Header

STONE ANGEL

Prog Folk • United Kingdom


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Stone Angel picture
Stone Angel biography
The group STONE ANGEL were formed by the key members of another Norfolk (UK) area band (MIDWINTER), and like that group much of their early recorded music went either unnoticed, unreleased or both until its release by Kissing Spell in the mid-nineties. Unlike MIDWINTER, STONE ANGEL did manage to release a couple of studio albums during their heyday, and also reformed after the reissue of their early work.

The reformed band still exists today and released the delightful if somewhat difficult-to-locate album 'Circle of Leaves' in late 2007. Multi-instrumentalists Paul Corrick and Ken Saul, along with MIDWINTER acquaintance Mick Burroughs put together the first STONE ANGEL lineup in 1974, replacing former MIDWINTER vocalist Jill Child with the just-as-angelic singer Joan Bartle, who would eventually become Joan Saul. The group rounded out their lineup with violinist/mandoliner Dave Lambert.

STONE ANGEL's music recalls the finest traits of seventies British-tinged acid folk, much in the same vein as their predecessor MIDWINTER although leaning toward a more pastoral tone for the most part. The group recorded and released a self-titled album on the minor Seashell label, along with the immediately forgotten follow-up 'The Holy Rood of Bromholm' before Burroughs and Corrick departed for university studies. The remaining members, along with a rotating lineup of local talent, continued on in the STONE ANGEL name before fading from the scene toward the latter part of that decade. Saul and Bartle would revive the group's name in the mid eighties after brief stints as the VILLAGE BAND and ARKENSTONE, although no new studio work was released.

In the shadow of Kissing Spell's discovery and release of MIDWINTER's 1974 release 'The Waters of Sweet Sorrow' as well as STONE ANGEL's first two albums, the band reformed with Andrew Smith and keyboardist Dave Felmingham, releasing four new studio albums and appearing live sporadically. Dave Felmingham and Richard Danby would be added later, and the band continues to exist today although no known new material is planned at present. Lambert would go on to a variety of appearances including a stint in the Australian band the LEGENDS.

STONE ANGEL provide progressive folk fans with a decent-sized discography of a half-dozen albums spanning more than thirty years of recorded history, and are another example of the delightful blend of classic British folk and the more modern sounds that were inst...
read more

Stone Angel official website

STONE ANGEL MP3, Free Download (music stream)


Open extended player in a new pop-up window | Random Playlist (50) | How to submit new MP3s
No MP3/Stream available for this artist.
Collaborate with Progarchives.com, learn how to submit new MP3s.

STONE ANGEL forum topics / tours, shows & news


STONE ANGEL forum topics Create a topic now
STONE ANGEL tours, shows & news Post an entries now

STONE ANGEL Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Search and add more videos to STONE ANGEL

