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National Health - D.S. Al Coda CD (album) cover


National Health


Canterbury Scene

3.32 | 85 ratings

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Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer
5 stars National Health were a really intense band performing music with the Canterbury 'Jazz-Prog' sound - indeed all participants of the band are simply stupendous players on their respective instruments. Yet again producing another Canterbury classic with their 3rd album, D.S. al Coda, which is a tribute album to the phenomenal Keyboardist Alan Gowen, who died from Leukaemia in 1981. The band members here, Dave Stewart (keys), Pip Pyle (drums), John Greaves (bass) and Phil Miller (guitars) are performing Alan's compositions which never made it to the final recording stage, save for TNTFX (from the Gilgamesh album 'Another Fine Tune You've Got Me Into'), and 'Arriving Twice' (which is a reworking of a track off Gilgamesh S/T). Along with a host of guests (mainly Canterbury oriented - Richard Sinclair, Elton Dean, Jimmy Hastings, Barbara Gaskin and Amanda Parsons) the pieces are performed superbly, all incorporating lots of fun, complex, serious and beautiful tones. The only quibble I could point out with the album is that it does sound like it's from the 80's, but that is minor, as the compositions and execution of the tunes is damn near perfect. I could ramble for ages about this LP, so, to keep it simple, Elton Dean's saxello performance is absolutely blowing on 'Portrait of a Shrinking Man' and 'I Feel a Night Coming On', and throughout the 2 part epic of 'Flanagan's People/Toad of Toad Hall' we are treated to Jimmy Hastings' most beautiful flute playing, and Pyle and Stewart put in some really *wild* playing (oh, the synth playing.....), with Greaves complimenting the arrangement no-end with his bass playing and Miller wrenching out some startling sounds from his guitar. I have no hesitation in rating this a 5* masterpiece.
Tom Ozric | 5/5 |


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