Crabby Appleton: A Villainous Breed

12th April 2018

Title: Crabby Appleton

Label: Man in the Moon

The band’s name is an intriguing one because it derives from a kids cartoon show. O’lCrabby was a cartoon villain on the Captain Kangaroo Show. Band names are found in the strangest of places. 

It also intrigued me to learn that lead singer, Michael Fennelly, was a founder member of this group and that, in an earlier life, he was a vocalist, working with Curt Boettcher and that man’s own projects including the Millennium and Sagittarius. So Fennelly had a pedigree. 

Crabby Appleton: A Villainous Breed

Michael Fennelly

He was later to meet the members of a band called Stonehenge who were in the midst of ejecting their lead singer who was, so it appeared, ‘keeping the band back™’. An old excuse to eject a disliked band member. That band consisted of Casey Foutz (keyboards), Hank Harvey (bass), Felix “Falco” Falcon (percussion) and Phil Jones (drums).

The band changed its name to Crabby Appleton and signed to Elektra with this album being released in 1970

The first track on this album, Go Back, was the single that enjoyed a measure of Billboard chart success, reaching No.36. The group never really hit the heights though. The follow-up album, also now reissued and entitled Rotten to the Core, was not as good as this debut and was rather shotgun like in terms of style and direction. As if the band were searching for a formula for success. It didn’t work.

Crabby Appleton: A Villainous Breed

This debut, meanwhile, should be enjoyed for the quality that it contains. The single offers a simple structure: riffs, hooks, etc but the rest of the album proves more interesting. You might have to stick with it for a few plays before the songs gain traction but there’s plenty of Badfinger-like songs to enjoy here. Providing plenty of melodic power pop and soft rock, this is a highly enjoyable album with a typical 70s warming glow over the mastering that never bites or sounds harsh – thank goodness. 

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