Benjamin wrote: “Really loved the Rumer gig last night, very well organized by Keith Collins ! and playing as tight as a Swiss clock, by my teacher Danny Pearson !” european young Drummer of the year !

Home at last from the Rumer Homecoming gig. A truly magical evening. Thank you Rumer ( Musician), Keith Collins and the insanely talented New Milton-area based musicians. When’s the next one – Jeff Cooper.

I was so impressed with the passion and dedication of all the people who put together the event last night in New Milton… Amazing people, Lisa, Keith, Michelle, Stuart, both Steves, Tony, all the amazing musicians and all the volunteers. And when I missed the last train, Dave drove me all the way to London at one in the morning. Thanks also to Daves dad who loaned him the car! You’re all amazing xxx – Rumer

The Stackridge Gig -
Sunday, 29 April 2012STACKRIDGE/NEW MILTON April 28th 2012
STACKRIDGE + Blackheart New Milton War Memorial Hall April 28th 2012.

Its been a very long time since I visited this historic and tucked away venue in the little cosmos of the New Forest and it is by nature just where you would expect to find the music of STACKRIDGE at any given time in their long history.With an open heart I arrived and with a with a full and wanting more heart I left.
The genius of STACKRIDGEs songwriting is having a knack for filling in all the subject lines that nobody else does in an essential pop melody with just enough thought and musicianship to cross into progressive territory also.(“Progressive” again you say..? Odd that-its been that sort of week!)
For a short while, the band were known as the KORGIS and slotted in very well as part of the post punk waves, hitting the airwaves via Radio 1 in the late 70`s and very early 80`s with absolutely classic hits-”If I Had You” and the timeless “Everybodys Gotta Learn Sometime”. The latter of which , on the night we were promised the elusive “second verse lyric” for the first time, and I have only just gotten that joke.
Augmented on this tour by the wonderful Clare Lindley on fiddle , vox and couple of other musical creations, she completes the contemporary frontline of the band with Andy Davies and James Warren.
Not that I can attempt to even give you half of a potted history of the band in my own words as I simply dont have one-to me, this is a new territory and very grateful my ears are to it too. Anybody mentioning “plimsoles” “gold fish” and “men in bowler hats” in their tunes is ok in my book. It`s simply so great to hear different words in songs and so refreshing to hear something new to the ears without a single vocal acrobatic, although it surely cant be too long before somebody commits “stackrilidge” and murders one of their world class songs on one of “those” shows.
I loved the experience of pure relaxed entertainers at this show right from when the support act , BLACKHEART appeared earlier. An apparently-”husband and wife”(?) duo from the Wigan era I think I would probably be forgiven for them reminding me of Gregson and Collister, with the addition of some wonderfully played guitar loops taking the place of any drum machines required and an Omnichord, subtly hidden on a music stand by “Mrs” Blackheart.
Anyways, in brief-change your heart-it will astound you… and yes it did. Loved this band and will have a fun time tracking down their back catalogue-catch them on this tour if you can.

This on the Internet this morning, the guy in the kilt ! – the one and only Martin Kitcher.

The Stackridge Gig -
I really don’t understand the human race!

Two excellent bands, a great venue with a superb PA and a rare opportunity to experience a magical night of music – an audience of about 40.

People kept asking me at work during the day about ‘Southampton’ which I believe is to do with that f***ball game thingy that everyone else seems to like and follow – thousands went and watched it – why?

‘Everybody’s gotta learn sometime’ ‘one day they’ll find out’

What an evening! Blackheart were as good if not better than I had expected – some impressive effects and sounds created from just 2 guitars, their combined vocals and a brown shiny 1980′s keyboard thingy that I can’t remember the name of! They were a fantastic lead-in to the new Stackridge Lite that I had been hearing so much about.

Previous shows with members of the band who have now gone their separate ways were all special to me and I am glad that I was there to witness them (whilst waiting in a wardrobe?) but I was still wary about the latest, more minimal line up.

From the start though, it was obvious that Stackridge’s continual evolution had produced ‘Stackridge Max’!!!

