Monday, August 6, 2007

Strongbow - Strongbow (1975)

Columbus, Ohio was home to Strongbow, whose life began in the middle of 1973. Initially a four piece, the band expanded to a quintet after a few months of gigging and soon landed a contract with Southwind Records. Over a year of touring, building a fan base and writing ensued before their self-titled debut was issued in 1975. Southwind, a tiny subsidiary of Buddah Records, failed to give the band and album any considerable promotional push and soon the album was lying in cutout bins across the country.

At a time when image conscious artists like David Bowie, Alice Cooper and Kiss were peaking, it appears that Strongbow were just simply overlooked. The band fought onward, attempting to write and record a followup album, but management and the label were deadlocked in contractual disputes causing the band to finally give up the ghost in early 1978. Members went on to continue working the local scene, though the majority of them have long since retired from the business.

"Strongbow" is a fairly decent album, though it does tend to be a bit faceless. Certainly a talented bunch, the performances here are stellar but the bland vocals hinder much of the proceedings. The opening track, "One Armed Bandit" is a standout which balances light progressive flourishes with classic 70's rock to great effect. "Move Over Gloom" packs a great groove, but is somewhat diminished by vapid lyrics. "Wine Eyes" is an edgier track here and is also effective and well written. The rest is a bit questionable, sounding a little like a poor man's Nektar (Magic Is a Child lineup).

Despite being short on stellar material, Strongbow's sole effort is worthy of attention here simply due to its rarity. Whether mid 70's neo prog is your thing or not, this interesting midwestern quintet is worthy of a second look...even if only for a brief moment. Enjoy!

29 comments:

Scott said...

Thanks to you for all the great classics! Good stuff.
Here's Trooper from 1975. Ripped only at 128 (better than nothing).

http://alocacoc-blog.blogspot.com/2007/07/request.html

Ronnie (aka J) said...

Thx Scott...yes, I actually already have the batch posted by Alocacoc and it seems his source was the same as the one I got mine from years ago. BAD SOUNDING TRANSFER...but hopefully, Alocacoc will be reposting his own rip at a much better bitrate. He always does fine work. Thx for looking out for me though! :)

Rob said...

Hi Ronnie ,
thanks a lot for the strongbow ,I missed out on getting a copy of this from e bay sometime back,so great to hear it at last!
here's the spy cd.
Ripped from my japanese cd at 320k
this is a great album!enjoy!
cheers..

http://rapidshare.com/files/
47376926/spy.rar.html

Ronnie (aka J) said...

Gracias, Rob! Glad to finally have this one marked off the wishlist....you rule!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Ronnie (aka J),

This is John Durzo (aka Dago Red) from Strongbow. Still playing bass. The drummer and both keyboard/horn players are still gigging as well; however, the guitar player passed away some time ago. Let me know if you want the real news on Strongbow. You're pretty close on some of the facts. I'm fly with your comments on the album, but Hazy May was my favorite. You should hear Strongbow's rendition of Can't Get Next To You....

John

David Smith said...

Hey Ronnie,
This is the Drummer from Strongbow...It was very strange but at the same time, very cool to read a review of our album after 32 years.....I am still playing regularly....Like John said, I too am fine with your comments on the album....We were a powerhouse of a band live....The recording did not do us justice....
Thank You so much.. David Smith..

Ronnie (aka J) said...

It's excellent having you both drop in, David & John. I'd be more than happy to edit this entry with your comments on Strongbow's history, etc.. As for the review, I'd prefer to call it a "guideline", since I'm far from an informed music critic. :) I'd love to hear a live recording, if one exists!

John Durzo said...

Hey, Ronnie,

Contact me & I'll get you some live stuff.

John

Ronnie (aka J) said...

John, you can reach me at my email posted at the bottom of the right margin on the main blog page. Click "Requests & Submissions", ok?

John Durzo said...

Ronnie,

Let me know if you got the files. The live stuff is not the greatest recording, but gives you some idea of our live sound.

John

janamunga said...

My Mom used to party with these guys and said they were amazing live! She just recently found and purchased this album which i am completely digging!

