Stud


Band members                      Related acts

  line up 1 (1970-72)

- Jim Cregan -- vocals, lead guitar

- Richard McCracken (aka Charlie McCracken) -- bass

- John Weider -- violin, keyboards, guitar, backing vocals

- John Wilson --  drums, percussion 

 

  line up 2 (1972-73)

- Andrew Sneddon -- bass (replaced Richard McCracken)

- John Weider -- violin, keyboards, guitar, backing vocals

- Snowie White -- lead guitar (replaced Jim Cregan)

- John Wilson --  drums, percussion 

 

The Animals (John Weider)

- Axis Point (Charlie McCracken)

- The Blossom Toes (Jim Cregan)

- Julian Convey and the Machine (Jim Cregan)

- Cochise  (John Wilson)

- Jim Cregan (solo efforts)

- East of Eden (Andrew Sneddon)

- Family (Jim Cregan and John Weider)

- Farm Dogs (Jim Cregan)

- Hardin and York with Charlie McCracken

- Moonrider (John Weider)

- Ro Ro (John Weider)

- Streetwalkers (John Weider)

- Taste (Richard McCracken and John Wilson)

- Them (John Wilson)

- Thin Lizzy (Snowie White)

 

 

 


 

Genre: blues-rock

Rating: 2 stars **

Title:  Stud

Company: Deram

Catalog: SML-R 1084
Year:
 1971

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG+

Comments: lower right corner has a crease

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD 5919

Price: SOLD$150.00

 

 

Ah, Rory Gallagher and Taste ...  By late 1970 Taste had fallen apart with lead guitarist Rory Gallagher striking on as a solo act leaving bassist Richard 'Charlie' McCracken and former Then drummer John Wilson to continue their musical partnership in the band Stud.  Quickly recruiting ex-Blossom Toes lead guitarist Jim Cregan, within a matter of weeks the trio was touring and began writing material.

 

The combination of the band members' musical credentials and manager Eddie Kennedy's efforts were enough to attract the attention of Deram Records which signed the band to a contract, financing their cleverly-titled 1971 debut "Stud".  I'll be perfectly honest and tell you that the first time I played this album I was dumbfounded.  Expecting to hear something along the lines of Taste Part 2, the collection came off as being totally unfocused and largely uninspired.  Producer Billy Kennedy (manager Eddie's son) added little to the results, allowing the trio to bounce all over the musical spectrum. McCracken himself admitted the album had been recorded in a rush with little attention to commerciality.   Showcasing a hodgepodge of styles including folk ('Turn Over the Pages'), AOR ('Sail On') and even jazz-rock ('112235'), the six songs were professional, though seldom particularly inspiring.  The band was also at a disadvantage in that Cregan wasn't the most talented or inspiring lead singer.  Best of the set were the acoustic numbers 'Turn Over the Pages' and ''Song'.  Nice melodies, but again nothing that would knock you over.

 

- A likeable blend of country-rock flavored song that benefited from some tasty Cregan heavy guitar licks, the breezy 'Sail On' started the album off on a promising note.  Even though it came a slightly disorganized conclusion, it was probably the most outright commercial song on the album and would have sounded quite good on FM radio.  rating: *** stars

- Hardly what you'd expect to hear from these guys given their resumes, the acoustic ballad 'Turn Over the Pages' was a beautiful song with a nice understated performance from Cregan.   rating: *** stars

- '112235' started out with a couple of minutes or irritating noodling.  Atonal and discordant, the first two minutes of the composition were basically unlistenable.  From their it morphed into a seemingly endless jazz-rock fusion piece.  Technically I guess it was impressive, but it sure wasn't much fun to listen to.  I can't imagine them having ever tried to play it live - half the audience would have left.   rating: * star

- The instrumental 'Harpo's Head' started side two sounding like it was going to be a continuation of '112235'.  (Okay, technically it wasn't an instrumental since there were a couple of vocals at the end of the track.)  Another slice of jazz-rock fusion with the emphasis on Cregan's guitar, this one was quite as atonal, or long.  Yeah.  That's about all I can say about it.    rating: ** star

- The extended suite 'Horizon: Here/There' found the trio moving back to a mixture of acoustic folk 'Here') and more conventional rock ('There').  It may have been a bit touchy feely, but this one was probably the standout performance with a dreamy melody, some first rate acoustic guitar and a nice, easygoing vocal from Cregan. The rock-oriented second segment was equally good showcasing Cregan's best guitar solo.  Quite enjoyable.    rating: **** star

- 'Song' was another pretty acoustic ballad, but underscored Cregan's vocal limitations - particularly when he tried to stretch and hit the higher notes.      rating: ** star

 

Executive summary - professional, but hardly essential.

