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Stackridge - Pinafore Days

Stackridge - Pinafore Days

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Genre: prop
Rating: *** (3 stars)
Title:  Pinafore Days
Company: Sire
Catalog: SASD 7503
Year: 1975
Country/State: Bristol, UK
Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+
Comments: gatefold sleeve
Available: 2
Catalog ID: 6084
Price: $9.00

Released as "The Man with the Bowler Hat" in the UK, it was easy to see why Sire decided on a title change in the States. That said, when it was finally released domestically in 1975, "Pinafore Days" stood as an odd title choice for the US market. Even more difficult to understand was Sire's decision to monkey around with the track listing. Dropped from the original UK release were 'To the Sun and the Moon' and 'The Indifferent Hedgehog', Those tracks were replaced by 'Spin Round the Room' from the group's fourth studio album "Extravaganza"

Produced by George Martin, this is an album I've tried to like for years. As a gigantic fan of 1960s British psych, and mid-1970s bands like 10cc this should have been right up my alley and I can certainly appreciate large parts of the album. As you'd expect, Martin gave the band a glossy, highly commercial sheen and as exemplified by tracks like 'Fundamentally Yours', 'The Last Plimsoll' and 'The Road To Venezuela' much of the album was quite melodic and commercial. Still, I have to admit parts of the collection were just too cutesy, too clever, and perhaps just too English for my tastes (the operatic title track's always left me stone cold). Most of the songs were apparently group written, but cryptically reflected co-writing credits to 'Smegmakovitch' ... Anyone got the scoop ?
- 'Fundamentally Yours' opened the album with a glistening slice of power pop ... With a fantastic Beatlesque melody and some wonderful vocals, this was the kind of track bands like Badfinger, or The Raspberries would have killed to get their hands on. Hard to understand how radio ignored this one. rating: **** stars
- 'Pinafore Days' sounded like something they'd ripped off of a Gilbert and Sullivan opera. I know lots of folks love this one, but I just don't get it ... rating: ** stars
- One of the album's standout performances, 'The Last Plimsoll' stood as another Beatlesque number. Hard to accurate describe, but this one had that unique mix of great melody, interesting arrangement, and cryptic lyrics that characterized the best of Lennon and McCartney's work. rating: **** stars
- As mentioned, Spin Round the Room was pulled from the group's fourth English studio set "Extravaganza". Sounding like a Paul McCartney throwaway tune, the song literally dripped of English music hall influences. As such it was one of those songs you either found cute, or completely repulsive. I'm in the latter category this time out. It certainly made you wonder what Sire was thinking when they made the substitution. rating: ** stars
- From a musical standpoint 'The Road To Venezuela' was an interesting pop track mixing a catchy melody with some South American influences. The problem is the lyrics left me wondering if they were trying to play it straight, or if this was meant to be a Monty Python-styled kiss off ... rating: *** stars
- 'The Galloping Gaucho' was another weird number that sounded like a cross between music hall, circus music, and a Monty Python ditty. Hard to believe this one was tapped as a single in the UK. rating: * star
- 'Humiliation' sounded like a third-rate stab at 'Eleanor Rigby' sentimentality. Pretty, but vapid. rating: ** stars
- The album's second UK single, 'Dangerous Bacon' was a nifty rocker that sounded like a slice mid-1970s glam-meets the Beach Boys. Roxy Music's Andy MacKay turned in the sax solo. My choice for the album's best song. rating: **** stars
- 'One Rainy July Morning' was a pop song that served to showcase their knack for mixing commercial and eclectic ... very 10cc-ish. rating: *** stars
- Closing out the album, the instrumental 'God Speed the Plough' sounded like a piece of incidental music crafted for a film about wild horses ... It was pretty, but again, sounded like something tacked on to the album to pad the running time. rating: ** stars

In the UK the album spun off a pair of singles:

- 1974's 'Galloping Gaucho' b/w 'Fundamentally Yours' (MCA catalog number ME 1224)
- 1974's 'Dangerous Bacon' b/w 'The Last Plimsoll' (MCA catalog number MC 124)

In the States the single was:

- 1975's 'The Last Plimsoll' b/w 'The Last Plimsoll' (Sire catalog number SAA 717)
Good, but flawed ... this is still a good place to start checking out the band's catalog.

"Pinafore Days" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Fundamentally Yours (Andy Davis - Smegmakovitch) - 2:30
2.) Pinafore Days (Mike Slater - Smegmakovitch) - 2:35
3.) The Last Plimsoll (Andy Davis - Smegmakovitch) - 4:32
4.) Spin Round the Room (Vernon Bowkett) - 2:35
5.) The Road To Venezuela (Andy Davis - Smegmakovitch) - 4:54

(side 2)
1.) The Galloping Gaucho (Mike Slater - Smegmakovitch) - 2:48
2.) Humiliation (James Warren) - 3:32
3.) Dangerous Bacon (James Warren - Smegmakovitch) - 2:41
4.) One Rainy July Morning (Andy Davis - Vernon Bowkett - Mike Slater) - 4:02
5.) God Speed the Plough (instrumental) (Warbadaw Sleeve) - 5:30

Even though there was no American tour, decent reviews saw the album make the US charts where it peaked at # 191. That was followed by a massive personnel upheaval that left Andy Davis as the sole remaining original member.
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