Stray: Valhalla

Still raising considerable hell.

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Together since 1966, Stray have been ploughing their progressive rock furrow for over four decades with very little reward.

Reduced quite effectively to a trio, wiry guitarist/vocalist Del Bromham is the only original member on this impressive return to form. It has passion, fire, intensity and anger in tracks like 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Free At Last and Harry Farr.

The first four Stray albums were essential items in every self-respecting rock fan’s library; this one should be added to the collection.

Peter Makowski

Pete Makowski joined Sounds music weekly aged 15 as a messenger boy, and was soon reviewing albums. When no-one at the paper wanted to review Deep Purple's Made In Japan in December 1972, Makowski did the honours. The following week the phone rang in the Sounds office. It was Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. "Thanks for the review," said Blackmore. "How would you like to come on tour with us in Europe?" He also wrote for Street Life, New Music News, Kerrang!, Soundcheck, Metal Hammer and This Is Rock, and was a press officer for Black SabbathHawkwindMotörhead, the New York Dolls and more. Sounds Editor Geoff Barton introduced Makowski to photographer Ross Halfin with the words, “You’ll be bad for each other,” creating a partnership that spanned three decades. Halfin and Makowski worked on dozens of articles for Classic Rock in the 00-10s, bringing back stories that crackled with humour and insight. Pete died in November 2021.