4 out of 5 Stars!
I always had a special place in my hard-rockin’ heart for Back Street Crawler, a band with such promise, such talent, such passion…and such rotten, rotten luck.
Created out of the instinct and drive to continue onward after the demise of the band Free, guitarist (and tragic soul) Paul Kossoff fought to kick his nasty drug habit and return to the rock ‘n’ roll world, going back into the studio to complete a side project he’d started in better—ie. more lucid—days. Thankfully, he soon joined with some skillful musicians who shared his vision, and the group Back Street Crawler burst onto the scene with a rollicking album of mostly blues-based/slightly funk-based Hard Rock that occasionally shared much of the same vibe, style, and attitude as Free and Mott The Hoople (and, ultimately, Bad Company), and also groups such as Rolling Stones, Spooky Tooth, Humble Pie, and Faces.
Happily, Paul’s recognizable guitar tones, riffs, and solos steered the band’s direction, and BSC offered up material that seemed to guarantee a bright future. Tracks such as the rockin’ title tune, “Stealing My Way,” “Rock & Roll Junkie,” “All The Girls are Crazy,” “Train Song,” and “Survivor,” along with the laid-back “It’s A Long Way Down To The Top” and “Jason Blue,” plus the funkified yet Free-ish opener “Hoo Doo Woman,” all display Kossoff’s underestimated brilliance, not to mention the admirable chops of his fellow band members, and made for a pleasurable collection.
But the damned drugs once again crept onto the scene to blacken the rosy picture for Paul, and after releasing another enjoyable album with the band the following year, he shockingly passed away at the young age of 26. The remainder of the group members, not letting the tragedy completely destroy them, soon recruited a new guitarist and continued on with the shortened name of Crawler, releasing two funkier albums in the subsequent years.
Regardless, since The Band Plays On displays Kossoff’s six-string talent, it’s a “must-have” album for all fans of blues-inspired Hard Rock.