Stray are one of the few surviving early 70's British hard rock outfits. The average age of the members was around seventeen when they were formed in the late sixties! Guitarists Del Bromham and Steve Gadd, who also handled most of the vocals, drummer Ritchie Cole and bassist Gary Giles recorded their first album, on Transatlantic Records, in 1970. It was a stunning album of riffy,driving hard rock, which should have set them on the road to fame and the acclaim they fully deserved. This was not to be, unfortunately, and they were tagged as the poor man's Status Quo, which did little to help their career. They continued to tour and record some excellent albums, 1971's "Saturday Morning Pictures" arguably being their best. "Houdini" was the second album to feature guitarist Pete Dyer, who replaced Steve Gadd in 1975 for the band's "Stand up and be Counted" album. They released a final album, "Hearts of Fire", in 1976, before calling it a day, but reformed for a one-off live album, "Live at The Marquee" in 1984. They split again and nothing was heard from the band until the mid nineties, when Bromham carried on where they had left off, in fine style, reliving the memories of one of England's best hard rock bands. A couple of new Stray albums, including a great live album, have surfaced in the last couple of years.

Stray 
Stray - Queen of the Sea, from "Saturday Morning Pictures", arguably their best album and one of the best hard rock albums of the early seventies. This was the third album from this tremendously talented but sadly underrated UK hard rock outfit who were formed in 1970 by bassist Gary Giles, guitarist/keyboard player/vocalist Del Bromham, guitarist/vocalist Steve Gadd (no relation to the famous jazz drummer!), and drummer Ritchie Cole. Their self-titled album, released on Transatlantic Records in 1970, is full of guitar-driven hard rock, with the band displaying the ability to write and play excellent music in spite of the fact that their average age was around seventeen years old at the time! They deserved much more attention than they received, sometimes being tagged as the "poor man's Status Quo", which hardly helped their cause much. By the time our featured album came around in 1971, Stray had developed into a really polished outfit and it showed on the album, especially on tracks like "Queen of the Sea". The line-up remained together for a total of seven albums before Gadd departed and was replaced by Pete Dyer, previously with John Renbourn. Stray split in 1976 and reformed for a once off live album ("Live at the Marquee", with Bromham, Dyer, Giles and Cole) in 1984. Bromham had, in the meantime, joined Nightwing/Strife bassist/vocalist Gordon Rowley and Nightwing drummer Steve Bartley in the promising Razorback. Their sole album, "First Bite", was, as far as we know, never officially released. Stray were back with a bang as ''Del Bromham's Stray" in the mid nineties. Joining the founding guitarist/vocalist were Dusty Miller on bass and vocals and Phil McKee on drums and vocals. Their comeback album, "Alive and Kicking", released on Mystic Records, showed that Stray and Bromham in particular, still had a lot to offer. This new trio released their excellent first studio album, ''New Dawn", in late 1997. As Bromham said in his sleeve liner notes, "... a new dawn, a new era for Stray, maintaining its identity yet not turning its back on what has gone before...". A new Stray album, "Stray 10", featuring new members John Bootle on bass and Paul Watson on drums, has just been released. Check out our new releases section in the next few weeks for a review of this promising album.  
  
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Biography by James Christopher Monger
London, England's Stray yielded a prolific career yet managed to elude the fame enjoyed by contemporaries like Cream, Thin Lizzy, or even Mountain. Formed in 1966, the hard rock, prog, and R&B outfit comprised of vocalist/guitarist Del Bromham, vocalist/guitarist Steve Gadd, bass player Gary Giles, and drummer Ritchie Cole signed to Transatlantic Records and released its debut, self-titled album in 1970. The group flirted with success throughout the '70s, releasing nine more records and even recruiting Charlie Kray — the brother of the notorious Kray twins — as their manager. In 1975, just prior to the release of Houdini, Gadd was replaced by Peter Dyer, who injected some much-needed life into the band, though the end was near for the financially strapped rockers. They released their last record, the ambitious Hearts of Fire, in 1976 on the Pye label, and proceeded to splinter off into various solo projects. Bromham re-formed the group in 1997 as a three-piece with newcomers Dusty Miller and Phil McKee, renaming the band Del Bromham's Stray, and released a live record called Alive and Giggin' on Mystic Records. In 2003, Castle put out the sprawling 35-track Anthology: 1970-1977. The majority of Stray's back catalog remains out of print. 

 

Del Bromham
Richie Cole
Pete Dyer
Gary G. Giles
Steve Gadd

Nazareth
Mountain
Grand Funk Railroad
Steppenwolf
The James Gang
Blue Öyster Cult
Foghat
Ten Years After
Thin Lizzy
Blackfoot
Cream
Free
The Pretty Things
The Groundhogs
Led Zeppelin
Deep Purple
Bad Company

If you have any contribution to make to this band or something to add, email me - Japie Marais.

 

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Stray - 1970 - Stray - 4/5

Stray - 1971 - Suicide - 3.5/5

Stray - 1972 - Saturday Morning Pictures - 3.5/5

Stray - 1973 - Mudanzas - 3.5/5

Stray - 1974 - Move It - 3.5/5

Stray - 1975 - Stand Up And Be Counted - 3/5

Stray - 1976 - Hearts of Fire - 3/5

Stray - 1976 - Houdini - 3/5

Stray - 2003 - 10 - 3.5/5

Stray - 2003 - Alive and Giggin' - 3.5/5

Stray - 2003 - Live At The Marquee - 4/5

Stray - 2003 - Live in Yer Face - 4/5

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