|Easy Money / Poor Dog Blue, The Mal Gray Band
Pollytone/American Music Connection, 2003
Mal Gray, born in Camberwell, London in 1946, was the original lead singer with the Wild Angels, recording two chart albums, "Live at the Revolution" and "Red Hot and Rockin'", in 1970 and 1971. He also recorded several singles at that time, including the self-penned "Sally Ann". Mal was guest vocalist with the American band Sha-na-na from 1971 to 1974 and band leader to Bill Haley from 1976 to 1981, co-writing "I Need the Music" for Bill in 1979. He also co-wrote "Next Motel" for Joe Sun in 1980. The Mal Gray Band was support for Fats Domino on 12 European tours. Mal has collaborated on various projects over the years with writer/producers Pete Wingfield, Tom McGuiness and Pete Gage - including the singles "Nervous Breakdown", "Watch the Wheels", "Quarter to Three", "Rock With Me Baby", "Rock 'n' Roll Man", "Can't Get Through" and "School is Out".
Mal has worked with all the major rock 'n' roll names (except Elvis) including Gene Vincent, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bill Haley, Fats Domino, Roy Orbison - and many country acts such as Johnny Cash, Marie Osmond, Tammy Wynette, George Jones, plus BB King from the Blues world, and Bruce Springsteen. Mal has also been lead vocalist and director of the very successful American Pie Rock 'n' Roll Theatre Show. Mal says: "I have recently returned to songwriting and recording. I'd be interested to work with anyone with a rock 'n' roll spirit."
And now Pollytone Records and American Music Connection have released a promotional CD of The Mal Gray Band containing 4 tracks, 3 of which Mal co-wrote himself. The sound of these recordings is very modern, well recorded and mixed and nothing wild like Mal's old stuff. "Easy Money", "Poor Dog Blue" and "Hey Gina" are indeed a rockers, the kind to which you can dance the two-step. I don't think any of the Teds and rockers that used to go to Wild Angels gigs will get any shivers from these clean recordings. The last track is a Mink DeVille hit titled "Spanish Stroll". Not re-arranged for rock 'n' roll, it sounds a lot like Mink's original, and I never considered it a rock 'n' roll song. The sound is perfect, the music is perfect, but it did not get me on my feet...
The Mal Gray Band are:
Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2003
More info about The Wild Angels: