CD Stud (CD 1298338),
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  • 1. Sail On
    2. Turn Over The Pages
    3. 112235
    4. Harpo's Head
    5. Horizon
    6. Here
    7. There
    8. Song
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 2053

  • Credits

    Stud: John Wilson , Richard McCracken, Jim Cregan , Rory Gallagher.
    A bit of a halfway house or rest stop, the short-lived Stud provided a brief but welcome respite for a trio of musicians at loose ends. Bassist Richard McCracken and drummer John Wilson were at a loss when Rory Gallagher pulled the plug on Taste and launched his solo career. Guitarist Jim Cregan was similarly undecided what to do after leaving Blossom Toes. All three wanted to move in a new direction, but as their 1971 eponymous debut album proved, they weren't quite sure where they wanted to go, nor quite ready to leave their pasts behind. In an interview, McCracken later explained that the set was entirely unplanned, giving no thought to commercial appeal or audience reaction: "We just wrote and played whatever we felt like on the day." That spontaneity is arguably the album's greatest strength, but also its greatest weakness, for at times the set feels uncomfortably unfocused. A good producer would have solved that problem, but unfortunately the trio was lumbered with Billy Kennedy, the totally inexperienced son of their manager. Even so, Stud has its moments. The pair of acoustic numbers -- "Turn Over the Pages" and "Song" -- are both lovely, their gentle moods occasionally hinting at Blossom Toes' whimsy. "Sail On" has a similar feel, although the wind in its sails comes courtesy of electric guitars. With a jazzy undertow and harder proggy overtones, this ship is an amalgamation of the band's diverse leanings. "Harpo's Head," in contrast, is more Tastey, beginning and ending in quiet jazz, but storming off into progressive rock in the middle. "1112235," one of two epic ten-plus-minute numbers, is also a fusion piece. It slides from avant-garde jazz into hard rock and showcases a long intricate drum solo as well as ferocious work from Cregan, before going out in a progressive rock vein. The other expansive number, "Horizon," is its polar opposite. Initially combining acoustic guitars, vibraphone, and violin from Family's John Weider, the piece blends a jazzy aura with an almost pastoral atmosphere. In the song's second half, the tempo quickens, the strings thicken, Cregan's electric guitar storms in, and the number enters jazzy prog rock, with a hint of funk licking around its heels. So, with one foot in the past, another in the future, and unclear which way they wanted to turn, Stud delivered a diverse set filled with possibility. The album, however, sank like a stone, although in Germany the band's live performances garnered them another record deal. After recording September, McCracken rode off with the Spencer Davis Group and Cregan left for Family, leaving Wilson to piece together a new lineup. It didn't last long, and by mid-1972 this Stud was retired for good. ~ Jo-Ann Greene

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