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THE ROTTERS' CLUB

Hatfield And The North

Canterbury Scene


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Hatfield And The North The Rotters' Club album cover
4.18 | 368 ratings | 50 reviews | 45% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Share It (3:02)
2. Lounging There Trying (3:10)
3. (Big) John Wayne Socks Psychology on the Jaw (0:46)
4. Chaos at the Greasy Spoon (0:30)
5. The Yes No Interlude (7:02)
6. Fitter Stoke has a Bath (7:38)
7. Didn't Matter Anyway (3:03)
8. Underdub (3:55)
9. Mumps (20:06)
a) Your Majesty is Like a Cream Donut (quiet) (1:59)
b) Lumps (12:35)
c) Prenut (3:55)
d) Your Majesty is Like a Cream Donut (loud) (1:37)

CD bonuses:

10. (Big) John Wayne Socks Psychology on the Jaw
11. Chaos at the Greasy Spoon
12. Halfway Between Heaven and Earth
13. Oh, Len's Nature!
14. Lyng and Gracing

Total Time: 50:12

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Phil Miller / guitars
- Pip Pyle / drums, percussion
- Richard Sinclair / bass, vocals, guitar (7)
- Dave Stewart / organ, electric piano tone generator
- Mont Campbell / French horn
- Lindsay Cooper / oboe, bassoon
- Barbara Gaskin / backing vocals
- Jimmy Hastings / flute, soprano & tenor saxophones
- Tim Hodgkinson / clarinet
- Amanda Parsons / backing vocals
- Ann Rosenthal / backing vocals

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to snobb for the last updates
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HATFIELD AND THE NORTH The Rotters' Club ratings distribution


4.18
(368 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(45%)
45%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
39%
Good, but non-essential (12%)
12%
Collectors/fans only (4%)
4%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

HATFIELD AND THE NORTH The Rotters' Club reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
4 stars Hatfield's second album's title prompted longtime fan and writer Jonathan Coe to name his best-known book The Rotters Club in describing what was a youth's life in the mid-70's in Birmingham's working class neighbourhood. An excellent book and a recommended read, but not affecting a single bit this album's music or existence, if only giving it a bit more of light. With a weird 50's-like pin-up decorum on the front cover and a crazy semi-mythical drawing/picture of the said Rotters Club on the back, the same unchanged quartet apparently made this "better" second album for a fraction of the cost of their debut album. Outside the returning of The Northettes vocal trio, two more Henry Cow members guest here ( Lindsey Cooper and Tim Hodgkinson), while Mont "Egg " Campbell and Bother Jimmy (Hastings) replaced Leigh and Bloomdido, all four on wind instruments..

Opening on one of Hatfield most conventional song, Share It, Sinclair plays around telling us please not to take it seriously, a fast tempoed tune ending on rather modern Moog sounds, as if Emerson was toying with them, but it is definitely Stewart's playing. Next up is Miller's jazzy Louging There, trying is a superb guitar-lead piece that is almost uncommon to hear him take such a frontman's role? But Phil is on a roll and he almost becomes bigger than Fripp with the Yes/No Interlude over a fuzzed organ and odd wind instruments first than a Fender Rhodes next. Fitter is back in his bath (remember the non-album single) and Sinclair closes the A-side on the superb Didn't Matter Anyway.

The flipside opens on Miller's Underdub, but this piece is a Fender Rhodes-dominated piece where Stewart adapts to Miller's constant key changes and Brother Jimmy chimes in with a superb flute. The other track on the flipside is the Mumps suite. Mumps!! We're there!! We've gotten to Hatfield's crowning achievement, their magnum opus, their meisterwerk uber alles! Starting over just a very calm and subdued Rhodes and distant Northettes choirs, then abruptly falling into a pit filled with tricky time sigs, demented drum patterns, wild fuzzed-out organ and a fantastic bass, able to tackle lead and rhythm at once. Miller is there too, but in the background, waiting for quieter moments (usually when Stewart reverts to the Rhodes) to shine in his own manner. The Northettes then lead us to the more Caravan-)esque moment of the two Hatfield album, even if it's clear than I should say Caravan-plus in this case. Solid, intense, but wait until the end of Lumps when everyone but Pip goes contrapuntal and Richard plays with the alphabet. A tad later Brother Jimmy gives up sax bumps down our spine into a fade-out. The group takes up again on a stunning Rhodes line, before cooling it up directly with Jimmy's flute and a cool moody almost spooky (but beautiful) jazz-rock that will slowly bring back the organ and the Caravan-plus of the previous movement?.this time with sax. Grandiose. A fitting exit for a short-lasting band

The bonus tracks on the Virgin re-issue are again a tad different than the ones of the newer Esoteric reissue, the first three on Virgin being modified, but the last two tracks being themes from Matching Mole with their titles being anagrams of their previous version. Rooters Cluc is simply an excellent album, whether looking just over the Kent county or overseeing the full prog spectrum. Not flawless, but bettering it would prove an impossible task.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#3427) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, February 02, 2004

Review by Proghead
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is the second and final album by one of the big name Canterbury bands. In my opinion, I think the cover artwork is total crap. Having a picture of a lady with a stereotypical 1940s Hollywood hairdo just doesn't seem appropriate for an album like this. On the back is a picture of a bunch of people, including kids (one of the kids I swear looks like Richard Sinclair as a 3 or 4 year old).

Now lets get with the music. The opening cut is "Share It". Very untypically HATFIELDS, in fact it sounds a whole lot more like CARAVAN circa "In the Land of Grey & Pink". A short, straight to the point pop ditty, with some rather quirky, uniquely English lyrics, with a wonderful synth solo from Dave Stewart himself. Now for most of the rest of the album, well, it's progressive fusion, but in my book, it's been done already on their debut. "Fitter Stoke Has a Bath" is a fascinating piece, it starts off lighthearted, with Richard Sinclair's singing, by the end, they band gets more experimental, and even a little Mellotron pops up. "Didn't Matter Anyway" is another vocal cut, mainly a Richard Sinclair ballad that almost sounds like something off CAMEL's "Rain Dances". Although a notch below their debut, this is still a recommended album for the Canterbury music fan.

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Send comments to Proghead (BETA) | Report this review (#3434) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, May 02, 2004

Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Most of "The Rotter's Club" is classic Canterbury (which I personally define as British fusion), so if you're a fan of the style, you either already own or definitely should own this seminal work. "Lying and Gracing", for instance, is tasteful, talented jazz-rock, as are the fuzzy guitar parts and tinkling electric piano solos on "The Yes No Interlude", part of a continuous piece of music which bridges much of the first side. "Mumps" is a good mix of smooth and discordant sections, punctuated by sweet vocal harmonies and some killer bass playing; also, Sinclair's understated, witty singing compliments the tasteful instrumental performances. Other notable vocal tracks: "Share It", an interesting and intelligent jazz song (with a classic 70s synth solo); On "Fitter Stroke Has a Bath" and "Halfway Between Heaven and Earth" he sings and scats with a more lighthearted feel, the former getting almost psychedelic as it fades into "Didn't Matter Anyway", which has a simpler, softer, more melodic texture. I'm not sure why "(Big) John Wayne" and "Chaos" are repeated, although both lead well into their respective following tracks. Songs like "Underdub" and "Lounging There Trying" are lighter jazz grooves, quite pleasant if somewhat unremarkable to my ears. If you like Sinclair, this is the next logical step in the evolution of the jazzier elements of "Land of Grey and Pink", "Waterloo Lily" etc... personally, I'm not a big fan of either Canterbury or CARAVAN, but even I recognize and respect the work here; three stars as a progressive rock album, but would easily deserve four or five in a dedicated Canterbury setting.

