The CD that you could be holding in your hand is the very first appearance of Al Staehely’s 1982 solo album on compact disc – and it’s about time. The collection of recordings, originally released in Europe on Polydor Records, has been deserving of the compact disc treatment ever since the inception of the CD. But Al’s solo album was originally released on vinyl - just a couple of years before the compact disc era began.
SteadyBoy Records head honcho – Freddie Krc first met Al Staehely in 1976 when both playing at a music festival in Lewisville, Texas, just north of Dallas. Freddie was B.W. Stevenson’s drummer in those days, while Al was holding down the bass guitar duties for Chris Hillman. Thanks to Freddie and the gang at SteadyBoy, this isn’t the only CD debut of Al Staehely solo album. It’s also the recordings first release in the U.S.
In the early 1970s, Al left his home in Austin Texas and headed to the West Coast. Once there, Al says, “I joined the group Spirit, wrote songs . . . and toured the world.”
Staehely joined Spirit at a pivotal time in the group’s history. When J Ferguson and Mark Andes left to form Jo Jo Gunne, followed by lead singer/guitarist Randy California splitting the scene, many thought it meant the end of the band. But, Al arrived just in the nick of time. Along with original band members Ed Cassidy and John Locke, Al and his brother, John “Chris” Staehely recorded Feedback in 1971. For the album, Al took over as the group’s lead vocalist, bass player and primary song writer. All Music Guide: The Definitive Guide to Popular Music calls Feedback “A remarkable album.” and that is it.
After leaving Spirit, Al and John – as the Staehely Brothers – recorded Sta.Hay.Lee for EPIC Records in 1974, an album comprised entirely of songs composed by older brother Al, except for “concrete and steel,” written by Spirit pianist, John Locke.
In the ensuing years, Staehely’s songwriting continued to flourished, with a number of major acts recording his compositions. Among them was the Who’s legendary drummer Keith Moon, who cut Al’s “Crazy Like a Fox” for his 1975 solo album, Two Sides of the Moon.
In 1982, Staehely toured Europe and recorded the album Monkey Medicine with the Nick Gravenites – John Cipollina Band. Two of Al’s songs from Monkey Medicine, “Hot Rods and Cool Women” and “Trust Me,” were also on his solo album.
All of the songs appearing here were recorded in 1982 at Third Coast Studio in Austin. Having Al’s 1982 solo album available on compact disc is a beautiful thing. And now that he is making music again, it’s an equally beautiful thing to know there’ll be new recordings by Al Staehely coming our way in the future.
_ Randy Poe (author of Skydog: The Duane Allman Story)
Purchase CD Online on Amazon