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Stackridge - A Victory For Common Sense CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

4.00 | 17 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Part of the reunion

Having achieved a limited but creditable amount of local success in the 1970's, Stackridge called it a day in 1977. Almost exactly 20 years later, a quorum of the members agreed to give it another go, and to date three further albums of original material have been released. "A victory for common sense" is the latest of these (at time of writing in 2011) having appeared in 2009. The line up which recorded the album boast no fewer than four of the six people considered to form the band's classic line up, with just violinist Mike Evans and drummer Billy Bent being absent. Guest musicians, whose participation in the band varies from the transitory to full member in all but name, fill the absentees roles as well as providing further diversity of available instruments.

The album consists of just nine tracks, all but one of which is written or co-written by Andy Davis, with the rest of the band plus guest Glenn Tommey receiving credits on selected tracks. By and large it is fair to say that the prog nuances with which the band dabbled all those years ago are largely forgotten here, in favour of the lighter and more whimsical side of the band which has always co-existed with those nuances. There is therefore a reliance on catchy hooks and strong melodies, and as usual Stackridge deliver with aplomb on that score.

The opening "Boots And Shoes" bears the familiar Beatles influences and Korgis (a Stackridge offshoot) style pop rock, the song being an obvious candidate for single release. "The old country" takes an affectionately nostalgic look back towards the UK from the point of view of an ex-pat living on the other side of the world. The song has echoes of the Strawbs "Part of the union" in melody and style.

"(Waiting For You And) England To Return" is altogether softer, with acoustic guitar and high vocals painting a reflective picture of times gone. The violin solo within the song is similar to that which features on latter day Fairport Convention albums. "Red Squirrel" sounds like a medley of Beatles (and indeed Oasis!) songs, including the chiming lead guitar of "I want you (she's so heavy)". "North St. Grande" was released as a free download for Christmas 2010, the song being a letter from the front type old time Christmas song.

The slightly weightier material on the album begins with the 7 minute "Long dark river", a song with an American folk rock twinge; a sort of Beach Boys meets Crosby Stills and Nash. There is also once again a fair bit of Korgis in the song although interestingly this is the only song Davis was not involved in writing, Jim "Crun" Walter getting the sole credit. The track boast a good lead guitar break to finish things off.

"Lost And Found" once again mixes Beatles with Korgis and perhaps a bit of 10CC. The song has an infectious melody, with dreamy overtones and some good harmonies. "Cheese And Ham" contrasts pleasantly inoffensive lyrics with peaceful harmonies, the song taking a slightly harder turn as the child's father intervenes in his future. The album closes with an 11 minute piece entitled "The Day The World Stopped Turning". While there is something of a nod to prog here, especially in the superb flute and violin contributions, the track appears to be more of a medley of ideas than an extended composition as such. That is not intended to be said in criticism though, and as a whole the track is probably the high point of the album.

Overall, another fine album in the Stackridge discography. Being honest, there is little if any genuine prog here, but this is more than compensated for by the strong melodies and tight performances throughout.

Since the release of this album, vocalist Mutter Slater has once again left the band (amicably). It appears though that the other members remain committed to Stackridge as a going concern.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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