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23.5.08

Stealers Wheel




Stealers Wheel - Right Or Wrong -1975 - A&M

This is a great seventies rock album, with terrific harmonies and melodies by two great songwriters, Joe Egan & Gerry Rafferty. The album, their third, was recorded under protracted contractual and managerial hassles, which seemed to be the norm for many seventies albums. It took eighteen monthhs to see the light of day, by which time they'd effectively ceased trading. Ironically, it remains a fine epitaph to Stealers Wheel, being at least as good as its predecessors, and giving absolutely no indications that it had been recorded in anything less than idyllic circumstances. Their self titled "Stealers Wheel" abum is worth getting your hands on as it is a brilliant debut album. If you can track it down, Joe Egan's 1979 "Out of Nowhere " is a great album, and anything by the great Gerry Rafferty is worth having in your collection, sepecially his "City To City" album. There is a biography of Gerry Rafferty, and info on his great "Best Of" album @ BIO/G.RAFFERTY/BESTOF

TRACKS

A1 Benediction
A2 Found My Way To You
A3 This Morning
A4 Let Yourself Go
A5 Home From Home

B1 Go As You Please
B2 Wishbone
B3 Don't Get Me Wrong
B4 Monday Monday
B5 Right Or Wrong

All songs composed by Joe Egan & Gerry Rafferty

MUSICIANS

Bass - Dave Wintour
Drums, Percussion - Andy Steele
Guitar - Bernie Holland , Hugh Burns
Harp - Chris Neill
Piano, Guitar, Clavinet - Geraldine & Josephine
Saxophone - Chris Mercer

BIO (Wikipedia)

Stealers Wheel was a Scottish folk/rock band formed in Paisley, Scotland in 1972 by former school friends Joe Egan and Gerry Rafferty. In the beginning of the 1970s, the band was considered as the British version of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and, after two unsuccessful singles, came to worldwide fame with their hit "Stuck in the Middle With You". The track in the style of Bob Dylan and The Beatles reached the top ten of the single charts in Great Britain and the US in 1973 - number 6 in the USA, number 8 in UK - and sold over one million copies worldwide. Some decades later a dance version was a September, 2001 UK Top 10 hit for Louise, with a music video that drew heavily on the original song's appearance in the sound track of Reservoir Dogs. The first two albums were produced by the well-known Leiber & Stoller, the last because of disagreements and managerial problems by Mentor Williams. All three had particularly striking, slightly surrealist sleeve designs by artist John Byrne. Although the band's self-titled debut album sold quite well, (number 50 in the US-album-charts) and was critically acclaimed, Stealers Wheel could not repeat this success with following releases. In 1973/1974 the two singles "Everyone's Agreed That Everything Will Turn Out Fine" (the single version is different from the version on their albums and all subsequent CDs) and "Star" would also reach the top 30 of both the UK and US charts, but only the latter track is still relatively popular today. Former Spooky Tooth member Luther Grosvenor (later of Mott the Hoople) participated in the recordings for "Everyone's Agreed That Everything Will Turn Out Fine" and replaced Rafferty who left the band for quite some time. By 1973, Coombes, Pilnick and Williams had all left en masse, Williams later went on to tour with Jethro Tull in 1978 teaming up with old acquaintances from Blackpool Ian Anderson and Barriemore Barlow. Because Rafferty and Egan could not agree whether they should continue as a full band or duo, and because of artistic differences, there was a delay of over 18 months in the release of their third and last album. After frequent changes in the line-up, Stealers Wheel broke up in 1975, and their last album Right Or Wrong was released without a band to promote it. Almost two years after Ferguslie Park (1973), the group was hardly known and the two last single releases silently faded away in the charts. In 1992 director Quentin Tarantino used the track "Stuck in the Middle with You" in the soundtrack of his debut film Reservoir Dogs, bringing new attention to the band. All three albums have been unavailable for years, but in 2004/2005 the British independent label Lemon Recordings (of Cherry Red) re-released them with remastered sound and new liner-notes.

