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National Health - National Health CD (album) cover


National Health


Canterbury Scene

4.12 | 383 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
5 stars NATIONAL HEALTH was initially the offspring of two bands, namely HATFIELD AND THE NORTH and GILGAMESH.The exception was Bill Bruford on drums. It's hard to believe but they had a difficult time getting a label to record them, and as time went by Bill Bruford, Phil Lee and Mont Campbell went on to other things. Campbell was replaced on bass by Neil Murray who was GILGAMESH's original bass player,and Pip Pyle from HATFIELD AND THE NORTH replaced Bruford. Lee was not replaced as the original lineup featured two lead guitarists, Phil Miller being the other. Confused yet ? Fortunately they have released a record called "Missing Pieces" that features recordings from the original lineup.This debut record is such a treat though with two legendary keyboard men playing on it in Gowen and Stewart.

The first track "Tenemos Roads" is by far my favourite and worth the purchase of this album alone. I could play this one over and over again and never tire of it. This is a Stewart composition at almost 15 minutes in length. Hastings and Stewart lead things off with a brief intro before crisp drums, organ, bass and clarinet create a beautiful soundscape. Check out the organ before 3 minutes ! Amanda starts to sing before 6 minutes with percussion and a calm to follow. It gets heavier after 8 minutes as some angular guitar comes in as the vocal melodies continue. It then becomes quite pastoral with flute. A full sound returns after 12 1/2 minutes. Nice heavy ending. "Brujo" is a Gowen composition. It opens with lighter sounds and Amanda's vocal melodies. Flute and percussion follow. The song picks up as bass and drums join in. It gets quite jazzy sounding as the piano becomes prominant. The flute returns followed by an acoustic piano solo. The vocal melodies return 8 1/2 minutes in as the bass becomes prominant.

"Borogoves(Exerts From Part Two)" opens with flute and liquid sounding keys. Bass is good. Excellent guitar / drum melody 2 1/2 minutes in where Miller just plays on and on to the end of the song. "Borogoves(Part One)" opens with some fuzz organ from Stewart as Gowen counters with piano. Guitar sounds great as it comes in followed by vocal melodies. Clarinet followed by some impressive piano melodies. The song becomes very catchy 5 minutes in. "Elephants" is the almost 15 minute closer that Stewart and Gowen composed together. It really does sound like they are trying to make the sound of an elephant in the intro. Cool. The guitar and drums after 2 minutes are great, especially the guitar that goes on and on for almost 2 minutes. Nice. A jazzy ZAO flavour follows. Vocal melodies arrive 8 minutes in. Some excellent organ before a pastoral passage after 10 minutes takes us to the end of the song. Perhaps too long of an ending.

I prefer their next one a more, but they are both incredible and are must-haves.

Mellotron Storm | 5/5 |


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