Buy STONE ANGEL Music


Stone AngelStone Angel
Import
Kissing Spell 2002
Audio CD$181.77 (used)
Stone AngelStone Angel
Attack Media Group 2011
Audio CD$15.99
$40.06 (used)
Lonely WatersLonely Waters
Import
Kissing Spell/Cottage 2004
Audio CD$13.60
$43.56 (used)
Turning PointTurning Point
Kivel Records
Audio CD$44.89
Circle of LeavesCircle of Leaves
Import
PID 2007
Audio CD$32.49
$33.17 (used)
East of the SunEast of the Sun
Import
Kissing Spell 2002
Audio CD$32.88
$37.49 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
SHABBY TIGER - STONE ANGEL - 7" VINYL 1976 RCA VICTOR US $22.70 Buy It Now 3 days
Stone Angel - S/T - Sealed LP Record RE US $25.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Stone Angel - Stone Angel (NEW CD) US $22.30 Buy It Now 4 days
Andrew Brel & Peter Stone - Angel Inspiration Angel Channelled Music CD #J03 US $8.39 Buy It Now 5 days
SHABBY TIGER - STONE ANGEL 7" VINYL US $16.21 Buy It Now 12 days
Stone Angel - S/T CD..'75 acid prog folk..Si Wan/Nices..RARE US $49.99 Buy It Now 13 days
Guitar Hymns * by Ryan Tilby (CD, Mar-2009, Stone Angel) US $13.15 Buy It Now 14 days
STONE ANGEL - S/T 75 BROODING ATMOSPHERIC UK FOLK PSYCH w/FRAGILE VCLS SEALED LP US $25.95 Buy It Now 14 days
Sacred Cello by Steven Sharp Nelson (CD, Sep-2006, Stone Angel) US $13.18 Buy It Now 15 days
The Hymns Collection by Paul Cardall (CD, Mar-2008, 2 Discs, Stone Angel) US $12.69 Buy It Now 15 days
Tender Mercies * by Steven Sharp Nelson (CD, Feb-2006, Stone Angel) US $12.66 Buy It Now 15 days
STONE ANGEL " SELF TITLED " SEALED UK LP FOLK PSCHEDELIC ROCK US $32.44 Buy It Now 16 days
STONE ANGEL - ST CD 2009 DARK LAW HARD ROCK US $18.99 Buy It Now 19 days
STONE ANGEL S/T LP NEW SEALED reissue acid folk psych comus wicker man occult US $30.84 Buy It Now 20 days
STONE ANGEL - EAST OF THE SUN - FOLK / ROCK US $20.43 Buy It Now 20 days
Stone Angel - Lonely Waters (NEW CD) US $22.30 Buy It Now 22 days
Stone Angel- s/t (Vinyl, Lp) US $24.99 Buy It Now 22 days
STONE ANGEL - LONELY WATERS - FOLK / ROCK US $20.43 Buy It Now 22 days
Living for Eden by Paul Cardall (CD, Jul-2008, 2 Discs, Stone Angel) US $12.95 Buy It Now 23 days
STONE ANGEL - STONE ANGEL (4753314802612) - NEW CD US $21.68 Buy It Now 24 days
STONE ANGEL - LONELY WATERS - KSCD951 US $21.32 Buy It Now 24 days
STONE ANGEL - HOLY ROOD OF BROMHOLM - KSCD9490 US $25.93 Buy It Now 24 days
STONE ANGEL - STONE ANGEL - PTCD8026 US $21.94 Buy It Now 24 days
Stone Angel - Stone Angel New & Sealed CD-JEWEL CASE Free Shipping US $24.69 Buy It Now 25 days
JOHN PRINE self titled HELLO IN THERE sam stone ANGEL FROM MONT rare new tape US $14.88 Buy It Now 26 days
Faithful by Paul Cardall (CD, Jul-1999, Stone Angel) US $12.65 Buy It Now 27 days
STONE ANGEL - STONE ANGEL - PSYCH / FOLK ROCK - NEW US $29.20 Buy It Now 28 days
Stone Angel - Holy Rood Of Bromholm (NEW CD) US $22.30 Buy It Now 29 days

More places to buy STONE ANGEL music online Buy STONE ANGEL & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
  • AmazonMP3: Search for STONE ANGEL DRM-Free MP3 Downloads @ AmazonMP3 (USA Only) | AmazonMP3 (UK Only)

STONE ANGEL shows & tickets


STONE ANGEL has no upcoming shows, according to LAST.FM syndicated events and shows feed

STONE ANGEL discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

3.55 | 8 ratings
Stone Angel
1975
3.00 | 2 ratings
East Of The Sun
2000
3.00 | 2 ratings
Lonely Waters
2004
3.00 | 2 ratings
Circle Of Leaves
2007
4.00 | 1 ratings
Between The Water And The Sky
2013

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

2.00 | 1 ratings
The Holy Rood of Bromholm
1976

STONE ANGEL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

STONE ANGEL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

STONE ANGEL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

STONE ANGEL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Stone Angel by STONE ANGEL album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.55 | 8 ratings

BUY
Stone Angel
Stone Angel Prog Folk

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

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.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

 Between The Water And The Sky by STONE ANGEL album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
Between The Water And The Sky
Stone Angel Prog Folk

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars "Our native setting, wherein these tales are told."