 

"Stud" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Sail On   (Jim Cregan - Richard McCracken - John Wilson) - 4:18

2.) Turn Over the Pages   (Richard McCracken - John Wilson) - 4:24

3.) 112235 (instrumental)   (Jim Cregan - Richard McCracken - John Wilson) - 12:26

 

(side 2)

1.) Harpo's Head   (Jim Cregan - Richard McCracken - John Wilson) - 7:19

2.) Horizon: Here/There   (Jim Cregan - Richard McCracken - John Wilson) - 11:08

3.) Song   (John Wilson) - 2:31

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  September

Company: BASF

Catalog: 20 29054-9
Year:
 1972

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: German pressing; gatefold sleeve

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD 5435

Price: SOLD $90.00

 

The combination of poor sales and rising disagreements between Deram and manager Eddie Kennedy saw the band dropped by Deram Records.  Luckily extensive touring in Germany paid off in terms of the trio finding a new sponsor with the German BASF label.   In addition, prior to recording their sophomore LP the trio added former Animals and Family multi-instrumentalist John Wider to the lineup.   Recorded in London's Command Studio with Billy Kennedy again producing, musically "September" was quite different from their debut.  Tracks like the mid-tempo rocker 'Good Things' and the ballads 'Corner', 'Samurai', and 'Five To Mid- Day' largely abandoned the debut's folk and jazz-rock leanings in favor of a far more commercial endeavor (though I'll admit Weider's violins were a source of irritation to my ears).  As on the debut, as the band's lead singer Cregan remained a hit-or-miss proposition.  His limited and fragile range was sorely tested on the ballads like 'God Knows', but he did better on the up-tempo and bluesy numbers.  A big part of the difference this time out was clearly attributable to the addition of Weider who contributed five of the ten songs, including the standout bluesy rocker 'Life without Music'.  Not perfect (the country number 'Red Wine' was hideous), but far better than the debut which for some reason remains the one collectors seek out and throw big money at.  Go for this one since it's far better and more affordable.

 

"September" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Good Things   (John Weider) - 4:00

2.) God Knows   (Jim Cregan - Richard McCracken) - 6:-3

3.) Corner   (Richard McCracken) - 1:50

4.) Life without Music   (John Weider) - 7:22

5.) Samurai   (John Cregan) - 2:21

 

(side 2)
1.) Five To Mid- Day   (Jim Cregan) - 6:05

2.) Prelude (instrumental)   (John Weider) - 2:10

3.) Bad Handlin  (instrumental)  (John Weider) - 3:30

4.) Ocean Boogie   (Jim Cregan) - 3:25

5.) Red Wine   (John Weider) - 4:23

 

For anyone curious, here's a picture of the full gatefold sleeve:

 


 

 


Genre: blues-rock

Rating: 2 stars **

Title:  Goodbye Live At Command

Company: BASF

Catalog: 20 29117-1
Year:
 1972

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: German pressing

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6138

Price: $75.00

 

 

Apparently under considerable pressure to fulfill a contractual obligation to BASF Records, 

Jim Cregan, Richard McCracken, John Weider, and John Wilson  regrouped long enough to complete what was billed as a live in-the-studio set.  Recorded in front of a select audience at London's Command Studio, 1973's "Goodbye Live At Command" found the band pulling together a mixture of five tracks; two pulled from each of the earlier studio sets and one new effort - the forgettable John Weider solo instrumental effort 'Big Bill's Banjo Band'.  While I'd love to tell you this was a killer retrospective, it wasn't.  Uninspired performances which were occasionally drawn out to mind numbing lengths (try to sit through the nearly twenty minute ling  'Horizon No. 2'), made this one a major challenge to get through.  Pass ...  

 

- Cregan's 'Samurai' was a pretty, but anonymous ballad, certainly not helped by the sappy lyrics, or what sounded like extensive post-production work - check out the string arrangement.   rating: ** stars

- The one new composition, the John Weider instrumental 'Big Bill's Banjo Band' did in fact featured an old timey banjo solo.  This one did absolutely nothing for me.   rating: * star

- Clocking in at just under 20 minutes (!!!), 'Horizon No. 2' was basically an extended jam with each of the members getting an opportunity to display their chops in extended solo sections.  Did anyone really need to hear an extended John Wilson drum solo?   Pity the poor studio audience since they were stuck for the whole performance.   rating: ** stars

- 'Ocean Boogie' was another pretty ballad, but was sabotaged by Cregan's uncertain vocal and some sub par backing from the string quartet that provided support.  rating: ** stars

- You knew you were in for a long day when 'Harpo's Head No.2' started out with a Wilson drum solo.  Call it what you like, but to my ears this was basically 16 + minutes of self-indulgent, occasionally almost discordant artistic whacking off.   Given me a Brian Eno album over this any day.    rating: * star

 

Not a particularly impressive way for the band to go out the door, though there may be some folks out there that enjoy this one.

 

"Stud Goodbye Live At Command" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Samurai  (Jim Cregan) - 2:45

2.) Big Bill's Banjo Band (instrumental)   (John Weider) - 1:07

3.) Horizon No. 2   (Jim Cregan - Richard McCracken - John Wilson) - 19:45

 

(side 2)

1.) Ocean Boogie   (Jim Cregan) - 3:27

2.) Harpo's Head No.2 (instrumental)   (Jim Cregan - Richard McCracken - John Wilson) - 16:52

 

 

Cregan's remained active in music over the ensuing years reappearing as a member of Family, followed by stints in Cockney Rebel, Streetwalkers and an extended run leading Rod Stewart's recording and touring band.  He also recorded a couple of LPs with Bern Taupin as Farm Dogs, as well as playing on and producing dozens of LPs.

 

Weider hooked up with singer Keith West in the band Moonrider.

 

McCracken joined a reunited Spencer Davis Group and also recorded a German release album with Hardin and York ("Hardin and York with Charlie McCracken" German Vertigo catalog number 6360 622).

 

 

 

Wilson tried to resurrect Stud with ex-East of Eden bassist Andrew Sneddown and future Thin Lizzy lead guitarist Snowie White, though the project went nowhere, effectively ending Stud's recording and performing career.

 

 

 

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