For those among you whose musical tastes start and finish with elongated keyboard passages or searing guitar breaks, then this is probably the best time to stop reading, (not that I don't enjoy those myself). This was/is the album that introduced the world to the somewhat wacky, whimsical and wonderfully eccentric world of Stackridge. Mutter's flute and Mike's violin take most of the lead roles here. Back in the early seventies critics were pulling their hair out trying to pigeon hole this lot, ha ha how can you tag a band whose sole purpose in life appears to be different. For any fellow old farts out there who can remember it, Stackridge were the only band who could put on their own version of the 'Good old days' and that includes the rather eccentric strictly british introductions. At the time their music was likened by some as being a continuation of the Beatles, but they were not a commercial pop band, nor were they rock, or blues or folk, jazz, country or classically inclined, BUT at the same time they were all of these and more besides. Over the years I have either heard or read of many attempts to describe their music (far too many to mention here) but I think the best one belongs to fiddle player Mike Evans, who on a local radio station described it as SUNSHINE MUSIC, picture the scene, a nice sunny summer's day, sat in the garden at your local watering hole, pint in hand, headphones on, who cares if inflation is rising.
Oh well on to the contents, the album opens with 'Grand piano' a rocker about, yes you've guessed it
Percy the penguin is the first of many Stackridge songs that could be described as childrens nursery rhymes with attitude, so simple but so effective and sad (listen to the words).
The three legged table is one of their multi genre songs, starting off as an acoustic ballad before moving through a somewhat jazzy mid section bridge to a finish that could be likened to the Beach boys do rock.
Dora the female explorer always reminds me of the old bavarian beer kellar oompah songs, mutter's harmonica and James's bass lines really do capture the feel, apparently the song is about Amelia Earhardt
Essence of porphyry is an instrumental, which allows for some room to experiment.
Marigold conjunction is a slow to mid tempo number with a bit of guitar work for those who can't live without it.
32 west mall tells the tale of a bunch of would be superstars stuck in their flat on a rainy day, acoustic guitar and rain effcts supply the backing.
Marzo Plod was the cause of many a sore head back in the seventies, due to his incitement of the audience to whack anyone in range over the head with sticks of rhubarb. His 450th birthday is not too far off, is he thinking of retiring or will he carry on as president of the 'rhubarb thrashers'
Slark starts off with the unforgetable riff played on flute gradually building up to include the whole band (less drums, they join later), Andy tells the story of the fearsome monster (kids hide behind the sofa) before Mutter's flute takes us on a mystical journey through a terrain that only your imagination can provide before we come face to face with the monster with huge great claws oh mummy, mummy, mummy AARGHH CHOMP cripes. At this point only the survivors are privilleged to hear the nearest Stackridge ever got to playing heavy rock (and a damn good job they did too), the ending of the track / album encourages us all to join in la la la la la la la fantastic........
The bonus tracks have caused something of a problem, the second of these being the single version of 'slark' is ok and more in keeping with their current live show (yes they're still around) but 'Let there be lids' has become somewhat redundant since the councils switched over to wheelie bins. I have tried using the lids off incinerators, but the chimney bit spoils the sound, and I nearly did me back in trying bang two wheelies together, any suggestions.
Well thats given you an idea of what to expect, but be warned if you're not off your trolley before you listen to Stackridge there's a strong possibility that you will be after.