Jul 2, 2010

STRAY - SUICIDE (TRANSATLANTIC 1971) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve

One of the most consistent and popular bands of the 70s, Stray trod a fine line between Hard Rock, Prog, and harmony-driven Boogie, their powerful playing, hook-laden melodies and accomplished harmonies appealing equally to all three audiences. Formed in 1966 by guitarist Del Bromham, who still fronts the band today, they were originally a Mod combo, inspired by the likes of The Small Faces. They built up a reputation on the West London circuit and by the late 60s they'd moved a long way from R&B and Soul covers, eventually writing their own songs and embracing fullblown Psychedelia. By the turn of the 70s they were well established at the forefront of the Underground/Progressive circuit, with a massive following in Europe, and they continued to thrive until the Punk explosion abruptly terminated the Prog scene. After splitting in 1977 they reformed in the early 80s, and they continue to tour and record.
London, England's Stray yielded a prolific career yet managed to elude the fame enjoyed by contemporaries like Cream, Thin Lizzy, or even Mountain. Formed in 1966, the hard rock, prog, and R&B outfit comprised of vocalist/guitarist Del Bromham, vocalist/guitarist Steve Gadd, bass player Gary Giles, and drummer Ritchie Cole signed to Transatlantic Records and released its debut, self-titled album in 1970. The group flirted with success throughout the '70s, releasing nine more records and even recruiting Charlie Kray -- the brother of the notorious Kray twins -- as their manager. In 1975, just prior to the release of Houdini, Gadd was replaced by Peter Dyer, who injected some much-needed life into the band, though the end was near for the financially strapped rockers. They released their last record, the ambitious Hearts of Fire, in 1976 on the Pye label, and proceeded to splinter off into various solo projects. Bromham re-formed the group in 1997 as a three-piece with newcomers Dusty Miller and Phil McKee, renaming the band Del Bromham's Stray, and released a live record called Alive and Giggin' on Mystic Records.[allmusic]


frumious bandersnatch said...

Very cool early hard-rock album. All of their early output is interesting.
They must have feel a bit out of place on a folk label like Transatlantic !
Some reissues from a few years ago on Castle/Sanctuary exist, including a very good 2 CDs anthology, though they must be out of print at the moment, as this label has unfortunately closed.

Anonymous said...

Nice One! Great blog, rare music, a real treat!

Anonymous said...

Delicious sounds from the very brilliant Stray. They were a definite requirement to go and see in the early seventies. All those Stray, Groundhogs, and early Bowie gigs make you gratefull that you were a teenager during that period.