Anonymous said...

Anyone got Strongbow’s album as MP3's? My copy is totally worn out, plus I no longer have a turntable. Followed ‘Bow around the city at the Sugar Shack, Mr. Brown’s and Villa East. One of the best shows was their reunion show at the Sugar Shack.

I also would love to get a copy of the live stuff. Use to have a copy that I got from Bendler but it got lost in one of my moves.

Hey David – you still in Columbus? (For those who never saw Strongbow, David is one of the best drummer’s on the planet.) Any recording’s of Sting around?

Marty

Liberty said...

Hey now! Great blog! Could someone please send me a copy of Move Over Gloom on mp3? Been looking for years and it seems this seed is dead.

Thanks in advance
Tim
liberty.lynch@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Not totally dead. I check in every once in awhile hoping to find a lead to some Strongbow on MP3. Never give up as last year I found CD's of Carnegie (played at the Agora in Columbus in 1977 or 1978).

Marty

Anonymous said...

Had this album back in the '70s and always enjoyed it. I've read that there's a CD called "Strongbow Con Carne" which consists of earlier demos of the songs, said to be even better than the album versions. So far I can't even find proof that this really exists, let alone a copy of the CD itself. Can anyone help?

beaugraham said...

hey ronnie is the strongbow album
one of the albums you lost in your hard drive crash. or can you repost it. thanks

beaug said...

hey ronnie i never got a response do you have the strongbow lp or is that one of the albums you lost in your crash????

J Richter said...

I no longer have the Strongbow files, due to the crash. Try the RareMP3 blog linked on my main page. Do a search. It was posted there more recently.

Anonymous said...

Strongbow was an excellent band. My uncle michael shortland was the guitar player for them and he was awesome. Unfortanatly he passed away at a very young 43. I have an original copy of there first album ever made and will keep it forever in the family.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous/Marty, Michael Shortland is greatly missed by all musicians he played with. Contact me for WAV files of Strongbow material. johndurzo@gmail.com

Bob Armbruster said...

Hey Ronnie, Just wanted to update you that the keyboard/sax player for the band is still into music albeit not full time. John Stelzer is a prolific songwriter. His style has matured from the Strongbow days into a more "Contemporary Jazz" (if you like genre titles - which I don't)style. John and I record in a "studio band" (think Steely Dan) called FluidMotion. He has written some fine tunes that we have recorded in our studio in Columbus Ohio. Just an FYI - Bob A (Drums)

Anonymous said...

Sorry to here Michael Shortland passed away. Our group completed some session work with him when he owned his music shop on Bethel Road in the lates 80s and early 90s. It is a shame the good always die young! Thanks for the update.

Anonymous said...

Bill Bendler is a great guy, I love the Danger Brothers.

Anonymous said...

wow great album, someone can post a link please ?

Udanax2 said...

HI Ronnie,

I enjoy your "Robots For Ronnie" blog. I am commenting to ask your a favor. My friend David Smith was the drummer for "Strongbow" and has been searching for a copy, so I am asking if it is possible for you to re-upload it in another upload site, since Megaupload is no longer? I would be very grateful & he would be very happy to have it. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Chris

J said...

Hey Chris, normally I don't re-up files mainly because it'd take me forever to do everything that has expired over the years. However, here's a link to the LP at 320kbps. Good quality sound. Send my best to David & I hope he enjoys this flashback :)

https://mega.co.nz/#%21SYtEQKhB%21Nx7uN6NHWS0QflUksv--ssUkLhiZ-vjvjh-ZGafgtFk

Udanax2 said...

Hi J -

Chris here again wanting top thank you very much for this. David is my best friends' sisters husband and they are coming over for Christmas dinner & I really wanted to surprise him with a copy. I am very grateful for the time you took to re-up it for me & I hope you have a great Holiday season my friend.

Always,
Chris

Udanax2 said...

P.S. I will send David your regards & I am sure he will enjoy hearing them again.

~Chris

H Jimm said...

These guys were so good live. My sister Mary Ellen was really good friends with many of them so we saw them live when ever we could. Their album has always been on my playlist.

Jimm