The Origins of Stoney Lane

Stoney Lane ground West BromwichThose heralding from the fine hamlet of Birmingham might understandably assume our humble record label moniker hails from the balti-lined street in Sparkbrook and Balsall Heath with which we share an esteemed title. Those with a deeper philosophical understanding, however, will know that even the mighty biryani wasn’t gracing the palette in 1885, when West Bromwich Albion, founded some seven years earlier, moved from their home shared with the West Bromwich Dartmouth cricket club to play at a new ground on Stoney Lane, eight miles north west of its Birmingham namesake. Some fifteen years later, with two FA Cup wins and three further cup final appearances to their name, the club moved on to their current home, The Hawthorns, and have never been quite as good ever since.

Still, not to be deterred by the last 115 years, or the modern footballing apocalypse known as the Premier League wage bill, we offer further subtle homage to the finer days of the Albion’s existence with the shapely spine of our catalogue numbers.  You will of course have spotted that each of our releases is marked with the year of a key glory from the shining Baggie past – league championships, promotions, cup wins … the list is almost endless.

Almost.

It has reluctantly been noted that perhaps this inventory may, in fact, be finite after all; that some dozen or so albums later, Stoney Lane Records will come to as miserable-an-end as a Saturday afternoon at Villa Park.  Yet, fear not, for our will is strong, and our imaginations deep.  Who would have thought that the future lucky custodian of release #SLR1996 would proudly be marking the March ’96 arrival in God’s Country of Sir Richard Sneekes, in addition to a recording of fine musical proportions?  Or that destined-to-be-famous album #SLR1999 would give a nod to a year when the chronologically challenged striker Fabian de Freitas forgot to turn up for kick-off?  Glorious days a plenty, immortalised in record-making history.

If, for some unfathomable reason, you don’t immediately recognise such illustrious histories by mere glance at our catalogue numbers, then we have generously listed those momentous days of triumph below to refresh your memory …

(With thanks to the upstanding and ingenious Dave Bowler for the photo above, and for the feature at the Home of Football).

#SLR1888  (TG Collective – Release The Penguins)
FA Cup Winners – 2-1 vs Preston North End

#SLR1892 (Ben Lee Quintet – In The Tree)
FA Cup Winners – 3-0 vs Aston Villa

#SLR1902  (The Destroyers – Vortex EP)
Second Division League Champions

#SLR1920  (Hans Koller – Retrospection)
First Division League Champions

#SLR1931  (Mike Fletcher Trio – Vuelta)
FA Cup Winners – 2-1 vs Birmingham City

#SLR1954  (Mark Pringle – A Moveable Feast)
FA Cup Winners – 3-2 vs Preston North End

#SLR1977  (Jonathan Silk – Fragment)
The Caledonian Cup

#SLR2005  (Young Pilgrims – Little Things)
The Great Escape

And of course, there are plenty of gaps which will be filled very soon!