StumpWater - Motel In Saginaw - - Soundblab

StumpWater - Motel In Saginaw

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:9 Release Date:2019-02-22
StumpWater - Motel In Saginaw
StumpWater - Motel In Saginaw

Almost anything released in the Sixties and Seventies by obscure artists, these days is being touted as a 'lost classic’. Somebody picks up a long lost album, or a barely playable single and bam, we’ve got a lost classic ready to open the eyes (and I guess the ears), of unaware listeners ready to be taken over in seconds! OK, such miracles do happen, or shall I say did, but such events these days do really rank as miracles because most of the stuff found, show why it never really made it. It is not that it is bad, just something there in the middle.

But then, once in a while, somebody discovers a diamond in a pigsty as piles of old vinyl sometimes look abandoned in dusty corners of thrift stores. In the case of a trio that goes under the name StumpWater, we are talking about a barely playable single discovered by one of those archivists like Plastic Crimewave who heads Drag City’s partner label Galactic Zoo Disc. The tracks sounded like something from Crosby, Stills Nash and Young if there was no ego clash going on.

Crimewave was impressed enough by the only playable track that he went looking to the former band members and was surprised enough to find out that the band still existed and kept on playing live shows, incorporating, of course, CSN&Y staples with their own songs into their live shows. When Crimewave got in touch with the guys to talk to them, Dan Haligas, one of the members passed away shortly beforehand, leaving only the other two Joe Gloor and Dan Berg a chance to tell Crimewave that they actually do have an album worth of unreleased material they recorded in 1973, a concept album, no less, titled Motel In Saginaw.

Let's not go now into the debate about who missed out on this one at the time, Crimewave had no doubts about putting this one out, and frankly, he shouldn’t have, because, for all those that cherish their acoustic/countrified/soft rock Seventies stuff, myself included, this is one of those you wished you could have picked up, unsealed, rushing home to hear a miracle.

And close to a miracle it is. There is a prevailing sense of melancholy going on here about inhabitants in an obscure motel in a not so famous town, with StumpWater actually hitting the stride of their musical and lyrical trip in the best possible manner. Usually, you expect an album like this to falter at some point, the band throwing in a sloppy number to patch up the album, or some stodgy lyrical construction, which often happens, losing the concept part in a concept album.

Actually, no sight (or sound) of that. It is just a minor miracle about a subject played and sung with knowledge and passion that got rescued from undeserved obscurity.

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