July 16, 2009
1972 | A&M
Once considered the British equivalent to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Stealers Wheel are, perhaps unfortunately, now known almost solely for their 1972 classic, “Stuck In The Middle.” The reboot of “cool” that song gained after its inclusion in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs didn’t extend to the band itself, the Scottish duo of Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan. But “Stuck in the Middle” belies the easy cool that overflows from their eponymous debut.
Stealers Wheel were formed in Paisley, Renfrewshire in 1972 by a street performer (Rafferty) and a session musician (Egan). Maybe it’s these former professions (both jobs require a broad spectrum of musical abilities) that’s at work in making Stealers Wheel such a charmingly eclectic album. Opener “Late Again” sounds like Pink Floyd’s “Breathe” after a bag of mushrooms, full of blissed-out major chords. “I wonder why I stay when everybody’s gone away/ There’s always something there that keeps me hanging on,” is a hell of a lot more positive an outlook than the bleak England portrayed in Floyd’s mid-70s output, though.
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