…This performance is exclusively confined to classic after classic spanning the whole Stackridge catalogue, all superbly delivered. Highlights abound, but the superlative versions of “God Speed The Plough”, “The Last Plimsoll” and Gordon Haskell’s wonderfully titled “No One’s More Important Than The Earthworm” take some beating. With former member Mutter Slater joining for a couple of tracks, there’s a special air to the evening and the finale of “Do The Stanley” will leave many a moist eye among the faithful. We may not see their like again. Get this if you’ve missed out on what the fuss is about!
Classic Rock Society (December 2017)
With a sound ranging from 60′s pop to blues, straight up rock to keyboard heavy prog and that of a string led, brass infused ensemble, there’s no doubt that Stackridge fit the billing ‘progressive’ much more succinctly than many out and out prog bands ever did. This set riding the gamut from the strings of “The Last Plimsoll” to the jaunt of “Fundamentally Yours”, which sounds like a less forceful Queen jamming with Yes. Along the way everything from “Something About The Beatles” to “Lummy Days”, via “Syracuse The Elephant” and “Dora The Female Explorer” confirm the stylistic about faces that occur throughout.
The crowd are involved and invigorated, if limited in size, while the sound across the show is excellent, although the fade outs in between songs do suck a little of the momentum out of proceedings; very little casual stage chatter making the cut. However with Davis, Warren and Lindley all in fine voice, whether leading from the front or combining to heighten the effect, and the overall performances as tight as you’d expect from a group of veterans who’ve run through these songs countless times, this really is a fitting tribute to a much loved band.
Coming with a booklet mixing a historical perspective with the thoughts and emotions of some of the band’s fans and which also pays respect to some of the more renowned former members, The Final Bow, Bristol 2015 is a wonderful two disc, twenty-two song strong celebration of a band who stuck to their guns and delighted many. It’s never too late to discover good music, and it has to be said that Stackridge’s final goodbye makes for just as strong an introduction to a vastly underrated group, as it is a fitting farewell.
Sea Of Tranquility (September 2017)
Although those who love the music really, really love it, Stackridge has always been criminally overlooked in the big scheme of things. They’ve written and recorded some of the most credible/incredible pop music and yet, for whatever reasons, they’ve never really received the attention they deserve. The 2015 band was comprised of Andy Davis, James Warren, Clare Lindley, Glenn Tommey, and Eddie John. And what a band they were. On this hefty double disc set, the band plays twenty-two selections for audiences who were obviously very familiar with the material. Highlights include “Over the Horizon,” “Fundamentally Yours,” “Something About the Beatles,” “Boots and Shoes,” and “Do The Stanley Aviator Brass (Plus Audience).” Sadly it’s farewell to Stackridge after so many years and so much wonderful music. But thankfully the tracks they recorded will always be around for future generations to admire and appreciate. Recommended. Top pick.
babysue (September 2017)
Stackridge in 2015 retained the spark of the early 70s when music was still expanding and they could add solid rock, whimsy and assorted oddness to witty lyrics and fine playing. Mutter Slater guests on two tracks and if you want proof of fine playing just listen to the flute composition, ‘Purple Spaceships Over Yatton’, With Mutter soloing.
RnR Magazine (September 2017)
None of their albums unturned, the ensemble concentrate on deep tracks from both distant and recent past, and throw into the mix a couple of pieces that didn’t make it to a studio LP. The quirkiest numbers aren’t performed here, though, stressing the set list’s sentimentality: from the translucent welcome of “Over The Horizon” to “Do The Stanley” which is passed to a brass section and audience singalong, there’s dewy-eyed nostalgia fogging up the proceedings, what with Mutter Slater’s flute returning to the fold for “Slark” and “Purple Spaceships Over Yatton” to help Andy Davis and James Warren close the decades-wide circle…
…Observing the group’s route from the vantage point of today, it’s almost impossible to avoid the wondering at how many songs in their repertoire bid farewell to a moment the artists’ inhabited at any given time, because the latter-day title track is only a reflection of the “Teatime” delicacy, and there’s a firm logic in placing Davis’ extracurricular “All I Do Is Dream Of You” alongside collective creations like “Fish In A Glass” whose insistent irony wouldn’t be lost on the crowd cheering their exit – because charisma still surrounds them.
