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 Post subject: Stonehouse - Stonehoue Creek (1971)
PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:04 am 
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Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2010 7:42 pm
Posts: 192
Location: North London, UK (was NZ till 2009)
Band: Stonehouse

Album : Stonehouse Creek

RCA 1971

Interview with singer here: http://www.aftersabbath.com/2015/05/sto ... rview.html

"Stonehouse Creek" is one of the best records you’ll find if you peruse the archives of forgotten hard UK bluesrock. Stonehouse the band had their roots in Plymouth, not a place particularly remembered for hard rock, but Plymouth rock did exist, in places other than American history books.

Many readers with a passing interest in ‘70s obscurities will by now have heard of Leaf Hound, their “Growers of Mushroom” album has long since become the stuff of legend. If you like them, you can’t go wrong with Stonehouse Creek. Cast from the same mold, both in 1971, they share an honest, earthy, blue collar bluesrock sound, with hard-as-nails riffs a’plenty.
The album begins with a plaintive ode to the mysterious "Stonehouse Creek", lamenting the loss of a well-loved local beauty spot, and then kicks off proper with the good-time bluesrock vibes of "Hobo". This fully establishes the band's tight skills; Ian Snow's funky drumming, Peter Spearings's nimble blues licks, Terry Parker's adventurous bass lines and Jim Smith's versatile wide-range vocal abilities. The second track is a real highlight of the album, "Cheater", with Jim's impassioned and brooding performance matching Pete's doom-laden blues riff.

"Nightmare" opens with Terry's quirky, slightly proggy bassline, and this is the first track to include some light piano embellishment, the inclusion of which Jim has since voiced disapproval over, seeing as it was added by the producer without the band’s knowledge. Although piano can generally take the edge off hard rock, it works on this album. It's well played, not over-powering, and it suits an LP which has a good-natured, fun vibe over-all.

Toward the end, "Don't Push Me" introduces some great Sabbathian, progressive riffing. "Topaz" is a compact, groovy instrumental, perfect for those that like Led Zep's "Moby Dick" but tend to reach for fast-forward at a certain point; this one is drum-solo free. Along with an earlier track "Ain't No Game", "Four Letter Word" delves into deeper lyrical subject matters, supporting tolerance and anti-war sentiments. The album reprises nicely with Stonehouse Creek pt2, coming back full circle to the homely pleasures of hanging about fishing on a lazy summer afternoon.

Stonehouse was given a very short space of time to record the album, only one day! it’s testament to all their talents that the album sounds as good as it does. Pete Spearing was the ideas man, he wrote all the music and lyrics. His skills, and those of singer Jim Smith (later vocalist of Asgared), are what make this. There are stories of the band playing an album-length progressive epic called “The War Suite” on stage. Alas, this was never recorded, although “Ain't No Game” is rumoured to have been a final vestige of what must surely have been something to behold.

Apart from a run-in with an irate shot gun-wielding farmer one cold night after their van broke down, Stonehouse were good lads. They deserved better luck, but non-existent promotion and label support saw them evaporate in a blink after the album was released. To close with Jim’s words: “We weren’t smashing things up, we didn’t get into trouble with anybody. We just played our music. Being good musicians was all we ever wanted.” Anyone who hears the album will be in no doubt that they certainly achieved that.


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