A few months back, I devoted some space to the magnificence of Up The Hill and Down The Slope, a single released by The Loft back in 1985.

Bill Prince, bass player with The Loft, quickly formed a new band which he named The Wishing Stones, seemingly inspired by two diamond-shaped stones set beneath a Devon sea wall. That’s the story told in the booklet accompanying the retrospective C87 box set issued by Cherry Red Records a few years back, which also goes on to state:-

Debut single ‘Beat Girl’, with its classic rolling chord structure, appeared on Jeff Barrett’s Head label and was followed in 1987 by ‘New Ways’ on Sub Aqua (Head renamed after The Monkees representatives threatened to sue). Two final singles ‘Dead Man’s Look’ and ‘The Old Road Out Of Town’ (both 1988) continued their Creedence/Band/Voidoids approach.  The Wishing Stones’ album Wildwood was prepared that same year but after the band acrimoniously split, it was shelved until Barrett received money to set up Heavenly and finally released it in 1991.

Here’s the song from the C87 box set, followed by the other single which came out on the Head label:-

mp3: The Wishing Stones – Beat Girl
mp3: The Wishing Stones – New Ways

While quite derivative of the era, I reckon both are rather catchy and enjoyable.

A wee bit more info about the band.

Bill Prince played guitar and sang. John Niven was on guitar, while the rhythm section consisted of Stuart Garden (bass) and Andrew Kerr (drums).

If the name John Niven seems familiar, then it might well be that you’ve read one of the eight novels he has written since 2008. I’m a huge fan of his, and I particularly recommend his debut effort, Kill Your Friends, which is set against a background of the music industry at the height of Britpop.

But here’s the thing.    Cherry Red Records later issued a further retrospective box set entitled C88 in which the same bio outlined above was reproduced. The song included in the box set, as the 15th track on CD3 is said to be The Old Road Out Of Town (12″ edit). The thing is, it isn’t…..instead it is the other single released on Sub Aqua:-

mp3: The Wishing Stones – Dead Man’s Look

And, try as I can, I’ve been unable to find any song out there called The Old Road Out Of Town. But I did come across something which had a similar sort of title on the Wildwood album:-

mp3: The Wishing Stones – Long Road Out Of Town

Now….who gave this a listen and didn’t immediately think of Lloyd Cole & The Commotions???????

All in all, it’s a wee bit of a mystery. Cherry Red are normally so good at providing the background bio info, and it really does seem very strange that they got the name of the track on the C88 box set wrong.