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28.6.10

Stealers Wheel


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Stealers Wheel - Late Again The Hits Collection - 2001 - Rotation

Stealers Wheel were a folk rock band formed by Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan after the break up of the Humblebums (Gerry Rafferty plus comedian Billy Connolly). An early line-up of SW included the great Scottish singer/songwriter Rab Noakes (ex-Lindisfarne), who plays with Joe Egan on Gerry Rafferty's "Can I Have My Money Back" album. That version broke up before recording, leaving SW fronted by Egan and Rafferty, with Rod Coombes on drums, De Lisle Harper on bass. Luther Grosvenor (aka Ariel Bender in Mott the Hoople) played electric guitar. By the time the band released it's s/t album, Gerry Rafferty had left as well, but was lured back by the huge success of "Stuck In The Middle With You". SW later operated as a band with a nucleus of Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan, and various session musicians who replaced Coombes, Harper and Grosvenor. SW released other albums including "Ferguslie Park" and "Right Or Wrong" before breaking up. Gerry Rafferty went on to megastardom with songs like "Baker Street" and a few classic late 70's albums like "City To City", and "Night Owl". Many of his later albums remain obscure, which is a pity, as the guy is still a hugely talented and influential musician. Joe Egan has not received much success after the break up of SW, but his 1979 "Out of Nowhere " is a great album, and can be found @ PVAc to 44.1 kHz Gerry Rafferty's "Night Owl" album is @ GERRAFF/NO and SW's "Ferguslie Park" album is @ STEAWHEE/FPK N.B: "Late Again The Hits Collection" has been released on different labels, although not all the compilations contain the 18 tracks on this version. If you are a Gerry Rafferty/Stealers Wheel fan then you probably have all these tracks. If not, then this album is a good introduction to a brilliant folk rock band. Tracks like "Star", "You Put Something Better Inside Of Me", and "Right Or Wrong" are terrific songs which you seldom hear nowadays, and are an example of beautifully constructed, melodic pop/folk rock songs.

TRACKS

1 Stuck In The Middle With You
2 Everything'll Turn Out Fine
3 Star
4 Late Again
5 Good Business Man
6 You Put Something Better Inside Of Me
7 Found My Way To You
8 Right Or Wrong
9 Wishbone
10 Benediction
11 I Get By
12 Waltz (You Know It Makes Sense)
13 Nothin' Gonna Change My Mind
14 Next To Me
15 Johnny's Song
16 Gets So Lonely
17 Go As You Please
18 Blind Faith

All songs composed by Gerry Rafferty, & Joe Egan except Track 15 by Gerry Rafferty, and Tracks 3,11,12,13,16 by Joe Egan

STEALERS WHEEL 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

ABOUT JOE EGAN (WIKIPEDIA)

Joe Egan (Irish name: Seosamh MacAodhagain) (born Joseph Egan, 18 October 1946, in Paisley, Scotland) is a Scottish singer and songwriter. In the 1960s Egan, together with former school mate Gerry Rafferty, played in various smaller British bands, for example The Sensors and The Mavericks, and worked as a session musician. In 1972 he and Rafferty founded the folk / rock band Stealers Wheel. After two unsuccessful singles the track "Stuck in the Middle With You", which he had co-written with Rafferty, surprisingly became a hit in 1973 and reached the Top Ten of both the UK Singles Chart and the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. Subsequently the band had a few smaller successes, amongst others with the Egan penned song "Star", but stagnating sales figures and artistical differences finally led to the band's break-up in 1975. Egan eventually recorded his solo debut album Back On The Road, but this did not occur until 1979 as he and Rafferty were contractually obliged not to release any recordings for three years. In 1978 Rafferty had a worldwide hit with "Baker Street" and the following year Egan registered a minor hit with his first single release, also named "Back On The Road". The same year Egan's second single "Out Of Nowhere" turned out to be a flop. 1981 saw the release of his second album Map, which was not a critical or commercial success. Egan disappeared from the music industry and has not released any new recordings. According to the Wikipedia-biography for Gerry Rafferty, Joe Egan was involved in the recording of Rafferty's solo album 'On a Wing and a Prayer'. As of 2005, Egan lives in Renfrewshire and runs a publishing company from his home.

