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Stack Waddy - So Who The Hell Is Stack Waddy? album review

Peel-championed Manc proto-punkers

Cover art for Stack Waddy - So Who The Hell Is Stack Waddy? album

Named after a Mad magazine character in the summer of 1969, Manchester’s Stack Waddy were magnificently shambolic R&B evangelists who unintentionally predicted punk, whether by throwing up on policemen, singer John Knail leaping offstage to hammer distracted punters, or with their gloriously primal regurgitations of the Bo Diddley songbook.

Impressed by their spot at Buxton’s blues festival, John Peel signed the relentlessly sozzled band to his Dandelion label, releasing their raw trawl through Bo Diddley’s Roadrunner as 1971’s debut single, followed by the self-titled first album he produced as Eddie Lee Beppeaux. Amid searing R&B chestnuts, they demolished Tull’s Love Story, rogered Cyril Davies’ Country Line Special and, at Peel’s suggestion, booglarised Beefheart’s Sure ’Nuff ’N Yes I Do.

By the time Peel wrote liner notes for 1972’s Bugger Off, the band had already disintegrated, leaving mankind another steaming dollop of primal R&B, this time laced with scathing covers of Willie The Pimp, You Really Got Me and The Girl From Ipanema, alongside their own Meat Pies ’Ave Come But Band’s Not Here Yet.

Stack Waddy’s well-deserved monument comes with a bonus disc of out-takes and a steaming BBC In Concert session – all clad in a cardboard slipcase that, almost symbolically, soon falls apart.

Kris Needs is a British journalist and author, known for writings on music from the 1970s onwards. Previously secretary of the Mott The Hoople fan club, he became editor of ZigZag in 1977 and has written biographies of stars including Primal Scream, Joe Strummer and Keith Richards. He's also written for MOJO, Record Collector, Classic Rock, Prog, Electronic Sound, Vive Le Rock and Shindig!