"Stray Dog" track listing:
1. Tramp (How It Is) (Snuffy Walden - Alan Roberts) - 7:06
'Tramp (How It Is)' opened up with some Keith Emerson-styled church organ and Carl Palmer-ish percussion giving you the impression this was going to be an ELP-styled set of bombastic pretense ... Luckily about a minute into the track, Walden announced a warning to 'fasten your seat belts' and the song spun off into a nifty slinky blues-rocker. While Walden's lead work was amazing (the Roberts Sampson rhythm section kicked in big time during the second half of the tune), the big surprise on this one was how good his voice was.
2. Crazy (Snuffy Walden) - 5:10
Even though it was listed as a Walden original, 'Crazy' was apparently an updated version of Bloodrock's 'Crazy 'Bout You Babe' (taken from the "U.S.A." album). Regardless of the song's pedigree, the result was a slinky, Hendrix-styled rocker. Once again, Walden's raspy voice was the big surprise here. One of my picks for standout performance.
3. A Letter (Snuffy Walden) - 3:50
Showcasing Walden's acoustic guitar chops, 'A Letter' was a pretty, slightly psych-tinged and slightly wobbly ballad. They certainly tried their best and the backing vocals were nice, but they just didn't sound all that comfortable on this one.
The band's sizzling cover of ZZ Top's 'Chevrolet' moved things back in the right direction. You won't forget the original, but overlooking the screechy female backing vocals this one wasn't bad. Would have been a blast to hear it live ... Curiously a couple of website claim Walden took credit for co-writing this one with Billy Gibbons. For what it's worth the album credits it solely to Gibbons.
"Cheverolet" was released as an A-Side Single with "You Know" on the B-Side.
5. Speak of the Devil (Snuffy Walden - Alan Roberts - Leslie Sampson) - 4:15
The lone group composition, 'Speak of the Devil' demonstrated a mix of bar boogie and commercial AOR moves. Nice, breezy melody, though the female backing vocalists were needless.
Penned by Roberts and showcasing Sampson on drums, 'Slave' found the band taking a somewhat tentative stab at a more progressive sound - imagine early Rush (sans the shrieky Geddy Lee vocals) and you'd have a rough idea of what this one sounded like. Didn't do much for me at first, but it's consistently grown on me.
7. Rocky Mountain Suite (Bad Road) (Snuffy Walden) - 8:24
'Rocky Mountain Suite (Bad Road)' started out as an acoustic ballad, but got a lot better a couple of minutes in when it morphed into a country-blues number showcasing some excellent Walden acoustic slide guitar. The track took another sep in the right direction when it reinvented itself as a jumpy Walden-powered rocker. For anyone interested, this one showcased Walden's best lead guitar work.
In March 1973, the British music magazine, NME, reported that Stray Dog were to support ELP on their world tour, which was due to commence in Germany at the end of that month. Stray Dog's follow-up album, While You're Down There (1974), was co-produced by Austin Godsey and the band, which featured new members Tim Dulaine on second guitar and vocals, and keyboardist Luis Cabaza. The additions of Dulaine and Cabaza radically changed the band's sound from blues-based power trio to a more subdued and commercial AOR rock sound. Much of the material on While You're Down There was written and sung by Dulaine, with founder Walden's contributions being reduced. Only two tracks, "I Would" and the instrumental "Worldwinds", retained a sound and stylistic approach reminiscent of their debut. Sampson had played previously in another power trio, Road, with Noel Redding, and American guitarist Rod Richards. They produced one self-titled 1972 album on the Rare Earth label.
After the band called it quits Walden joined a reunited Free where he replaced an incapacitated Paul Kossoff. He also worked with Kossoff in Back Street Crawler. He was a member of the Eric Burden Band, recorded some solo material and then went on to enjoy considerable success working in film and television - he's scored music for the likes of "The Wonder Years", "thirtysomething" and "The West Wing". Roberts was briefly a member of Aalon.
This post consists of MP3 (320kps) which I found in cyberspace some time ago and I thought it was time to unleash this Stray Dog and give it a home on this blog. Full album artwork for both Vinyl and CD formats is included, along with label scans and all photos displayed above. The live bonus tracks were released with the 2014 CD release where Tracks 8-11 were recorded live at Reading Rehearsals, London 1973 and Tracks 12-13 were recorded live in Rome, Italy 1973.
So folks, crank up the volume on ya amplifier and like Snuffy says in the opening track, 'fasten up your seat belts' cause this album is gonna give you the ride of ya life and rip ya throat out, both at the same time!
01. Tramp (How It Is) (Snuffy Walden, Al Roberts) - 7:04
02. Crazy (Snuffy Walden) - 5:12
04. Chevrolet (Billy Gibbons) - 3:50
05. Speak Of The Devil (Snuffy Walden, Al Roberts, Les Samson) - 3:52
06. Slave (Al Roberts) - 6:06
07. Rocky Mountain Suite (Bad Road) (Snuffy Walden) - 8:27
[Bonus Live Tracks]
08. Crazy (WG "Snuffy" Walden)+ - 5:43
09. The Journey (WG "Snuffy" Walden)+ - 13:57
10. Eric Takes A Walk+ - 1:48
11. Rocky Mountain Suite (Bad Road) (WG "Snuffy" Walden)+ - 9:38
13. Dog's Blues (Including Guitar Solo)* - 1:39
+ Tracks 8-11 Live At Reading Rehearsals, London 1973
* Tracks 12-13 Live In Rome, Italy 1973
- WG "Snuffy" Walden (William Garrett Walden) - guitar, vocals
- Al Roberts - bass, keyboards, vocals
- Les (Leslie) Sampson - drums, percussion, feet
Stray Dog Link (228Mb) New Link 04/04/2020