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Send comments to James Lee (BETA) | Report this review (#3436) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, June 25, 2004

Review by maani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Founding Moderator
3 stars There is a word the British use (actually, overuse...) that truly describes this album: lovely. Lovely in its execution, lovely to listen to. Using a variety of Canterbury-style arrangements and instrumentation, "The Rotter's Club" runs the gamut from 3-minute masterpieces to 7-minute (largely successful) experiments. "Share It" opens the album with a lovely (...) 3-minute composition which, although wordy (in classic Sinclair style), is what all 3-minute songs should be: beautifully constructed, nicely lyrical, and a pleasure to listen to. "Lounging There Trying" is an equally wonderful 3-minute, jazz-influenced instrumental. The "Big John Wayne/Chaos/Yes No Interlude" mini-suite is largely a jazz- rock jam, with some excellently Frippish guitarwork from Miller, complemented by Pyle's always excellent playing. "Didn't Matter Anyway," a pretty composition, is followed by another excellent jazz-rock instrumental, "Underdub." The lengthy "Mumps," although less successful than the rest of the album, includes some particularly nice sections. The rest of the compositions range from good to excellent.

Given that three of Hatfield's founding members (guitarist Phil Miller, drummer Pip Pyle, keyboardist Dave Stewart) went on to form National Health a few years later, it would be tempting to call this "National Health, Part 1." However, Hatfield is a "textbook" example of the Canterbury school, while National Health leans more heavily toward the members' prog-rock and experimental influences (though not without some Canterbury-like jazz touches). However, this is simply a testament to just how diverse Miller, Pyle and Stewart could be.

As noted, a truly lovely album that will remain on rotation in my CD player for a bit.

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Send comments to maani (BETA) | Report this review (#3438) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, July 12, 2004

Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Essential - Recommended!

I rarely do "impulse" reviews, being the type that likes to study, analyse and break apart all music into its constituent components, and then rebuild it in an analytical and comparative way. However I bought this album today, and have listened to it just the once - which was enough to make me want to extol its virtues!

While a few comparisons can't really be helped, this turns out to be an album that I simply don't want to analyse, because I have listened and enjoyed the near-perfection in it's aural beauty. It is music and lyrics full of imagery, gorgeous, abstract expression, subtle details and washes of velvety sound - kind of like listening to a painting by Monet.

Comparisons may be quickly and easily drawn to Gong, Van der Graaf Generator, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Focus - particularly Jan Akkerman's solo material, and plenty of others, including Camel... and yet it's more typically Canterburian in the soft-focus jazz patina that is deliberately but gently disrupted by sudden but fleeting darker moods. In other words, not simply a "nice" album; rather one with the kinds of satisfying lights and shades that keep it interesting.

An album like "The Rotter's Club" could be described on a track-by-track basis, but I feel that would be like describing a good book on a chapter-by-chapter basis. For this is the aural equivalent of a damn good read - and one to revisit. Not a masterpiece, as there is nothing particularly ground-breaking, not completely spell-binding - but nonetheless captivating in its own gentle way, and absolutely exquisite music, with a quality that is almost tangible.

I would say that this is an essential for fans of the jazzier realms of prog, those who like Gong, and anyone who simply fancies having a good prog album to chill out to instead of one that ties your neural network into knots. This is not an album to impress your friends with your eclectic tastes, or drive you into a wild frenzy - but utterly perfect in its own right, and an excellent addition to any collection of prog.

Highly Recommended!

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Send comments to Certif1ed (BETA) | Report this review (#3442) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, November 27, 2004

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This second and final album by Canterbury supergroup (is there any other kind?) Hatfield And The North allowed the lads to retire as undefeated champions of the genre. The only mark against them might be that other groups had invented this sort of music first, but of course Richard Sinclair (lead vocals/bass), Phil Miller (guitar), Dave Stewart (keyboards) and Pip Pyle (drums) had all been parts of those seminal groups like Caravan, Gong and Egg before they formed Hatfield And The North.

The Rotter's Club takes off pretty much where the debut left off, except that instead of drawing a listener in with clever sound effects, the group takes off at full throttle. The one-two opening combination of Share It and Lounging There Trying establishes that the group's collective fire (and ice-cold "cool" when it is called for) burns as brightly as ever. The same formula of short jazzy ditties (the subtly heart-breaking Didn't Matter Anyway and the afore-mentioned first two tracks), sound-effect pieces ((Big) John Wayne Socks Psychology On The Jaw) and storming jazz-rock epics (The Yes No Interlude and the full version of Fitter Stoke Has A Bath) is repeated to equal effect. Incidentally, Halfway Between Heaven And Earth and Oh Len's Nature! may be bonus tracks but they certainly add to the quality and feel of the overall album

And then there's the real bonus of Mumps. A 20 minute, four part humdinger of a song that startly slowly (and dwells for a little while in the Land of Pointless Noodling) before exploding into a masterly exhibition of musicianship and composition. As with the first album Dave Stewart is perhaps the most ear-catching of the quartet, but Miller runs him pretty close at times.

The guest musicians on this occassion include flautist Jimmy Hastings, Egg's Mont Campbell on French Horn and the Henry Cow duo of Tim Hodgkinson on clarinet and Lindsay Cooper on oboe and bassoon as well as a trio of female backing vocalists that include Amanda Parsons (who also sang on the first album). Hastings in particular adds colours to this album that weren't present on its predecessor.

Three decades on, Hatfield And The North might seem like just another footnote to the Canterbury scene, but their two albums are living proof of a unique congregation of fully-formed sympathetic talents that deserves to be heard in its own right. ... 78% on the MPV scale

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Send comments to Trotsky (BETA) | Report this review (#3444) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, February 13, 2005

Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Hatfield and the North's THE ROTTER'S CLUB is a prime example of early English jazz fusion in the Canterbury vein. Dating from 1975, this fine album predates the advent of National Health (Hatfield's Phil Miller, Pip Pyle, and Dave Stewart would go on to found that outfit), and other somewhat similar British fusion acts like Bill Bruford (his early solo material) and Brand X. Thus, though Hatfield and the North certainly did not invent jazz fusion, they were early arrivals to the scene, and deserve some extra credit for that.

As with Canterbury in general, THE ROTTER'S CLUB is earmarked by electric and eclectic jazzy experimentation, and frequently humourous, slightly off-kilter lyrics delivered in a dry, tongue-in-cheek manner. Diverse instrumentation like vibes, brass and flute (plus female backing vocals) often accompany the core of guitar, bass, drums, synths and electric piano to further enrich the sound. Others have drawn parallels between this album and Caravan's IN THE LAND OF GREY AND PINK, and I would agree that the similarities, especially in the vocals of bassist Richard Sinclair, are there -- we even get some Caravan type "underwater" vocal effects on the wonderful "Fitter Stoke Has a Bath " and "Halfway Between Heaven and Earth." (In passing, I'd like to note, for all those familiar with English folk, that Sinclair sounds uncannily like onetime Steeleye Span member Martin Carthy -- perhaps they are from the same region of England.)

