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January 26, 2017

Cleveland Folklore

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Once thought lost, a lone recording of Cleveland, Ohio’s
The Schwartz-Fox Blues Crusade, has now been found and released

“As I grew to love the blues, I wanted to try to see if we could come up with something worthy of recording, and the only way to do that was to actually try it.”

— Jimmy Fox (James Gang/Schwartz Fox Blues Crusade)

Though once believed to have been lost or to only exist in theory, the lone recording by The Schwartz-Fox Blues Crusade featuring Mr. Stress — consisting of Cleveland legends Glenn Schwartz (guitar/vocals), Jimmy Fox (drums), Bill “Mr. Stress” Miller (vocals/harmonica), Tom Kriss (bass), Rich Kriss (guitar/vocals), and Mike Sands (piano) — is finally being released for music fans to savor and enjoy.

Glenn Schwartz. Courtesy of Veronica Collins

Glenn Schwartz. Courtesy of Veronica Collins

Taped one Sunday morning in the Spring of 1967, this is a piece of true Cleveland folklore that grew out of the Sunday jam sessions at the eastside’s The Coffeehouse. This recording could be considered a soundtrack for the University Circle district (a gathering place for motorcycle gangs, beatniks, hippies, counter-culture personalities) as it became the center of Cleveland’s underground from roughly 1965 through 1968.

Jim Fox. Courtesy of Veronica Collins

Jim Fox. Courtesy of Veronica Collins

Glenn Schwartz, Jimmy Fox and Tom Kriss were three of the then five members of the James Gang who respectively played lead guitar, drums, and bass. By the spring of 1967 the James Gang were quickly becoming one of the most beloved bands in Cleveland and the surrounding areas. When Schwartz left the James Gang suddenly in late 1967 to eventually join Pacific Gas & Electric in California, his guitar pupil, Joe Walsh (The Eagles), took over for him and soon led the James Gang to international success.

Guitarist Rich Kriss was between being a member of Chuck Bates & The Barons (whose drummer, Steve Nemeth, would go on to local fame as progressive Cleveland radio DJ Doc Nemo) and The Joyful Wisdom, led by the late Dave Griggs who, next to Schwartz and Robert Jr. Lockwood, was considered one of the finest blues guitarists in Cleveland.

Tom Kriss performing as The James Gang in November 1967 at Cleveland's Boss Teen Club. Courtesy of Veronica Collins

Tom Kriss performing as The James Gang in November 1967 at Cleveland’s Boss Teen Club. Courtesy of Veronica Collins

Blues harpist and vocalist Bill “Mr. Stress” Miller and pianist Mike Sands were members of an up-and-coming hard Chicago-style blues group called The Mr. Stress Blues Band. Formed in the late summer of 1966, the group would soon become a long running Cleveland institution through which such luminaries as Chrissie Hynde, Peter Laughner (Pere Ubu/Rocket From The Tombs), and Anton Fier (Feelies/Lounge Lizards/X__X) would pass through.

This fine piece of living, breathing Cleveland audio history is much more than just another blues jam session, and is the latest entry of Smog Veil’s continuing Platters du Cuyahoga series.

 

For press materials, to set-up interviews or request
additional information on the Schwartz Fox Blues Crusade: Sunday Morning Revival or Platters du Cuyahoga Series 2 and please contact Fly PR: T. 323-667-1344
E. flypr@flypr.net.

 






One Comment


  1. Lou O'Block

    A minor historical point: This article implies that Joyful Wisdom was Dave Griggs’s group. Dave was Lead Vocalist and Rhythm Guitar. Joyful Wisdom was founded , named and led by Rick Kriss, who played Lead Guitar. It was Rick’s, start to finish. Credit where credit is due…



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