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Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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Founded in London, UK in 1970 - Disbanded in 1974

The band were centred around the fine guitar work of Laurie Wisefield, and the voice of Mick Stubbs, the band's principal songwriter. They released three albums between 1971 and 1973. The first two albums contained competent and reasonably original songs, some with progressive leanings.

It was however the third album, "The Alchemist" which was the band's masterpiece. This concept album is one of the forgotten gems of prog, telling a tale of supernatural events and the reaction of those placed in fear by them. Musically, the album sees the band taking an enormous leap forward. Sadly, the momentum was lost as quickly as it came, and "The Alchemist" proved to be Home's final album. Test pressings are said to exist for an unreleased fourth album, but if they do exist, they have yet to be released.

During their brief life, the band supported a number of top acts on tour, including LED ZEPPELIN and WISHBONE ASH. In 1974, AL STEWART invited the band members to become his backing band. Stubbs left at this point, but the others took up the offer.

Wisefield subsequently went on to join WISHBONE ASH replacing Ted Turner, while Cliff Williams briefly joined BANDIT then enjoyed a successful career with AC/DC.

Both Mick Stubbs and Drummer Mick Cook have now sadly passed away, but Wisefield continues to enjoy success with the "War of the Worlds Live" tour.

Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com : A fine but sadly almost forgotten band from the early 1970's who are frequently described as progressive in references to them. Their music fits neatly into the Art Rock category, but they covered a wide range of styles on their three albums. Their third album is an excellent example of a prog concept album.

See also: WiKi

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HOME top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.12 | 31 ratings
Pause For A Hoarse Horse
1971
3.42 | 25 ratings
Home
1972
3.68 | 59 ratings
The Alchemist
1973

HOME Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

HOME Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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HOME Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Alchemist by HOME album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.68 | 59 ratings

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The Alchemist
Home Eclectic Prog

Review by Psychedelic Paul

4 stars HOME is where the heart is and HOME is where the prog is for this long-forgotten five-piece band from London. They released three albums in the early 1970's:- "Pause for a Hoarse Horse" (1971); "Home" (1972); & "The Alchemist" (1973). The band never managed to achieve the big breakthrough success they so desperately needed, despite being signed to the major CBS record label. A fourth untitled album was recorded but never released and the band packed their bags and went back home in 1974. It's their third and final legendary album "The Alchemist" that was sprinkled with gold dust and contained all of the magical ingredients required to conjure up a classic prog album, so let's give it a spin.

School's Out for Summer, School's Out Forever, or seemingly forever anyway during the stringent coronavirus lockdown of 2020. We're heading back to school now though for "Schooldays", the first song on the album. The band have managed to purify some melodic prog gold with this first tempting nugget of old school prog. This delightful nostalgic tune is a world apart from the "Skool-Dazed" crashing guitar sound of overgrown schoolboy Angus Young of AC/DC fame. No, this charming song is as gentle as the sweet summer air on a Sunday morning with the birds singing and the church bells ringing. The music features the gentlest of guitar melodies combined with a honey-toned singer and with the percussionist firmly establishing his proggy credentials here with a tricky offbeat time signature. "Schooldays" may not necessarily be the best days of our lives, but this pleasurable opening number will conjure up fond 1970's memories of flowers and flares and birds and beads. It's time now to wallow in some more nostalgia for the gently acoustic mournful opening to Song No. 2: "The Old Man Dying", which might sound as peaceful and relaxed as a couple of dozen pensioners on a restful Saga holiday in Torquay, at least to begin with, but there's life in the Old Man yet, as the deceptively quiet opening serves as a prelude for a bunch of party-going Club 18-30 lager louts to come noisily gatecrashing onto the scene with some heavy slammin' electric guitar chords and pounding percussion, before a return back to a Sea of Tranquility for the conclusion. This stunning four-part piece of music also features a surprising classical Bach-style piano interlude for good measure too, but then again, the wondrous worlds of classical music and prog have always been closely intertwined, ably demonstrated by such classical Wizards of the Keys as Rick Wakeman, Jon Lord & Keith Emerson. If piano maestro J. S. Bach were alive today, he could probably earn a good living as a classically-inspired, Prog-Rock keyboard player. A Krautrock trio of Bach-man Turner Uberdrive perhaps? B-b-b-baby, You ain't heard nothing yet! Anyway, moving swiftly on, there's no better way to pass the time than with our third song, "Time Passes By", a short instrumental interlude which sounds as cool and laid-back as Detective Captain Steve McGarrett (Jack Lord) turning up at a murder suspect's address in a Hawaiian shirt and saying, "Book him, Danno, Murder one!", before heading down to Waikiki Beach with a surf board tucked under his arm. Onto Song No. 4 now with "The Old Man Calling (Save the People)", which sounds like a curious combination of off-kilter Canterbury Scene music mixed in with the Southern Rock guitar sound of the Allman Brothers Band, so you can expect the unexpected with this intriguing jazzy piece of music. Who knows what unusual time signature this offbeat tune is played in, but it's definitely not regular 4/4 time. Get ready to hunker down now and prepare for an all-out Sonic Attack for "The Disaster", a crashing discordant dissonance of sounds that hits the listener like a storming salvo of Katyusha rockets. This crazy Bats in the Belfry bedlam is all-fired-up with the maniacal intensity of an open day at a lunatic asylum. It's madder than an albino in a white suit hitch-hiking in a snowstorm. There's a return to some kind of sanity now for "The Sun's Revenge", a two-part piece, opening as an uptempo syncopated Funk-Rock groove about the ravages of time wreaked by the Sun on unprotected skin, which might serve as a timely reminder for us all to slap on some suntan lotion or wear a hat the next time we're out in the summer sunshine. The mellower second part of "The Sun's Revenge" features a moody and magnificent acoustic jamboree of tinkling keyboards and jangling acoustic guitars, which sounds as gentle as a ballerina gracefully extending one slender leg en-pointe behind her, a bit like a dog at a fire hydrant. The music's great, but you may struggle to understand the lyrics in the first part of this song, where the vocabulary sounds as bad as, like, whatever...

