Liner Note Author: Doug Sheppard.
Recording information: Great Lakes Studios, Sparta, MI; Mikeside Recording Studios, Minneapolis, MN; Sound 80, Inc., Minneapolis, MN; T.T.G. Studios, Hollywood, CA; Universal Studios, Chicago, IL.
A hard-charging blues-rock garage band out of Minneapolis led by the passionate singing of David Wagner, Crow had their big break when a track from the group's debut album for independent label Amaret Records, "Evil Woman (Don't Play Your Games with Me)," became a big national radio hit in 1969. But there were a couple of problems. First, the album's producers had added an uptown R&B horn chart to the song against the band's wishes, which meant that when it became a hit, Crow, who had no horn players, had a tough time promoting it on the playing circuit, becoming essentially two different bands, the live one and the studio one. More seriously, Amaret was too small a label to support a big national hit, and fans of the band often ended up with no place to purchase the album. It was ultimately too much for Crow to overcome, and the band struggled through two more albums before folding in 1971. Crow probably deserved a better fate, because it was a solid band, the studio version sounding like a funky version of Blood, Sweat & Tears while the touring version sounded like a harder-edged Doobie Brothers crossed, say, with the Trashmen. This set collects essential tracks from that Amaret run, and includes "Evil Woman," which started it all, an extended version of the follow-up single, "Cottage Cheese," the should-have-been-a-classic "(Don't Try to Lay No Boogie Woogie on the) King of Rock and Roll," and solid album tracks like "Watch That Cat" and "Keeps Me Running," as well as a previously unreleased demo version of the Beatles' "When I Get Home," which gives the song a wonderful and lightly funky shuffle rhythm. Crow should have been a big national act, and the proof of that is here, but the history of rock & roll is full of these kinds of stories, stories that have more could-haves and should-haves attached to them than history will allow. ~ Steve Leggett