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National Health - Playtime CD (album) cover

PLAYTIME

National Health

 

Canterbury Scene

3.62 | 40 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The Owl
Prog Reviewer
5 stars This may not have extremely crisp recording quality but it more than compensates with a pair of fiery and inspired performances froma NH lineup that was not heard much from (and their last tour before Gowen's death from lukemia in 1981).

Alan Gowen rejoined after Dave Stewart left the band, due to busines disagreements more than creative differences. Regardless, the boys soldiered on and toured anyway, and here you can witness the telepathic interplay on such pieces as "Flanagan's People" , "Dreams Wide Awake" and "Pleaides" especially. Another highlight here is "Squarer For Maude" (though I do miss the cellos and organs on the original version).

Overall, the band plays with the ferocity of a Mahavishnu Orchestra or Return to Forever while still retaining the unique Canterbury whimsy and wit. Bassist John Greaves propels things along with fuzzy, roaring almost Magma-esque lines as Pip Pyle paints like a madman from behind his drum kit. Guitarist Phil Miller is in fine form with his singing yet edgy Gibson SG tone while Allen Gowen's keyboard work shimmers and sparkles and adds just the right amount of metallic clang on the Fender Rhodes. Allen's style was markedly different from Dave Stewart's, not just in his choice of sounds (mainly Rhodes and synths) but also the fact his compositions tended to leave more room for improvisation.

Very highly recommended!

The Owl | 5/5 |

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