Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
The Muffins - Loveletter #2 - The Ra Sessions CD (album) cover


The Muffins

Canterbury Scene

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
2 stars Loveletter #2 is supposed to be a companion disk for Double Negative according to the liner notes. More of a companion disk to the 1980's release <185>. Frith's involvement with the Muffins in 1980 was what drew me to check out these guys. That musical intersection produced some of the more dissonant material that I've heard from both artists.

This isn't straight up Muffins but a session with Marshall Allen and Knoel Scott, from the Sun Ra Arkestra, doing improvisation.

The Muffins catalog so far is brief and I don't find this to be one of their more shining moments. Let's face it, this is difficult listening music. Not actually bad, but not likely to have broad appeal for the average progressive music fan. I'll have to recommend to try before you buy, if you can. But, if you trust the artists involved and want to try something a little weird and off the beaten path, a little improv can be fun. Just brace yourself for having a lot of horn blowing at you.

Report this review (#202849)
Posted Sunday, February 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars In 2004 The Muffins released 'Double Negative' with the line-up of Dave Newhouse (organ, grand piano, soprano, baritone & tenor saxes, bass clarinet, percussion), Tom Scott (flute, soprano & alto saxophones, clarinet, percussion), Billy Swan (bass, guitar, percussion) and Paul Sears (drums, guitar, trombone, percussion). They had some guest musicians involved on some of the tracks, including Knoel Scott (alto saxophone) and Marshall Allen (alto saxophone) and perhaps unsurprisingly, this led to a series of improvisations between the six, which were recorded and released in 2005 as a companion album to the original. Marshall Allen is of course famous for leading the reed section in The Sun Ra Arkestra from the time he joined in 1958 for more than 40 years, and is now leader of the Arkestra and is still playing (in his 90's!) while Knoell is a mere whippersnapper having been born in 1956 and joining the Arkestra in 1979.

The Muffins are a band built on improvisation and bouncing ideas off each other, while at the time of this recording Scott and Allen had been in the same band for 25 years, and it is an absolute delight to hear the interplay between the six of them. The only thing which would make this better would have been if there had been a camera in the studio capturing what was going on, as I can imagine the guys going between smiles and intense concentration as they try to work out where the muse is taking them and what their contribution needs to be to further that. At times there are four saxophones at play, while the rhythm section swaps and changes as they look to further their Canterbury avant garde approach to progressive music.

This will not be to everyone's taste, as it is moving The Muffins in an even more avant-garde direction, yet to my battered ears this is a delight, and I can sit and listen to this all day. Experimental music driven by horns is rarely better than this.

Report this review (#3048787)
Posted Saturday, April 20, 2024 | Review Permalink

THE MUFFINS Loveletter #2 - The Ra Sessions ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of THE MUFFINS Loveletter #2 - The Ra Sessions

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.