Maggie Bell - Live At The Rainbow (1974 uk, great classic/blues rock) Flac

Maggie Bell was born in Glasgow and started singing professionally in the city’s Locarno Ballroom when she was just 17. In 1969 she teamed up with guitarist Leslie Harvey and eventually formed STONE THE CROWS. 

With the prospect of a solo career Maggie enlisted the help of legendary producer Jerry Wexler with whom she recorded 2 albums. Forward to 1974: Although Maggie’s new studio album, “"Suicide Sal”“ was not scheduled for release until 1975, it was already in the can when she embarked upon her UK promotional tour. 

Her gigs were sold out affairs and she was supported by an incredible array of musicians who portrayed empathy with her very individualistic vocal style. A sell out tour of the uk was just what she needed before the release of her first solo album. This is just what she achieved. The rave reviews of every concert consolidated her position as Britain’s No 1 female vocalist…

"Live at the Rainbow” catches Glasgow-born Maggie Bell, formerly lead singer of seminal Scottish super groups “Stone the Crows,” and “The Faces,” at the top of her considerable powers, in London’s prestigious Rainbow Theatre in 1974. (Before the show, she’d had an attack of nerves and lost her voice, we are told. However, an emergency chicken vindaloo and two large brandies helped restore her equilibrium.) Bell was on her United Kingdom promotional tour for her most previous hit on Atlantic Records, Suicide Sal. 

At tour’s opening in her home town, Glasgow, at The Apollo Theatre, Jimmy Page, of the legendary British heavy-metal group Led Zeppelin was among the cheering audience: Robert Plant, and John Bonham, also of Led Zeppelin, caught her act in Birmingham’s Town Hall. But the dynamic soul singer/blues belter has here chosen to give us another female-oriented album. 

The digitally remastered album features takes of “Suicide Sal,” which she wrote herself, and was to be the title of her next release, and two long blues. “As the Years Go Passing By,” for my money the definitive take of this classic blues, even as considered up against American blues stars such as Albert King and B.B.King (not related). (Bell’s pianist Pete Wingfield here follows the inspired footprints of Cornell Dupree, which flavor her first recording of this classic, from Queen of the Night.) Further, an old standby of the singer’s, Brownie McGhee’s “Penicillin Blues.” “I Was in Chains,” is a nostalgic, very Scottish number. “I Saw Him Standing There,” a rocking Beatles composition. And, in the encore, a loose but frenetic take of The Isley Brothers’ “Shout.” 

The album comes from the personal archive of Mo Foster, its producer, and her bass guitarist: he is quoted as saying Bell must have been inspired by Billie Holiday to sing “Ain’t Misbehaving,” in the soul medley as she does. Paul Francis plays drums, Brian Breeze, electric guitar. 

Maggie, and that huge voice of hers, currently live quietly in Rotterdam, Holland. But this record surely lives on, a testament to her powers….

(by Stephanie De Pue)


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