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Gong - Live In Sherwood Forest '75 CD (album) cover



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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 3,5 stars

An unexpected gift of the gods (or from the cosmic Devas?) to the pot head pixies. This incredible document came out from nowhere and features live covers gongheads would not imagine in their wildest dreams. Recorded live at Nottingham University on November 25th 1975 -the transition's period between You and Shamal- everybody is here, except Captain Capricorn aka daevid Allen. Steve Hillage is on top shape here (have a look at his pic in the booklet). It also features Jorge Pinchevesky on violin (from Clearlight), Patrice Lemoine on keyboards and of course Mike Howlett, Bloomdido, Pierre Moerlen, Miquette Giraudy and Mireille Bauer.

Live pieces from "You", "Shamal" and Hillage's "Fish rising" (completely unexpected!) on the same record.But there's a shadow on this idyllic drawing: sound quality is poor with muffled sound, saturation, level variations (recorded in open air).

The concert begins with a mind blowing "Master builder" cover, featuring an incredible psychedelic guitar solo.

Then comes Chandra, with the new Gong world jazzrock sound from the future Shamal. Excellent.

"Aftaglid" from "Fish rising" is simply fantastic, it's the longest piece and the record's summit, with its fantastic space/cosmic rock flights leaded by Hillage at his best and the long eastern influenced moment. It's simply better than the studio version, and the band on stage manages to play all the subtleties of the piece.

"Cat in Clarks shoes" and "Wingful of eyes" features longer developments than on the future Shamal album and it's quite amazing to hear these pieces which were still in gestation.

"The Salmon song" from "Fish rising" is stunning and also features fantastic guitar.

"Isle of everywhere" is very good also and can compete with the studio version.

"Shamal" ends nicely the record.

The band is at its best, a blend of the technical mastery of You with the funky world jazz rock Shamal sound (Patrice Lemoine on keyboards contribute to this sound with his wha wha distorted keyboards). For sure, good astral vibes were there this very day .

A real surprise which shows that many documents are still unreleased.

Report this review (#75463)
Posted Wednesday, April 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is bloomin' cracking - a missing link in the Gong story. Sure, no Daevid Allen or Pot Head Pixies, but Hillage, Moerlen, Howlett, Malherbe are still there, and musically fabulous - delivering hippy-dom, trance, space and jazz.

Including tracks from You, Fish Rising and Shamal - it's great to hear Afterglid and the Salmon Song under the Gong banner as well deserved - this is a fascinating little piece of Gong history. It's also great to hear tracks from Shamal plussed with Steve Hillage's guitar.

This was actually Steve's last gig with Gong (aside from the '77 Paris reunion) before re-linking in recent years. Fascinating!

I'm so glad this was found after so long being lost! Considering, the recording quality is pretty reasonable - sometimes sounds a bit tinny though bizarrely the bass sounds very good (Mike Howlett performs brilliantly). The glockenspiel is a bit over-loud here and there and the sax can be somewhat low in the mix.

Surprisingly, my favourite track here is the last - Shamal - the band really get into the groove here - cracking!

This really grows on you - be patient with it. The first listen is taken up with wondering how good the sound quality is. Once you get over that, the 2nd time around is really really good.

I won't quite give it the full 5, because I wouldn't want anyone to start Gong listening with this, and the quality though good isn't perfect. However, I love it and highly recommend it!

Report this review (#282809)
Posted Thursday, May 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is an excellent live document from a period where GONG was in transition. Steve Hillage was playing on his last tour with the band, in fact this concert from this mini 13 date UK tour was the very last date. Steve would come back for re-union concerts but it's cool to think this was his last official gig with the band. Daevid Allen, Gili Smyth, Tim Blake were all gone at this point in 1975. Daevid fo course encouraged the band to continue because he felt this was more than a band and it was a band with no official leader. It was inique. Steve had already released in April of that year his solo album "Fish Rising" in fact we even get 2 tracks from that album here. "Shamal" would be released the following year and we get 3 tracks from that future release. One track played here was never released on a studio album leaving just 2 tracks (both from "You") that the audience would have been familiar with.Yet the audience is very into this concert. Only one song from the concert was left off due to the confined space of a cd. As it is we get 78 minutes from the concert held in Sherwood Forest. Steve Hillage talks a fair bit about Robin Hood even suggesting that they had the ability to time travel back then. I'm not sure how many in the spaced out audience belived him but it's all in good fun. By the way the sound quality is excellent as it was actually being professionally recorded for a radio broadcast that apparently never happened. Thankfully the tape was preserved. Some great pictures of the band especially of Hillage. Interesting that CLEARLIGHT was opening for them on this tour and their violinist for the first time on the tour came out and played with GONG on this final date. He would later join GONG. Hillage on vocals and guitar, Howlett on vocals and bass, Lemoine on keyboards, Malherbe on Sax and flutes, Moerlen on drums, Giraudy on vocals, Pinchevvesky on violin and Bauer on marimba, percussion and glockenspiel.

This is a solid 4 star album that reminds me of a cross between solo Hillage music and the Ozric Tentacles jamming style. It's simply an interesting listen because of who was in the band and the time it was recorded. It's just before the Jazz / Fusion period yet we get a taste of that too. Highly recommended to GONG fans and Steve Hillage fans alike.

Report this review (#563549)
Posted Sunday, November 6, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is a personal favourite of mine, as it marks the period of transition from the psychedelic space-rock outfit "Daevid Allen Gong" to the jazz fusion lineup of "Pierre Moerlen's Gong". This is a lineup of most of my favourite Gong and Steve Hillage tracks and it is my personal favourite Gong lineup, with Hillage on the lead guitar.

The album is not without its imperfections, but the raw punchiness really adds some diversity to the Gong discography. As this is sandwiched between the release of my 2 favourite gong albums "You" and "Shamal", it is the perfect blend of the psychedelic flavours of "You" and the hippy jazz fusion vibes of "Shamal".

One of the best live albums in my collection. I highly recommend!

Report this review (#914635)
Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 | Review Permalink

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