We're back in Allman Brothers territory again (in the style of "Jessica" - the Top Gear theme) for "A Secret to Keep", which captures the American Southern Rock sound perfectly, only without the steamy oppressive heat, the alligator infested swamps and the pesky mosquitoes down in the bayou. The singer barely has time to catch his breath in this brief fast-paced number before we're into Song No. 8: "The Brass Band Played". This is a fun piece where the band members sound like they're having a right old knees-up with lots of cheering and clapping in the background as a hearty brass band beats out a typical marching rhythm, as brass bands up and down the land are wont to do. The Salvation Army will be "Coming 'round the Mountain" with a collection plate any time soon. We're in celebratory mood now for "Rejoicing", a Funk Rock groove that's flying high on adrenalin like Tom "Maverick" Cruise lighting up his afterburners with a burst of testosterone in a twin-jet F-14 Tom-Cat. The next song "The Disaster Returns (Devastation)" continues where "The Disaster" of Side One left off, so you can expect more Looney Tunes madness and mayhem to ensue in a non-stop fusillade of machine-gun percussion and lightning- strike electric power chords from the crazy fired-up guitarist. This manic song barrels along relentlessly for eight minutes with all the power of a runaway diesel locomotive thundering down the tracks, but be prepared for a major derailment at the end. Onto the penultimate song now with "The Death of the Alchemist", a suitably haunting and mournful refrain featuring shimmering sound effects in the spooky opening. Hang on a minute though... What's this!?? It's not all doom and gloom as the song emerges like a beautiful butterfly from a chrysalis into a rousing and anthemic prog classic in all of its glorious majesty and magnificence. The Prog Gods will be graciously appeased. The third and final part of this four and a half minute epic features a cascading cacophony with the sound of echoing church bells in the background adding an extra touch of drama to the grand occasion. Time marches on as the tale of "The Alchemist" draws gently to a close now with the title track. This is prog gold! The song opens as a deceptively gentle acoustic Folk-Rock ditty, but this first impression is soon shattered by a storming gale-force blast of heavy keyboard prog in the style of King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer at their very best. This powerful soaring album highlight reaches Force 9 on the Beaufort Scale and has all of the surging symphonic splendour of "The Court of the Crimson King". In fact, the closing song is as pleasantly surprising and uplifting as walking straight into a supermarket during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, without having to queue for ages outside, and then finding all of the shelves are fully stocked once you get inside the store. Improbable, but not impossible.

"The Alchemist" will make you feel right at Home with this solid helping of pure prog gold, hammered out and fashioned on the anvil of Eclectic Prog. This terrific long-lost album would make a welcome addition to your treasured Prog-Rock collection, but the chances of actually finding this rare album in the record stores are about as remote as winning a medal in a Communist marathon. On your Marx...

