Stackridge Biography

Using a bizarre mixture of dustbin lids and rhubarb stalks as stage props, Stackridge were once acclaimed as the ‘West Country Beatles’ and enjoyed a brief vogue in the early 70s. The group was formed in Bristol in 1969 as Stackridge Lemon by Jim ‘Crun’ Walter (bass) and Andy Davis (Andrew Cresswell-Davis; vocals, guitar, keyboards) who recruited James Warren (guitar/vocals) and Billy Bent aka Billy Sparkle (drums) through a newspaper advertisement. Lead singer and flautist Mike ‘Mutter’ Slater had been in a local folk duo. Adding violinist Mike Evans, they developed an idiosyncratic folk rock style with whimsical lyrics on songs like ‘Dora The Female Explorer’, their debut single for MCA Records in 1971.

Over the next three years, Stackridge toured throughout Europe and appeared at the 1972 Reading Festival with a troupe of St. Trinians-style dancers. Slater invented a dance craze, ‘Do The Stanley’ but left the band shortly before the release of the George Martin -produced The Man In The Bowler Hat. Stackridge added session player Rod Bowkett (keyboards) and former Audience and Sammy member Keith Gemmell on saxophone and flute. They changed labels to Elton John’s Rocket in 1974 but despite Slater’s return for Mr. Mick, lack of commercial success caused the band to split in 1976.

While Slater left the music business, Evans toured with visiting country stars and later played in the trio at Bath Pump Room. Davis played guitar on two albums by ex-String Driven Thing vocalist Kimberley Beacon and in 1979 formed the Korgis with Warren. The latter went on to issue the 1987 solo set Burning Questions while Davis toured with Tears For Fears before recording the ‘new age’-style Clevedon Pier for MMC, the label owned by Peter Van Hooke, who had played drums with Stackridge in the mid-70s.

Warren, Walters and Evans re-formed Stackridge in the late 90s, recording Something For The Weekend with new members John Miller (keyboards/vocals), Richard Stubbings (flute, accordion, guitar) and Tim Robinson (drums). A slew of archive releases followed on the band’s own DAP Records label alongside new recordings featuring original vocalist ‘Mutter’ Slater.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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