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The Man In the Bowler Hat

Stackridge

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Album Review

Produced by George Martin, The Man in the Bowler Hat continues Stackridge's brand of satiric rock marbled with elements of folk and to some extent, even country. The lyrics are just as witty as in their first two releases, and the poetry glistens with a jovial Englishness that became the band's most identifiable trademark. With Martin's help, though, the album became one of their better releases, as the music rises to the top before the words do, sounding fresher, livelier, and noticeably sharper than both their debut and 1972's Friendliness. Stackridge's best song, "Dangerous Bacon," was released as a single, and it's in this song as well as "The Galloping Gaucho" and "The Indifferent Hedgehog" in which their sound comes alive. The eccentric combination of Mutter Slater's flute and the playful airiness of Mike Evans' violin give the melodies a lightheartedness that is catchy and original. Andy Davis' keyboard work doesn't hide the warmth of the strings or the woodwinds, and the album as a whole sports a cheeriness which disappointingly began to subside on Stackridge's later album's, mainly because the novelty of their music was wearing off. The reissued version of The Man in the Bowler Hat contains three impressive bonus tracks, including "Do the Stanley" and "Let There Be Lids," which involves some rather exceptional fiddle playing.

Customer Reviews

My Favourite Record of All Time

No matter how much new music I have bought / borrowed / downloaded over the years I can always come back to this one and have my spirits lifted and see my smile return. Probably the best non-Beatles record produced by George Martin and full of lovely 'englishness' it is a record with great tunes, great performances and a wonderful wonderful sense of fun mixed with experimentation (hmm who does THAT remind you of?) There's a breadth of styles which was artistically successful but commercially less so. The majority of this line up have reformed in recent times and are now gigging at a gentle and steady space - well worth seeing. This group have been more of a constant in my life than anything other than my parents - for which I am grateful. Buy this and help repay my debt!

Biography

Formed: 1969

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Stackridge, one of the most singular rock bands to grow in soil sown and enriched by the British Invasion of the '60s, coalesced in late 1969. Andy Davis and Jim "Crun" Walter were playing together in the Bristol blues band Griptight Thynne when Davis began seeking new bandmates. Mike Tobin (who became Stackridge's first manager) introduced Davis to Mike "Mutter" Slater, then playing in the folk duo Mick & Mutter. James Warren answered a newspaper ad and connected very well with Davis, and they...
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The Man In the Bowler Hat, Stackridge
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