GERRY RAFFERTY BIO

Gerry Rafferty was a popular music giant at the end of the '70s, thanks to the song "Baker Street" and the album City to City. His career long predated that fixture of Top 40 radio, however; indeed, by the time he cut "Baker Street" Rafferty had already been a member of two successful groups, the Humblebums and Stealers Wheel. Rafferty was born in Paisley, Scotland in 1947, the son of a Scottish mother and an Irish father. His father was deaf but still enjoyed singing, mostly Irish rebel songs, and his early experience of music was a combination of Catholic hymns, traditional folk music, and '50s pop music. By 1968, at age 21, Rafferty was a singer-guitarist and had started trying to write songs professionally, and was looking for a gig of his own. Enter Billy Connolly, late of Scottish bands like the Skillet Lickers and the Acme Brush Company. Connolly was a musician and comedian who'd found that telling jokes from the stage was as appealing an activity to him -- and the audience -- as making music. He'd passed through several groups looking for a niche before finally forming a duo called the Humblebums with Tim Harvey, a rock guitarist. They'd established themselves in Glasgow, and were then approached by Transatlantic, one of the more successful independent record labels in England at the time, and signed to a recording contract. After playing a show in Paisley, Rafferty approached Connolly about auditioning some of the songs he'd written. Connolly was impressed not only with the songs but with their author, and suddenly the Humblebums were a trio. They were a major success in England both on-stage and on record, but not without some strain. Connolly was the dominant personality, his jokes between the songs entertaining audiences as much as the songs themselves. Additionally, Rafferty began develop a distinctive style as a singer, guitarist and songwriter, and this eventually led to tension between him and Harvey: the latter exited in 1970, and Rafferty and Connolly continued together for two more albums, their line-up expanding to a sextet, but their relationship began to break down. The records were selling well, and the gigs were growing in prominence, including a Royal Command Performance. Connolly, however, worked himself to the point of exhaustion amid all of this activity, and when he did recover, he and Rafferty ultimately split up over the differing directions in which each was going. Rafferty had noticed that Connolly's jokes were taking up more time in their concerts than the music he was writing. They parted company in 1971. Transatlantic didn't want to give up one of its top money-makers, however, especially if there was a new career to be started. Rafferty cut his first solo album for the label that year. "Can I Have My Money Back?" was a melodious folk-pop album, on which Rafferty employed the vocal talents of an old school friend, Joe Egan. The LP garnered good reviews but failed to sell. Out of those sessions, however, Rafferty and Egan put together the original line-up of Stealers Wheel, which was one of the most promising (and rewarding) pop/rock outfits of the mid-'70s. Unfortunately, Stealers Wheel's lineup and legal history were complicated enough to keep various lawyers well paid for much of the middle of the decade. Rafferty was in the group, then out, then in again as the lineup kept shifting. Their first album was a success, the single "Stuck in the Middle with You" a huge hit, but nothing after that clicked commercially, and by 1975 the group was history. Three years of legal battles followed, sorting out problems between Rafferty and his management. Finally, in 1978, Rafferty was free to record again, and he signed to United Artists Records. That year, he cut City to City, a melodic yet strangely enigmatic album that topped the charts in America, put there by the success of the song "Baker Street." The song itself was a masterpiece of pop production, Rafferty's Paul McCartney-like vocals carrying a haunting central melody with a mysterious and yearning lyric, backed by a quietly thumping bass, tinkling celeste, and understated keyboard ornamentation, and then Raphael Ravenscroft's sax, which you got a taste of in the opening bars, rises up behind some heavily amplified electric guitars. It was sophisticated '70s pop/rock at its best (and better yet, it wasn't disco!) and it dominated the airwaves for months in 1978, narrowly missing the number one spot in England but selling millions of copies and taking up hundreds of cumulative hours of radio time. The publisher and the record company couldn't have been happier. Everyone concerned was thrilled, until it became clear that Rafferty -- who had a reclusive and iconoclastic streak -- was not going to tour America to support the album. The album, which finally reached number one, might've gone double-platinum and meant it (lots of records were shipped platinum in those days, only eventually to return 90-percent of those copies) had Rafferty toured. His next record, Night Owl (1979), also charted well and got good reviews, but the momentum that had driven City to City to top-selling status wasn't there, and Snakes & Ladders (1980), his next record, didn't sell nearly as well. Ironically, around this time, Rafferty's brother Jim was signed to a recording contract by Decca-London, a label that wasn't long for this world -- something that Gerry would soon have to face about his own situation at United Artists. United Artists Records had seen some major hit records throughout the '60s and '70s, but by the end of the decade, the parent film distribution and production company was revamping all of its operations in the wake of the mass exodus of several of its top executives. The record label was one of the first things to go -- running a record company was a luxury that the current UA management felt it could do without. Rafferty was practically the last major artist signed to the label, and if City to City had been a hit when the label was sold to EMI, he'd probably have been treated like visiting royalty. But by the time United Artists Records was sold to EMI around 1980, his figures weren't showing millions of units sold anymore. His contract was merely part of a deal, and, in fact, almost none of the UA artists picked up by EMI fared well with the new company -- as with many artists caught up in one of those sale-and-acquisition situations, even if Rafferty had been producing anything comparable to "Baker Street" in popularity, it's doubtful the record would've gotten the push it would've taken to make it a hit. Sleepwalking (1982), issued on the Liberty label, ended that round of Rafferty's public music-making activities, and he was little heard from during the mid-'80s, apart from one song contributed to the offbeat comedy Local Hero, a producer's gig with the group the Proclaimers that yielded a Top Three single ("Letter from America") in 1987. A year later, he released his first album in more than five years, North & South, which failed to register with the public. By that time, Transatlantic had begun exploiting his early recording activity, reissuing his early solo and Humblebums tracks on CD. On a Wing and a Prayer (1992) was similarly ignored by the public, although the critics loved it, and Over My Head (1995) was an attempt to reconsider his own past by re-thinking some Stealers Wheel-era songs. Gerry Rafferty is still remembered, two decades after it was a hit, primarily for "Baker Street" and City to City, which have been released as gold-plated audiophile CDs. And every so often, when some Stealers Wheel track gets picked up for some soundtrack (as "Stuck in the Middle with You" was for Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs) or commercial, his voice and guitar also get a fresh airing. © Bruce Eder, All Music Guide