When I found out that Stone Angel had just released a new album I decided to order a copy directly from the band's website. The disc comes in a very nice digi-pack with an informative booklet. This reflects the high production values and the great attention to detail of the music itself. I expected a good album and could quickly confirm that my expectations would not be frustrated. But over repeated listens Between The Water And The Sky revealed itself to be something ever better. This is a notch above even the very good East Of The Sun in both quality and progressiveness and eventually convinced me to award an extra star.

The basis of the sound of the Stone Angel of the new millennium is still Folk Rock in the tradition of Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention, but there are crucial aspects on which Stone Angel differs from these bands. Stone Angel utilises a broader palette of instruments, they only occasionally rely on a Rock rhythm section, and they sometimes include Medieval elements (at times reminiscent of Gryphon; they even use that horrid Crumhorn, but more tastefully than Gryphon did). On many occasions I am reminded of the style of Mike Oldfield here. Electric lead guitar has a stronger presence on this album than on previous Stone Angel albums and the guitar sound is often similar to that of Oldfield. A good reference point in this connection is the excellent and criminally overlooked Prog Folk band The Morrigan. Keyboards are often present here but rarely play a leading role. The sonic quality of the album is superb.

The majority of the material is traditional, but there is a greater proportion of original material all of which is written by Ken and Joan Saul who also share lead vocal duties throughout. Most of the time, the originals are the better songs. Silver, Fisherman's Wife, and Dogger Bank are thematically linked to form a kind of suite. The a cappella Fisherman's Wife tells a very moving story of a wife who looses her husband and sons to the sea. Dogger Bank is one of the few tracks on the album to feature Rock drums and it is also the most up-tempo of the 13 tracks. The most progressive songs are probably The Wind Blows Cold (which features great dueling of electric guitar and flute), Ordinary Man, and the title track. Overall, the second half of the album is more interesting than the first half.

Between The Water And The Sky is British Folk Rock of the highest quality with several progressive aspects. It is a crowning achievement of a nearly 40 year career (longer if you count the band's pre-history) and Stone Angel's best album. Highly recommended to Prog Folk fans!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

 Lonely Waters by STONE ANGEL album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.00 | 2 ratings

BUY
Lonely Waters
Stone Angel Prog Folk

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars What has become of England

Lonely Waters was the second Stone Angel album since their return to the scene (third studio album overall). My first acquaintance with the band was the previous East Of The Sun which I stumbled upon more or less by chance and was positively surprised. A bit later I also managed to pick up Circle Of Leaves, the band's most recent release at that time (though a brand new album has just been released at time of writing!) As I was somewhat disappointed by Circle Of Leaves, I am pleased to report that Lonely Waters is closer to East Of The Sun in both style and quality.

Like East Of The Sun, the present album is filled with Folk Rock of the highest quality in a similar vein to Steeleye Span, but with more instrumental diversity. The primarily traditional material is wonderfully performed on both acoustic and electric instruments including acoustic and electric guitars, flutes, recorders, oboe, accordion, dulcimers, keyboards, and assorted percussion instruments. Rock drums feature on only a couple of the 14 tracks.

The band has as many as seven full members here with a further five musicians appearing as guests on some tracks. There are both male and female lead vocals in about equal measure. The vocal and instrumental diversity makes the album interesting throughout and I find myself enjoying every minute of this fine recording. The sonic quality is high and everything is very professionally performed and recorded. It is however not overly progressive as such. Still, I think this might appeal to many Prog Folk fans. Personally, I prefer East Of The Sun over this one, but Lonely Waters is a good album by an unjustly overlooked band.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

 Circle Of Leaves by STONE ANGEL album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.00 | 2 ratings

BUY
Circle Of Leaves
Stone Angel Prog Folk

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars The official soundtrack for a play set up in the local village church

Stone Angel is a Folk Rock band that goes back to the mid-70's (with roots in another band called Midwinter). They released one studio album in 1975 and a live album the year after that, but then it wouldn't be until the year 2000 that they released another album. Since then another two albums have appeared including the present one from 2007 which is the latest to date (but another album is expected this year). Circle Of Leaves contains music written for (and originally performed live by the band within the context of) a play by a community-based theatre group. The play is inspired by various green men legends and characters including Puck, Jack-in-the- Green, Robin Hood, John Barleycorn, etc. I learned all this from the CD booklet and was unaware of it until after I had bought the CD.

