Friday, November 23, 2012

40 Year Itch : Two Beauties from November '72

Colin Blunstone could sing the obituary section of a newspaper and make it gorgeous. The former Zombies singer released his second solo album, Ennismore, in November of 1972. The lead-off track, "I Don't Believe in Miracles", was he first single and peaked at #31 in the UK. It was written by Argent singer Russ Ballard. In fact Argent backed up Blunstone on most of the album making this the closest thing to a new Zombies record any fan could hope to hear. This album and the first solo effort, One Year, are both offer beautiful examples of baroque pop. These days you don't have to choose between the two. Amazon, I noticed, offers a box set of the first three Blunstone solo albums for  $13.78.

The eclectic Englishmen who make up Stackridge never took their music too seriously. Band members were made up of a former timber yard worker, a bookstore clerk, a cleaner in a birdseed factory and other odd jobbers. With titles like "Keep On Clucking", "Syracuse the Elephant" and "Father Frankenstein Is Behind Your Pillow" you know the phonograph needle is about to land on something odd. But the music is also quite beautiful and diverse. The title cut is a multi-tracked vocal wonder but that's just one aspect of the album. There's also reggae (!) and heavy duty prog rock to be found on this exceptional effort. Critics loved it. The public ignored it. The follow-up, The Man in The Bowler Hat, would be produced by George Martin.

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