CRAWLER - Demo Anthology 1975-1978

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70s hard rock w/ ex-Free Paul Kossoff, now pretty rare, $85 and u p. Resell, pack a few extra dollars for ya!

history is filled with adversity. Originally named Back Street Crawler, the band suffered the loss of guitar great, Paul Kossoff, yet managed to release an extraordinary final album. Buoyed by the quality that this excellent band of musicians could produce, they shortened their name to Crawler and produced two fine rock and roll albums for Epic Records in the US. Unfortunately, that was the end of a great band. After their second album, Crawler elected to call it quits.

Fortunately, Crawler left behind a batch of demos and a wealth of live material. What remained was for an enterprising label such as England's Angel Air, to release some of this hidden treasure. And treasure it is. Given the fact that Crawler's effective life was shortened by a disinterested audience and a changing musical landscape, it's amazing how enduring their music is.

The first disc by Angel Air is an album of demos recorded between 1975 and 1978. This collection of songs, largely unfinished yet containing an essence of blues rock, highlights the greatness of the band that was unable to fully realize their potential during their time.Taken from unfinished songs 'in the can', "Demo Anthology" gives us more, not only of what we missed but also a glimpse into the song crafting process that Crawler employed.

18 songs are on this disc, filed in the year that the demo (song) was recorded. With this disc, we are afforded a rare view into the extraordinary output of Crawler as the band prepared to rehearse for their first Epic release and then their second, "Snake, Rattle & Roll" shortly thereafter.

Selections on this disc include the demos for "Sail On" and "First Class Operator", which were eventually finished and made it onto their second album. There are other songs that were demoed for the Snake sessions but didn't make it onto the final product. You can call these gems extended jams because that is what they turned out to be. The importance of this disc is that it gives up songs that would never be chosen (for the most part). It's like getting another Crawler album. The stuff is unrefined but if you're a fan, who cares.

Listening to the early 75 -76 songs is pure Crawler output. These songs were good enough to be released and that's why Angel Air in conjunction with Crawler, notably "Rabbit" Bundrick, released them. They rock. And with the world much poorer for only 2 official Crawler releases from Epic Records, discs like these help to fill the void. I'm actually enjoying this disc as the next release that we never got.

I'm not going to get into a song dissection here because every song is great. Although I would have loved an embryonic "Stone Cold Sober", "Demo Anthology" comes highly recommended.

If you can only get one of the two releases spoken about here, make "Demo Anthology" your definite first choice. It's contents are very effective and feels like another Crawler disc, something that a lot of us fans have always wished for. However, "Live at Agora" is still a good choice for the chance to hear Crawler in their natural environment. It's just a shame that "Stone Cold Sober" didn't get the treatment that the 10 minute plus "Blue Soul" received.

Both discs come with a detailed booklet essay that describes the history of the band. Both albums also feature picture discs. Overall, the albums are 'must have' collectible for Crawler fans.

Crawler has rocked as few have. It would be great for some of us to get a club circuit run by the original band so we can experience live one of the hottest blues rock band in the history of the genre." - Music