 The Alchemist by HOME album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.68 | 59 ratings

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The Alchemist
Home Eclectic Prog

Review by Maceta

5 stars "The Alchemist" is HOMEīs most progressive, and overall best release. After several listens I can say that the album works much better listened as a whole 40 minute piece rather than each song individually. In fact, whenever I come back to this album it is always to listen to the whole thing, rather than one individual song. Itīs very eclectic and explores almost every mood possible, going from standard prog rock to funky moods, from reagge to dramatic symphonic rock. And yet manages to do all this while mantaining a coherent storyline that flows effortlessly and cohesively. A great example of how a concept album should be. It has really grown on me and I cannot think of it as anything other than a forgotten masterpiece.
 The Alchemist by HOME album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.68 | 59 ratings

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The Alchemist
Home Eclectic Prog

Review by maryes

4 stars HOME "The Alchemist". Is an album that presents a kind of music ( for the most purist listeners ) which be in the half-way between the psychedelic movement "last steps" (in the late 60's) and the progressive rock "explosion" in the subsequent period ( early 70's) . They sound to me ( with a certain dose of exaggeration ) like Steve Howe or Jimmy Page came in studio with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young for a session. Great part of the disk gave me this exactly impression, the vocals are very beauty (with use of voices counterpoints and choirs) and the musical "atmosphere" is almost the same to CSNY! The main difference is in the work developed by Laurie Wisefield in the guitars...remembering at the same time the " crackling " Page's style and the "western" Howe's "touch". The best (and more progressive) tracks are : track 5 "The disaster" , track 9 "Rejoicing" and track 10 "The disaster returns (Devastation)".... but, in general way all of tracks are good . My rate is 4 stars !!!
 Pause For A Hoarse Horse by HOME album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.12 | 31 ratings

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Pause For A Hoarse Horse
Home Eclectic Prog

Review by 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.
 The Alchemist by HOME album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.68 | 59 ratings

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The Alchemist
Home Eclectic Prog

Review by progshachar

4 stars Great prog album. A fine addition to me collection Just heard it few times in a row and it keep grow pn me. The new remastered 2010 album sounds terrific. This is really a concept album. There is a plot and the music strongly supports it. The lyrics are nice, the singing is great and the music is brilliant. The albu, starts slowly and it progress literally from song to song. The finale - the death of the alchemist is oustanding. The bonuses are ok, not on the same level as the whole album. I am new to Home and I really enjot this brilliant album Really a great addition to any prog collection.
 The Alchemist by HOME album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.68 | 59 ratings

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The Alchemist
Home Eclectic Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After two disappointing studio efforts, 1973 saw the talented British quartet Home take up a much more overtly-progressive mantle and produce this finely-crafted concept album known as 'The Alchemist'. It would prove to be the group's final release, but it would also prove to be a true underground cult classic and a much-sought after album that would enable the name of Home to live on through the ages. Thanks to the excellent reissue label Esoteric Recordings, Home's defining album is finally released in all it's remastered glory for fans old and new.

Featuring Mick Stubbs(guitar, vocals), Cliff Williams(bass), Mick Cook(drums) and future Wishbone Ash member Laurie Wisefield(guitar), Home's 'The Alchemist' was a critically-acclaimed yet commercially-ignored album, the kind of album that could only have been made in the heady days of the late sixties and early-seventies when experimentation and creativity were, unbelievably, the recording industry watchword's. Home's label, CBS Records, had given the foursome all the time and space they needed to create their magnus opus but yet somehow neglected to advertise the album properly, leading to poor sales despite the group's constant live performances up-and-down the country and the small-but-loyal following these shows cultivated.

However, while the group might not have made any money out of their finest album, the did make a name for themselves amongst prog fans, with 'The Alchemist' now regarded as a stand-out concept piece thirty-plus years down the line. Stylistically, the album does, at times, invoke the feel of 'Trespass'-era Genesis or 'The Yes Album'-era Yes, but with a rich palette of instrumentation that is all their own, including acoustic-and-electric guitars, mellotrons, viola's, flutes and horns as well as Mick Stubbs soul-flecked vocals. As the songs flit from slow-and-serene folk to raucous, symphonic prog workouts, the carefuly-constructed story - that of a small boy befriending an old wizard in a small Cornish village - starts to slowly unfold.

