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Hatfield And The North - Hatfield And The North CD (album) cover


Hatfield And The North


Canterbury Scene

4.26 | 739 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Hatfield and the North - s/t (1973)

This is the first album by Hatfield and the North, for those who are interested in this sub-genre of prog a relatively well-known band. This time the who's who is made up of Richard Sinclair (Caravan) on bass and vocals, Stewart (Arzachel, Egg, National Health) on keyboards, Pip Pyle on drums and Phil Miller on guitar. There are some guest vocalists. A short contribution of Robert Wyatt on one of the first track and some female vocals of Barbara Gaskin (of Spirogyra, a psych-folk group you should check out), Amanda Parsons and Ann Rosenthal.

The style of Hatfield and the North is perhaps best described as; the sound of Caravan with a large doses of noodling fusion. Optimistic in nature, but also a bit non-emotional. For those who already listened to National Health (which came later), the sound & style is almost the same here. There are no serious songs, almost everything is instrumental and even the parts with female vocals could be interpret as instrumental (due to fact the vocals are only used to sing notes). At playing instrumental compositions the band is really good, the performance of every-one involved is top-notch and the sound of the recording is clear an professional. Vinyl listeners might add some bass themselves, for without it the record sounds a bit too light.

Now, I can see why a lot of people like this record. Great musicians, classic Canterbury style, great art-work. For me personally, this record doesn't offer too much. I like a lot of instrumental sections, but in the end nothing touches me and I find the record to sound a bit emotionless. The compositions sound intelligent and hard-to-play, but in the end the melodies and chord-progressions also sound a bit random like most later Stewart-related records. The psychedelic sillyness (phone rings, some-one takes it and the vocal line comes through the telephone) are an oasis in this desert of noodling, but I just can't help missing some concrete, emotionally driven instrumental parts or - even better - songs. Conclusion. Well played and professionally produced Canterbury classic, but not essential in my humble opinion (due to lack of replay and emotional involvement). Recommend to fans of the Canterbury sub-genre and jazz-rock/fusion. I'll go for the small three and a halve stars here.

friso | 3/5 |


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