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Hawkwind Palace Springs album cover
3.73 | 63 ratings | 10 reviews | 18% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Live, released in 1991

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Back In The Box (6:21)
2. Treadmill (8:09)
3. Void Of Golden Light (3:26)
4. Lives Of Great Men (6:51)
5. Time We Left (2:40)
6. Heads (4:39)
7. Acid Test (6:01)
8. Damnation Alley (7:15)

Total Time: 45:22

Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Brock / vocals, guitar, synthesizers
- Alan Davey / bass, synthesizers
- Harvey Bainbridge / synthesizer, spoken dialog
- Bridgett Wishart / vocals
- Simon House / violin
- Richard Chadwick / drums

Releases information

GWCD 104 (GWR Records)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Eetu Pellonpää for the last updates
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HAWKWIND Palace Springs ratings distribution

(63 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(55%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

HAWKWIND Palace Springs reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars The music of great men (and a woman)

For me, "Palace springs" is one of the Hawkwind greats, sitting alongside their more illustrious early albums.

Unusually, the band employ a female lead vocalist on several of the tracks, including the classic opener, "Back in the Box". The track is a typical Hawkwind ice breaker, with a heavy driving beat, and a great melody. The female vocals immediately distinguish it from other similar tracks by the band, but it is classic Hawkwind nonetheless.

"Treadmill" is slightly lighter, with some good violin (is this band adaptable or what?). Then come two sensational tracks, which appear to be listed the wrong way round. "Lives of Great men" comes first (Lyrically anyway), linking into "Void of Golden light" to form a great 10 minute piece. "Void.." has a superb section where the music softens to a relaxing ambient wash reminiscent of Tangerine Dream, before crashing back in with screaming synthesisers which soar gracefully before settling slowly back down to a soft conclusion, pure magic.

The other classic track here is "Damnation Alley", very much in the vein of "Motorway City" and all the other thumping Hawkwind rock tracks.

The only real weak spot on the album is "Acid test", which starts weird, and although it mutates, it doesn't really improve. That aside, a great album, very accessible, and melodic, but with all the Hawkwind trademarks intact.

Review by daveconn
3 stars PACELOG 1991: That quirky satellite off Beryl 6 is kicking back a message from HAWKWIND, and the boys downstairs with the headsets and the green screens can't untangle it. The HAWKWIND had been on an experimental mission, a one-way trip to the end of space, and after the '80s we figured we'd lost them. Funny thing was, messages kept coming back, sometimes a garbled transmission from the past, sometimes a new declaration of striking clarity. Seems the folks aboard HAWKWIND had embraced a sort of organic chaos as a social structure, which kept them from going at one another like the other missions. Time folds out in the bleachers where these boys and girls are sitting, so we can't really use that as a reference point. Wrapped in the new messages are old truths; "Golden Void", "Time We Left This World Today" and "Damnation Alley" among them is the early word from the brains downstairs. But it's all irrelevant out there: reality and unreality merge, past and future are slices of the same moment. Decoding "Palace Springs" might lead to nothing; leaving it intact and simply listening is to travel on the edge of space with HAWKWIND. The strange images that flash past, worlds of unimagined composition and color, are the thieves and outcasts of a centric galaxy. In a sense, so is HAWKWIND. They struck out from the '70s in a straight line and never looked back, forging ahead without making the minor corrections in trajectory that most bands did, exaggerating their error over the years. By 1991, HAWKWIND had become an artifact of an unrealized tomorrow, parallel with our own present but never really a part of it. The code buried in "Palace Springs" is this: a glimpse of what the future looks like to the past. Side by side with our own mundane 1991, we're found wanting. If it's enigmatic, isn't it better that way? Space has revealed so few of its secrets, only up to the ankle in an eons-slow striptease of the great mysteries, that inscrutable space rock is just one more inexplicable phenomena in a nightsky full of them. Once we identify something, we immediately diminish it, so tell the boys downstairs to take a break.

I don't need to know what "Palace Springs" is, I only need to know that it is.

Review by Proghead
4 stars I found a copy of this album on cassette (on the RoadRacer label) for dirt cheap at some junk store. This album was released in the UK on the GWR label. I bought it wondering how HAWKWIND might have sounded like in more recent years, wondering if they lost it. I was surprised, they still had it in them. This is live material, with a couple new songs. Apparently these were all from shows in 1989 (May and October), but it doesn't say anywhere on the cassette, basically the earliest HAWKWIND recordings with Richard Chadwick and Bridgett Wishart, although of course "Palace Springs" was released in '91, after "Space Bandits". I was rather surprised just how well-done this material was, and the band had the sense to use both digital synths and analog (or an excellent digital facsimile thereof) in ways they were supposed to be used (particularly the digital).

