|T O P I C R E V I E W
||Posted - 12/02/2012 : 02:51:18
..this review from lysergia.com
STAINED GLASS: Open Road
(Sweet Folk & Country, UK 1974)
Wild & Free
Rating: 8 out of 10
Sounds best on: weed smuggled in from Southern California
Availability: Should be reissued!
It is my belief that the British folk/folkrock scene contains more unreissued quality items than any other genre that we 1960s-70s aardvarks go poking our snouts in. I am sorry if reviewing these highly elusive titles comes across as elitist, but if noone stands up for them then how should word on them get around?
The rare "Open Road" LP by Stained Glass is certainly good enough to deserve wider attention -- in fact it's better than a whole bunch of items already recycled. I know very little about the band, which is your standard 2 guys 1 girl line-up, the guys in this case being brothers by the name of Kaliski. The album appeared on a Kent-based label well-known among UK folk collectors, and has been described as the rarest item in their catalog.
"Open Road" is an easily accessible contemporary folk album with a certain American influence. It balances daringly at the edge of the commercial export abyss into which Tudor Lodge tumbled, but has enough class and skill not to fall into it. Needless to say there are no ill-conceived string sections or woodwinds here, but rather a small selection of acoustic string instruments and the occasional electric piano. The rest is all down to the vocal harmonies, which are truly great; Sylvia Kelly carrying most of the leads in a convincing manner, crystalline and a little moody, owing something to the west coast hippie ladies in addition to the Brit folk valkyrias. The guys sing unusually well and are able to handle difficult multipart harmonies, which is an important part of the professional nature of this album, and again recall certain Californian predecssors.
The material is about 2/3 Stained Glass originals and 1/3 trad material. Of the originals the opening "Wild and free" sets an appropriate tone and is likely to make anyone buy the album if scrutinized via record-shop speakers. Over on side 2 Sylvia Kelly provides the epic "Poll Miles", a memorable pagan lament on witchdom that is perhaps the highpoint of the LP; all minor chords and windswept English moors. The trad material includes the atmospheric "Lord Franklin" which deals with a North Pole expedition, as well as the unexpected "White House Blues"; an old Stateside tune that again suggests that the band had a keen eye or three for the New World. Shirley Collins did the same in '64 but 10 years on it's surprising to hear foreign material on a UK folk LP. These pointers across the Atlantic make me think of the second Wooden Horse LP in addition to a non-orchestrated Tudor Lodge, but I think it's safe to say that Stained Glass is better than both of them. Derivative to a certain degree, and clearly in the middle of the "Open Road", it still comes out a winner because it has no weaknesses.--www.lysergia.com
Never reissued...here is a d/l to get is through until it is!
Just A Day
We are raised to honor all the wrong explorers & discoverers-
-thieves planting flags, murderers carrying crosses.
Let us at last praise the colonizers of dreams.
-Peter S. Beagle 1973