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Stingray - 1979 Stingray




ARTIST: Stingray
ALBUM: Stingray
LABEL: Nitty Gritty/Carerre
SERIAL: NGC 1023, CAR 38-127
YEAR: 1979

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Dennis East - vocals * Mike Pilot - guitars, vocals * Allan Goldswain - keyboards * Danny Anthill - keyboards, flute * Eddie Boyle - bass * Shaun Wright - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Better The Devil You Know * 02 Where Do We Go From Here * 03 Lovesaver * 04 Whole Lotta Fire * 05 Lucy * 06 Breakdown * 07 The Man In My Shoes * 08 How Much * 09 Hard Headed Loner * 10 Gonna Keep My Head * 11 Better The Devil You Know (extended)


Background
Next to Trevor Rabin, Stingray are without doubt South Africa's shining light on the melodic rock stage, and even some twenty or so years later, they are still mentioned and remembered by many fans and collectors alike. Stingray originated from Johannesburg, and some of their members had incarnations in bands before this. East, Pilot and Boyle for instance were previously with The Rising Sons, a typically seventies pop bubblegum band, who scored minor success in their native land with a number of songs making the charts. However, they change the game plan completely with Stingray, with a heavy influence from what was going on Stateside at the time, naming Queen, Journey and Boston as chief culprits.


The Songs
The debut album initially released locally on the Nitty Gritty label, is without doubt an enjoyable melodic rock romp, with an emphasis on effective and memorable choruses. 'Better The Devil You Know' is a good introduction, a neat chorus, and some forceful instrumentation. 'Where Do We Go From Here' is guitar oriented AOR featuring a series of handclaps towards the end a la Boston's 'Long Time'. If there is a classic track on this album it would undoubtedly be 'Lovesaver', the punctuated approach with stabbing piano lines, and Mike Pilot's guitar sound a la Brian May, being memorable aspects of it. Dennis East's vocals really power up on the slower track 'Lucy'. Man, this guy can sing! Other highlights include the soaring 'How Much', the punchy 'Breakdown', and the infectious choruses of 'Man In My Shoes' and 'Gonna Keep My Head Together'.


In Summary
Being South African, it is not reflective of any local influence. It is purely a big label sounding release which ordinarily you'd think came out of the US production houses. So congratulations for doing so well. The band followed this up one year later with 'Operation Stingray', another worthwhile album to obtain. On that one though, their lineup had changed slightly, with the departure of both Goldswain and Wright. The Carerre label gave this band some recognition at least (as they did with Dokken), with their albums being released in Europe at the time, though by then, the band were already on the verge on folding. Finally, a big thanks goes to Luc for finally enabling me to hear this after so many years of trying to track it down. I personally think it was worth it.


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Comments

#1 | george_the_jack on September 15 2009 02:37:43
The vocalist is reminding me of the 'immortal' Brad..Good production and quality arrangements.A very overlooked Pomp/AOR GEM that certainly worths the attention
#2 | gdazegod on September 15 2009 02:56:44
Stingray sure got a lot of comparisons to Boston. Pretty deserved too.
#3 | george_the_jack on September 15 2009 03:04:43
Yeap George.Truly a shame that they have never been known around the world widely.At least, they would deserve a special place among the 'world of pompers'...Great
#4 | Eric on September 15 2009 03:11:39
'The Man In My Shoes' got a lot of airplay around the same time as Touch- 'Don't You Know What Love Is' on local radio, at least in my area. I know because of this song I bought the LP, but without tour support it's not a surprise Stingray never had a chance outside S.A and I'm sure the political atmosphere played a big part....
#5 | trillion1999 on October 10 2011 23:20:11
I love Lovesaver! Those lyrics are part of the appeal as well for me.Full of longing and melancholy.Similar feel (especially in the lyrics) in this tune as with Bright Night Lights(Trillion), Searching from Explorer Suite.So glad I bought the CD and found one more timeless song to love.Love the cover as well.Hopefully I will get to hear the rest by Stingray one day.in love

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