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EXTRAVAGANZA

Stackridge

Prog Folk


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Stackridge Extravaganza album cover
3.46 | 18 ratings | 2 reviews | 6% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Spin Round The Room (2:43)
2. Grease Paint Smiles (4:02)
3. The Volunteer (5:04)
4. Highbury Incident (4:00)
5. Benjamin's Giant Onion (4:02)
6. Happy In The Lord (3:50)
7. Rufus T. Firefly (4:48)
8. No One's More Important Than The Earth Worm (5:10)
9. Pocket Billiards (4:03)
10. Who's That Up There With Bill Stokes? (4:36)

Total Time: 42:08

Track Listing: U.S. version, Sire Records SASD-7509
Do The Stanley 2:53
Grease Paint Smiles 4:04
The Volunteer 5:05
The Indifferent Hedgehog 3:15
Benjamin's Giant Onion 4:04
Happy In The Lord 3:51
Rufus T. Firefly 4:51
No One's More Important Than The Earthworm 5:12
Pocket Billiards 4:04
Who's That Up There With Bill Stokes 4:36

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Andy Davis / guitar, keyboards, vocals
- Keith Gemmell / saxophone, clarinet, flute
- Rod Bowkett / keyboards
- Paul Karas / bass, vocals
- Roy Morgan / drums
- Mutter Slater / Vocals, flute

Releases information

LP MCA /Rocket PIG L C11-B (1974)
U.S. version of LP, Sire Records SASD-7509
CD Resurgent 4789 (2001)

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
and to easy livin for the last updates
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Buy STACKRIDGE Extravaganza Music


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Remastered · Import
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Audio CD$10.00
$6.00 (used)
Extravaganza LP (Vinyl Album) UK Rocket 1974Extravaganza LP (Vinyl Album) UK Rocket 1974
Rocket
Vinyl$19.65 (used)
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STACKRIDGE Extravaganza ratings distribution


3.46
(18 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(6%)
6%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
39%
Good, but non-essential (44%)
44%
Collectors/fans only (11%)
11%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

STACKRIDGE Extravaganza reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
4 stars Released the same year as TMWTBH, this version of the group is completely different: gone are two thirds of the band and incoming are the noteworthy wind player Keith Gemmell (ex-Audience) and keyboardist Rod Bowkett (who will write a good deal of the album's tracks), but am not sure Stackridge is better in this form. Gone are Evans' violin and Warren's guitars, although these last ones were never a major feature of Stackridge and Davis switching from keys to guitars. Produced by Tony Ashton and graced with a weird gatefold displaying a bunch of strange-circus-like characters, the album appears to have two distinct faces, one per side.

The first side is loaded with short tracks again somehow in the Beatles' style (Volunteers sounds a bit like Yellow Submarine complete with Ringo-type singing and is a holdover from the previous album and played with the line-up of that album) with only Highbury Incident and Benjamin Giant Onion managing any kind of notice to this writer. Not bad and well-played, but simply lacking much interest.

The second side of the vinyl holds much more promises to the proghead with three instrumentals and a Gordon Haskell cover (yes the Ex-Crimson singer/bassist). Starting out with a dazzling Ruphus T Firefly, which is highlighting the talents of new bassist Paul Karas and features excellent interplay between Gemmell and Slater. Next up is one hell of a superb track that Mr Haskell should've kept for his Crimson days (it sounds like it was written during that era anyway as the obscure title and intricate arrangements indicates) and sonically it sounds a bit like Journey's superb debut album with Crimson influences. The last two tracks are again high-flying instrumentals somewhere between Maneige and Zappa (if you can picture this) and are tremendously enthralling, joyous and constantly evolving.

While not perfect, Stackridge, after a strong line-up shuffle, did manage to rebound from a listless Bowler hat album and produced a rather excellent effort. Had they managed to have two side B, it might have gotten a fifth star. But it did not and the side A is all too average. A good introduction to the band along with Friendliness

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#97771) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, November 09, 2006

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Who invited Frank?!

In 1974, Stackridge were the first band to sign for Elton John's fledgling Rocket Records label, this album bearing the catalogue number ROLA1.

"Extravaganza" may bear the name Stackridge, and may even mostly sound like Stackridge, but it was recorded by a very different band that the one which made their previous album. Only Mutter Slater and Andy Davis remain, with no less than four new members coming in. Even then, Slater's presence is tenuous, his contribution being to sing on two tracks ("The volunteer" and "Happy in the Lord"). The most significant of these changes are probably the arrival of wind instrumentalist Keith Gemmell and the departure of violinist Mike Evans, which brought with them an inevitable change in the sound of the band. That change however is not as perceptible as might be expected, and neither is the impact of almost completely changed song writing credits.

The opening "Spin round the room", written by new keyboard player Rod Bowkett with Lucy Vernon is a clear case of business as usual, with even the ubiquitous Beatles style still in strong evidence. "Grease paint smiles" appears to have inspired the colourfully artistic gatefold sleeve, but the track itself is unremarkable. "The volunteer" is Andy Davis's first compositional contribution to the album, the song having a rather folk like feel, and echoes of Ringo Starr's work in and out of The Beatles.

"Benjamin's giant onion" would have fitted in well lyrically on Genesis "Nursery cryme" album, the story of a giant onion growing recluse who goes quite mad, having distinct echoes of "Harold the barrel". Side one closes with the jaunty "Happy in the Lord", the pleasant melody disguising some cynical lyrics.

If side one of the album was reassuringly traditional, if perhaps slightly inferior Stackridge, side two must have come as a surprise to both fans and the band's new label alike. Of the four tracks here, three are instrumentals composed by Rod Bowkett (one with Andy Davis). These are Frank Zappa like jazz workouts, far removed from anything the band had recorded up until this point. They are unquestionably the band's most progressive recordings. In fairness, the band do not really indulge in improvised jazz to any great extent, the performances being tight and melodic. It is however a matter of speculation as to whether these three pieces were added as filler to disguise a shortage of material, or intended to signal an alternative direction.

The other track on side two, "No one's more important than the earth worm" was written by Gordon Haskell (once of King Crimson, and latterly sometime crooner) during his very brief time as a member of Stackridge. I don't believe Haskell actually sings on the track, but he might!

Incidentally, the US version once again had a different track listing, taking one track from the previous album and one from the next as replacements for the two which had already appeared on the "Pinafore days" album.

Irrelevant footnote, I first came across Stackridge when they were the headline act on a tour where the supporting band, and the one I had gone to see, were Camel.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#132035) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, August 06, 2007

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