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Chasing Rainbows, LP (£16.21)
Stoney & the Jagged Edge started showing up at Detroit’s celebrated Grande Ballroom from February 1967. For many, they are remembered as titans of the early Detroit scene, influencing many local acts with their wild stage routines and sonic assault. Dave “Stoney” Mazur was the quintessential Detroit frontman, packing as much energy as Rob Tyner, sex appeal as Scott Richardson, soul as Scott Morgan or madness as Iggy Pop. Mazur’s cohorts, in particular adept guitarist Ira Pack, contributed the visceral soundtrack that ensured the Jagged Edge would not be quickly forgotten by all who experienced them.
After they ditched their original manager, the band signed with Jeep Holland’s A-Square Productions. The tastemaking Holland got them work beyond the teen clubs, and began work on an album to showcase the group’s original material, as thoughtful as it was powerful. The tense atmosphere on ‘Can’t Find The Key’, ‘Rainbows’ or ‘Crystal Rain’ is anything but predictable. An upward career path – blowing the Doors off the stage at Cobo Hall, for instance – was cruelly cut short by the sudden implosion of the original band in October 1968. A year later, they re-formed for a spate of shows with new personnel, but the magic was not the same.
Jeep Holland never did release the Jagged Edge recordings he produced, although he would play them enthusiastically for anyone who would listen, stating in public the group was “one of the most fertile and creative talents that Michigan has ever had”. Thus, Mazur and company became the stuff of an ever-developing legend amongst their hardcore coterie of fans and local rock aficionados. An additional repute as reprobate delinquents contributed equally to the mystique, the frisson of felony serving only to accentuate the attractiveness of these exemplary rockers.
The Chinese whispers of the Detroit rock grapevine had it that the Jagged Edge tapes had burned in a fire. Indeed, in my previous excavations of the A-Square vault, the location of these mythological recordings was a major priority, and a source proved elusive until very recently. Released as a special vinyl-only edition, “Chasing Rainbows” is an opportunity to finally hear this major missing piece in the jigsaw of vintage Detroit psychedelia. What it might lack in fidelity, it more than makes up for in sheer chaotic power. This very special package also includes a lengthy interview with Stoney Mazur and as such, is a long overdue tribute to a Detroit rock’n’roll legend.
By Alec Palao