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H.P. Lovecraft - Live May 11, 1968 CD (album) cover

LIVE MAY 11, 1968

H.P. Lovecraft

Proto-Prog


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars Rarely has a posthumous album been so justified. In 91, Edsel records released this concert of almost forgotten HP Lovecraft, catching them live at their peak, just prior to recording their second album. Recorded in one night at the Fillmore West (the Carousel Ballroom - with support from Loading Zone and Crome Syrcus) on the date mentioned (it was the last of a series of three nights) in their San Fran home base - they had relocated there from Chicago - the tapes dormed, forgotten, for over twenty years, before specialist label Edsel records released them , and they can be warmly thanked for it, since my interest for HP Lovecraft dates from this release.

The recordings are of superb quality (especially given the means available back then) and the band is in pristine form, the show being flawless and the choice of material simply outstanding and suffering no discussion. Most of the tracks are pulled from their first albums, but there are two (At The mountain Of Madness is a superb homage to the writer and It's About Time with its chilling with atmospheres and drama) coming from the second album to be recorded in the studio two months later. I personally do not think any overdubs were added, and the playing is absolutely perfect, showing how experienced they were.

Some of the tracks are extended from the original studio version, most notably Wayfairing Stranger (almost quadrupled time) and The Drifter (doubled time), but there is not one single second wasted or over-indulging in solos, just tight playing even when improvising. Then comes the two "new tracks" but separated by a superb rendition of the debut album's centrepiece, The White Ship with its stupendous bolero pace. The second part of the record is made of shorter covers of Folk giant Fred Neil and another from Randy Newman, all three fairly close to the debut album version.

This live album is really worthy of sitting next to their two studio album and the booklet as a full story of the group including great photos of their Sausalito home - a san Fran hippy community right next to the bay, across the Golden Gate.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#63693)
Posted Sunday, January 08, 2006 | Review Permalink
loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Now here is some real crazy spaced out live prog rock from the '60's. This is pure psychedelia offering wild vocals and lyrics with solid musicanship. This music is not for the weak at heart but for those deeply into the pschy scene this is a must. HP LOVECRAFT deliver loads of psychey keyboards and drums and at times sort of remind me of the DOORS (in the same vein). HP LOVECRAFT deliver here a lot of their most popular psych melodies and tunes. This album is a lot of fun and is nice and psychy.

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#65396)
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
stefro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Named after the famed horror author, H. P. Lovecraft were an overlooked outfit hailing from the outskirts of Chicago who produced a couple of affable cosmic pop albums during the late-sixties without garnering to much commercial-or-critical success. This live revue from 1968 finds the group reeling off what is to all extents and purposes a greatest hits set, recorded at that bastion of West Coast rock, San Francisco's legendary Fillmore West. And what a set it is. Kicking off with a powerful, ten-minute version of the folk-inspired piece 'Wayfaring Stranger', this live release thankfully captures H. P Lovecraft at their very best. It also showcases the group at their mos adventurous, with many of the tracks taken from their first two albums extended and augmented by a battery of trippy effects, glistening keyboards and gloriously harmonised vocals. In essence, this album is probably the closest many people will ever come to experiencing a full-blown gig from the 1960's counter- culture's peak, with H. P. Lovecraft plotting a much more psychedelic rock course than is evident on their softer-sounding studio efforts. Apart from the awesome - and very trippy - 'Wayfaring Stranger', other highlights include the group's spooky signature tune 'The White Ship', which is also given a muscular re-working, whilst the funk-clipped 'The Bag I'm In' positively drips with hip-shaking menace. With the double-tracked vocals of co-lead singers David Michaels and George Edwards and the ethereal, shimmering keyboards - also by Michaels - creating a highly atmospheric vibe, 'Live 1968' must surely rank as the finest evocation yet of this criminally-ignored group, showcasing both their deft songwriting touch and genuine instrumental talents to, at times, scintillating effect. A highly-impressive release, fans of all things cosmic should definitely seek this out.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#655542)
Posted Monday, March 12, 2012 | Review Permalink

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