Overall then, I find this disc to be a pleasant and ever-engaging listen -- a very nice way to while away fifty minutes. It is well suited to mature, and/or open-minded listeners who don't shy away from jazz, delicacy, and whimsy in their progressive music. Don't expect to find overmuch of the more grandstanding, high-speed type of fusion typified by genre pioneers like Mahavishnu, Return to Forever, Al DiMeola and Jeff Beck here; this stuff will not likely blow you away, or prompt you to reach for the old "air" guitar -- though there are a few sections of "rocking" power. Instead, try this on a mellow Sunday morning (as your reviewer is currently doing), or with a cocktail or two on a laid-back evening. THE ROTTER'S CLUB is unobtrusive enough to provide grown-up (but interesting) atmosphere for a dinner party, but will easily withstand being turned up for closer listening when alone.

I heartily recommend this little mid-Seventies treasure to all Canterbury fans. Come down to THE ROTTER'S CLUB for some classy, quirky, and imaginative fusion! Pip pip -- cheerio!

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Posted Sunday, February 20, 2005

Review by Fitzcarraldo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I couldn't stand the so-called Canterbury genre when I was younger, but I can listen to it these days. Jazz-rock fusion is basically what this album sounds like to me, and it's pleasant in places. Sinclair has a nice, friendly voice that fits this laid-back type of music, although I'm not too keen on his slight accent, especially as he seems to be feigning it rather (but perhaps I'm doing the guy an injustice). The lyrics are often complete nonsense; some might call them humorous, but to me they're mostly just silly, albeit inoffensive.

'Share It' has nonsense lyrics and an infectious tune. Try not tapping your foot or humming to this. Nice fat keyboard solo midway too. My favourite track of the album, and I don't care if it is the accessible one. The album title is mentioned in this track without any clue as to what it means. Did the Rotters' Club in Liverpool inspire the album title? Anyway, this is the sort of song I would be listening to in my hammock with a beer on a summer afternoon.

'Lounging There Trying' is an instrumental with electric piano and some nice guitar and bass.

'(Big) John Wayne Socks Psychology On The Jaw' pleasantly and rapidly segues into the equally short 'Chaos At The Greasy Spoon' - that distorted guitar sounds almost STEELY DAN-ish - which segues into 'The Yes No Interlude' with some distorted (and, to me, annoying) organ to start, and groovy sax. Think fast tapping drumsticks, meandering sax and some repetitive keyboard. Not so much fun to my ears until the keyboard comes back in, and then it becomes enjoyable again, although the piece is a little too like noodling for my liking.

'Fitter Stoke Has A Bath' is another song with silly lyrics, but pleasant nonetheless, and my second-favourite track on the album. The lyrics are so daft that they sound like Sinclair is making them up as he goes along. It's quite amusing when he starts singing through water ("I'm drowning in the bathroom")! The refrain is very melodic and overall I enjoy this song. Some nice flute and high-pitched male scat over the top of the electric piano. The end of the track becomes purely instrumental with lots of spooky keyboard chirps and whirrs, bubbling away and seguing into 'Didn't Matter Anyway', which consists of Sinclair singing over meandering flute about a break-up. An 'OK' song, quite atmospheric with the floating flute and other instruments in the background towards the end of the track, but nothing special.

'Underdub' is another electric piano-redolent upbeat instrumental that bops along nicely with snares and cymbals tapping away in the background, plus some flute too. The kind of track that would be playing quietly in a plush restaurant or bar.

'Mumps' is the epic track of the album, clocking in at 20 minutes. An instrumental for the first half, it starts off with occasional female vocalisations backing electric piano. At 2 minutes it suddenly ups tempo, and distorted guitar and electric piano come in with a nice thumping bass, again with the tapping drumsticks and snares. The keyboard is a little too distorted at times for my liking, but the piece is generally very good (and the keyboard is very good in places). Nice guitar riff now and again. These guys can really play, that's for sure. They rock it up nicely, and the track is a real foot-tapper at times. Sinclair comes in about halfway through for a couple of minutes and the nonsense lyrics ramble on sedately. The sax also puts in an appearance and the song meanders along like a punt on the Isis, with female vocalisations and flute also lending a hand. The riff that kicks in a couple of minutes from the end of the track is sublime. It's mood music, really, but I'm not complaining.

'(Big) John Wayne Socks Psychology On The Jaw' again segues into 'Chaos At The Greasy Spoon' and into 'Halfway Between Heaven And Earth'. More of the same, and although it's still nice, and still laid-back, I find the album starts to get a tad boring at this point. Fortunately Sinclair sings again in 'Halfway Between Heaven And Earth'. It's not a bad tune, although no masterpiece. More bubble blowing sounds as in 'Fitter Stoke Has A Bath'. Nice keyboard solo near the end as the track fades out.

The instrumental 'Oh, Len's Nature' starts heavy and sombre, with distorted guitar, keyboards and thumping bass.

'Lying And Gracing' is another instrumental - this time live - also with some distorted guitar and organ. As it progresses it starts to sound more like a jam than a planned track, but it's quite good; the sort of thing that would be playing on stage in a smoky fusion club.

Well, I'm conscious that this is a well-known and popular album. The production is very good and it's a delight to listen to from that point of view. The whole thing is pleasant and the musicianship evident. I can listen to the album easily if I'm relaxing, either taking it in or as background music. It's not something that I personally would rush out to buy, but I can understand why many rate it highly. To me it's a good album and I will settle for 3 stars (Good, but not essential).

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Send comments to Fitzcarraldo (BETA) | Report this review (#3446) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, March 31, 2005

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album has a strong character in which the composition brings the music from energetic Canterbury style into slower and quieter passages with excellent organ solo, stunning guitar fills, French horns, combined with unique singing style. The music is floating and it flows smoothly from beginning to end. "Share It" is an energetic song with unique melody and powerful voice line by Richard Sinclair who also plays bass guitar, with excellent rhythm section. The keyboard solo in the middle of the track is really stunning. "Launging there Trying" starts off with skilled and highly improvised guitar work that moves from medium to complex arrangements combined with inventive organ work at background. It's an enjoyable track. "Chaos at The Greasy Spoon" features wonderful improvisation of electric organ and guitar fills. The music turns into a bit of funk with a complex French horn maneuver. The guitar solo continues the music stunningly with relatively fast tempo background music in jazz-rock style. The music slows down in giving a chance for horn solo in avant-garde style. Wow! It's a nice improvisation segment. Bass guitar also demonstrates its solid and inventive lines. In some segments there are distorted organ / guitar sounds that have made the song more enjoyable.

Overall, it's a rewarding experience enjoying the beauty of this album's composition where the music flows in Canterbury to avant-garde styles combining great organ (the main characteristic), stunning guitar accentuated with French horns, tight bass lines and dynamic drums. Keep on proggin' ..!

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Posted Monday, July 18, 2005

Review by Raff
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Together with Caravan's "In the Land of Grey and Pink", this is possibly the masterpiece of the so-called Canterbury sound. More accomplished than the band's self- titled debut album, it shares most of its basic features, but the level of musicianship is even higher, with Dave Stewart's stunning keyboards more in evidence at the expense of The Northettes' vocalising (which is, in my opinion, less brilliant here than on its predecessor). The four musicians form an extremely tight unit, their instruments blending seamlessly in a harmonious whole, further enhanced by the (unfortunately few) vocal interludes, courtesy of Richard Sinclair's golden voice. The presence of horns and other wind instruments is strong, though less improvisational-sounding than on the debut, adding to the more sophisticated feel of this album.