 Home by HOME album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.42 | 25 ratings

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Home
Home Eclectic Prog

Review by Norman Kiddie

4 stars This being my very first review on Progarchives, I would just like to say that this website is simply brilliant. Home by Home, being the bands second release following their Pause For A Hoarse Horse was a superb album. Mostly written by the late Mick Stubbs, who was also the lead vocalist, keyboarder and support or rythum guitar for Laurie Wisefield. The album starts with the track Dreamer which opens the album up very cleverly as the listener does not really know what to expect next. Heavy rock, blues, a ballad. This album features almost all of these genres and even a bit of folk on the lovely Rise Up. It is an album of two sides the better of which can be put down to pure taste. Personally I prefer the second side, beginning with Baby Be Friend Of Mine and ending with Homeīs greatest track Lady Of The Birds (also available as a live version on the BBC recordings). This track is what it is all about. Laurie Wisefield is absolutely stunning on not only this track but the whole album. I will never forget the sadness at hearing that Laurie had been hired to take over Ted Turnerīs vacant position with Wishbone Ash. The beginnig of a new career for Laurie, but the end of a great band for all those HOME fans. This is a four star album. I got my cd copy via EBAY. Itīs a Russian version.
 The Alchemist by HOME album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.68 | 59 ratings

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The Alchemist
Home Eclectic Prog

Review by raleks

5 stars Undoubtedly (for me) (and after more than several tens listens) masterpiece of prog. This album have all I want from prog music - interesting melodies and arrangements (ye, there is big work for my brain and ears:) ), good vocal. But there is an unexpected thing - after some listens I've suddenly understood I want to listen and listen also most disharmonic tracks on the album - Disaster ans Devastation :) And also I can NOT remeber any prog album with such hypnotize riffs, simple and effective, hard- rockish, repeated and repeated and... mmm... very tasteful. Highlight! The Death... is very dramatic song and perfectly feet (in contrast) with final song. The last one is simple STRONG melodic song. I happy my collection is enriched with this stuff. Generally there are no weak tracks here. Undoubtedly :D
 Pause For A Hoarse Horse by HOME album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.12 | 31 ratings

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Pause For A Hoarse Horse
Home Eclectic Prog

Review by prabbit

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.
 The Alchemist by HOME album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.68 | 59 ratings

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The Alchemist
Home Eclectic Prog

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars Opinions seem to be split on the worth of this album. On the one hand, it seems to represent the best of Home's three studio releases. On the other, some pan it as lacking in focus, boring, even pompous.

I think it falls somewhere in between, with the pendulum swinging in either direction depending on what one is listening for. 'The Alchemist' is a well-defined concept album that tells the tale of a young lad who assumes the powers of a dying wizard and uses those powers to save his town from some sort of rather vague disaster, apparently suffering from the same fatal affliction as his mentor as a result. Because of his diminished powers he is reviled by those same citizens when he is unable to stave off the second wave of doom, and is murdered by an angry mob. The album closes with a kind of eulogy to the alchemist, although the lyrics don't quite match the album artwork so it's not completely clear to me which wizard is being eulogized. That's the concept part. As a tale the story line is a bit simplistic, so I can see where some would consider the musical accompaniment to be a bit pretentious in comparison.

Then again this was released in 1973, so some accommodation must be made for the time period, and the level of the story's complexity probably falls somewhere between Bowie's 'Ziggy Stardust' and 'Thick as a Brick' (both of which were released around the same time), and well short of 'Dark Side of the Moon' or even say, Jeff Wayne's 'War of the Worlds'.

But musically this definitely represents a peak for Home, particularly the guitar work of Laurie Wisefield. His playing is much more pronounced and complex than on the previous two albums, and is very close to what he would do for Wishbone Ash on 'Where's the Rub' a year later. But his playing is a bit one-dimensional compared to his later Ash work, where he would add the banjo and quite a bit of 12-string to his arsenal. Guest musician Jimmy Anderson adds quite a bit of useful filler with his keyboards, particularly the mellotron sections that help Home to shed a bit of their folksy/country reputation. Some of the various synth sound effects do seem a bit cheesy today, particularly the 'disaster' and crowd noises, but overall the music is more expansive than their debut and more animated than their rather staid sophomore release.

I would tend to lump this album historically and musically with Ash's 'Argus', Allman Brother's 'Eat a Peach', Lynyrd Skynyrd's 'Pronounced.' and even ZZ Top's 'Tres Hombres', all released around the same time as this one. Of those only 'Argus' can also make the claim of being a concept album, although musically it far outshines Alchemist.

So this is a decent album, although not as deserving of the 'lost classic' label that some would suggest. Key tracks include the title song for its emotive instrumental work; the brief but keyboard-intense "Disaster"; and "The Sun's Revenge" for its strong guitar riffs. So three stars are where this gets placed, along with a modest recommendation for those who enjoy guitar- dominated early seventies tunes, as well as those who get a kick out of the many concept albums that found their way onto vinyl in the early seventies. If either of these types of albums appeal to you then you'll probably enjoy this one, but otherwise it will probably end up at the bottom of your playlist.

peace

Thanks to easy livin for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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