Some snippets of spoken word are included between a few songs, but it does not distract too much from the music. The music differs quite a lot from the other album I have by this band called East Of The Sun. The latter is a good, mildly progressive, Folk Rock album. The present album, on the other hand, can perhaps be said to be more progressive (in some sense of the term), or at least it is conceptual, but at the same time it is much less of a Rock album. Given that it is music for a play set up in a church, this is maybe not surprising, but it was a disappointment for me after having been positively surprised with the much better East Of The Sun.

Both male and female voices are heard and a plethora of instruments are used including flutes, accordion, and dulcimers as well as (though discretely) keyboards, electric guitar and bass. I find it an enjoyable, but rather unremarkable listen.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

 East Of The Sun by STONE ANGEL album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.00 | 2 ratings

BUY
East Of The Sun
Stone Angel Prog Folk

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars A very pleasant surprise!

I found this album on CD in a small local record shop for close to no money at all and decided to pick it up without any prior experience of Stone Angel. I had seen them being mentioned as playing Acid Folk in the vein of Jan Dukes De Grey, Comus and Spirogyra, a style I'm not particularly fond of. So my expectations were not high, but gosh what a pleasant surprise East Of The Sun was! It is hard to call this progressive, but regarded as an old-fashioned albeit unconventional Folk Rock album this is excellent music. I'm no expert of British Folk Rock as such, but I would say that The Albion Band's Rise Up Like The Sun (which also is a good album) is the closest comparison I can come up with. The less progressive moments of The Morrigan is also a good reference point, especially the equal reliance on male and female vocals. There are plenty of medieval influences on East Of The Sun that are foreign to bands such as Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span and Stone Angel does not rely on fiddle. There is instead a plethora of both traditional and Rock instruments including Rock drums, electric guitars and even the occasional synthesiser among the acoustic guitars, flutes, dulcimers, crumhorns (which is utilised much more tastefully than it was by Gryphon!) and whatnot!

The material is mostly traditional, but the band also writes some songs of their own in the traditional style. There is not one weak moment here - this is high class Folk Rock which is interesting and pleasant but at best only mildly progressive. I will now try my best to get my hands on the rest of this band's output.

Anyone who is into classic British Folk Rock would enjoy this album. Recommended! A solid three stars!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

 Stone Angel by STONE ANGEL album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.55 | 8 ratings

BUY
Stone Angel
Stone Angel Prog Folk

Review by progshachar

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 beautiful song that set the atmosphere. "The Skater" move in the same shoes as its former. The third song is a melody from old times. "Traveler's song" is a typical acid folk - a bit faster than before. "Black sailed Traders" has a great melody. "Stone Angel" is a brilliant piece. It is quiet and speedy at the same time. A real acid. Galliard has a taste of king's music from old times. "The gay Goshwak" is again fast paced with female vocals. It's the longest song - a little more than 7 minutes."Black dog" is beautiful combining female and male vocals."Holy Rood of Bromholm" is a great song to end the journey. All in all, it has a unique atmosphere almost impossible to find. A bit of Incredible string band, a bit of slow Comus, and a lot of Stone Angel .

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

 Lonely Waters by STONE ANGEL album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.00 | 2 ratings

BUY
Lonely Waters
Stone Angel Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars This is the last Stone Angel CD I needed to round out my collection, and after a fair amount of looking I finally found a copy that fit (though stretched) my budget. My reaction is mixed. This album is far closer to conventional folk than it is to progressive music. Eight of the fourteen tracks consist of arrangements of traditional folk standards, with two others coming from literary sources of the middle ages. Ken Saul penned the remaining four songs, although these are a bit difficult to distinguish from the conventional folk tunes.

The CD opens with a Renaissance-tinged number titled “The Outlandish Knight”, which despite the name is more about the knight’s fair maiden than himself. A mildly interesting tune, but with little to distinguish it beyond Joan Saul’s quite appealing vocals, which seem to have been made for singing folk music.