The end of the story, then? Time for the band to go? Given their whimsy, here’s hoping they’ll be back one day. ****1/3
DMME.net (August 2017)
Clare’s violin leads ‘The Road To Venezuela’ from THE MAN WITH IN THE BOWLER HAT, one of the most impressive tracks, we also recognize the intro from ‘The Last Plimsoll’ is very BEATLES with always wonderful violin. The famous ‘Syracuse The Elephant’ from the second album is very oriental and sung in a very convincing way with the violin being a true revelation illuminating the concert. The delicious ‘Teatime’ from the same album is also featured, played energetically. If the violin is king, the piano and keyboards also have their time to shine. ‘God Speed The Plough’ has solo piano which is quickly joined by the violin, the piece gains in amplitude with layered keyboards…
Highlands Magazine (Translated – August 2017)
…At the end of a moving farewell tour, they decided to give a final concert at the Fiddlers Club in Bristol on December 19, 2015. That evening they were accompanied by Glenn Tommey (keyboards, vocals), old acquaintance who once played on the first album of The Korgis in 1979, Eddie John (drums) and Clare Lindley (violin, guitar, vocals)…long-time friend Mutter Slater honours the group with his presence on two titles, ‘Purple Spaceships Over Yatton’ and ‘Slark’. Still, with the same sense of derision, Stackridge offers a festive show where good mood is in order despite a palpable emotion…
Prog Female Voices (Translated – July 2017)
This new 2CD live set was recorded at Bristol and as the title says was their ‘Final Bow’ after 45 years the band have finally called it a day. I wish them a long and happy ‘retirement’. To those of you who are familiar with their output you will find, probably, a good few favourites here, remember ‘Do The Stanley’? If you are new to the band prepare to enjoy! I found myself repeatedly going back to CD2 tracks 4-6 and just smiling the tracks in question being ‘No Ones More Important Than The Earthworm’ ‘Lost And Found’ and ‘Boots And Shoes’. ‘Earthworm’ was in fact written by Gordon Haskell (Fleur-dy-lys, Ruperts People) Gordon never became a band member but had many connections, but that’s another story! It’s just a delight of a song and a title! Those three tracks just sum up the band for me. But then there’s ‘Slark’ and ‘Dora The Female Explorer’ and…well its all just so bloody enjoyable. Its fitting this should also be Angel Airs 500th release, half a grand, but a whole grand time to be had by all. Enjoy!
ninebattles.com (July 2017)
…Mutter Slater returns to add flute to signature tune ‘Slark’, and the expansive ‘Purple Spaceships Over Yatton’ but there are newer numbers too. A sad, beautiful farewell – but, given their past, one’s never certain that Stackridge have ever split up for good.
Record Collector (July 2017)
Andy Davis shines on so many tracks but Red Squirrel and The Final Bow glow to my ears. Of course we mustn’t forget little James Warren, who many consider to be the band’s Paul McCartney to Andy Davis’s John Lennon. Here that likeness is reinforced with sweet vocals and Beatlesque harmonies and melodic bass lines, amply showcased on Fundamentally Yours and The Last Plimsol. (And yes you do recognise James Warren’s voice – he sang lead on The Korgis worldwide smash Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime.)
Both the two aforementioned songs though, first appeared on the George Martin produced The Man in the Bowler Hat, an album he held in much affection and is often considered to be one of the finest albums he produced outside of the Beatles.
In many ways the Beatles comparison is obvious and fitting, the constant need to develop and change, pulling in influences from disparate musical traditions but always remembering to write a killer tune. The difference of course is that no-one wonders why the Beatles are so under appreciated…
This parting gift is full of similar killer tunes, and after 46 years of loving them I am going to miss Stackridge live, but I have this wonderful memory of a wonderful day.
The Progressive Aspect (July 2017)
This 2-CD set captures the band at their final gig in front of a partisan and parochial audience just before Christmas 2015. Of course, we’ve had the previous live set ‘The Forbidden City’ in 2007 so this really is a gentle update as much as a poignant reminder of a great band…Fittingly, given Angel Air’s faith in the band’s more recent restoration, this is the label’s 500th release in its 20th year. Fan and manager reminiscences in the liner notes pad out an excellent souvenir. Stackridge may be history but their music lives on. ****
Get Ready to ROCK! (July 2017)
This recording of their final gig at Bristol’s Fiddlers Club marks Angel Air’s 500th album release and provides an appealing celebration of Stackridge’s quirkily melodic approach to music-making, with former frontman Mutter Slater rejoining their ranks for a couple of perennial crowd-pleasers, “Purple Spaceships Over Yatton” and the epic “Slark”.
Kevin Bryan, Regional Newspapers (June 2017)
Stackridge are at the heart of Angel Air Records, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and is now releasing their 500th album…The Final Bow was recorded at a packed Fiddlers Club in Bristol on December 19th 2015 as Andy Davis, James Warren, Clare Lindley, Glen Tommey and Eddie John were joined on stage by former member Mutter Slater. This double CD includes ‘Over The Horizon’, ‘Long Dark River’, ‘Fish In A Glass’, ‘Slark’, ‘Lummy Days’ and ‘Purple Spaceships Over Yatton’.
Bev Bevan, Sunday Mercury (May 2017)