"The Rotters' Club" opens with one of the most infectious, hummable songs ever, the delightful "Share It" - living proof of how you can have a song which is at the same time accessible and intelligent. The lyrics by drummer extraordinaire Pip Pyle may not be deeply meaningful (although I have read somewhere that they are about sex), nevertheless they are very entertaining and superbly interpreted by Richard Sinclair - which is no mean feat, as all the songs on this album require quite a bit of technical skill. Pure instrumental bliss follows, with the interplay between the four musicians quite stunning in its smoothness and ease. The rythm section of Pyle and Sinclair is among the tightest, more inventive I've ever heard, giving such luminaries as Squire and Bruford a run for their money. "The Yes-No Interlude" flows into the quirky "Fitter Stoke Has a Bath", complete with funny underwater effects and Sinclair's deadpan delivery, which in turn fades into the wistful, melancholy "Didn't Matter Anyway", accompanied by Jimmy Hasting's sweetly mournful flute.

The album's pièce de resistance is, however, the 20-minutes-plus Dave Stewart epic "Mumps", a complex, meandering composition which features wordless vocal harmonies from The Northettes, monumental keyboard work from Stewart and a shorter vocal section with whimsical, nonsense lyrics, known as "The Alphabet Song". The five bonus tracks (which first appeared on the band's posthumous album "Afters") include the energetic instrumentals "Oh, Len's Nature" and "Lying and Gracing" and Sinclair's beautiful "Halfway Between Heaven and Earth", another vocal tour de force for prog's great unsung hero. Why he is always forgotten in "best vocalist" polls is really beyond me.

Some people have berated the album's sleeve, though I must admit to liking it - and it also goes very well with the music. I don't think a Roger Dean cover would have suited the musical content at all.... As to the lyrics, they're funny and uplifting, squarely in the tradition of English nonsense verse. Like its predecessor, "The Rotters' Club" is not the kind of album that everybody will like immediately, but there's no doubt that it's one of the best examples of what prog is all about. Get hold of it and enjoy - you won't regret it.

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Posted Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Canterbury crosses London, and heads up the A1.

I must admit to having trodden rather warily when it came to investigating the music of Hatfield and the North, my concern being that their brand of Canterbury music would be more Soft Machine than Camel/Caravan. Those fears were, I'm glad to say, largely unfounded. In many ways, "The rotters club" sounds like a lost Caravan album, especially through the distinctive vocals of Richard Sinclair. That said, this album leans more towards the "Waterloo Lily" side of Caravan than their more rock influenced albums.

While the tracks range from the absurdly brief ("Chaos at the Greasy Spoon") to the progtastically long ("Mumps"), this is very much an album to be heard as a whole. The songs generally merge together, although bizarrely the aforementioned "Mumps" fades mid track, then restarts as a different piece of music. Barbara Gaskin, wife and long term professional partner of Dave Stewart, adds some effective vocals to this track, along the lines of Annie Haslam's work on Renaissance's "Prologue" album.

In stark contrast to Stewart's work with Egg, there's a real diversity to the lead instruments used here, and thus to the sounds and colours of the album. With so many virtuoso performers in the line up, the lead instrument changes with sometimes indecent frequency.

Those who appreciate the Canterbury sound and style will find much to their liking here. While for me, for me the music sometimes drifts too far into Jazz territory, the album as a whole is well constructed, and highly enjoyable. Caravan fans in particular will find this to be a home from home.

Interestingly, although H&TN are considered to be a Canterbury act, their name comes from the opposite side of London, being the taken from a sign on the A1(M) motorway.

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Posted Thursday, April 20, 2006

Review by NJprogfan
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The album starts out with a poppish song that would have been right at home on an early 70's Caravan album, "Share It" Richard Sinclair's vocals has that warm quality I love when it comes to Canterbury music. Yet, on the second track and onward, it's pure unadulterated Canterbury with its melding of jazz and English fusion with a bit of psych. Songs like the instrumentals "Lounging There Trying" and "Underpub" are short jazzy ditties that you'll typically hear by Canterbury bands, soft sounding with a smoothiness to them, they''re perfect bridges to the tracks that follow them. "(Big) John Wayne Socks Psychology On The Jaw", (love Canterbury song titles!) begins with fuzzed out horns that whams you straight out! Guitars and fuzzed out organs prove that the Hatfields can rock if need be. There's a cool sax that blips and burps midway through. A very challenging song that is plain perfect. But the main reason to purchase this album is the monster track, "Mumps". Starting out with the Northettes crooning and purring, it's everything that's wonderful about Canterbury music. It's a 20 minute track that takes multiple plays to appreciate all that goes on. It switches and turns all over the place, yet its as smooth as silk. The playing by the band is impeccable with the added bonus of Jimmy Hastings beautiful flute. The only negative I can heep on the track is the somewhat dated "la, la's" that are sprinkled about by the Northettes, otherwise its's a masterpiece. Rounding out my version on disc are 5 extra tracks culled from the "Afters" album. The highlight being the last track, a live version of "Lying And Gracing" which smokes!! If you'd like to try the genre, I wouldn't recommend any albums by Hatfield and the North. I would go with Caravan first. But if you like what you hear by Caravan and want to try something a little more adventurous, give this and their first album a spin. You won't be disappointed.

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Posted Thursday, June 08, 2006

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This band has quite the pedigree with former members of EGG, CARAVAN, MATCHING MOLE and GONG coming together to make "The Rotter's Club". And this is truly a band effort as the four main guys Richard Sinclair, Phil Miller, Pip Pyle and Dave Stewart all take part in creating the lyrics and compositions. It's cool to see Lindsay Cooper from HENRY COW guesting on aboe and bassoon. Actually the guest list is impressive with Jimmy Hastings adding flute and sax, Mont Campbell on French horn,Tim Hodgkinson on clarinet and the Nothettes(Barbara Gaskill, Amanda Parsons & Ann Rosenthal) on vocals.This is very much a Jazz infected record from beginning to end.The lyrics are very tongue and cheek, and the singing of Richard Sinclair is quite whimsical. In fact CARAVAN is who comes to mind the most when listening to this album.

"Share It" the first song is one of my favourites on this record. It's a catchy tune that's quite charming. A feel good track. Phil Miller's guitar playing is the focus on "Lounging There Trying". Keys, bass and light drums also help out. The tempo picks up 2 minutes in. "(Big) John Wayne Socks Psychology On The Jaw" is a short tune with keys, aboe and drums. Chaos At The Greasy Spoon" is another very short piece with drums, horns and lots of fuzz. "The Yes No Interlude" is another song with some great guitar in it especially 2 minutes in. I like the tone of it in this one. Horns blast and drums pound. It turns jazzy after 5 minutes. This is another standout track for me. "Fitter Stoke Has A Bath" is laid back with vocals. Flute 1 1/2 minutes in. A change after 3 minutes as aboe, piano and vocal melodies take over. Sounds like farfisa 4 1/2 minutes in with deep bass lines. It turns experimental with some atmosphere 5 1/2 minutes in.