“Pretty Nancy of Yarmouth” plays on a pretty traditional folk theme; sailor sets off to sea leaving his pretty young lass at home pining away for him (or maybe not). And in another nod to that seafaring town, “The Yarmouth Hornpipe” follows. Crumhorn and oboe give this song its shape, along with some pretty decent and mildly acid electric guitar from Andrew Smith and some sort of electric keyboard courtesy Dave Felmingham, who was not an original band member back in the seventies but has appeared on all three of the group’s records since they reformed in the 21st century. “1901” appears later on the album and is also a seafaring ditty, this one about a shipwreck disaster based on true Yarmouth-area event that occurred in (not surprisingly) 1901.

And speaking of the original band, that entire lineup is back here for the first and (sadly) last time since their pseudo-live 1976 release ‘The Holy Rood of Bromholm’. For reasons not explained in the liner notes, Paul Corrick (electric guitar) and Dave Lambert (violin) appear as “guest musicians” and only on one song, “P.A. Olsen's Halling”. Lambert’s tracks were apparently mailed in from South Australia which might explain his limited participation (the rest of the recording was made in Norfolk, England). I say this is the last time that lineup will be together because oboist/Cor anglais player Richard Danby passed away just as the album recording was wrapping up.

Some of the other songs here hint at the direction the band would take on their next release, namely in more of a chamber or even medieval direction. The title track in particular, which is adapted from an orchestral rhapsody dating at least to the early twentieth century and probably earlier. “Veni Coronaberis” is in a similar vein although with more prominence given to Joan Saul’s vocals (augmented by new band member Jane Denny). The latter song is based on a 15th century poetic manuscript in praise of ivy (life was certainly slower and simpler long ago).

The band loosens up a bit toward the end of the record, with three of the final five tracks being original material infused with more of the characteristic recorders/flutes, electric guitar with acoustic strumming, and interplay of Ken and Joan Saul’s vocals. This is closer to the mellow acid folk the band made back in the seventies, and frankly much more appealing to me than the staid and sometimes bookish traditional numbers. Speaking of which, the band apparently couldn’t resist one more hyper-intellectual offering in “Now Welcome Summer” based on Chaucer’s 1368 work ‘The Parlement of Fowles’.

The best three songs on the album come at the end. “St. Benet’s” is an original number that (while quite laconic) brings out the best of the band in Danby’s oboe, Joan Saul’s vocals and recorders, Ken Saul’s mellow dulcimer, and Dave Felmingham’s layered keyboard programming.

“P.A. Olsen's Halling” reunites the entire 1974 lineup of the band and is the closest thing they’ve done to their original music back in the seventies. Tasty and slightly fuzzed guitar, warbling violin and a laid-back rhythm section make this an instrumental treat.

And finally the album closes on “What Will Become of England”, which despite its title is an upbeat number. An original composition, Ken Saul pays tribute to a couple of his favorite 19th century British folk singers and at the same time manages to give a solidarity shout- out to farm laborers. This is authentic folk and quite well-arranged and executed with multiple vocalists and lovely cello from guest Sian Sutton.

This isn’t my favorite Stone Angel record, and considering the trouble and expense I had to go through to get it I’m not sure it was completely worth buying. But in the end I have it and it completes my collection. The last handful of songs really make the album work, and frankly I wish the band had started with “Meeting Hill” and build an album similar to that song forward and left the seafaring ditties to Faraway Folk or someone else. But I’ll say this is a comfortable three star album, and recommend it to people who like their folk music mature, traditional and very well executed.

peace

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

 The Holy Rood of Bromholm by STONE ANGEL album cover Live, 1976
2.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
The Holy Rood of Bromholm
Stone Angel Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

— First review of this album —
2 stars This is a live album of sorts, meaning (I believe) nothing more than it was pretty much recorded in single takes. These tracks were intended as demos, recorded in the early days of Stone Angel’s first incarnation of the mid-seventies. The record was never released to the best of my knowledge, so the only issue available is the one Kissing Spell made on CD when they ‘discovered’ the band in the mid-nineties.