The album starts off with "Back in the Box". Strange to hear female vocals on a HAWKWIND album, but there she is. Unfortunately Bridgett Wishart's stay in the band wasn't long. Here Simon House (who hadn't been with the band since 1978, and had rejoined by this point) gives us some great violin work. The lyrics deal with "the world has gone to crap" theme as often found in many HAWKWIND songs (especially the lyrics that go "All I ever see on the TV screen is starving kids and war machines"). "Treadmill", another new cut is another amazing cut, this time it's Dave Brock doing the vocals. Sounds like total classic HAWKWIND, except this isn't the 1970s! Yes digital synths are used so you know it's not the '70s. Again Simon House gives us another great violin solo. Near the end, Harvey Bainbridge gives us some great analog (or analog-type) synth solos. Then you get "Lives of Great Men" and "Void of Golden Light" (the cassette had the two songs switched).

There is no getting around that the classic HAWKWIND sound is still intact, sounding better than ever! You get a great version of "Time We Left (This World Today)", proving that they could perform a song that goes back to 1972 (originally on the album "Doremi Fasol Latido") and make it sound fresh in the early '90s. Then they perform a song from "The Xenon Codex", "Heads", this time with the new lineup (as drummer Danny Thompson - who was the son of PENTAGLE bassist Danny Thompson, by the way, and Huw-Lloyd Langton were gone by this point), so the drumming obviously sounds different. You hear the theme of "Time We Left" return. Then you get "Acid Trip". This was one of the band's techno/ambient experiments. What you really got here is basically "Dream Worker" from 1982's "Choose Your Masques" with a techno beat. Then you get "Damnation Alley" (originally from "Quark Strangeness and Charm"). Although sadly Robert Calvert had died in 1988, it proves that HAWKWIND could still perform this song without him. It's not as long as the original, and this time around you got some reggae experiments in the middle. It's nice to see Simon House once again provide violin like he did on the original from 1977. Because you only get to hear audience cheering on a couple of songs, I got fooled for being a brand new 1991 studio album (with a couple live cuts) that happened to consist of mostly re-recordings of their back catalog (done very well, by the way), but it was basically a live album (recorded in both Los Angeles and London) with all the qualities of a studio album. And given there's been way too many poorly-recorded live albums, bootlegs, and unofficial releases from this band (that might turn off newcomers if they didn't know where to start), it's nice to see "Palace Springs" was yet another one of their top-quality albums. But then this was one of their official releases on the label they were recording for at the time. This is truly highly recommended to any HAWKWIND fan.

My rating: 4 1/2 stars

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A decent live recording from early 90's, featuring the lady singer Bridgett Wishart. The songs are mostly classic HAWKWIND songs, though some are named differently here (for example "Lives of Great Men" is "Assault & Battery"). It's also great that they have a violin player with them, this is truly one of the better ones of the band's discography of varying quality. There's also a video footage of this concert being sold on DVD, but can't recall it's title.
Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars This is a dual album made of some live tracks (recorded in L.A. in 1989) and some studio recordings (two songs). I am not always favorable of this combination, but I guess that the band didn't have enough material to record a fully original studio album, so it might be a good compromised.

This album has been recorded during the short collaboration with Bridget Wishart on the vocals. Not a bad idea to bring some variety in the vocal parts.(but she is only featured on one song).

I must say that both studio tracks "Back In The Box as well as Treadmill" are excellent surprises. "Hawkwind" at his best, I should say. The band released two songs which are closely related to their roots. Fine psychedelia, solidly rocking and featuring great spacey parts. Fine violin in "Treadmill". I told you: "Hawkwind" as it has always ought to be (but didn't, unfortunately).

Some live songs bring us back in the mid seventies, "Assault & Battery" (listed as Void Of Golden Light) and "The Golden Void" (listed as Lives Of Great Men) were originally recorded on "Warrior On The Edge Of Time". Both were killers, and are finely performed.

The time machine even goes one step backwards with Time We Left" (from Doremi in .1972). It flows easily into a fully Floydian "Heads". There must have been ages that an "Hawkwind" album hasn't sound so good to my ears.

The version of "Dream Worker" (renamed "Acid Test") is indeed an acid trip in the deepest psyche and space environment conceivable. Not the most brilliant track from this offering I must say. The closing Damnation Alley" is of course one great "Hawkwind" song and closes this album in a brilliant way. Although (as it has already been stated, the middle reggae part that is added is probably not the best idea).

During all these "live" tracks there is hardly any audience participation. Somewhat similar to "Zones" except that "Palace Springs" is far much better. Seven out of ten, but I'll upgrade to four stars. A fine album my prog friends.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Palace Springs is an album of live tracks that are mixed down without applause so that it sounds like a studio album. Luckily it has the quality of their live work.

Back In the Box is an ok song delivered by the female singer from Space Bandits, probably a left-over from those sessions. Treadmill is downright brilliant. Dave Brock is one of those vocalists that have the talent to sound completely off-hand and still be very emotive at the same time. Much like David Gilmour actually. With Treadmill he has an excellent song to carry his voice off into deep space.

