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Hawkwind - BBC  Radio 1 Live CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.20 | 29 ratings

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4 stars Stardate: 28th September, 1972. The personnel of starship Hawkwind disembark at the Paris Theatre in London to deliver a live set, with the BBC there to record it. Over subsequent years numerous bootlegs of the set circulate until in 1991 Windsong finally issue the concert in mono. However, the version of the gig occasionally broadcast on the radio is clearly in stereo. Debate rages as to which is the definitive version; the mono CD release, which is unedited but has poorer sound quality, or the stereo "Broadcast" mix which has superior sound quality but a number of edits (mostly minor, but a big chunk is dug out of Brainstorm).

Thankfully, EMI have stepped into reissue the set under the title of At the BBC - 1972, with new cover art. This 2CD release not only includes both the mono and stereo versions of the set, but also includes two songs recorded for a Johnnie Walker session the previous month. For my money, I value the higher sonic quality of the stereo mix over the sometimes muffled completism of the mono mix, but thanks to EMI we now don't need to choose between one or the other.

So, how's the material itself? Well, this was some three months before the Space Ritual recordings, so if you've heard that, you've got a good idea of what this is like. Perhaps less crushingly heavy than Space Ritual itself, and perhaps catching a few more subtle textures, At the BBC stands alongside Leave No Star Unturned, the expanded Greasy Truckers Party reissue and Space Ritual itself as a crucial live document of Hawkwind during the magical year of 1972 where all the constellations pointed in the right direction for them and they truly cemented their legend. Not as essential as Space Ritual, but if you love that album you'll probably dig this too.

Warthur | 4/5 |


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