"Didn't Matter Anyway" is a breezy tune with vocals and flute. Yeah it's another favourite. "Underdub" is jazzy with keys and deep bass. "Mumps" is the epic at around 20 minutes in length, lots of time changes are featured. Female vocals around 6 minutes on this one with distorted keys a minute later. Great section. A couple of the shorter tracks are then reprised. Next is "Halfway Between Heaven And Earth" which is jazzy with some nice guitar before a minute. Vocals follow. Sounds like he's singing underwater. "Oh,Len's Nature !" is surprisingly heavy. Some nasty fuzz. "Lying And Gracing" features some outstanding guitar and piano. Fuzzed out bass 2 minutes in.

This is such a fun yet complex release. One of the best Canterbury albums.

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Posted Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Review by fuxi
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Purely by accident, I seem to have erased my review of THE ROTTERS' CLUB, originally written in 2006! If anyone knows how I could retrieve the text, please drop me a line. In the intervening years, my view of the album hasn't changed. This is one of the most delightful masterpieces of the Canterbury Scene - a marvellous relic of a time when charming pop melodies, whimsical lyrics, psychedelic sound experiments, crisp playing, insistent riffing and jazzy solos could be freely and spontaneously combined. In recent years, this style has been imitated by bands as diverse as the Tangent (UK), Shinsekai (Japan) and Forgas Band Phenomena (France). But the original freshness and innocence have never been recaptured.

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Posted Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Review by Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars HATFILED ROCKS!!!!

Ermmm...wait, is this the guy from METALLICA and his solo album? Wow, I'm impressed!

Now, keep it serious. Canterbury is one of the most serious genres as you know. So, let me begin. HatN is NATIONAL HEALTH/ CARAVAN/ GILGAMESH-related band and it's a shame I heard this one only after hearing all the above-mentioned bands. HatN is not that weird like GILGAMESH and not that jazzy like NH. The closest companion here is CARAVAN (nevertheles with some elements of NH). Such songs like opening "Share It" and "Didn't matter anyway" represent HatN at its best I think - this subtle and intelligent English manner is typical Canterbury. Excellent. The long thing here, the legendary 20 minutes of "Mumps" is overfilled with humor and shows further road NH will later walk on.

After all, excellent album and extremely recommended to every Prog collection. Why not 5 stars? Well, actually, this is not the kind of music I'd listen to daily. But great anyway. Enjoy!

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Posted Monday, March 19, 2007

Review by obiter
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars My head spins when I try to remember which member of this canterbury scene band was in that canterbury scene band.

Anyway back to the music. Opening song is interesting, very Canterbury-ish. Lounging there: well a fairly mild offerring of the jazz to come.

Big John Wayne socks psychology ... bizarre brief filler. Chaos at the greasy spoon: another even more bisare effort. The Yes. After a couple of minutes I was reaching for the medicene cabinet for some headache pills. In some obviously higher circles this must pass for brilliant but I find the track an annoying, abrasive, disjointed self-indulgent mess. Maybe someone into modern jazz would like this: i find it dreadful. So dreadful in fact that it's hard to try and be objective: ok Complex rhythms, virtuoso extracts, a gorgeous bass sound exploited to the full with great runs.

There's a welcome release in when Fitter Stoke Has A Bath. But, it's still just not quite there. The more I have forced myself to listen to this annoying album the more I get the impression that it's one of those albums that people think they should like and aprpeciate. Sort of a ... hmmm yes I really appreciate the complex ... stuff... great yes.... difficult ... rewards multiple listeniing ... yes, very subtle use of whatever that thing is. Didnt's matter .. doesn't: don't go there (bit like Rotherham). Underdub crystallizes almost everything there is to loathe about banal backing music in a poor 70s detective movie.

Mumps' intro is understandable. I'm actually feeling less annoyed with this one. Then the inevitable descent into incomprehensible musical ramblings.

OK. I reckon this is album is Emperor's New Clothes.

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Posted Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Review by kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog-Folk Team
3 stars If, when it comes to the Canterbury sound, I worship at the throne of "Grey and Pink" (Caravan's classic album), I can still find much to appreciate in the "Rotter's Club". Though the smarminess of the style detracts a bit for me, the rhythms and enthusiasm of the playing provide a counterpoint, and some sprightly melodies are scattered throughout. It does take a few go-arounds to get into, and an ability to change listening modes in favour of the mere "sound" of something when you are hearing it rather than how much you will hum it to yourself later.

"Share it" kicks things off in fine style with a song that seems a bit dated for 1975 but still pleasant and well executed. It segues uninterrupted into the instrumental; "Lounging there Trying" which shows off the jazz tinged timbre of the album. In "The Yes No Interlude" and much of the "Mumps" suite, the group opts for less user friendly workouts that are not dissimilar to what one might find in Caravan's "Nine Feet Underground", but without an overall context and with nary a vocal section. Luckily "Fitter Stoke Has Bath" and "Didn't Matter anyway" both show that trademark mellow humour and Crimson-esque flute flourishes respectively and decidedly put the Rotter's Club into the category of the worthy.

If you are a somewhat adventurous yet conservative listener who wants to explore Canterbury, take a stop at the junction of Hatfield and the North.

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Posted Saturday, November 03, 2007

Review by Kazuhiro
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The element concerning the music character that this band did in a lot of bands that exist in Canterbury Scene might be loved because it is always talked as music with originality very much.

The establishment of the directionality of music with which the original idea and humour overflow is conspicuous in the music that derives exactly from Canterbury. It is not an exaggeration to say that the contribution of the part for them to have them establish the impression of Canterbury as an impression might be large.

Some respects will be able to be enumerated when thinking about their original elements. Song and melody where humour of Richard Sinclair is included. And, the distorted sound and the sound of the keyboard that multiuses the melodious sound etc.And, the rhythm etc. that contain the element of Jazz/Fusion might be elements of the music that can be expressed only to them. Therefore, it might have been reactive with the part of the music that had to be called that they were inevitable.

They were formed in 1972. However, it is also true in the keyboard player that there was changing places with the progress of the band. Familiar, deep Dave Stewart has already taken charge in this album. His performance greatly contributes to Canterbury Scene. And, Steve Miller took charge of the organ to the formation of the band at first. And, after Steve Miller had seceded the band, David Sinclair had succeeded the charge of the organ. Because flutist's Didier Malherbe was related to the band as the assistance of live, too listener's opinion also included "Deliveryv and the opinion made to come in succession by the formation in a first member by initial Hatfields. However, both of the member who is related to the band measurable figures might have become complete for Canterbury Scene.

They are announcing 1st album in 1973. The music character might already have been established. Part including composition and humour exactly calculated. And, the height of the ability of the technology of the performance. The original style that they had had had the content that the culture that their idea and Canterbury are good for the parts of a few Jazz/Fusion is splendidly united. And, "Gilgamesh" and competing that leads Alan Gowen are carried out in November, 1973. These two bands might have stimulated a music character each other at the same time as very important existence it in Canterbury Scene at that time. These events might have actually exerted a large influence on the music character of the band. And, it is an album in this album that makes good use of an almost perfect exact part and composition and arrangement further as a music character by Hatfields and challenges.

The melody of a gentle song to the progress of original Chord twines round "Share It". The dash feeling might exactly have the part of fine quality. Their individuality shines in the sound. The impression of Canterbury was exactly decided to Solo of the keyboard.

"Lounging There Trying" is a tune with good progress to include the sound that shines in the progress of complex Chord everywhere. The guitar of Phil Miller contributes to this tune. And, the obbligati of Dave Stewart raises the quality of the tune. Twining of the rhythm makes the directionality of the album give the tune the dash feeling further and decided.

