SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing The Final Bow Bristol 2015 by Stackridge 2CD Set.

THE FINAL BOW, BRISTOL 2015 (2CD LIVE)  Stackridge

Firstly before we get to Stackridge, I would like to congratulate Angel Air Records on their 20th Birthday. I’m proud to have been reviewing their releases since their inception in February 1997, so Peter and Shirley all credit to you for bringing so many artists back for us all to enjoy, may you continue for the next 20 years!

As the press release accompanying says ‘Stackridge are at the heart of Angel Air and part of the DNA of the label as Stackridge, The Korgis, Andy Davis, James Warren, The Meanies and the Mutter Slater Band have all seen releases over the years.

Stackridge are that rare commodity that have ploughed their own furrow musically since their formation in 1969. The first act (and closing act) at the inaugural Glastonbury festival in 1970 (I was there!), Stackridge defy ‘labelling’ are they prog rock, folk rock, bit psyche, avant garde? Yes all these things but unique, they are as English as a cup of tea and a crumpet, Like The Bonzo’s and Ray Davies they could only have ever originated here. Musically so accomplished, lyrically a bit mad at times! they really are a national treasure.

This new 2CD ‘live set was recorded at Bristol and as the title says was their ‘Final Bow’ after 45 years the band have finally called it a day. I wish them a long and happy ‘retirement’. To those of you who are familiar with their output you will find, probably, a good few favourites here, remember ‘Do The Stanley’? If you are new to the band prepare to enjoy! I found myself repeatedly going back to CD2 tracks 4 -6 and just smiling the tracks in question being ‘No Ones More Important Than The Earthworm’ ‘Lost And Found’ and ‘Boots And Shoes’. ‘Earthworm’ was in fact written by Gordon Haskell (Fleur-dy-lys, Ruperts People) Gordon never became a band member but had many connections , but that’s another story!, its just a delight of a song and a title! those three tracks just sum up the band for me. But then there’s ‘Slark’ and ‘Dora The Female Explorer’ and….well its all just so bloody enjoyable. Its fitting this should also be Angel Airs 500th release, half a grand, but a whole grand time to be had by all. Enjoy!

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Til next time……….Colin

Chris Sambrook… Purple Spaceships over Yatton. I remember Stackridge. I think String Driven Thing supported Stackridge on Hastings Pier. Stackridge also played support to Elton John the Eagles and Rufus at Wembley Stadium around about 1976 ish

Mike Tobin…  (shared to Stackridge Rhubarb Thrashers – For Enthusiasts Facebook Group) Great Review.

Mick O’Dowd… I was at the Wembley Stadium gig before the days of large screens. I was about on the half way line and the stage performers were like ants. Could have been anybody up there. Stackridge were good. Beach Boys blew the place away as it was sunny and they played all the surfin’ hits. Elton lost the crowd as he played the new album “Capt Fantastic” which is a very slow dirgy album. Crowd walked of but as soon as he started to play the hits the place erupted! Bands take note. We go to see the stuff we know! Rufus with Chaka Khan were also excellent. A good day all round.