bass, vocals
Les Harvey – acoustic and electric guitars
John McGinnis – organ, piano, keyboards

Peter Grant – executive producer
David Juniper – album design
Mark London- producer
Eddy Offord – engineering
Leo Sauer – front cover painting

A: Mad Dogs And Englishmen
B: Sad Mary

Germany
A: Things Are Getting Better
B: Mad Dogs And Englishmen


Teenage Licks (1971)

Nov 1971

A1|Big Jim Salter|4:34
A2|Faces|4:38
A3|Mr. Wizard|5:23
A4|Don’t Think Twice|5:00
B1|Keep On Rollin’|3:50
B2|Alien Mochree|0:20
B3|One Five Eight|6:12
B4|I May Be Right I May Be Wrong|5:02
B5|Seven Lakes|3:04

Maggie Bell
vocals, writer, arranger
Les Harvey
guitar, recorder, writer
Colin Allen
percussion, writer
Ronnie Leahy
keyboards
Steve Thompson
bass
Mark London
producer
Eddie Offord
recording engineer
George Chkiantz
recording engineer
Martin Rushent
recording engineer
Peter Grant
executive producer
C.C.S.
design


Ontinuous Performance (1972)

Nov 1972

A1|On the Highway|5:37
A2|One More Chance|6:14
A3|Penicillin Blues|5:31
A4|King Tut|2:38
B1|Good Time Girl|6:24
B2|Niagra|6:22
B3|Sunset Cowboy|6:38

Maggie Bell
vocals
Colin Allen
drums
Ronnie Leahy
keyboards
Steve Thompson
bass
Roger Ball
horns, horn arrangements
Malcolm Duncan
horns
Mark London
producer
Martin Rushent
engineer
John Bromley
assistant engineer
Peter Grant
executive producer
John Kosh
cover design
Tony Evans
photography
Jimmy McCulloch
guitar
Leslie Harvey
guitar

A: Good Time Girl
B: On The Highway


Discography:

  • Stone the Crows (1970)
  • Ode to John Law (1970)
  • Teenage Licks (1971)
  • Ontinuous Performance (1972)

Sources:

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