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Topic ClosedStackridge at the Global Village - 16th February 1

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AlanD View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Stackridge at the Global Village - 16th February 1
    Posted: October 09 2008 at 08:26
On Saturday 16th February 1974, that bizarre West Country musical combo rejoicing under the moniker of Stackridge, collided with Capital Radio DJ, Richard Anthony Crispian Francis Prue Hope-West (otherwise known as Tommy Vance) for a live radio broadcast from the Global Village in London and the result was an evening of mayhem! Long since enshrined as one of the legendary moments of Stackridge folklore, it was an event I unfortunately missed due to a liaison with a long-forgotten female at a Nektar gig taking place at Dagenham Roundhouse that evening. I'd seen Stackridge perform at Hendon Polytechnic the previous night and, indeed, saw them again at the Marquee Club a few days later, so my perceptions of the Global Village performance are based solely on the recordings of that evening, made available on the 2 cd set The Complete Global Village, given away as a freebie with The Rhubarbarian fanzine in 2004.
The first disc contains the rehearsals for this gig and as well as many roughshod and partially completed performances that allow us a glimpse into the backstage world of the band, we are also able to enjoy the pleasure of some extended Mike Evans violin improvisations in the form of Evans' Violin Concerto and The Star & Cheeseburger Suite, showing just what a brilliant young violinist 'The Big E' was in those halcyon days. The gig itself, presented on disc two, is the epitome of chaos and as well as hearing some great music, we're able to witness Tommy Vance making a complete fool of himself, muddling titles, asking daft questions and getting even dafter answers. Add to this a sound man who appears to be on some kind of trip and the outcome is one of the strangest live broadcasts of the seventies!
McGregor makes a great opener with its eccentric, jazzy first section featuring a twisting, elastic bass riff  that sounds like simplicity itself but is a real bugger to play, I can tell you! Drummer Andy Davis' vocal mike seems to be mixed twice as loud as guitarist James Warren's resulting in a 'harmony heavy' vocal mix on the second section of this 'lost' Stackridge classic (never recorded in the studio). An extraordinary reading of the cosmic instrumental Purple Spaceships Over Yatton sees Mike Evans' sliding violin so far up front in the mix it becomes psychedelic in the extreme and it's always good to hear Keith Gemmell stretch out on flute on a number that previously seemed unthinkable without the recently-departed Mutter Slater's contribution. With a raft of new numbers, many,of which, such as the exploratory Every Living Hole never ending up on an official studio album, this odd, Mutter-less incarnation of Stackridge were one of the most adventurous line-ups in the history of the band.  Much of the older material is drawn from The Man in the Bowler Hat, their then-current LP, including the new single Dangerous Bacon, likened to " exploding breakfast" by Tommy Vance.
More chaos ensues when Mike Evans' rendition of The Laughing Policeman features an enthusiastic vocal, broadcast so loud that the distorted manic laughter is almost scarifying in its intensity and who knows what the unsuspecting listener made of it all! In amongst all this, Tommy Vance attempts to interview various band members between numbers with hilarious results and as the evening wears on, things become ever more anarchic. The memorable sequence towards the end of the set finds Tommy Vance's announcements one tune ahead of the band and he never quite recovers himself. The Volunteer, introduced by bassist Crun Walter as about "...a bloke who w**ks a lot" sees Andy Davis' backing vocals crazily out of proportion in the radio mix and as jigs fired off between that number and the glorious February In Shropshire (still criminally without a studio version) our host is completely at sea, although he appears to be enjoying the spectacle. At one point a technician can be heard yelling to an oblivious Tommy Vance, "Tommy...your mike's not working, man!". Dragged back for an encore and referred to by T.V. as "...a load of absolute...monarchs!" this wonderfully unique incarnation of Stackridge sign off with their theme tune, Lummy Days to bring to an end an unforgettable radio broadcast. Many thanks to the sterling efforts of my partner-in-crime, Ade Macrow, for making this aural experience available on cd for Rhubarb Thrashers everywhere to savour and delight in.
A night to remember indeed!
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