Recorded between July and September 1973 at Air Studios, London, and released the following February, ‘The Man In The Bowler Hat’ was Stackridge’s third long-player. It was, by common consent, their finest achievement, both up to that point and in their entire seven-year career.
For James Warren, Stackridge had ‘three ingredients going for it: eccentricity, Englishness and an incredible stylistic diversity. We were flying in the faces of the Frees, Zeppelins and Sabbaths, undoubtedly; but none of us were out and out rockers at heart, so we just stuck to ploughing our own idiosyncratic furrow.’
But the magic ingredient ‘Bowler Hat’ boasted was the involvement of an iconic musical figure: GEORGE MARTIN, producer of the Beatles until their split three years previously.
Andy Davis had sessioned on John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ album, while James Warren had been inspired to pick up the guitar by such classic singles as ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ and ‘I Feel Fine’. ‘We had unwittingly joined the musical aristocracy,’ he marvelled, ‘and it was a very pleasant three-month sojourn’.
1. Fundamentally Yours - 2:36
2. Pinafore Days - 2:36
3. The Last Plimsoll - 4:31
4. To the Sun and the Moon (Mutter Slater, Peter Denman) - 2:50
5. The Road to Venezuela - 4:53
6. The Galloping Gaucho - 2:48
7. Humiliation (James Warren) - 3:33
8. Dangerous Bacon (Warren, Smegmakovitch) - 2:43
9. The Indifferent Hedgehog (Davis, Graham Smith) - 3:14
10.God Speed the Plough (Wabadaw Sleeve) - 5:29
All songs by Andy Davis, Smegmakovitch except where noted.
*Andy Cresswell-Davis - Guitars, Keyboards, Percussion, Singing
*Michael 'Mutter' Slater - Flute, Keyboards, Percussion, Singing
*Mike Evans - Violin, Singing
*Billy Bent (Aka Billy Sparkle) - Drums
*James Warren - Guitars, Singing
*Jim "Crun" Walter - Bass Guitar
*Keith Gemmell - Saxophones
*Reg Leopold - Violin
*William Reid - Violin
*Graeme Scott - Viola
*Vivian Joseph - Cello
*Jack Emblow - Accordion
*Ray Davies - Trumpet/Cornet
*Derek Taylor - French Horn And Solo On "To The Sun And The Moon"
*B. Lamb - Trombone
*M. Fry - Tuba
*R. Chamberlain - Clarinet, Saxes
1972 Stackridge - Friendliness (2006 remaster and expanded)