25 May 2018 (released)
25 May 2018
I was at the Marquee the night that this was recorded and I owned the original vinyl on it’s release in 1984.
Memories of the original night were of a band who were happy to be back together and played their asses off to a capacity Marquee.
Memories of the original vinyl were that it was dull and flat, overly echoey and just didn’t reflect the band at their best.
This issue is very different. Esoteric have remastered the original tapes and the result is much closer to the live experience than the LP was. Add to that a selection of tasty bonus tracks and for a fan of early British rock it is pretty damn essential.
Led by Del Bronham and (originally Steve Gadd) Stray were around in the mid-sixties and became one of the best of the 2nd division rock acts on the scene. They probably had the potential to become one of the top rock acts out there but poor choices of management (including the Krays brother Charlie) limited their success.
The lineup here sees Del Bronham on guitar, Pete Dyer on vocals, Gary Giles on bass (one of the original members) and Ritchie Cole on drums. Dyer’s vocals are superb but the main draw id Bronham’s guitar flying through some heavy rock, psychedelic and straight Blues – the extended jam of ‘Suicide’ pretty well covers all of those. Giles & Cole create some expansive and driving rhythms and the whole thing sounds like a band playing for fun and making the music they love.
Of the bonus tracks: ‘Feels Like I’ve Been Here Before’ is from the original gig (the encore if I remember rightly) but was left off the original LP and there are the A&B sides of a Del Bronham solo single that has never been available on CD before.
This isn’t just one for completists, it so far outstrips the original release that it is absolutely for any fan of Stray.