Stallion – Live At The Lyceum September 1976

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Of the many obscure, trench-coated progressive rock groups that germinated in the garages, sheds and rehearsal studios of England in the early ’70s, Stallion deserve to be recognised as one of the great lost bands of the first progressive era. Hailed critically, and by those lucky enough to see them perform, Stallion appeared on the same stage as many of their more well-known contemporaries including Motörhead, Stackridge, Rare Bird, Stray, The Edgar Broughton Band andTraffic. Despite winning a Melody Maker magazine competition and playing on the main stage at Reading Festival in 1976, and having successfully merged progressive rock moves with punk attitude, major label success eluded Stallion and they broke up in the late ’70s a well-kept secret.This new CD contains their rare single and fragments of “the album that never was”, together with a history of the band and previously unseen photographs.

Sound Engineer… Dave Hinde.

Phil Thornton….Stallion play ‘The Hard Life’ recorded live at the Lyceum Ballroom, London. September 1976 supporting Motorhead.

Paul E Newcomb… Stray were the headliners that night… Motorhead second and  Dirty Tricks (?) third. Stallion had won the MM folfkRock competition that year I believe

Phil Gill… Correct as to line up, but Motörhead might have headlined.

Phil Thornton… Yes I think it was Motörhead headlining – the PA was theirs and they were charging other bands to use it !!

Pete Fisher… I was living in London then, but didn’t come along to the gig…guess I didn’t hear about it…funnily enough the band I joined that year got to the final of the MM Folk/Rock competition the following year in 1977 (after winning the semi-final at the Marquee), but didn’t win…

Dave Nattress… Just wonderful to hear this. Stallion were just so good and this proves it. In Damaris we had the privilege to play support a few times on the pier and we totally loved, respected, revered and admired this band. They were where we wanted to go. 43 years ago. Frightening. Brilliant that there are these recordings and my clear recollection of their tight musicianship and the spectacular whirling dervish performances of John Wilde come right back to me, and visuals aside John was a wonderful vocalist, great tone and delivery. Congrats to all, great memories and sad that not all the guys who took the Stallion road are no longer with us. Got the CD album a few years ago and play it a lot, great that Phil T and the guys were able to get it out

Phil Gill… Damaris were none too shabby as I recall. I remember a song about a “city punk” that always stuck in my head.

Dave Nattress… Thanks Phil, nice one. I have the lyric somewhere, just found it, yes I was big on rhyming and City Punk was followed by the line “Lived on Junk”, a not so obsure double meaning which was also something I liked to put in. We had some out-there tracks and themes and lyrics, tracks about weird stuff like “Star Tiger” which was the call-sign of an aircraft that disappeared over the Bermuda Triangle, “Alien Tomorrows” a space journey influenced piece, eampling part of the planet suite, never can remember if it was Mars or Jupiter – Iain Cobby puts me right. Trawled up a load more lyrics of our songs, “The First Survivor” one man thinking he’s alone on the planet after the proverbial nuclear war, “Rubic’s Cube”, “Jack the Ripper”, another with references to characters from Lord of the Rings – blimey were we up ourselves or what!! Anyway good, good days!! Best wishes Phil.

John Wilde… thank you Dave. It was an awesome time. I very much appreciate your comments.

Phil Thornton… yes I remember enjoying Damaris sets – I’m sure we all went along to support them at a gig in Ore ? ( not sure about venue ) they were I think the only other band around Hastings at that time who were doing original stuff – great times indeed !

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell. Reviewing No Parole From Rock ‘N’ Roll (Expanded Edition) by Alcatrazz

ALCATRAZZ no parole

I cannot tell you how pleased I was to see this on the Press Release for October. If what follows is less a review and more a eulogy I make no apologies!
A few facts, Alcatrazz were formed in 1983, basically as a star vehicle for lead singer Graham Bonnet. The other members were Jimmy Waldo (keyboards), Gary Shea (bass) both ex New England, Jan Uvena (drums) ex Alice Cooper and Iron Butterfly (great credentials!) and the 20 year old prodigy that was/is Yngwie Malmsteen. Bonnet had of course had an illustrious career beginning with The Marbles in the 60’s through to the Michael Schenker Group, Rainbow and solo success with singles like ‘Night Games’ in 1981. Alcatrazz was Bonnets vision of his own Rainbow. I first heard the track ‘Jet to Jet’ whilst driving to a gig and was completely blown away. I immediately got hold of a copy of NPFR&R and fell in love with the band. Since that time I have NEVER done a radio show without including at least one Alcatrazz track (usually 2!).
However, mention Alcatrazz to most people in the UK and you get a blank stare. If you were in Japan you would find Alcatrazz mentioned in the same breath as Zeppelin, Purple, Rainbow, Maiden etc they were and still are huge there. In the US MTV played ‘Island In The Sun’ and ‘Hiroshima Mon Amour’ (both from NPFR&R) on heavy rotation.
So to the album, 10 tracks of intelligent, melodic and perfectly realised hard rock/metal/shred cuts that never overstay their welcome. Kicking off with chugging mid tempo ‘Island in the Sun’ and the first taste of Yngwie’s licks playing to Grahams searing vocals morphing into the heavier vibe of track 2 ‘General Hospital’ then on to the (for me) apogee of ‘Jet to Jet’. As previously mentioned this was the first track I heard, and its Yngwie’s solo that blows you away. Now at this point I must, to be fair, address the views of other contemporary reviewers who, in my view, snidely wrote off Yngwie as a sub standard Ritchie Blackmore. Malmsteen never made any secret of his adoration of Blackmore. But a poor imitation? B@@@ocks! All musicians draw on influences and add their own twist. I would agree that Malmsteen, who left after this album to form his own Rising Force went on to make some overblown and bloated albums, I don’t need a 20 minute solo to be impressed! And there is the crux of what makes NPFR&R such a great album. Bonnet ‘contains’ Yngwie’s guitar parts to achieve a ‘less is more’ conclusion. The remaining 7 tracks all shine differently from the impassioned ‘Hiroshima Mon Amour’ to the good time feel of ‘Too Young To Die, Too Drunk To Live’. With this release you also get the added bonus of instrumental versions of all 10 tracks showing how they came together. Ive made no secret in these words of my admiration for this band and if one person reading this gets into Alcatrazz i’ll be personally delighted. But as ever I welcome your feedback, positive or negative. For me like the prison the band are named after its a life sentence im happy to serve!

For more information go to http://www.cherryred.co.uk                   colin-head-111x150

Until next time, take care…..Colin

Sarah Harvey… Going to play Alcatrazz on a future show…… what do you think is their best track? Also from ‘Disturbing The Peace’ and ‘Dangerous Games’.

Pete Prescott… I  wrote two songs on Forcefield 3 that Graham Bonnet sang on with Ray Fenwick (hold on and hit and run). He has one of those voices that’s easily recognisable.