The tracks were recorded in a church, and there’s an ambient hollowness that hints of spacious ceilings and hard-backed pews and general dusty openness. That pretty much describes the music as well, which at times leans closer to almost medieval British traditional folk (particularly “Dancing at Whitsun” and “The Cuckoo” (which if I’m not mistaken is actually a traditional British folk song); while elsewhere Paul Corrick manages to anchor the songs in the general vicinity of the 20th century. If you’re into up-tempo Celtic fiddling there’s plenty of that, with some songs such as “King of the Faeries/The Ash Plant” and “Station Island” coming off as borderline jigs. On the other hand the band shows their proficiency in a cappella vocals with three-part harmonies on “Harvest Song” and the very traditional-sounding “False Knight on the Road”.

Several of these songs appeared in slightly more polished form on the band’s first, self- titled album released in 1974 on the obscure Seashell label, including “The Skater”, “Black Sailed Traders” and the title track which is almost identical to the studio version. The one interesting repeat is “Galliard”, a remake of their original tune “Galliard Merric England Is Music Box” that has both a shorter title and shorter length, but manages to add vocals where the 1974 version is an instrumental.

There are a couple songs on the album that probably qualify as proper acid folk - “Seventeen Come Sunday” and “The Skater”, the latter of which manages to include acoustic guitar with noticeable psych leanings); but for the most part this is fairly tepid folk music with just enough modernity to keep it from qualifying for release on a classical music label. Combine that with its modest recording quality and bare-bones post-production and you have a record that has nothing significantly wrong with it, but only manages a rating of ‘for collectors only’. Recommended only for really dedicated Stone Angel fans, collectors of obscure folk ‘rock’, and middle-aged liberal arts professors who wear tweed and actually remember the sixties. Two stars.

peace

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

 East Of The Sun by STONE ANGEL album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.00 | 2 ratings

BUY
East Of The Sun
Stone Angel Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars This album makes apparent the fact Stone Angel were unfortunate victims of timing back when they were originally active in the mid-seventies. The music here would have been hugely popular in the acid folk and hippie communities just a few years before the band morphed out of Midwinter, but sadly 1974 was just a bit too late to be launching a full- fledged folk rock band with heavy Celtic leanings and an overall renaissance vibe. Instead, it seems the turn of the century provided a better opportunity, thanks mostly to technology advancements that have made it possible for so many prog-friendly record labels to rediscover and reissue forgotten music such as Stone Angel.

This is the first of three new studio albums the band has released since Kissing Spell dredged up their ancient 1975 self-titled album and the live recording ‘The Holy Rood of Bromholm’ and re-released them on CD. The lineup is mostly different this time around, although stalwarts Joan and Ken Saul remain from the original band. The two of them toiled through the nineties as the Village Band as well, after a couple of unsuccessful restarts of Stone Angel in the eighties and nineties.

But the new members are all fellow-travelers so nothing is lost in terms of the band’s mood, and the advantages of modern studio techniques and the wisdom and experience of age on the part of the players themselves have resulted in an offering that is frankly at least as good and probably better than the group’s stellar 1975 debut. To be sure, this is much more mellow and sometimes borderline traditional folk music; but the musicianship is top- notch all around, and there’s just enough electric guitar and the occasional drum (granted, mostly bongos or programmed) to remind the listener that this is the 21st century.

And there is the occasional energetic highlight as well. “Rise Up John” for instance blends Celtic fiddle and organ sounds with some Earl Grey-caffeinated guitar licks and uplifting harmonized vocals. “The Sick Tune”, based on an unknown 16th century traditional dance according to the liner notes, is quite traditional sounding but benefits greatly from a couple of recorders played (I believe) by Ken and Joan Saul. Here the sequenced drumbeat sounds quite authentic and its acoustic hollowness combine with what is either a harpsichord or the digital equivalent and more hopping guitar for an overall very engaging prog-folk dance tune.

Elsewhere there is a remake of “Black Sailed Traders”, a tune that appeared on the band’s 1975 debut album. Here again the group seems to have improved, shaving a half-minute or so off the song (mostly by speeding up the tempo a bit) and by emphasizing the strings and woodwinds a bit more. I have to admit I still prefer the more rustic original version though.

Joan Saul has always had the kind of folk voice that seems like it was created to do nothing but chant about tree nymphs and dastardly deeds committed in the darkness of peat bogs and lost souls of medieval days. And she seems to warm to that task quite easily, especially on “The Cuckoo”, “The Fowler” and the airy “These Trees They Grow So High”. For some reason Ken Saul takes front stage on vocals throughout much of the album though, something that gives it more balance but frankly leaves me wondering why the group wouldn’t utilize the great vocals asset they have in Joan Saul much more frequently.

