Psychedelic-Rock'n'roll: Stack - Above All (POWERFUL PSYCHEDELIC HARD-ROCK US 1969)


stack_above_all_1969_psychedelic_rocknroll_fabs_sheppard_front"STACK - ABOVE ALL" (POWERFUL PSYCHEDELIC HARD-ROCK US 1969)

Stack was formed in Los Angeles in 1967 from a Surf act called "The Vandells" ("Rick Gould", lead guitar) and another local act called "Wabash Spencer Band" aka legendary Garage band "The Fabs" ("That's The Bag I'm In" b/w "Dinah Wants Religion" on the Cotton Ball label from Texas 1966, Cotton Ball Records 1005) ("Bill Sheppard" - vocals, "Bob Ellis" - drums, "Buddy Clark" - bass guitar, "Kurt Feierabend" - rhythm guitar).

stack_above_all_1969_psychedelic_rocknroll_fabs_sheppard_cotton_ballThe Fabs: "That's The Bag I'm In" / "Dinah Wants Religion" Cotton Ball, Texas US 1966

They rehearsed and played at Long Beach's "Marina Palace", and its owner, Bill Robertson, became their manager.
While playing one night at the "Marina Palace", Stack was offered a recording contract with "Mike Curb"'s "Sidewalk Productions". They signed and 8-year deal with the company that gave them virtually nothing besides the opportunity to record their music.
It did, however, enable the band to record "Above All" at several Los Angeles studios in 1969; unfortunately for the band, the album was shelved, and Stack became a tax write-off for "Sidewalk Productions", with no recourse other than to call it quits since they were still under contract.
"Above All" "Charisma 303" was never officially pressed (with only 20 copies ever pressed, "Above All" ranks as one of the rarest, and most sought after records worldwide).

Stack were actually pretty well known in their time, and gigged with big name groups.
"Bill Sheppard" recalls: "We played a lot with the "Alice Cooper" band. Back then, "Alice Cooper" wasn't a guy . . . it was the name of the band. The two groups had a good supportive relationship, it was not competitive...We opened for "Iron Butterfly" at the Swing Auditorium when "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" was number one on the charts, and we had a stage rush that required security to keep the crowd off of us. That was very very exciting!!...We played with the "New Yardbirds", which was actually "Led Zeppelin" before they changed the name, but it was the same guys and the same songs as on their first LP...We opened for "Three Dog Night" when "One Is The Loneliest Number" was number one on the charts".
Stack played with "Buffalo Springfield", "Illinois Speed Press", "The Blues Image", "Flying Burrito Brothers" . . . the list goes on and on. But there was one particular night at a club called "Thee Experience" in Hollywood right after "Rick Gould" had received his new "Marshall amplifier" stack and "Gibson Flying V" that "Jimi Hendrix" did a set after our show with "Buddy Miles", "Joe Lala", and a couple of other guys. That was a historical night".

stack_above_all_1969_psychedelic_rocknroll_fabs_sheppard_liveStack live, March 1968

The album opens with a fuzzed-up version of "Lieber and Stoller"'s "Poison Ivy", but the rest of the album is given over to standout originals by Stack, with lead guitarist "Rick Gould" penning five of the nine cuts.
"Only Forever" is a Power Pop / Psychedelic hybrid with some nice Fuzz guitar by "Rick Gould" ("Bill Sheppard" recalls: "...Rick's guitar sound: he did have a distortion pedal on which the bottom was inscribed "J Beck Yardbirds" and I know for a fact that the pedal was stolen mid-show from the stage at the "Avalon Ballroom" in Catalina during a Yardbirds' break.
On the "Above All" record, Rick also used a "Laurel"...a little 10 watt amp with one volume knob and a tone knob that swept from bass to treble, on 10.
Various amps, including his "Marshall JCM" were used also..., and "Bob Ellis"' vigorous, potent drumming is perhaps the band's secret weapon. "Buddy Clark"'s robust bass, too, is terrific and helps songs such as "Cars," "Everyday," and "Valleys" get completely inside the listener with uncommon force".

stack_above_all_1969_psychedelic_rocknroll_fabs_sheppard_group"Powerhouse vocals, tight playing, distinctive songs, and muscular guitar work with plenty of Fuzz. This group had the whole package, it's really a crime they never hit the big time. The drums are up front and this record really pounds. One of the few early hardrock locals with memorable songs and a first class vocalist with range.

