Stained Glass Window

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1  (1975)

- Bill Racine -- vocals, guitar



- none known



Genre: folk

Rating: 2 stars **

Title:  Stained Glass Window

Company: Sycamore

Catalog:  SM 248

Country/State: Dekalb, Illinois

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: includes lyric insert

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 30003

Price: $100.00

I have to laugh when I see this album.  No, the material's not funny, but the fact I picked it up because I thought it was a release by the '60s psych band Stained Glass is what makes it kind of funny.  You can imagine my surprise to discover this was a total different outfit - to say nothing of reflecting a totally different genre.


So here's what songwriter Bob Racine had to say about the album:


"Stained Glass was written in 1975.  A time I found myself concluding a long period of thought and feelings of love, spirit, and the spoken words left behind as guides for is through these and future times.  These together make up the stained glass window.  The painting thereon interprets love, spirit, and the truth of those words.


But what of he who passes by the window?  Does he simply walk by without taking notice, a quick glance over his soul, or does he stop and see it for its true self?


And what of he who does stop and feel its offering, taking too quickly to bring to those he loves, unaware of his own worthiness or self realizations?  For the window is delicate, yet its other side holds the overwhelming power of exposure to our reality


If the taking was in truth he will grow to see and understand.  Not with eyes and mind, but with his heard and soul.  This in Stained Glass Window.


It took Billy, Jimmy, and myself with the help of many others over two years to but this into album form.  Thank you all so much for your help and time.  And thank you for listening."


Those liner notes should have left you imagining a collection of sentimental singer-songwriter folk numbers.  A collection full of deep thoughts, self-doubt, and questions about what it all means.  If that's what you pictured, congratulations you were right on target.  If that genre is up your alley, keep going.  If not, stop.  Produced by Bill Sterling and recorded at Chicago's Acme Recording Studios, these eight performances were all written by Racine.  They were all singer-songwriter folk numbers; just Racine accompanying himself on acoustic guitar.  This was the kind of stuff you've probably heard at various open mike nights in local clubs.  Admittedly Racine was quite talented and the songs were uniformly pretty and thoughtful.  That said, tracks like 'To the Night Sky From a Summers Meadow', 'Flames of Gold' and 'To the Man with the Button' weren't something you were going to slap on the turntable to get the crowd moving and grooving.  Lots of folks will disagree with these comments, but for me the acoustic ballads quickly started to sound alike and Racine's intensity quickly wore on my nerves.  Pass.


"Stained Glass Window" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) To the Night Sky From a Summers Meadow  (Bob Racine) - 4:47   rating: ** stars

Showcasing what you should expect over the next seven selections, 'To the Night Sky From a Summers Meadow' was a pretty acoustic ballad.  Full of deep, thoughtful lyrics ("To walk through the present time, there can be no denying, That it's not a tasteful wine, But I'll drink mine ..."), this was the kind of tune that sent English majors into spasms of delight.  Anyone looking for something to dance to was going to go get a beer.

2.) Stained Glass Window  (Bob Racine) - 6:24   rating: *** stars

Probably one of the prettiest songs on the album.  Racine even toughened up his vocal delivery a little.  Still singer-songwriter material, but the title track actually showed a little energy.

3.) Flames of Gold  (Bob Racine) - 4:56    rating: ** stars

This one simply dripped sincerity and personal pain ...  

4.) Unfinished Songs  (Bob Racine) - 5:19   rating: ** stars

Straight folk is clearly not my first choice of genres and while Racine's guitar work was nice on this one, by the time 'Unfinished Songs' rolled around, I'd overdosed on the dark, introverted sound.


(side 2)

1.) To the Man with the Button  (Bob Racine) - 3:13    rating: ** stars

Dylan influence makes its way into the collection?

2.) Keep In Time  (Bob Racine) - 4:26   rating: *** stars

Well, 'Keep In Time' at least had a bouncy, old time melody (again, just Racine accompanying himself on acoustic guitar) and served to showcase his nice playing.  To my ears the vocals and song structure recalled Arlo Guthrie.

3.) Morning Mirrors  (Bob Racine) - 6:56    rating: ** stars

Okay, this one certainly deserves the "downer folk" tag.

4.) After All Has Been Drawn  (Bob Racine) - 4:44

More Dylan - fascinating to hear how many words Racine managed to cram into this four minute song.  I've written shorter term papers.


I've never understood the albums James Plummer's infamous Radioactive label chose to reissue (without permission from the artists).  Regardless, this was one of their projects.  In 2006 the set was released in CD format.   (Radioactive catalog number RRDC175)


As for Racine, he seems to have vanished.