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The Soft Machine

Canterbury Scene

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Dick Heath
Jazz-Rock Specialist
1 stars At last this long advertised double set has become available for sale at Amazon.UK - 6 months I had to wait and with no track list information available. DON'T BE LIKE ME, DON'T BUY IT. It is for the complete completists. All this material has already been released through Voiceprint/Blueprint. Thanks to Progarchives I now have a better tracking listing than provided in the liner notes, indicating three original sources of the live recordings are on the album. One, "Paradiso" has become an increasingly essential Machine album for me - and at least the recording quality on this part of the set is good (indeed, possibly better than both the first two legitimate Soft machine solo albums). However, the rest of the recordings on "Kings Of Canterbury" are poor bootleg quality (made by friends of the Machine) - the recent Cuneiform live Machine releases are so much betterquality.

Instead buy "Live At Paradiso" the single album (to hear Soft Machine in transition from prog to jazz rock). BUT avoid this and avoid the lousy quality of the rest of the recordings.

Report this review (#22156)
Posted Monday, May 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I am by no means an expert in the music of Soft Machine, but I bought this along with a couple of other similiar double budget release CDs on the Recall label as I recognised some of the tracks as being SM classics. Sadly, what it does not tell you on the outside cover is that a fair number the songs are poorly recorded (on a cassette player). The tracks are taken from 3 albums released years after their recording - "Live at the Paradiso", "Facelift" and "Live 1970". At least the inner sleeve does give the details of the tracks (unlike some similiar CDs such as ELP's "The Show That Never Ends") and warns you of the poor quality.

Fortunately I only paid 5 for it as basically it sounds like the bootleg recording it effectively is and, as our own Dick Heath says, this CD is really of historical interest for completionists only.

Report this review (#86350)
Posted Wednesday, August 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Sometimes, I wonder what is the difference between piracy and legality.

If you hijack a super tanker outside Somalia, you are a pirate. If you take three posthumous live albums from Soft Machine and release it as one double album in a cheap and nasty packaging, you are a legal businessman. I call this a rip-off anyway.

The sound is iffy here but not directly bad. But so is the original albums too. I am talking about Live at the Paradiso, which I gave 4.5 stars and is one of my favorite SF live albums and the two other live albums called Facelift and Live 1970. The two latter ones have really bad sound. I also have those two and the reason I have the Kings Of Canterbury double album is a manic hunt for everything Soft Machine phase I went through one year ago. Yes, I know. There is pills I can take against this personality disorder. Anyway, I have been cured and that is basically down to dubious purchases like Kings Of Canterbury.

In other words; purchase the Live at the Paradiso which is an essential Soft Machine posthumous live album and forget about Kings Of Canterbury. It is a rip off. But as a Soft Machine, I cannot force myself to give it one star so it has to be two stars. You can read into it whatever. I also wholehearted agree with the album title too, btw.

2 stars

Report this review (#351846)
Posted Monday, December 13, 2010 | Review Permalink

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