I kept thinking of words to express what I was seeing and hearing, and thought immediately of ‘comfortable’ – not the most exciting of adjectives, but it seemed to sum up the sense of calm and ease at which the songs came one after the other in a well rehearsed pattern. James looked quite smug at times as he too enjoyed the friendliness that only Stackridge can bring. Shame he didn’t have a ukelele – though it might have made him look like a giant! The versatility of Clare, Glenn, Andy and Eddie on a plethora of alternative instruments which appeared and then vanished mid-song was a joy to behold, in fact I would say it was the most professional show I have seen the band perform.

There was a much warmer sense of humour in abundance and no awkwardness between the band this time. The new arrangements of classic songs worked very well – I love the ukeleles and even started to like Long Dark River a bit! (sorry – I still prefer the older material!).

Well done also to Mike T who was beavering away on the merch. stall, Dave Tommey for a perfect sound and Keith Collins who looked as if he had died and gone to heaven (in a nice way!!!!).

Show ended at 10.00, so we managed to get the 10.30 ferry back to the IOW and were home by 11.40pm.

Classic show, poor audience turnout though.

They would not listen, they’re not listening still – Perhaps they never will


Thanks to all you lovely people who came to the gigs @ Chislehurst, Sutton & New Milton. When an audience reacts to our set so positively it really makes us proud & happy . We all look forward to meeting friends old & new @ the next 5 gigs in Bilston, Wavendon, Lowdham, Hebden Bridge & York

Beautiful piece of writing by a Stackridge fan, talking about the recording at the Mem hall -

… is the English way …

Or so said Pink Floyd, on an album that sold by the pantechnicon-load. Meanwhile, in another album from the same year, another band were giving us a taste of the many muted moods that comprise the English at work, rest and play. For many, ‘The Man In The Bowler Hat’ is some kind of Stackridge masterpiece (while for others, the first album, or ‘Friendliness’ or ‘Extravaganza’, or ‘Sex And Flags’ or ‘A Victory For Common Sense’ or even ‘Mr. Mick’ might take that title). Which ever album you choose, there’ll be layers of English whimsy, covered by English reserve, covering an aching sadness and a longing for an Arthurian time when all was right with the world, when animals and mankind lived happily side-by-side, and the concerns of the one were the concerns of the community, in a quiet, unfussy way.

The Kinks, through the pen of Raymond Douglas Davies, have long chronicled the ache many feel for a lost Britain, of an Empire that was mighty yet wise, vast yet connected, strong yet tender. The Beatles gave us the whimsy and wackery of a Britain embracing post-Empire decline and the sweet sticky bubblegum tang wafting across the Atlantic of R’n'B and Rock’n'Roll, and wrapped their own Murky Mersey vision around it, while the Animals took the Chicago Blues and Dylan’s folk-theft, melded them with Tyneside fog and grit, and sold it all right back to them. The Who stamped – literally – their own furious mark on the whole British decline and took all the elements mentioned, whacked it up to eleven and then added some brainy apercus from a bony geezer watching slyly from the side.

So when the brightly coloured jackets and hippy dresses and the technicolour dreams of the late sixties faded, Pink Floyd indulged in a bit of stall-setting: the legacy of the Second World War might have been lost Empire, swopped for cradle-to-grave welfare, but it came with the price-tag of a generation of parents aping Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson – all clipped vowels and repressed emotions, or brave widows coping with the loss of a husband (at least in the middle-class world inhabited by Roger Waters). All this grist was milled by these artists to give us – lucky, lucky us – some of the most dynamic, exciting and personal popular music ever. Music that was British, often peculiarly English – but a gift to the wider world too. And for every artist or band that enjoyed world-wide success, there might be ten, twenty, fifty or a hundred that, for whatever reason, remained largely unheralded.

That was the fate of Stackridge – but as I listen to the live recording of ‘Beside The Sea’ I hear all that British / English yearning – the sticky and sweet, yet sour and sad emotions of a day by the seaside, with all the memories and often-dashed expectations of generations of folk hoping for a short release from their quiet desperation.

In my humble opinion, what Roger Waters and Pink Floyd laid out over the course of several beautifully-produced, immaculately played, yet (for me) unengaging albums, Stackridge better – time and again – in the course of their song-crafting history. It’s the sigh behind the laugh, the regret behind the chortle, and the teeth gritting to smile through the disappointment that’s so real, so perfectly-realised – and so vital. Long live Stackridge – English diarists extraordinaire – now with added Celtic vim and achingly-gorgeous melody-lines.

God knows where that came from …