The best tunes though are those where the entire band is engaged in not only playing, but also singing, usually in sweet harmony. The album both opens (“Outlanders”) and closes (“To You with Love”) with such numbers, with “All Frolicking I Will Give Over” making for a trio.

The band would go on to pull all their experience and sensibilities together to release what will likely come to be considering their magnum opus with the 2007 recording ‘Circle of Leaves’. But this one is quite good as well, and shows Ken and Joan Saul had not lost a step in the quarter-century between their early Stone Angel days and this latest iteration. Three stars and well recommended.

peace

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

 Circle Of Leaves by STONE ANGEL album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.00 | 2 ratings

BUY
Circle Of Leaves
Stone Angel Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

4 stars This may actually be about as close as modern-day music can come to being quintessential progressive folk. All the trappings are here: established literary and mythical themes set to modern music; a tasteful blend of electric and traditional instruments; continuity of tone; and even a choral arrangement as an epilogue. I’m not sure I’d consider this a masterpiece if for no other reason than it isn’t overly original, but in all this is a very good bit of music that is a welcome surprise from a band that has lumbered along in various stages of existence for more than thirty-five years.

Stone Angel were spawned from the mild acid folk act Midwinter some time around 1974, and were a relatively minor player in the glut of British & Celtic folk bands that peppered the musical landscape in the early and mid seventies. Like most of the others, they released a couple of albums and basically faded away as some members drifted away from music, others wandered off to pursue educations, and still others toiled along as forgotten local acts for many years. The band reformed at times over the years under this and other names, with none of those lineups making much of a lasting impression. Fate shown on the core group when Kissing Spell rediscovered them in the mid-nineties and reissued their first two albums. The group reformed with several new members and appear to be somewhat active even today, with this being the third release of new material since being signed by Kissing Spell in the late nineties.

This if really their most polished offering, and consists of both original and traditional tunes carefully arranged to a bevy of instruments and voices. The core of the original seventies band Ken Saul and Joan Saul (nee Barlte) have assembled a new lineup of local talent, and have compiled a collection of songs set to a drama and spoken-word production called ‘Green Man’ that has been performed as local theater in the Norfolk area. Many of these songs are based on traditional arrangements, including “Good Mayers All”, “The Perfect Curve” and “Now Lammas Comes In”. Others are based on literary themes, including the Peter Bellamy tune “Oak, Ash & Thorn” based on the words of Rudyard Kipling; and an energetic and vibrant rendition of the 12th century German nun St Hildegard’s ode “O Viridissima Virga”.

The music seems to be sequenced somewhat chronologically, with a handful of opening pieces written by Joan Saul but based on historically mythical characters such as Puck and Jack-in-the-Green. These are followed by an undated traditional Norfolk dance tune (“The Perfect Cure”), the St Hildegard song, Kipling, and the 18th century hymnal “Now Lammas Come In”. Other offerings include the 15th century “Make We Merry” and other original works referencing the Christ child and mother Mary as well as nature themes of holly, ivy and lithe meadow lassies. The album closes with a sweeping and vaguely medieval ballad (“The Promise”) which features a two-dozen voice choir, references to Robin Hood and spirits of the seasons, and a lulling bowed psaltry and acoustic guitar delicately plucked between soaring choral choruses. A majestic ending to an altogether delightful album.

Like I said, this isn’t a masterpiece, but that doesn’t matter really since it probably wasn’t meant to be. The CD is still in print but rather difficult to obtain (I had to pay dearly to have it imported to the U.S.); but I would recommend it as well worth the effort for serious fans of bucolic progressive folk music. No question this is a four-star affair, and one that will command a place of prominence in your collection to be played on lazy spring evenings with close friends and a suitable outdoor backdrop. Enjoy it in that setting if you can.

peace

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the artist addition.

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | GeoIP Services by MaxMind | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — the ultimate jazz music virtual community | MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music virtual community


Server processing time: 0.75 seconds