'CONCERTS' (Originally released in 1976 as a double album) the songs/recording info: CD #1: 1. "Beautiful as the Moon - Terrible as an Army with Banners" (Frith, Cutler) > 2. "Nirvana for Mice" (Frith) > 3. "Ottawa Song" (Frith, Cutler) > 4. "Gloria Gloom" (Wyatt, MacCormick) > 5."Beautiful as the Moon (Reprise)" (Frith, Cutler) - 22:46 (Tracks 1-5 John Peel BBC Session, August 5, 1975) 6. "Bad Alchemy" (Greaves, Blegvad) > 7. "Little Red Riding Hood Hits the Road" (Wyatt) - 8:16 (New London Theatre May 21, 1975, John Greaves-piano) 8. "Ruins" (Frith) - 16:14 (Palamostre Auditorium, Undine, Italy October 13, 1975) 9. "Groningen" (Hodgkinson, Henry Cow) - 8:49 10. "Groningen Again" (Henry Cow) - 7:12 (Vera Club, Groningen, Holland Sept. 26, 1974) CD#2 1. "Oslo" (Henry Cow) - 25:59 2. " 3. " 4. " 5. " 6. " 7. " 8. " (Hovikodden Arts Centre, Oslo, Norway, Lindsay Cooper-recorder, Chris Cutler-piano) CD only Bonus Tracks: 9. "Off the Map" - 8:30 ("Solo Piano" (Hodgkinson)/"Trio" (Hodgkinson, Cutler, Frith) 10. "Café Royal" (solo guitar) (Frith) - 3:22 11. "Keeping Warm in Winter" (Frith, Greaves)/"Sweet Heart of Mine" (Henry Cow) - 10:06 (Manor Studio Nov. 4, 1973, originally released on Side 2 of 'Greasy Truckers Live At Dingwall's Dance Hall' 2LP set*) 12. "Udine" (Henry Cow) - 9:29 (Palamostre Auditorium, Undine, Italy October 13, 1975, Lindsay Cooper-piano) the band: Lindsay Cooper - bassoon, flute, oboe, recorder, piano Chris Cutler - drums, piano Dagmar Krause - voice, piano Fred Frith - guitar, piano, violin, xylophone John Greaves - bass guitar, voice, celeste, piano Tim Hodgkinson - organ, clarinet, alto saxophone (piano CD#2 Track 9) Robert Wyatt - vocals ("Bad Alchemy" and "Little Red Riding Hood Hits the Road") Geoff Leigh - tenor and soprano saxophone, recorder, flute, clarinet (CD#2 Tracks 8-10 Only) other credits: Produced by HENRY COW CD#1 Tracks 1-5 Recorded and mixed by Bob Conduct & Tony Wilson CD#1 Tracks 6-7 Live mix by Sarah Greaves, Recorded by Norman Jon CD#1 Track 8 Live mix: Niel Sanford, Recorded by Sandro Pascolo & Stephano Spizzamiglio CD#1 Tracks 9-10 Live mix: Sarah Greaves CD#2 Tracks 1-8 Recorded and mixed by Jack Balchin & Harold Clark CD#2 Tracks 9-11 Recorded and mixed by HENRY COW & Tom Newman CD#2 track 12 Live mix: Niel Sanford, Recorded by Sandro Pascolo & Stephano Spizzamiglio Cover art: Maggie Thomas CD Remastering: Bob Drake @ Studio Midi Pyrenees, France
the band: Lindsay Cooper - bassoon, flute, oboe, recorder, piano Chris Cutler - drums, piano Dagmar Krause - voice, piano Fred Frith - guitar, piano, violin, xylophone John Greaves - bass guitar, voice, celeste, piano Tim Hodgkinson - organ, clarinet, alto saxophone (piano CD#2 Track 9) Robert Wyatt - vocals ("Bad Alchemy" and "Little Red Riding Hood Hits the Road") Geoff Leigh - tenor and soprano saxophone, recorder, flute, clarinet (CD#2 Tracks 8-10 Only) other credits: Produced by HENRY COW CD#1 Tracks 1-5 Recorded and mixed by Bob Conduct & Tony Wilson CD#1 Tracks 6-7 Live mix by Sarah Greaves, Recorded by Norman Jon CD#1 Track 8 Live mix: Niel Sanford, Recorded by Sandro Pascolo & Stephano Spizzamiglio CD#1 Tracks 9-10 Live mix: Sarah Greaves CD#2 Tracks 1-7 Recorded and mixed by Jack balchin & Harold Clark CD#2 Tracks 9-10 Recorded and mixed by HENRY COW & Tom Newman CD#2 track 11 Live mix: Niel Sanford, Recorded by Sandro Pascolo & Stephano Spizzamiglio Cover art: Maggie Thomas CD Remastering: Bob Drake @ Studio Midi Pyrenees, France
* 'GREASY TRUCKERS LIVE AT DINGWALL'S DANCE HALL' was a 2LP set released in 1974 of an October 1973 concert performed by CAMEL,HENRY COW,GONG and GLOBAL VILLAGE TRUCKING COMPANY. Each side of the double album was dedicate to one group's performance. COW's contribution had to be re-recorded a week later at The Manor Studios because a power failure at the event had delayed the start of the concert. Because they were last billed, the 2AM curfew would've reduced their set to ten minutes! At The Manor, they improvised, recorded, and mixed their "Greasy Truckers" set in one session. There's an outtake from this session, "Bellycan," that was released on the 1991 East Side Digital CD re-mix of 'LEG END.' The "Greasy Truckers" were an organization somewhat based on the Diggers in San Francisco, with the proceeds from their concerts and LP sales donated to worthwhile causes. 'GTLaDD' was the second in a series of concert albums recorded at benefits organised by the Greasy Truckers. The first was 1972's 'GREASY TRUCKER'S PARTY' re-released in 2007 as a terrific expanded 3CD set. Each disc featured full perfomances from MAN,BRINSLEY SCHWARZ and HAWKWIND. The MAN set is also available as a stand-alone CD. Don't let the ridiculous prices here fool you, you can order it from Amazon.uk for less than $20......
