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Stray Dog - 1973 Stray Dog



ARTIST: Stray Dog
ALBUM: Stray Dog
LABEL: Manticore
SERIAL: MC 66671
YEAR: 1973
CD REISSUE: 1999, The Wild Places (USA), WILD008

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Snuffy Walden - vocals, guitars * Al Roberts - bass, keyboards * Les Sampson - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Tramp (How It Is) * 02 Crazy * 03 A Letter * 04 Chevrolet * 05 Speak Of The Devil * 06 Slave * 07 Rocky Mountain Suite (Bad Road) * 08 Worldwinds * 09 Right Track * 10 Chevrolet (Live)


Background
Just what is a hard rockin' Texan trio doing on a mainly progressive rock label circa 1973? Well, you can blame Greg Lake from Emerson Lake And Palmer for that situation. Originally called Aphrodite, the story goes that Lake heard the band playing a gig and was totally blown away by Stray Dog. He persuaded the trio to a record deal, and then 'up' suitcases and follow him back to England so he could produce them. Drummer Randy Reeder (Bloodrock, Alexis) decided otherwise and stayed behind. Walden and Roberts headed over to Blighty and conscripted ex Noel Redding Band drummer Les Sampson to fill the vacant drum possie. The album is an amazing hard rock/blues workout that really should be better known among the earlier US based bands of that same era (i.e Dust, Bedlam, Bang, Bloodrock).


The Songs
Interesting to note the Texan connection, as a couple of these songs are sourced back to Bloodrock ('Crazy') and ZZ Top ('Chevrolet'). Because of this, you would have to dispute Snuffy Walden's songwriting credits on this album though.. However, the Stray Dog application is fairly brutal to be honest, the guitar wizardry of Snuffy Walden is laid bare for all to hear. It's no wonder he is considered a godfather of this genre/era. His solos are wild, but tasty and blues laden with lacings of rock for effect. The original LP contained seven tracks, but the 2001 CD reissue by Zoom Club Records adds on three bonus tracks. The CD is now out of print.


In Summary
The band released a second album in 1974 called 'While You're Down There' (also on Manticore), and added two extra members in Tim Dulaine and Luiz Cabaza. Greg Lake also produced this LP. One can surmise that their pairing alongside E.L.P didn't help their cause any, perhaps being paired with a harder rocking band on tour may have prolonged their existence. The album can still be seen in vinyl only bargain bins around the world, and even got a local release through WEA in Australia and New Zealand at the time. Very hard to find out there in Internet land - even with a CD release from 2001. Another of those gems from the 70's that gets our total endorsement.


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Comments
#1 | rostoned on November 03 2008 08:25:31
Drummer Les Sampson (not Lee) was a member of cult act ROAD which featured Noel Redding on bass and Rod Richards (ex Rare Earth) on wah wah guitar. The power trio released a highly lauded heavydelic rock s/t platter on the Natural Resources label - part of Motown - in 1972.

Stray Dog toured the US and Europe with label mates ELP. Following the first album they released an inferior one called 'While You're Down There', always on the Manticore label. The classic s/t album, in addition to the noted above UK release of 01, did get several CD reissues over the years: twice in the US (on Renaissance in the early 90s and on Wild Places in the late 90s) and in Japan (remastered as a textured mini LP sleeve in 2004). The original vinyl LP release sports a rich and glossy brown textured sleeve.

After Stray Dog split Snuffy (who was friendly with keyboardist John 'Rabbit' Bundrick) apparently played some guitar on Free's 'Heartbreaker' album and also on tracks for Paul Kossof's own Back Street Crawler. He also gigged with Chaka Khan, Eric Burdon and Donna Summer.
Today, Mr Walden is renowned for scoring and playing the chilled-out themes to US TV shows such as thirtysomething, The Wonder Years, Ellen, Roseanne and the Stephen King mini-series The Stand. He even won an Emmy for his slyly evocative work on The West Wing.

For more information on this fantastic act check
http://hem.passag...
www.wgsnuffywalde...
#2 | sabace on November 04 2008 14:22:40
brilliant lp in particular opening track TRAMP! snuffy walden is an amazing guitar player .
#3 | Carl Noonan on November 08 2008 02:51:00
The Lizards doing an amazing version of Tramp on their new covers cd Archeology. Stray Dog is a classic and any fan of 70's hard rock should have it. The follow up While You're Down There is great too although not as good as the debut.
#4 | gdazegod on November 09 2008 09:59:28
Oops. had to correct the original article, reflecting the second album, which I was unaware of. Thanks all.
#5 | sabace on April 27 2010 15:14:57
the second lp is more aor than blues and in my opinion is excellent
#6 | rkbluez on March 09 2012 21:35:35
Both Stray Dog albums are great...and have finally been reissued by Esoteric with the excellent quality they deserve.
#7 | sabace on March 10 2012 12:49:21
there is also a great live cd out there ' live from the whiskey a go go', which is from the the later version of the band as a five piece .great stuff -its available from TIM DULAINE - erstwhile vocalist and guitarist's web site .
 
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