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PAUSE FOR A HOARSE HORSE

Home

Eclectic Prog


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Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars A big hand for a great feat

Home's first album is based around the excellent guitar work of Laurie Wisefield (who would go on to join Wishbone Ash) and the distinctive vocals of principal songwriter Mick Stubbs. Indeed, with Stubbs also contributing guitar, there are passing similarities with the music of Wishbone Ash.

The tracks, while relatively short, are finely crafted, mixing softer vocal sections with louder guitar driven passages. The opening "Tramp" for example, begins as an almost unaccompanied vocal, building to a fine guitar driven conclusion.

The title track is a rather strange eulogy to a horse which is about to be put down, the emotion of the tale being at odds with the puns in the title. The tale is illustrated in the cactus lands of the desert portrayed on the excellent gatefold sleeve. Clive John (of Man) adds some nice mellotron sounds to tracks such as "Red E Lewis and the red caps", a very intricate track which is a sort of cross between GENTLE GIANT and 10CC (!). The track concludes with some further fine guitar playing, which could perhaps have been developed further. The mellotron returns on "Bad days", a fine laid back ballad with some excellent smooth guitar.

"In my time" features the stereo twin guitars which Wishbone Ash made their own, the song having an underlying depth to the sound which hints towards their finest hour with "The Alchemist" album.

Despite the band's prosaic London roots, there is at times an alternative country feel to the music, the song structures initially appearing deceptively simple. It is only on the brief guitar picking instrumental "Welwyn Garden City Blues" and the final track though that band really veer off in the country direction. Johnny Weider of Family adds some violin to the closing track "You're no good", a more pop orientated upbeat number.

In all, an excellent debut which showed the band to be proficient both in songwriting and performance. While the progressive aspects are generally muted (they would come to the fore on the third album, they are nonetheless present.

Report this review (#109110)
Posted Saturday, January 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars While the ‘progressive’ label is dubious in the case of Home, the band managed to put out two decent and one very good album (‘The Alchemist‘) during their short existence of the early seventies. This is their first and one of the decent ones.

For a British band Home sounded surprisingly similar to any number of American blues-rocking groups of the same period: Cactus, Ramatam, Blues Image, Canned Heat, etc. The group’s lineup was distinguished by guitarists Laurie Wisefield and Mick Stubbs and their twin-guitar attack very comparable to contemporary Brits Wishbone Ash, a band Wisefield would join after Home’s demise. Bassist Cliff Williams would leave for a stint with Bandit before joining Aussie rockers AC/DC in the late seventies.

Like I said, Home’s sound is most comparable to that of Wishbone Ash, with an appealing twin-guitar rhythm, understated bass, and Mick Stubb’s fairly plain percussion. This debut album also features Man keyboardist Clive John and Family member Johnny Weider on violin on the closing track. This is an unexceptional album, full of blues-inspired riffs, early-seventies sentiment earthy lyrics, and occasional solo indulgences. As far as I know the album didn’t garner any hits, but was apparently good enough for CBS to bankroll two more releases before the group disbanded in 1974. Brit balladeer Al Stewart reportedly offered the group a job as his backing band after their final release, but only Mick Cook to him up on the offer as far as I know.

None of the tracks really stand out. “Family” is sort of a prodigal son tune, the title track tells the sad tale of a dying horse, and “Moses” is the closest thing to a Lynyrd Skynyrd ballad as I’ve ever heard out of a bunch of British musicians. “Welvyn Garden City Blues” sounds like a combination of honky-tonk blues and a little bluegrass, with the only thing missing being a nice bass fiddle and maybe a banjo.

This is an interesting history piece, but nothing to get excited about. Rewind reissued it on CD, but it is a bit difficult to find and probably not worth the effort unless you stumble on a copy in a dusty used record bin somewhere. Three stars for the well- formed guitar work of Wisefield and Stubbs, but not particularly recommended.

peace

Report this review (#130422)
Posted Friday, July 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars To these ears, this is a very underrated album, though I must confess to a certain bias on my part since I really do love this album... Anyway, this, the debut album by UK outfit Home is a quiet gem, one that reflects and refracts subtle shades and colors in the setting sun, rather than dazzling the listener with pyrotechnic displays. Laurie Wisefield's guitar is well suited to the material here and fans of early Wishbone Ash will probably find much to enjoy. Over the years, I've seen a lot of comments about this lp that describe it as country rock and very US influenced which is true to a degree, but I think that the real similarities lie with UK counterparts like Help Yourself, Man (it makes perfect sense that Clive John of Man is featured on this album), Family (John Weider also guests here), The Dog That Bit People, or even a folkier Andwella's Dream. These bands, to some degree, all looked to the U.S. West Coast groups for inspiration but they somehow still retained a very British air about them. People that dig Free's unfairly maligned Highway album should also like this lp. Standout moments are leadoff track Tramp which has a dreamy, wistful feel, the mournful title track (which contrary to what is written in the reviews above, is actually a touching ode to the group's battered equipment van, which apparently had to be put down after years of faithful service, using the metaphor of putting down an old horse to describe how they felt...lyrics include (approx, from memory) doors keep rattlin', roof lets in the rain...when they take you away, they're going to crush you to the ground...you know you served us well right to the end, we've got to find another friend...), and the wonderful Red E. Lewis and the Red Caps (a reference/ode to Jimmy page's first band). Most people prefer Home's 3rd album The Alchemist (which is certainly their most progressive effort) but for me, this is their best album. The second, self-titled lp has more elaborate production values but weaker material. The Alchemist is very progressive and has some cool tracks, but it sounds just a bit forced to me. Obviously, most others disagree... There is a tendency for hardcore music fans to portray their secret favorites as unheralded masterpieces that rival or even surpass landmark albums and I don't want to mislead readers: this is not a 5 star work of towering genius, but, it is a VERY underrated album that constantly rewards the listener by revealing its charms over time. It should also be pointed out that the CD reissue while offering decent sound quality, is mastered from a vinyl source, and being that the album's production was a bit muddy to begin with, a good remastering job from an original tape source would be most welcome.
Report this review (#163261)
Posted Wednesday, March 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
historian9
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP
Site Admin / JRF Team
3 stars As the early debut of the band, I didn't expect much, and just seeing the cover one shouldn't expect much of prog rock going on. That said, this blues or british country rock like music is very charming and catchy. It does have some mellotron here and there as well as violins but don't expect anything too adventurous aside from guitar playing which does have some kind of original style to it, making it recognizable on all HOME recordings; this stuff might be interesting for WHISHBONE ASH fans. Not much of prog, but seeing as it is not that bad at all, this "feel good" record deserves a raise from collectors and fans only to three stars.
Report this review (#756739)
Posted Tuesday, May 22, 2012 | Review Permalink

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