"(Big)John Wayne Socks Psychology On The Jaw" might have the part of a complete idea of Dave Stewart. The flow of the wind instrument keeps progressed of Chord to which it is original and it is peculiar beautiful harmony in union with the band. It connects with the following tune with some tension continued.

The rhythm that there is a tension in the sound of the distorted keyboard twines round "Chaos At The Greasy Spoon". The composition and the flow of the tune might be perfect. The usage of the wind instrument is also indeed splendid. And, the tune continues the dash feeling and shows the following development at once further.

"The Yes No Interlude" has completely expanded the width of the flow of a connected tune. Sax and the rhythm that there is a humour in the part of Jazz Rock twine. And, the composition of the sound of a unique keyboard and the guitar will give the listener the impression of fine quality very much. The tune flows quietly with the progress of complete Chord kept. The tune will give width to the tension of the album before long on the top. The sound of E-Piano is complete.

As for "Fitter Stoke Has A Bas", the melody of a gentle song is impressive. The song of Richard Sinclair contributes to the progress of Chord that develops one after another. And, this tune might not have been approved if there were neither a obbligati of the flute nor a chorus of The Northettes. The composition and the arrangement are perfect. And, the element of fine quality is always contained in the tension and the flow that shifts from the scat to Solo of the guitar is continued. The tune will rush into the part in the dark where the forecast doesn't adhere before long. Such development might have the flow that develops the element cultivated in 1st album further. However, light is connected as follows showing a brighter part.

"Didn't Matter A Anyway" might be a popular tune in their repertoires. The arrangement of a gentle song and the flute is splendid. Of course, the guitar and the keyboard that piles up the tune understand this tune. Development that continues performing in the part of fine quality might always be a complete element of Hatfields.

"Underdub" is a tune by Phil Miller. The unison of the organ and the flute shows an overwhelming technology. And, the progress of the part where cutting of the guitar is good and shining Chord gives a complete flow and width as a composition of the album. A splendid flow might be given by reflecting the arrangement of the tune of the member who is related to the composition in the composition of the album. The continuousness of the sound that shines in an exact part gives a good impression.

"Mumps" might be a highlight of this album. Humour and exact performance. And, the ability of development and the arrangement that the forecast doesn't adhere. And, the height of the quality of Canterbury Scene. It will not be an exaggeration to call a jewel that they produced exactly. The chorus that The Northettes is beautiful twines round the melody with which expression of feelings overflows. Such a part has been succeeded to the music character of the following National Health. The tension and the humour are taken as various musical instruments unite and parting the progress of complex Chord. The band listens to complete ensemble while developing one after another. The guitar corresponds to the tune while continuing flowing. Of course, the arrangement of Bass and E-Piano is also perfect. The tension, the humour, and the expression of feelings of the music of Canterbury are pulled by the chorus of The Northettes. Combine the change band, the tune keeps a sound to which a complete keyboard is distorted the composition. The processing of an arrangement of the keyboard and a variegated sound might be straightening of Canterbury to complete. The chorus who also to the development of a complex rhythm and twines has already completed the album. A gentle song of Richrd Sinclair twines as it is. The flow of the tune expands width further in the part of this song. The guitar and Sax invite the following development unifying the anacatesthesia and the tension. The flow of the tune that rushes into another development pulls the part of the chorus of fine quality with the flute. The tune reaches the peak gradually and succeeds the flow of an opening theme. The listener will get excited completely. Power and sound kept secret in flow that develops quietly. And, it develops by not lowering the quality of the tune to the last minute. The impression of the tune is invited to the highest part completely in union the sound of the member and the guest who is related to the recording. Anyway, the arrangement and the composition of the tune are jewels.

The flow of "Chaos At The Greasy Spoon" shows that this album rushed into bonus Track from (Big John Wayne Socks Psychology On The Jaw "". And, it connects with "Halfway Between Heaven And Earth". The band dissolves in 1975. However, the appearance of live done in the rainbow theater immediately before the dissolution of the band is collected as bonus Track of this album. This sound source is a sound source of the performance done on March 16, 1975. It is collected to this album as bonus Track achieving CD though the sound source was collected to "Over The Rainbow" of the omnibus and "Afters" of their best albums.

As for "Halfway Between Heaven And Earth", the line of Bass in close relation to the progress of complex Chord is splendid. Melody of gentle song in close relation to development of shining Chord. And, the unison of the melody with the keyboard. Progressing a tune advanced as the dash feeling cohabits with a gentle melody might be splendid. The impression of the band is consistent. A good melody in close relation to a peculiar scat is music for them.

Oh and "Len 'S Nature" has the flow that Riff of a heavy rhythm and the guitar is splendid. It might be a part where this idea derives from the flexibility of the band, too. Sound of guitar and rhythm that moves freely. And, the contribution of the organ and Bass that completes the flow of the tune gives the listener the flexibility of the band.

"Lying And Gracing" is a tune where expression of feelings and the tension of the music of Canterbury were splendidly expressed. The dash feeling is increased further while making the part of Jazz Rock a subject. The listener will be able to discover the ability of the performance that draws out the sense in live in addition to an exact part of the band enough to be had.

In Canterbury Scene, the music that they had done might have exactly exerted an important, large influence though their studio albums had been concluded by two works. This album might be important with this band when talking about Canterbury Scene.

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Posted Friday, December 11, 2009

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
5 stars I thought Hatfield And The North's first, eponymous album was great. But they expanded on that and created an even more fantastic collection of songs with this album. Not content to just play the usual Canterbury style, this group broadens the sound with jazz fusion, and even some rock in opposition (with the help of Henry Cow's Lindsay Cooper and Tim Hodgkinson).

Like the first album, many of the songs flow together, again giving them an epic feeling. Guitarist Phil Miller and keyboardist Dave Stewart are even better on this album than the first. My favorite track (and most RIO) would have to be The Yes No Interlude, with one of the best Miller solos I've ever heard.

The last five tracks were not on the original LP, coming from the odds and ends collection Afters. The best part of these songs is the heavy Oh, Len's Nature! (perhaps the heaviest this band ever played.

4.5 stars, rounded up.

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Posted Friday, January 29, 2010

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album is often named as "classic Canterbury sound" one, and not without reason. Combination of Richard Sinclair's vocals and Dave Stewart keyboards, very well balanced sound, slightly psychedelic jazzy compositions and common quite mellow feeling. Very British.

Obviously more in the key of Caravan, then influenced by more crazy and freaky bands, as Gong, this album absorbed all early British folksy psychedelic jazz-fusion is invented. Extremely pleasant listening, but never too sweet, clever and intellectual enough, but always in the frames of respectability. Jazzy, but not really jazz-rock. Without peaks , but not boring.

And most important - you can listen it again and again, and it never sounds dated or repetitive. Possibly, there are more inventive Canterbury albums, but rarely such well brewed ones.

