Album review: STINGRAY (Remaster with bonus track)

Bad Reputation France [Release date 05.03.21]

Enterprising French label, Bad Reputation, has been bringing some excellent new material to our attention recently. But for now we’ll focus on some classic blasts from the past, beginning with criminally overlooked South African band, Stingray.

Their 1979 debut album had all the drive, urgency and rich harmonies of the nascent Styx sound, bound together in remarkably sophisticated arrangements. It made a few waves in the music press at the time, a few perceptive critics sat up and took notice, but surprisingly, it didn’t make the worldwide breakthrough everyone expected.

Three singles taken from the album all scored in their home country’s charts. ‘Where Do We Go From Here’ shows the band’s music dressed in pomp splendour. ‘Better The Devil You Know’ (not that one) gets a bit of dirt under its fingernails, and the punchy, driven, ‘The Man In My Shoes’ could’ve fallen off the back of Styx’s tour bus.

Those are the more obviously commercial tracks. But not necessarily the most interesting, or indeed the most satisfying.

Band leader, vocalist, producer and main songwriter, Dennis East was clearly acutely aware of the growing worldwide populism of radio pop and rock. ‘Love Saver’ has the authoritative stamp of Denis DeYoung, and his penchant for street level theatricality, shorn of bloat and bluster.

The memorably melodic ‘How Much’ is very much an echo of Boston’s or REO Speedwagon’s epic rock ballad style, carrying Stingray’s fight for fame right into the USA’s AOR heartlands.

But amazingly it failed to register outside of South Africa.  Those two songs alone should have been enough, but no.

A second album was released, but the band folded soon after.

Bad Reputation have recently released an expansively remastered version of the debut album, adding a bonus track, an edit of the band’s hit single, ‘Better The Devil You Know’.
Digitally restored artwork too. ****

Review by Brian McGowan

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 12 September 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 14 September 2021.

Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.
You can Listen Again to shows via the presenter pages at

Featured Albums w/c 6 September 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 HEARTLAND Into The Future (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 VEGA Anarchy And Unity (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 JACKSON BROWNE Downhill From Everywhere (indie)

Power Plays w/c 20 September 2021 (Mon-Fri)

BAD TOUCH Twenty Five Miles (Marshall)
THE HUMAN VEIL Enemies (indie)
DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY Now’s The Time (Golden Robot Records)
VANSLEEP Oceans (indie)
TRUE NORTH Save Me (Out Of Line Music)
SORROW & THE SPIRE In The City Tonight (Golden Robot Records)

Popular (last 30 days)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in ALBUM REVIEWS, ALBUM REVIEWS (Mobile), ALL POSTS, Reissues and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply