Paul Kossoff’s last band. The Band Plays On, 2nd Street, Live At Fairfield Hall Croydon and Final Performance.
The story of Back Street Crawler is sadly a short one, but also a tale of what might have been. After forming in 1968, the British blues rock legends Free finally called it a day after 1972’s ‘Heartbreaker’, just as the band was on the verge of cracking America. Free guitarist Paul Kossoff’s first move was to record his solo album ‘Back Street Crawler’ for Island Records in 1973. Joining forces with Terry Wilson (bass), Mike Montgomery (keyboards) and Tony Braunagel (drums), who had played together in Bloontzfrom, plus singer Terry Wilson-Slesser, Kossoff’s ‘Back Street Crawler’ solo record gave the new band their name, who were then signed by Ahmet Ertegun to Atlantic Records.
Prior to the release of their debut album ‘The Band Plays On’, they performed a handful of UK shows, including a gig at Croydon’s Fairfield Hall on 15th June 1975, captured in this box featuring the songs ‘The Band Played On’, ‘It’s A Long Way Down To The Top’, ‘New York, New York’, ‘Train Song’ and ‘Survivor’ from the band’s debut, as well as Kossoff’s ‘Molten Gold’ and the blues rock classic, ‘The Hunter’.
Further touring was curtailed by Kossoff’s ill-health, but he regained enough strength to record on second album, ‘2nd Street’. Now featuring the keyboards of former Free and future The Who member, John ‘Rabbit’ Bundrick, the album includes “Blue Soul”, “Stop Doing What You’re Doing”, “Raging River” and “Leaves In The Wind”. Kossoff tragically passed away before the album’s release, which was “Dedicated To Koss” on the posthumously issued LP.
The band played a series of shows at the famed Starwood club in Los Angeles, a regular venue for up and coming rock acts. Sadly, this 3rd March 1976 show would be Paul Kossoff’s final ever performance, but fortunately a fan was present to illicitly record the show, seven tracks of which are reproduced on the fourth CD. Featuring plenty of rare, contemporary memorabilia, this collection comes with the full involvement of Back Street Crawler front man and singer, Terry Wilson-Slesser.
Disc One: The Band Plays On (1975): Who Do Women / New York, New York / Stealing My Way / Survivor / It’s A Long Way Down To The Top / All The Girls Are Crazy / Jason Blue / Train Song / Rock & Roll Junkie / The Band Plays On
Disc Two: 2nd Street (1976): Selfish Lover / Blue Soul / Stop Doing What You’re Doing / Raging River / Some Kind Of Happy / Sweet, Sweet Beauty / Just For You / On Your Life / Leaves In The Wind
Disc Three: Live At Fairfield Hall, Croydon (1975): The Band Played On / Sidekick To The Stars / It’s A Long Way Down To The Top / New York, New York / Train Song / Survivor / Stealing My Way / All The Girls Are Crazy / Jason Blue / Rock & Roll Junkie / Molten Gold / The Hunter / We Won / Bird Song Blues
Disc Four: Final Performance - Live At The Starwood Club, Los Angeles: 3rd March 1976: Who Do Women / Stealing My Way / Cheat On Me / Common Mortal Man / Train Song / Just For The Box / It’s A Long Way Down To The Top // Bonus Tracks : Jason Blue (Outtake) / Evening Time (Unreleased) / It’s A Long Way Down To The Top (Outtake) / She’s Gone (Unreleased)