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Stone Angel

Prog Folk

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Stone Angel Stone Angel album cover
3.63 | 17 ratings | 3 reviews | 12% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Bells of Dunwich (6:04)
2. The Skater (3:13)
3. Pastime with Good Company (1:12)
4. Traveller's Tale (5:41)
5. Black Sailed Traders (5:04)
6. Stone Angel (3:38)
7. Galliard - Merrie England's Musicke Box (2:02)
8. The Gay Goshawk (7:08)
9. The Black Dog (5:42)
10. The Holy Rood of Bromholm (4:01)

Total time: 43:45

Line-up / Musicians

- Ken Saul / vocals, guitars, dulcimer, treble recorder
- Joan Bartle / vocals, flute, recorder, crumhorn
- Mick Burroughs / percussion, bass, jews harp
- Dave Lambert / violin, mandolin, rebec
- Paul Corrick / electric guitar, bass

Releases information

LP Seashell SSLP04 (1975) UK
LP Acme AC-8008 (1994) UK
CD Kissing Spell 9430 (1994) UK

Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the addition
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STONE ANGEL Stone Angel ratings distribution

(17 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(65%)
Good, but non-essential (6%)
Collectors/fans only (18%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

STONE ANGEL Stone Angel reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ClemofNazareth
4 stars If I had to pick one album in my collection that best exemplified British acid folk music of the early seventies, it might be this one. Really Midwinter’s ‘The Waters of Sweet Sorrow’ is an even better example, but considering most of that band became this band, and since the presence of psych guitar is slightly more pronounced here I’ll go with this one as more representative.

Stone Angel seem to have been yet another British progressive folk band of the early to mid- seventies who took their lead from the Incredible String Band, Comus and the Pentangle (although their sound is certainly their own); but never found the success those groups did. This album probably came out too late (1974), and undoubtedly had no promotion to speak of considering the minor label on which is was issued (Seashell). Too bad, but I suppose Kissing Spell can credit their existence to lots of poor management on the part of many minor music groups between the years of 1970 and 1976.

The word ‘pastoral’ comes to mind right away when listening to these guys. If you’ve heard Midwinter you have an idea what Stone Angel sounds like. The singer Joan Bartle replaced Jill Child after Midwinter’s demise and band leader Ken Saul recruited violinist/mandoliner Dave Lambert, but otherwise the band is the same (Dick Cadbury of Decameron fame had appeared on the Midwinter album but was never an official member of the group).

But Stone Angel are even a bit more subdued than Midwinter. The addition of Lambert gave the band a stronger folk vibe with plenty of prominent, minor chord violin throughout to set an almost medieval mood; especially on the title track and the dirge-like “The Gay Goshawk”, both of which pretty much position the violin as a lead instrument.

Elsewhere other folk instruments enrich the sound of the songs. “The Holy Rood of Bromholm” benefits from Bartle’s deployment of a crumhorn to augment her singing. Bass player and percussionist Mick Burroughs dominates “The Skater” with a lively Jew’s harp. And Saul himself lays down his guitar for a while on “Black Sailed Traders” to join Bartle on recorders while Paul Corrick plucks away on steel strings in the background.

Several songs on this album would surface again on the band’s second release ‘The Holy Rood of Bromholm”, including that album’s title track (which closes out this album); “The Skater”; and “Black Sailed Traders”. Only “The Holy Rood of Bromholm” appears to be the same version on both records. Unfortunately the band would dissolve shortly after these recordings, although they would resurface in the eighties and again in the mid-nineties. From what I’ve read they appear to be officially in existence today, and did release an album of new material a couple years ago which is challengingly difficult to find.

This is acid folk at its finest; and by ‘finest’ I mean with just enough of the acid touch to move it out of medieval times, but not so much that it turns into a sitar and patchouli recital. Great stuff if you like this sort of thing, and I’m giving it four stars for that although I could certainly understand other reviewers rating it slightly lower since there's nothing really innovative here. If you are not a fan of progressive folk music this isn’t likely to win you over any more than a stuffy, rich white guy could convince a tree-hugger to vote Republican. But if you’re open-minded about peaceful and sincere music with enough hippie trappings to give it cobblestone-street cred, then this album might be for you.


Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars Stoned angel

This will probably be considered sacrilege and blasphemy by the Prog Folk purist, but in my considered opinion the albums that Stone Angel have released after their comeback in the year 2000 are generally much better than this 1975 debut. It must however be emphasized that the respective styles of this self-titled album and the more recent albums by the band are somewhat different. One still recognizes that it is the same band, primarily in virtue of the alteration between male and female vocals and the presence of medieval elements. But there is an element of "Acid Folk" here leaning towards the style Spirogyra, a style I'm not particularly fond of and that is thankfully absent from the newer albums. There are no Rock drums here and the only elements that connect this to Rock at all are occasional use electric guitar and bass lines. As such, I would call this progressive Folk music rather than progressive Folk Rock.

The instrumental performances are clearly not sloppy, but the newer albums clearly display a more skilled and tight band. Another obvious difference between the old and the new Stone Angel lies in the production values, with this older album sounding muddled and under produced, while the newer albums having a crisp and clear sound. Most of the songs here are Ken Saul originals, but they certainly sound as if they were all traditional Folk songs. The song-writing is indeed the most worthy aspect of this album. One of the songs, Black Sailed Traders, would re-appear in a new version on 2000's East Of The Sun. The traditional Pastime With Good Company, supposedly written by King Henry VIII, is not a highlight. I much prefer the version performed by Blackmore's Night.

I do find enjoyment in this album, but I get a lot more out of listening to albums like East Of The Sun and especially the brand new Between The Water And The Sky. The value of this album is primarily as an historical document.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Another lost band from the acid folk era of the progressive rock period. They are truly acid. This band used to be Midwinter. The songs are all quiet with many interesting instruments. The lyrics are all stories from their native birth place in east Anglia. The opener "The bells of Dunwich" is a ... (read more)

Report this review (#439380) | Posted by progshachar | Tuesday, April 26, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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