Stack demolish most of their contemporary hard rockers and either predate or demolish most of what came after in the genre. The drumming on this LP stands out a mile but the whole band are great. No macho drivel or posy metal solos on this one"
. (Lysergia)
The band was at the very beginning, it was 1967, and they were just college kids.
"Bill Sheppard" recalls: "The album was recorded when the material was relatively new to the band; therefore, six months after recording it, the band had become a monster. What I mean is, we had polished and honed the product to the point that it was very, very powerful. Being that it got to be that powerful, it required an enormous amount of physical effort as a vocalist to keep up with the amount of energy necessary to pull it off (I'd lose an average of five to seven pounds during each performance). But leaving most of that information aside, listening to it reminds me of how very close we got to being a major worldwide act and how blind I was to that status".

stack_above_all_1969_psychedelic_rocknroll_fabs_sheppard_los_angelesStack live, January 1969

"Bill Sheppard" recalls about Stack's break up: "Having waited for the album release for almost a year, we had been playing the same circuit with the same tunes to the same people, and were pretty much stuck there until the record was released and the rest of the public got to see the group.
So management decided to book us into the Cuckoo's Nest in Costa Mesa playing four hours per night. That doesn't seem like much to a club musician, but we'd been doing concert work, and in an one hour concert show, I'd lose an average of five to seven pounds. Without the energy level that the group was accustomed to performing at, we weren't as effective and, besides that, I couldn't work at that level of intensity 16 hours a I quit. I believe the group auditioned a couple of vocalists after that, but I'm not sure. I moved up north and grew my hair down to my butt and made candles and started writing folk music...In addition, "Clancy B. Grass III", the manager of the band and a partner with "Mike Curb" decided that the money Columbia was offering the band (about $75,000.00) was sufficient for the signing. However, he had this idea for an album release party that included renting Alcatraz Island from the government, and flying all the "Pop Magazine Press" out to San Francisco, serving them a meal on metal plates with tin cups, and then have Stack in concert as a debut for the national press. Columbia liked the idea, but didn't like the price tag (an additional $75,000.00). So, after being front page news ("Stack Signs with Columbia Records" in the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER in 1968), we faded to somewhere in the back of that magazine eight months later.
Clancy held out for his party, and Columbia refused!...Some division had also started inside the group.
Rick and Kurt, who had played together for years, kind of formed their own little camp. Bob and Buddy, who had played together for years, kind of formed their own little camp. I kind of drifted back and forth between the camps. Nothing major as far as personality conflicts but, when success comes, self importance becomes a factor, and the synergy of the unit suffers"

stack_above_all_1969_psychedelic_rocknroll_fabs_sheppardBad management was the simple reason why Stack didn't become more commercially known.
"Bill Sheppard": "In every venue except one that I can remember, the group blew the audience out of the water.
Actually, not just the audience, but also the other groups that we performed with.
Rick Gould was phenomenal, and when he took solos, it was like EF Hutton...everyone stopped and listened, including the guitarists in Alice Cooper, Illinois Speed Press, Three Dog Night, and Iron Butterfly.
The group was polished, dynamic, energetic, and extremely powerful, with excellent vocal harmony and stage presence. If the right doors would have been opened, I've never had a doubt as to whether the group was capable of pulling off any level of art or performance. Management just couldn't open those doors"

Thanks to Mike Dugo.


Unknown said...

Yeah Muchas Gracias for The Stack Amigo !!!...
Poison Ivy is Great Sound like Early Grandfunk

Anonymous said...

Hi thank you. Stack was a great band!

Anonymous said...

wow i love this!

Cheers Bud said...

Awesome stuff. The singer reminds me a lot of early Bowie.

marine6072 said...

Would a original copy of the album be worth anything without the original cover?

marine6072 said...

I just saw one of these on EBay and listened to it on YouTube. Great 60's vibe.

Unknown said...

Bill if you are out there get ahold of me.I have Rick's last Firebird.