Album review: STACKRIDGE – The Final Bow, Bristol 2015

In late-June 2017 David Randall chatted to James Warren for Get Ready to ROCK! Radio.  This hour special features Stackridge highlights and tracks from James’ solo career.  First broadcast 25 June 2017. (58:12)

STACKRIDGE - The Final Bow, Bristol 2015

Angel Air Records [Release date 14.07.17]

Stackridge decided to call it a day in 2015.  They’d soldiered on in different guises since the late 1990s after gathering a cult following in the 1970s for their quirky brand of pop and prog.  They also had the distinction of opening (and closing) the embryonic Glastonbury Festival in 1970.

This 2-CD set captures the band at their final gig in front of a partisan and parochial audience just before Christmas 2015.  Of course, we’ve had the previous live set ‘The Forbidden City’ in 2007 so this really is a gentle update as much as a poignant reminder of a great band.

It’s highly unlikely we’ll see their like again, with the mainmen James Warren and Andy Davis now pursuing separate, solo, careers.  Sadly, their eighties off-shoot The Korgis is also on ice.

Jim is the first to admit that the duo didn’t always see eye to eye in their musical partnership and a glance at the album credits suggests that it was Davis who was responsible for the band’s more whimsical side.  Jim Warren on the other hand (and based on his solo work and with The Korgis) had a more commercial and pop approach.  ‘Something About The Beatles’ remains my personal favourite, successfully evoking sixties nostalgia and with a chorus to die for.

It’s somewhat ironic that the band were experiencing a quiet revival after 2007.  They returned to Glastonbury in 2008 and released the excellent album ‘A Victory For Common Sense’ a year later which showed they were still relevant and contemporary.

Several highlights from that album are included here including ‘Red Squirrel’, ‘Lost And Found’ and ‘Boots And Shoes’ (a re-working of a Korgis tune) whilst setlist stalwarts ‘The Road To Venezuela’, ‘Syracuse The Elephant’ and ‘Dora The Female Explorer’ get a final outing.  Original member Mutter Slater joins them again for ‘Slark’ and the instrumental tour de force ‘Purple Spaceships Over Yatton’.

Whilst Jim and Andy were the band mainstays over the years (“Crun” Walter departed in 2012 ) this latter line-up do great justice to the legacy whilst adding their own pizazz.  Step up Clare Lindley (violin, vocals), Glenn Tommey (keys, vocals) and Eddie John (drums).

Fittingly, given Angel Air’s faith in the band’s more recent restoration, this is the label’s 500th release in its 20th year.  Fan and manager reminiscences in the liner notes pad out an excellent souvenir.  Stackridge may be history but their music lives on.  ****

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.

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