Home was a relatively obscure British group most closely associated with the progressive rock movement of the early 1970s, but their lasting legacy has had less to do with their music than as serving as a proving ground for several musicians who would go on to find much greater success with future bands.

Home was founded in London in 1970 by singer/guitarist Mick Stubbs, guitarist Laurie Wisefield, bassist Cliff Williams, and drummer Mick Cook, who eventually attracted some label interest and wound up signed to CBS Records, releasing three albums over the next three years. 1971’s Pause for a Hoarse Horse came first with keyboard player Clive John fleshing out the group’s relatively understated progressive rock aspirations, which were tempered with elements of the period’s easygoing California rock sound and driven primarily by Wisefield’s distinctive guitar work. The album produced no singles, but led to a number of promising concert bookings opening for Led Zeppelin, Argent, and the Jeff Beck Group, among others, giving Home the press mentions and confidence they needed going into the sessions for their 1972 eponymous sophomore LP, which received excellent reviews (Melody Maker naming it among the year’s best). This time, the band also delivered a modestly successful single named “Dreamer,” which peaked at number 41 in the U.K. charts and paved the way to a tour opening for Mott the Hoople, where Home proceeded to convert more fans and even the NME to their cause. But the following year’s third Home album, The Alchemist (featuring session keyboards from one Jimmy Anderson), contained an overwrought concept inspired by the Louis Pauwels’ novel Dawn of Magic, that earned a few rave reviews from serious prog-heads, but otherwise fell flat as a pancake where the general public was concerned. By 1974, bookings had dried up and frontman Stubbs had left, leaving the others to tour the U.S. as a backing band for folk singer/songwriter Al Stewart (“Anything to get to America,” Williams quipped years later), only to dismantle upon their return when CBS decided to sever its ties with the group.

Here’s where things get really interesting, though: later that same year, guitarist Wisefield joined twin guitar pioneers Wishbone Ash for what would be a long and fruitful association; in 1976, drummer Cook linked up with heavy blues outfit the Groundhogs for a brief period; and, most impressive of all, 1977 saw bassist Cliff Williams land a plum job with hard rock gods AC/DC, with whom he remains to the present day. Amid all this, Home’s music has largely been forgotten, but certainly not the players involved.

Tahsin Ünlü

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