THe fourth album by Henry Cow was a tour de force. The introduction of the vocals of Dagmar Krause to a previously predominately instrumental group meant that they were playing proper songs. The opening suite of songs (from a Peel session) shows her singing style integrating perfectly with the somewhat austere nature of Henry Cow, and adding a slight whiff of Weimar Cabaret to the proceddings. Her vocals on the Matching Mole tune Gloria Gloom are a particular highlight.
Matching Mole were of course Robert Wyatt's group after he was ejected from the Soft Machine and he turns up here duetting with Krause on the Slapp Happy (Krause's previous group) tune Bad Alchemy, and a funked up (a groove on a Cow record whatever next) version of his own Little Red Riding Hood Hits the Road. Although I find the sound quality of these two tunes to be somewhat tinny, the sheer energy and enjoyment of the players more than compensates.
This is then followed by a beautiful rendition of guitarist's Fred Frith's compsition Ruins. It flows with a stately elegance, and is far supierior to the version to be found on their second album Unrest.
After this we enter into free rock territory. Henry Cow were always an improvisational group at heart and the rest of the two discs follow in this vein. Sequenced in a different running order to the original vinyl, and adding their contribution to the second Greasy Truckers Album - wonder what Camel fans made of it? - they still make challenging but rewarding listening. If you like the textures that can be created from improvisation, then you will love this, as it records a superlative band at the peak of their powers. They create textures of light and dark, coaxing strange sounds from their instruments which they were never designed to make, and that includes Dagmar Krause's vocal contribution.
This is probably the most representative recording of what Henry Cow were about. Part composition, part improvisation. The recordings presented here are for me the band shown at their very best. The performances are exhilarating, especially Fred Frith whose guitar manipulations are extraordinary. The first 5 pieces are taken from a BBC session and is a truly wonderful medley, each track seamlessly flowing into the next. A beautifully recorded session, with Bob Drakes wonderfully detailed and sympathetic mastering bringing out all the nuances in the performance, especially Chris Cutlers dynamic cymbal work. For me the highlight of the album has always been the live version of Fred Friths "Ruins". Not only brilliantly played by the band, this version knocks spots off the studio version from "Unrest", but Frith plays one of the most extraordinary non-rock based guitar "solos" you will ever hear. His command and control of his guitar to produce something of its own, yet fitting in with the dynamics of the piece is still after all these years sensational! He performed a similar miracle during the piece "Groningen". Some of this stuff is "difficult", especially the almost 30 minute improvisational piece "Oslo". Thankfully, here it has been broken down into 8 sections to make it more digestible, though the official line is that it's for "navigation purposes".
The original double LP has been expanded here to a 2 CD set with tracks taken from studio sessions after Henry Cow's aborted appearance at the Greasy Truckers concert. Although a CD version was available a number of years back on the US label East Side Digital, this newly remastered version is on ReR and is hence easier to obtain and is the definitive version. Full marks to Bob Drake, whose mastering work is always subtle and exquisite. Considering the only master available was a DAT tape, which fell apart during the mastering process, the results he has achieved on this are nothing short of "heroic"! Nice booklet too with notes by Chris Cutler and even a splash of colour added to Maggie Thomas's startlingly austere pen and ink cover. "Concerts" is the definitive document of one of the most ruthlessly original and uncompromisingly single minded rock groups to have emerged during the 70's. They don't make'em like this anymore!
I bought the original in 1976 unheard, based on the NME review, and grew to love this record. The first side-and-a-half is densely packed with fantastic tunes set to dense jazz textures. As the record progresses the mood drifts into ethereal with long 'floating' sections. Some of the between-tune wig-outs put you in mind of Roni Size's live show, being both totally out of control and perfectly under control at the same time. I hope the on-stage gatefold shot is preserved for the CD, the band look exactly the bunch of Socialist Worker students that they sound. There is no point wondering why there is no music like this now, when people like this no longer exist.