MORE ABOUT STEALERS WHEEL

Although remembered today primarily for one or two songs, Stealers Wheel in its own time bid fair to become Britain's answer to Crosby, Stills, Nash Young. Only the chronic instability of their line-up stood in their way after a promising start. Gerry Rafferty (b. Paisley, Scotland, Apr. 16, 1946) and Joe Egan (b. 1946) had first met at school in Paisley when they were teenagers. Rafferty had seen three years of success as a member of the Humblebums before they split up, and he'd started a solo recording career that was still-born with the commercial failure of his album Can I Have My Money Back? (Transatlantic, 1971). He'd employed Egan as a vocalist on the album, along with Roger Brown. Rafferty and Egan became the core of Stealers Wheel, playing guitar and keyboards, although their real talent lay in their voices, which meshed about as well as any duo this side of Graham Nash and David Crosby-Brown joined, and Rab Noakes (guitar, vocals) and Ian Campbell (bass) came aboard in 1972. That line-up, however, lasted only a few months. By the time Stealers Wheel was signed to AM later that year, Brown, Noakes, and Campbell were gone, replaced by guitarist Paul Pilnick, bassist Tony Williams, and drummer Rod Coombes (ex-Juicy Lucy and future Strawbs alumnus). This band, slapped together at the last moment for the recording of their debut album in 1972, proved a winning combination working behind Rafferty's and Egan's voices. The self-titled Stealers Wheel album, produced by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, was a critical and commercial success, yielding the hit "Stuck In The Middle With You" (top 10 in America and the UK). Even this success had its acrimonious side. Rafferty had quit the band by the time Stealers Wheel was released, replaced by Spooky Tooth's Luther Grosvenor, who stayed with the groupon tour for much of 1973. Delisle Harper also came in for the touring version of the band, replacing Tony Williams. With a viable performing unit backing it, the Stealers Wheel album began selling and made No. 50 in America, while "Stuck In The Middle With You" became a million selling single. As all of that was happening, the group's management persuaded Rafferty to come back-whereupon Grosvenor, Combes, and Pilnick left. Having been through a dizzying series of changes in the previous year, Stealers Wheel essentially ended up following a strategy-employed for very different reasons-that paralleled Walter Becker and Donald Fagen in the American band Steely Dan (funny, the similarity in the names, too). Egan and Rafferty became Stealers Wheel, officially a duo with backing musicians employed as needed in the studio and on tour. There was pressure for more hits. "Everyone Agreed That Everything Will Turn Out Fine" was a modest chart success, the mid-tempo, leisurely paced "Star" somewhat more widely heard, cracking into the top 30 on both sides of the Atlantic. A second album, Ferguslie Park (named for a district in Paisley), completed with session players as per the duo's plan, barely cracked the top 200 LPs in America (although it was somewhat more popular than that number would indicate, among college students), and that would lead to a poisonous internal situation for the duo, as the pressure on them became even greater. In fact, the record was first rate, made up of lively, melodic, inventive pop-rock songs. The commercial failure of the second album created a level of tension that all but destroyed the partnership between Egan and Rafferty. Coupled with the departure of Leiber and Stoller, who were having business problems of their own, and the inability of the duo to agree on a complement of studio musicians to help with the next album, Stealers Wheel disappeared for 18 months. Ironically, the contractually mandated final album, Right Or Wrong, that emerged at that time came out a good deal more right than anyone could have predicted, given the circumstances of its recording. The group had ceased to exist by the time it was in stores. The break-up of Stealers Wheel blighted Rafferty's and Egan's careers for the next three years, as legal disputes with their respective managements prevent either man from recording. After these problems were settled, Egan made a pair of albums for the European-based Ariola label. Rafferty, in the meantime, emerged as a recording star with a mega-hit in 1978 in the form of "Baker Street" and the album City To City. Stealers Wheel disappeared after 1975, its name and identity retired forever by its two owners (although, ironically, Rafferty did an album in the mid-1990's, Over My Head, on which he re-invented several Stealers Wheel-era song that he'd co-written with Egan. He and Egan have both made records that refer in lyrics to the troubled history of Stealers Wheel, immortalizing their acrimonious history even as at least three best-of European collections of Stealers Wheel material immortalize their music, and "Stuck In The Middle With You" remains a popular '70s oldie, revived most recently on the soundtrack of Quentin Tarantino's movie Reservoir Dogs, and was recut by the Jeff Healy Band. © Bruce Eder, All Music Guide

4 comments:

PaulNZ said...

Thanks for the posts and all the downloads I have got from you today and in the past



Yours Paul

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hey! Paul. Thanks a million! You make it all worthwhile. Please keep in touch with A.O.O.F.C

bulfrog said...

link is dead, will you please re-post, thanks a lot

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,bulfrog. Try

http://www.rapidmaniac.
com/share/ideaedc03

Cheers!