Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Classic Rock Presents Prog Issue 2

The second issue of Classic Rocks Prog mag is out next week. Here's the cover. Interesting to note that the cover mounted CD will contain a track from the new Dream Theater album.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Esoteric Label Re-Releases Canterbury Classics

In the next couple of weeks the excellent re-issue label releases four classic recordings from the so-called Canterbury Scene. The important ones for me are the two National Health albums. These were in effect Dave Stewart’s swansong recordings from this type of music and were a culmination of what had gone before with Egg and Hatfield and the North.

The debut album featured the duel keyboards of Stewart and the late great Alan Gowen, who also features on the other two releases by Gilgamesh and Soft Heap and the characteristic “valvey” guitar of Phil Miller. Though the music of National Health was considered complex and it is, it’s never less than hugely melodic. Just listen to the beautiful “Tenemos Roads” with the gorgeous vocals of Amanda Parsons. By “Of Queues and Cures” the band had become a much tighter unit with Henry Cow’s John Greaves on bass and vocals, taking over from Neil Murray who left to join Whitesnake! The material on this second album was more “rocky” if that is the right phrase and for me is one of my favourite Canterbury albums. Highlights are undoubtedly the epic “Squarer for Maud” and “The Bryden 2-Step”.

The band only recorded one more studio album made up of material written by Alan Gowen and released in tribute to him after his death in 1981. Shame Pip Pyle insisted on using an electronic drum kit for the sessions.

Knowing the quality of Esoteric releases in the past these re-releases should sound and look very good indeed. These recordings have long been hard to find on CD so its about time they were made more readily available. I believe Esoteric are also readying the two Hatfield and the North studio albums for re-release later in the year.
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