MORE ABOUT GERRY RAFFERTY (Wikipedia)

Gerry Rafferty (born Gerald Rafferty, 16 April 1947, in Paisley) is a Scottish singer and songwriter. He is the son of a Scottish mother and an Irish father. In his early years, Gerry Rafferty earned money by the formerly illegal practice of busking on the London Underground. Poetically, his biggest hit "Baker Street" was about busking at a tube station. After working with Billy Connolly (now better known as a comedian) in a band called the Humblebums, he recorded a first solo album, Can I Have My Money Back. In 1972 Rafferty and his old school friend Joe Egan formed Stealers Wheel, a group beset by legal wranglings but which did have a huge hit "Stuck in the Middle With You" (made famous for a new generation in the movie Reservoir Dogs) and the smaller top 40 hit "Star" ten months later. The duo disbanded in 1975. In 1978, Rafferty cut a solo album, City to City, which included the song with which he remains most identified, "Baker Street". The single reached No. 3 in the UK and No. 2 in the U.S. The album sold over 5.5 million copies, toppling the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack in the U.S. on 8 July 1978, while "Baker Street" remains a mainstay of radio airplay. A cover version by Undercover (not to be confused with the Christian rock band of the same name) also made the Top 3 in the UK singles chart in 1992. Another song from the City to City album, "Right Down the Line", also continues to receive copious radio airplay. "Home and Dry" managed a top 30 spot. One of the more obscure tracks from that time is "Big Change in the Weather" (the B-side of "Baker Street"). His next album, Night Owl, also did well, and the title track was a UK No. 5 hit in 1979. "Days Gone Down" reached #17 in the U.S. The follow-up single "Get It Right Next Time" made the UK and US Top 30. Subsequent albums, such as Snakes and Ladders (1980), Sleepwalking (1982), and North and South (1988), all fared less well, perhaps due partly to Rafferty's general reluctance to perform live. "Don't Give Up On Me", from his 1992 collection On A Wing and a Prayer, is a much-featured oldie on BBC Radio 2. That album reunited him with Stealers Wheel partner Joe Egan on several tracks. Rafferty redid his own "Her Father Didn't Like Me Anyway" on the album Over My Head (1994). His latest effort was Another World, released in 2000 and was originally available only through direct order from his no longer active website, but is now on general release through the Hypertension label. Another World featured an album cover painting by J. Patrick Byrne, who also painted the covers for City to City, Night Owl, and Snakes and Ladders. Rafferty also sings on the soundtrack to the film, Local Hero - "The Way it Always Starts" (1983), and co-produced The Proclaimers first UK hit single Letter From America in 1987 along with Hugh Murphy.

9 comments:

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

LINK

p/w aoofc

Anonymous said...

Thanks!
May be its coming a time to obtain leave?
Guinea Pig

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

Hi, Guinea Pig. Yes. I'm going to Trinidad in a couple of weeks. I'll probably use laptop there!

tucker said...

Thanks very much! :)
For years now I've been looking for the 2 albums by Gerry's brother Jim Rafferty, so far without any luck. Any help would be appreciated...

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

Hi, Tucker. Thanks. I can't help you with Jim Rafferty's albums....yet! Like gold dust. If I come across anything, I'll post it for sure. Cheers, & ttu soon

Anonymous said...

:)))
"Mouse police never sleep..." was a refrain (of a song)from Jethro Tull?
Guinea Pig

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

Hi, Guinea Pig. Yes. The track "And the Mouse Police Never Sleeps" is on Jethro Tull's "Heavy Horses" album. Have you heard it? It's a great album. Thanks...P.

Anonymous said...

Yes!
"Jethro.." are nice group from my point of view.
Unfortunatelly my place is under The Iron Curtain, and it was very hard to find their sound. To be of concert was impossible.
But few years before there was a tour - 40 years from beginngq they were in our city.
It was one of my dreams to see them - live.
Guinea Pig

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

Thankfully, there is more liberty and freedom of expression nowadays. Music is a universal language, and it's great that some bands can now play in countries that frowned upon it many years ago. Jethro Tull's earlier albums like Aqualung are classics. Thanks, Guinea Pig