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National Health - Of Queues and Cures  CD (album) cover

OF QUEUES AND CURES

National Health

 

Canterbury Scene

4.20 | 258 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

zravkapt
Special Collaborator
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars The second album from this Canterbury supergroup. Keyboardist/founder Alan Gowan, vocalist Amanda Parsons and bassist Neil Murray are now gone. Ex-Henry Cow bassist John Greaves joins for this album. Other Cow related musicians like Peter Blegvad and Greaves own replacemnet Georgie Born are here too. Dave Stewert is the only keyboardist. Other guest musicians including Canterbury legend Jimmy Hastings play wind instruments.

The music here is a blend of Canterbury and fusion with some avant-prog influences. Mostly instrumental. Pip Pyle's drumming on this album is better than his playing with Gong and Hatfield. Phil Miller is great on guitar, sounding like he does on the Hatfield and Matching Mole albums. Stewert's playing is a mix of his Hatfield stuff and what he was doing with Bill Bruford at the time. Greaves bass playing is similar to his work in Cow.

Part 1 of "The Bryden 2-Step(For Amphibians)" is longer and superior to Part 2. It starts off with sustained synth and bird noises. The bass and synth duet. Then drums and guitar. I love halfway through where you hear fuzz organ. After that some horns. The fuzz organ comes back with what sounds like bells. Part 2 has a great beginning with organ and a marching beat. This sounds like Egg. The rest of the track is not as interesting as Part 1.

"The Collapso" has a Caribbean flavour. Nice steel drums in this song. "Squarer For Maud" was written by Greaves. It sounds like a mix of Canterbury and avant-prog. Some good sax in this song. I love the part with handclaps. In the middle there is a great hypnotic two note part on organ that gets played over and over. Then a spoken word part by Blegvad. Good organ solo near the end. Some violin or cello as well. "Dreams Wide Awake" sounds like Hatfield. Nice duet of synth and guitar near the end.

"Binoculars" is the longest song and the only one with lyrics/singing. Starts off with some great guitar and organ. Maybe some oboe or flute too. Then drums and bass. Greaves starts singing and Miller plays what he is singing. The song is about how John Wayne and Rip Torn can make us all young. Or something. Phil has a great guitar tone on this song. Flute solo after 3 minutes. Before 5 minutes there is an awesome organ solo. Then it goes back to the beginning part with wind instruments instead of guitar. The wind instruments float around for awhile before the organ comes back and the singing resumes. Later on some nice Rhodes playing and some more flute and/or oboe. Then a guitar solo.

One of the best albums from the Canterbury scene. Most mainstream prog acts were starting to streamline their sound at this time. But some groups like National Health just kept progging on. Not a masterpiece but very close. 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |

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