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Posted Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars The second album by the Canterbury supergroup may not be quite as consistent as the debut but the best moments here are better than anything on the first album. "Mumps" alone deserves 10 stars. One of the greatest prog 'epics' ever, right up there with CTTE, TAAB, Supper's Ready, A Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers, etc, etc. I have the Caroline CD released in the '90s with bonus tracks; I'm not sure if all the CD versions have these bonus tracks or not, but I know the most recent CD release has some bonus tracks not on my copy. Anyway, I wanted to mention this because of the great live track "Oh, Len's Nature" which is a 'cover' of the Matching Mole song "Nan True's Hole"(apparently there is yet another song with these letters in a different order from another Canterbury group or artist). This song is further proof to me that if they wanted to, 70s proggers could be just as heavy as a metal band. I'm sure "Halfway Between Heaven And Earth" is on all the CD releases; this song is so good it should have been on the album proper.

In a perfect world "Share It" would have been a hit single, played on the radio for everyone to hear. Dave Stewert's synth solo in that song is just classy. "The Yes No Interlude" is a great instrumental with a killer bassline. "Fitter Stoke Has A Bath" is just one of the greatest songs to come out of the Canterbury scene period. The only two songs that don't match the greatness of the rest of the album, and what keeps me from giving this 5 stars, are "Didn't Matter Anyway" and "Underdub". "Didn't Matter Anyway" is not a horrible song by any means, but sounds closer to what Sinclair would be doing when he joined Camel. "Underdub"(get it? instead of overdub) is just a little jazzy piece that doesn't add much to the album, and certainly doesn't prepare you for the masterpiece that is "Mumps"

"Mumps"=20 minutes of some of the greatest music ever recorded. Some people don't like the 'Alphabet Song' Sinclair sings about halfway thru, but I love it. The Northettes of course sing beautifully on here. One of my favourite parts is the one with the saxophone: so funky and sexy. Oh yeah! This is coming from someone who doesn't care for sax too much. But realistically, I don't think there is a nanosecond on "Mumps" I would change. A very strong 4 stars.

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Posted Thursday, October 14, 2010

Review by The Quiet One
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars "Tadpoles keep screaming in my ear: Hey there! Rotters' Club!"

Another classic Canterbury album, this one belongs to the more fusion-like records of the scene rather than to the more folky and pop of Caravan or the psychedelic trips of Gong. Hatfield & the North's debut was simply a flawless album, the vocals, the melodies, the solos, the flow, incredible.

The band's sophomore and final album, The Rotters' Club, which gave the title to a 70s-based British novel by Jonathan Coe (highly recommended to prog fans!), is a slightly less cohesive work with the appearances of more demanding parts and as a consequence a bit of experimentation, but still the band sounds stronger from the musicianship point of view.

Like their debut, The Rotters' Club is intended to be listened entirely, without detracting from a tune, since it all flows almost seamlessly. However, there's another difference between this album and their debut that is that the former does have a highlight (while the highlight of their debut was mainly the album per se) which is undoubtedly the 20 minute piece 'Mumps' which is like the perfect sum-up of the band's abilities and characteristics: noteworthy solos from the guitar, sax and keyboards, great melodies that reminds me of the majestic melodies from the symphonic bands, Pip Pyle and Richard Sinclair delivering plenty of grooves, some hypnotic moments full-filled with various female vocals and wind instruments, intricating moments as well as chilling jazzy ones, all in all making Hatfield & the North a must-listen band for Prog fans that like at least a bit of fusion/jazz.

I already stated this in my review of their debut, but I'll say it again, Hatfield & the North doesn't play a generic fusion style, that's already clear knowing that Dave Stewart is a keyboardist that has his own style so he has no need to copy Chick Corea or Herbie Hancock, also knowing that we've got plenty of vocals and even humour, that's something you don't get from Mahavishnu Orchestra or Return to Forever. Of course, I can just sum this up by saying that all these features make up the "Canterbury Sound" which isn't exactly the same as Jazz Fusion, though not entirely true since like I already said at the beginning, Gong and Caravan are not really like this, and maybe others neither.

I'll finalise by saying this, if you consider yourself a Prog fan and haven't checked any Canterbury album, do me a favour and purchase this album, I'm sure that at least the first track, 'Share It', will become addictive to you.

5 stars: another masterpiece from the almost always fantastic and unique Canterbury Scene.

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Posted Friday, December 03, 2010

Review by Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars THE ROTTERS CLUB is one of the most highly respected albums in the Cantebury catalogue. Who could resist grabbing an album that boasts an all-star lineup including Richard Sinclair (Caravan), Dave Stewart (Egg), Pip Pyle (Gong) and other Cantebury stalwarts. It's tantalising enough that a twenty minute thing called ''Mumps'' exists here as well as the amusing titles running around (''Fitter Stoke Has a Bath'' for example).

THE ROTTERS CLUB has much more of a jazz act than other noted Cantebury acts, but the jazz has this ''lounge'' feel to it that at times confuses me, other times nauseates, occasionally makes me smile, but always impresses thanks to the skills of the musicians involved. The keyboard and guitar solos are plenty with lots of melody, but the underpinning sound makes me think cheap Vegas hotel, not necessarily Cantebury.

Some of the softer moments like ''Didn't Matter Anyway'' and the beginning of ''Mumps'' work. Most of the vocal-centric parts are where the strength of the album lies, even if the vocals sound dry (this is coming from a guy who respects Sinclair and Caravan). ''Share It'' is my pick for the best song on the album as it doesn't plow headlong into a morass of stale fusion. Some of the bits when the Northettes sing during ''Mumps'' entice me to search for the fast- forward option. The fusion is sleazy, but soporific. U.K. pulled the sleazy fusion better on their debut.

Many CD versions today have a few bonus tracks, but only ''Halfway Between Heaven and Earth'' is worth remembering for the nice vocal melodies, even if the track itself sounds like hotel lobby music. Even with the star talent, great playing and my general love for jazz fusion and Cantebury, THE ROTTERS CLUB is lost on me.

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Posted Friday, March 04, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The second Hatfield and the North album is, along with the first, a true cornerstone of the Canterbury sound, an essential album which should be up towards the top of any shopping list for people beginning to explore the genre. With sounds ranging from furious Soft Machine fusion (The Yes No Interlude) to gentle and good-humoured Caravan whimsy (Fitter Stoke Has a Bath), the band infuse everything with their distinctive musical personalities. It's often said that Mumps, the side-long epic that closes the disc, is Hatfield's best track, and I'm inclined to agree; it's a brilliant song showing every participant at their peak. (In particular, it is far and away the Northettes' best performance as backing singers.) But trying to pick the best Hatfield and the North album is trying to pick your best finger; you might have a favourite, but you wouldn't want to go without any of them.

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Posted Friday, September 30, 2011

Review by progrules
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A very adequate title of this album's review could be: Challenging Canterbury or anything like that. At least that's what comes to mind every time I listen to this album. And another interesting thing is it has things in common with my previous reviewed Suffocating the Bloom by Echolyn. Of course the two styles are totally different but still the build up comparison is striking. Both have a great mix of complexity and beauty and funny enough the beauty moments are roundabout the same spot of the arrangement. Also here it's just about before halfway the album (Didn't matter anyway) we're treated with soothing flute (yes, even the instrument is the same as on Echolyn's album) of incredible beauty whilst the rest of the album is really difficult to get into.

Fifth track The Yes No Interlude even contains a bit of 100% VDGG style, something I never expected on here. Same goes for bonus track Oh, Len's Nature suddenly treating us with fierce hard rock (would you believe it !). It goes a bit too far to state that The Rotter's Club has something for everyone, that remains to be seen but the last thing it can be accused of is that this is a boring, one dimensional album. The often praised Mumps finally won me over for a high rating because it's simply (one of) the best Canterbury song ever. It's even far better than the other contender Nine Feet Underground because of the versatilty and brilliant composition. The lesser moments of the album made me hesitate and contemplate the three stars possibillity but Mumps and the other great tracks as well as the great performance overall made me force myself to grant them the full four. Highly recommended unless you hate Canterbury.

