Band members Related acts
- Denny Caswell -- drums, percussion, backing vocals
(1969-72) (replaced Mike Malasgar)
- Mike Malasgar -- drums, percussion (1967-68)
- Gwen Matthews -- vocals (1971)
- Dave 'Kink' Middlemist -- keyboards, backing vocals
- Debbie Oldenwald -- vocals (1971)
- Chico Perez -- percussion (1971)
- Mick Stanhope -- vocals (replaced Dave Wagner
- Dave Waggoner (aka Dave Wagner) -- vocals
- Dick Wiegand -- lead guitar (1967-72)
- Larry Wiegand
-- bass, backing vocals (1967-72)
- Blackwood Apology (Denny Caswell)
- The Castaways (Denny Caswell)
- South 40
- Dave Wagner (solo efforts)
- White Lightening (Mick Stanhope)
Rating: *** (3 stars)
Title: Crow Music
Country/State: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Grade (cover/record): VG/VG
Comments: minor ring and edge wear
GEMM catalog ID: 4890
To my ears Minneapolis, Minnesota's Crow embodies the concept of mid-western rock. There's nothing subtle or complex about the band's catalog. Watcha see is watcha get; in this case straight ahead, smash mouth rock and roll.
Crow traces its roots back to the Minneapolis' South 40, which in turn evolved out of a pair of local bands; Jokers Wild and The Rave-Ons. South 40 featured the core of what was to become Crow - drummer Harry Nehls, keyboardist Dave "Kink" Middlemist, guitarist Dick Wiegand, bassist Larry Wiegand (bass), and singer Dave Wagner. A true bar band, the group's blend of popular R&B and rock covers and originals generated a local following and one album on the local Metrobeat label - 1967's "South 40 Live At Someplace Else!" (Metrobeat catalog number MBS-1000).
South 40's big break came when they entered and won a 1968 'battle of the bands' contest sponsored by The National Ballroom Operators Association. The prize was a recording session with Columbia Records. Their win was followed by two key changes. Deciding South 40 was too backwoods a nametag, the band opted for a name change with Crow being chosen for it's dark overtones and the fact it was short. Secondly, original drummer Nehls quit to join Minneapolis' T.C. Atlantic. He was quickly replaced by Mike Malasgar.
Armed with their revised line up and name the group went into Columbia Studios recording a series of five demos, including 'Evil Woman', 'Gonna Leave a Mark' and 'Busy Day'. Unfortunately Columbia management elected not to sign the group. Luckily A&R man/producer Bob Monaco had seen some of the recording sessions and took an active roll in shopping the band around with the small Capital Records affiliated Amaret label ultimately signing the band (over the group's protests that they should go with Atlantic Records which had also expressed interest in the group).
Produced by Bob Monaco and powered by Dave Wagner's growl of a voice, 1969's "Crow Music" debuted the group's bare bones, no-frills attack. A mixture of the five previous recorded demos and five new tracks, the album also introduced former Castaways drummer Denny Caswell to the line up. Crow probably doesn't make many top-10 favorites list, but they did have their moment in the sun - in this case the gloriously heavy 'Evil Woman (Don't Play Your Games with Me)'. Even the addition of a sloppy horn arrangement couldn't spoil the track (and to the band's everlasting credit they fought against overdubbing the horns). Nothing else on the set was quite as good, but with three of the five members contributing material, there were plenty of worthwhile efforts including 'Busy Day', 'Gonna Leave A Mark' and the extended blues workout 'Sleepy Woman'. No it won't change your life, but so what. As a debut it's better than 80% of the stuff you'll hear.
Amaret pulled two singles from the album. The debut 45 did nothing: 'Time To Make A Turn' b/w 'Busy Day' (Amaret catalog # 45-106). In contrast 'Evil Woman' b/w 'Gonna Leave a Mark' (Amaret catalog number 45-112) provided the band with a top-20 hit. Propelled by the hit single the parent album also sold well, peaking at # 69.
"Crow Music" track listing:
2.) White Eyes (Larry Wiegand - Richard Weigand) - 4:13
3.) Thoughts (Dave Waggoner) - 4:48
4.) Da Da Song (Dave Middlemist) - 3:19
5.) Busy Day (Larry Wiegand) - 2:30
2.) Rollin' (Richard Weigand - Dave Waggoner) - 3:20
3.) Listen To The Bop (Larry Wiegand - Richard Weigand - Dave Waggoner) - 3:07
4.) Gonna Leave A Mark (Larry Wiegand) - 2:53
5.) Sleepy Woman (Larry Wiegand) - 9:53
Rating: *** (3 stars)
Country/State: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: "for D.J. use" stamp on back cover
GEMM catalog ID: 4216
To my ears their third and final studio set, 1970's "Mosaic" isn't a major departure from their earlier catalog. Produced by Bob Monaco, exemplified by material such as "Sky Is Crying" and "Keeps Me Runnin'" the album offers up another set of straight-ahead mid-western hard rock. With the exception of Larry Wiengand's atypical jazzy "Easy Street" (quite an interesting change of pace), and the weird, soul-ish "I Need Love", it's not particularly subtle or sophisticated, but then that isn't what Crow fans were looking for. Sure, the album may be somewhat limited in terms of scope, but Wagoner had a great set of pipes and the band were quite good at what they did. Elsewhere, a remake of the oldie '(Don't Try To Lay No Boogie Woogie On the) King of Rock and Roll' b/w 'Satisfied' (Amaret catalog number 45-125) and 'Yellow Dawg' b/w 'Watching Can Waste Up Time' (Amaret catalog number 45-129) were pulled as modestly successful singles. Even though the band had begun to record material for a fourth album, by the end of 1971 the combination of growing unhappiness with their label and sheer exhaustion effectively spelled the end of the group. Wagner was the first to give notice, but faced with a significant financial debt, the remaining members decided to soldier on, quickly replacing him with former White Lightening drummer/singer Mick Stanhope. The revamped band struggled on for roughly a year before finally calling it quits in 1972.
(Jeff Thomas) - 2:30
2.) Easy Street (Larry Wiegand) - 5:03
3.) Yellow Dawg (Larry Wiegand) - 3:01
4.) Sky Is Crying (James - Robinson - Lewis) - 5:57
5.) I Need Love (Larry Wiegand - Dick Wiedgand - Dave Middlemist) - 4:22
2.) Watching Can Waste Up Time (Larry Wiegand - Dick Wiedgand) - 3:58
3.) Satisfied (Larry Wiedgand - Dave Middlemist) - 5:13
4.) Watch That Cat (R. Wiegand - Dave Waggoner) - 5:30
5.) Let's Not Say Goodbye (Dave Middlemist - Dave Waggoner) - 5:10
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