Void of Golden Light/Lives of Great Man is a superb live rendition of Assault & Battery/Golden Void from Warrior At The Edge of Time. You don't want to miss this one with its firm performance and excellent moog solo. Also Time We Left is here in a live version that surpasses both the original album and the droning Space Ritual. It is merged into Heads, a big improvement of the only song from Xenon Coded that was worth listening to.

Acid Test is something entirely different and I assume not appreciated by everybody. It's a clear-cut house track that runs on a good sequence and has some repeated phrases in the background to give it some kind of Hawkwind feel. Well done dance experiment as far as I'm concerned. Acid Test is mixed into Damnation Alley. I've always found this a rather bland rock song. Here it has a little reggae interlude that would evolve into The Camera That Could Lie, a few albums ahead.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Palace Springs is a Hawkwind live album taken from a 1989 performance at LA's Palace Theatre, preceded by two studio tracks recorded in a mobile studio at around the same time. In terms of its musical style, the studio material seems to be a continuation of the sound found on The Xenon Codex as well as showcasing the talents of new vocalist Bridgett Wishart; the same is true of the live set, which finds the band giving refreshing updates to a chunk of their old repertoire.

Disappointingly, Bridgett only really gets to lend vocals to the newer songs in the set, with old standards being given a tired-sounding runthrough by Dave Brock. This is a real shame, and to be honest kind of a waste - Wishart's vocals, when they're present, are pretty interesting and would certainly add a new dimension to hoary old classics like The Golden Void. Between this and the somewhat sluggish and lethargic pace of the second half of the album, I wouldn't call this essential live Hawkwind, but it's a good pick if you're a fan. (The slow pace isn't necessarily a problem, but it is something to get used to.) Recent expanded editions not only tack on bonus tracks but also provide an entire bonus disc of a later live performance from 1990 - a set which had previously been released under the title "California Brainstorm" - and thus provide substantially better value than earlier releases.

Review by friso
4 stars Hawkwind - Palace Springs (1991)

Among the long list of mediocre Hawkwind recordings, both live and studio, there are some bright spots that should interest listeners of space rock and progressive rock in general. This is one of them. A part live part studio album, it features both older songs 'The Golden Void' (differenty titled) and songs from the eighties era of the band. The first string of songs is particularly interesting, the opening song with Bridgett Wishart (I like her vocals, wish she sung more on this record) is a bit of a mixed bag, but Treadmill and the Warrior on the Edge of Time section is beautiful and exciting. The recordings sounds good, though not perfect - yet is has some live-feel to it that I like.

Hawkwind having a good go at their kind of music means simple metalriffs, perhaps a catchy lead, drowsy vocals and loads of electronical effects swirling all over the place. I guess it is about the feel. The adventure of spacerock pioneering. The abstract rock fantasy. On these recorings, made in 1989, the band has combined it's seventies sound with good sounding keyboards making it a good summary of their career. I like some other late recordings of them, like the great Love in Space live record (perhaps their best), but that one almost leaves out the seventies favorites completely.

A big three and a halve for this one.

Review by Modrigue
3 stars Cool studio/live Hawkwind

3.5 stars

Recorded in 1989 before "Space Bandits", "Palace Springs" is a studio/live album composed of 2 exclusive studio songs and 6 live recordings. This pleasant release marks a novelty, the arrival of a female singer in HAWKWIND, Bridgett Wishart, as well as the return of violinist Simon House.

The two studio compositions are easily on the level of "Space Bandits". To be honest I personally would have like these included on the 1990 opus instead of some other titles.... "Back In The Box" is an efficient space rocking opener, whose mesmerizing violin creates a mystical ambiance in the vein of "Magnu". Longest track of the record, "Treadmill" is a nice powerful song, in pure tradition of 80's HAWKWIND.

The live recordings cover different periods of the band. "Void Of Golden Light" ("The Golden Void") has been added trippy sound effects, whereas "Lives Of Great Men" ("Assault & Battery") possesses cool dreamy variations. "Time We Left" ("This World Today") is my least favorite title from "Doremi Fasol Latido", while "Heads" is the only representative of Englishes' last album, "The Xenon Codex". However, what will be an Hawks concert without ambient interludes with spoken words? "Acid Test" is actually the atmospheric "Dream Worker" - from the uneven "Choose Your Masques" - mixed with the electronic loop of "Damnation Alley". Quite a curious choice... This transition track offers some cool moments but is rather too long until "Damnation Alley" finally starts.

"Palace Springs" is not the first HAWKWIND live album to acquire (those being "Space Ritual" and "Live Chronicles") but remains still enjoyable, as well as a curiosity for its 2 exclusive studio tracks with a female singer. One of the good live release from the Hawks, worth the listen.

Latest members reviews

4 stars The version of Assault & Battery/Golden Void is great, especially the moogsolo on the latter, a definite must listen. But very good along the whole line, although I could do without the reggea piece in Damnation Alley. ... (read more)

Report this review (#25666) | Posted by | Monday, February 2, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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