Maggie Bell – Suicide Sal (1975/2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 37:38 minutes | 431 MB | Genre: Blues
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front cover | © Repertoire Records (UK) Limited
Scottish soul-rock singer Maggie Bell first gained prominence singing with Stone the Crows, which released its first album in 1970 and broke up in June 1973. Bell went solo with Queen of the Night (featuring the U.S. number 97 “After Midnight”) in 1974, followed by Suicide Sal, both of which charted in the U.S. Her only U.K. chart singles came with “Hazell” (number 37) in 1978, and a duet with B.A. Robertson, “Hold Me” (number 11), in 1981.
he second and best solo album of the former soloist Stone the Crows, recorded after the tour in support of the successful debut album with the help of Peter Grant with guest participation of Jimmy Page (solo on If You do not know), and published on the label SwanSong. The record was more energetic and stiffer than the debut album, and is characterized by a feeling of “live” recording, reflecting the atmosphere of the concerts that Maggie and her band gave between the recording of the tracks of the album.
The producer of this album, as well as the debut album, was also Jerry Wexler. The album was recorded at the studio of Ringo Starr, who often looked “into the light” during the recording. Suicide Sal is the stage name of Maggie’s aunt, who was an extremely famous queen of the music hall in Scotland. The title track is written by Maggie with the help of her friends, the second is the author’s song – If You Do not Know – written by keyboardist Maggie Pete Wingfield. Another track belongs to the pen of the former colleague of Stone the Crows drummer Colin Allen and Zuta Mani, the rest of the tracks are covers, including the Beatles track with a slightly modified text.
The album sold well, but he enjoyed great popularity in America and Germany. The best solo work of one of the best blues and soul singers of Great Britain and the Scottish Queen of blues.
The success of Angel Air’s series of Maggie Bell reissues can be easily judged by the Scottish singer’s return to the U.K. after residing for years abroad, a planned autobiography, and her intention of touring. Although critically feted in the U.K., Bell, both solo and with her former band Stone the Crows, never quite achieved the commercial breakthrough everyone had so expected. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride, Bell’s recording career was punctuated by a sole Stone the Crows charting album. With that band’s demise in 1973, the soul singer went solo, releasing the (again) critically acclaimed Queen of the Night album, with 1975’s Suicide Sal following. A tougher, more energized set than its predecessor, Sal’s electrifying live feel reflects the incendiary stage shows Bell and her new backing band had been playing in the intervening time between recordings. The two bonus tracks, recorded at a gig later that year, capture their live ferocity. Intriguingly, the funky, fiery title track, an homage to Bell’s Aunt, a music hall star, is one of only two originals on this set. The second, the lavishly bluesy “If You Don’t Know” was penned by band keyboardist Pete Wingfield, and boasts a guesting Jimmy Page on guitar. The storming “Coming on Strong” also has a Bell connection, being co-penned by ex-Crow Colin Allen and Zoot Money. The rest of the album comprises astutely chosen covers drawn from an eclectic selection of artists. One of the standouts is “It’s Been So Long,” a powerful gospel number written by the Pretty Things’ Phil May, who not only rewrote some of the lyrics for Bell, but added his backing vocals to the song. Free’s classic “Wishing Well” gets a sensational workout, while that band’s offshoot Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu & Rabbit’s “Hold On” is taken to new emotive heights. From barrelling Beatles pop to the Sutherland Brothers poignant Gaelic ode, from ballads to hefty rock & roll, Bell struts across this set with style and such assurance, that even Aunt Sal must have been impressed. One of Britain’s greatest soul singers, showcased at her best, this magnificent album also includes an excellent, expansive biography of this crucial artist.
– Jo-Ann Greene
1. Maggie Bell – Wishing Well
2. Maggie Bell – Suicide Sal
3. Maggie Bell – I Was in Chains
4. Maggie Bell – If You Don’t Know
5. Maggie Bell – What You Got
6. Maggie Bell – In My Life
7. Maggie Bell – Comin’ on Strong
8. Maggie Bell – Hold On
9. Maggie Bell – I Saw Him Standing There
10. Maggie Bell – It’s Been so Long