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Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Dick Heath
Jazz-Rock Specialist
4 stars Not so much Hugh 'throwing' this band together, rather NW USA Coast-based Caveman Shoestore inviting SE English Hopper and particularly his economical fuzz bazz, to play Canterbury in their form of Americana. As Hugh will tell you he hadn't played fuzz bass for 2 decades when this call came.

The Tim Kerr Records label which originally released the album, has long been associated with independent avante rock and fusion. However, the categorisation of fusion is misleading - several songs are quirky pop or post-rock, for goodness sake, (and have a look at some of those tune titles). This is Canterbury rock (that most English of progressive movements), strong tempered by American overtones. This point is clearly illustrated by Elaine DiFalco's take of Dedicated To You But You Weren't Listening, (the most covered Hugh Hopper and Soft Machine tune) - brought home, if you play Robert Wyatt's version from Soft Machine's Volume Two, back to back with it. There is a certain brittleness and economy about the tunes (as well as some brevity), for instance Splinter Cat told as a spoken short horror story with music, with amusing asides thrown in.

With the band compressing their name to Hughscore on subsequent albums, and with Hugh tending to record his part in Kent and the rest of the band 6000 or so miles away, then the tunes have become longer and more in keeping with the fusion terminology. However, for a very pleasant off the wall treat, start with this album.

And before our local system kicks in and suggests "if you like this band, you will like the albums of.....", I suggest checking out Hugh Hopper's and Robert Wyatt's solo albums and in particularly Amy Denio's recordings, as bassist and vocalist working separately with various members of Henry Cow.

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Posted Monday, August 22, 2005 | Review Permalink

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