The debut Stray Dog album is an amazing rock/blues workout that really should be better known among some of the US based bands of that same era (i.e Dust, Bedlam, Bang and Bloodrock).
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Stray Dog
ALBUM: Stray Dog
SERIAL: MC 66671
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
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)
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).
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.
Stray Dog 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 Stray Dog 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. The album has seen numerous reissues in recent times, after being quite a difficult item to acquire. Refer the reissue list above. Another of those gems from the 70’s that gets our total endorsement.