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Send comments to progrules (BETA) | Report this review (#775351) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review by stefro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Alongside National Health sit Hatfield & The North, one of the Canterbury 'super-groups' whose fluid membership policy oversaw contributions from members past-and-present of the likes of Gong, Caravan, Camel, Egg, Khan and Matching Mole during their sadly-rather-brief two-album studio career. With a name taken from a Bedfordshire motorway sign, 'Hatfield & The North' were indeed a strange and complex beast, injecting the base jazz-influenced Canterbury sound with even more surreal humour and lyrical wordplay than usual. The music too is both finely-crafted and highly-intricate, the jazz motifs, keyboard drones and organ runs also peppered with occasional classical exotica in the sound of bassoons, oboes, cellos and clarinets and with Richard Sinclair's foppish vocals adding that all-too quintessential English cherry to the group's rich sonic cake. Whilst the album's overall tone-and-touch is somewhat lighter than the moody atmospherics found on their debut, 'The Rotter's Club' is still a dense musical experience, featuring what can be best described as a kind of peculiar jazz-flecked, classically-informed sound, the kind that ought to be found at the very far end of the rock spectrum. It's also interesting to note that 'The Rotter's Club' seems less an album and much more a single, epic song, such is the thematic link between most of the individual pieces, many of which segue directly into one another without pause. As a result, 'The Rotter's Club' really needs to be listened to from beginning-to-end to truly absorb, with the practice of picking out or skipping over various tracks substantially lessening the album's overall impact. The centre-piece, the 20-minute 'Mumps', does prove an exception, yet even this piece reflects the album's make-up, itself taking in a dense series of interlocking sections. 'The Rotter's Club' then, just like its predecessor, may prove a touch listen for some; this is difficult-yet-jovial music, with a light satirical touch but also filled with complex musical movements. Fans of the Canterbury scene should, of course, lap this up; but those who have not yet sampled the delights of this particular sub-genre have been warned; and this is not the place to start. At times delightful, at others confusing and strange, this second-and-last release from Hatfield & The North is, like the group's debut, a genuine pot-pourri of musical eccentricity. It might not always make sense - both musically-and-lyrically - yet happily, both come recommended. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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Posted Monday, November 19, 2012

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Hatfield and the North was one of the most promissing super groups in canterbury field in the mid '70s. With excellent , well crafted musicians, all members involved here are well known and respected in their own field, coming from Caravan, Egg, Matching Mole and Gong. The band had a short career with only 2 albums released, but the mark they left upon this genre is without question essential. The second release and in same time my fav from them and among my fav albums ever is the 1975 The Rotter's club. Well, to my ears this is an excentric, complicated offer with top notch performance with a typical english atmosphere. Richard Sinclair is simply amazing like on opening Share it, with his typical english humor in the lyrics and on Fitter Stoke has a Bath the best pieces to me from this album, this is an excellent tune, with a Gentle Giant similarity in some parts, but in the end a very solid and original offer. So, this album surely needs to be discovered or re discovered by many listners as possible, the jazzy interplays from here are quite brilliant. I love this album, with the 40's kinda cover art that goes very well in this context. Essential album in every ones collection. 4 stars easy and recommended, among the better albums from Canterbury zone.

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Posted Thursday, November 22, 2012

Latest members reviews

5 stars Hatfield and the North were an experimental Canterbury scene supergroup formed in 1972, with members from previously well-known bands such as Caravan, Gong and Matching Mole. The Rotters' Club was the second and last album from this excellent band, released in 1975. Principal musicians on the re ... (read more)

Report this review (#924902) | Posted by aelulea | Wednesday, March 06, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I never really look forward to listening to this album due to the cover, but each time I do I'm pleasantly surprised. It's a fun-filled bouncy castle ride where you can bash your head off the walls and never get hurt. Very uplifting and musically complex from the outset, 'The Rotters Club' ... (read more)

Report this review (#620177) | Posted by Dobermensch | Thursday, January 26, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Oh yes, thank you, thank you very much. This will do quite nicely. Quite nicely indeed. Maybe it is because of the cover art, but there is a lot more instrumental to this album than I anticipated. But such surprises and ironies are all part of the Canterbury scene, isn't it? There is very ... (read more)

Report this review (#562880) | Posted by Progosopher | Saturday, November 05, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The opening minutes are brilliant...... In fact, some of the finest music ever to come from the Canterbury scene. The music then turns into more familiar fusion/jazz. I have always regarded this band as something halfway between NATIONAL HEALTH and CARAVAN. On this album, I also have to add E ... (read more)

Report this review (#202204) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Monday, February 09, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Although I do find this album enjoyable, I also find it a little boring compared to the s/t debut. Talks of it being a masterpiece, or the best album ever, are a little overrated in my humble opinion. I don't know why it is I lose interest in this album each time I listen to it, but it just seem ... (read more)

Report this review (#170749) | Posted by kabright | Monday, May 12, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The first Hatfield and the North album was realy good but this one is a masterpiece to bad it was the last they did the third one might have been even beter but we will never know. Thoghter with Caravans in the land of grey and pink this is my favorite canterbury album and as others have said it ... (read more)

Report this review (#156741) | Posted by Zargus | Wednesday, December 26, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Richard Sinclair jump starts this album with strong vocals, very interesting lyrics, sorta silly, this is a perfect Prog song, great way to open an album great keys... #2. Longing There Trying::::::: great guitar into by Mr. Miller. by the start of the song you can tell this is going to be a v ... (read more)

Report this review (#134379) | Posted by Jake E. | Thursday, August 23, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Almost flawless! Some supergroups reek of cold economics and fantasy baseball trading (maybe it was the last two years of Magna Carta records that gave me this cynicism), but here is a Canterbury dream team that sounds better than the sum of their parts. And oh what parts they are: Richard Sinc ... (read more)

Report this review (#120318) | Posted by BobShort | Tuesday, May 01, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Great album from Canterbury's best known musicians. Their first album was already very good, and this is the logical conclusion when you put all those talented musicians in one recording room, and let them complement each other with their various skills and styles. For the most part this is q ... (read more)

Report this review (#95698) | Posted by tuxon | Wednesday, October 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is absolutely genial. It blends crazy, psychedelic, jazzy, noisy moments with oceans of calmth and relaxment. To me, this is the most enjoyable, intrigating and interesting Canterbury album so far. "Share It" is the opener and sounds fairly boring and uninspired until you get to th ... (read more)

Report this review (#79519) | Posted by Rosescar | Saturday, May 27, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I'm not that familiar with the Canterbury Scene, but if there's an album from that camp that surpasses this one, it could very well be the greatest prog subgenre. Well, in terms of style "The Rotters Club" would fit quite comfortably into the jazz fusion section as well (although the ... (read more)

Report this review (#77923) | Posted by Pafnutij | Friday, May 12, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It's rare to have to many people agree on an album - but this one has been consistently branded as a masterpiece. I would like to add my voice to the chorus of approval. This album has all the elements of a great progressive rock recording - tight playing, lengthy instrumental interludes, whim ... (read more)

Report this review (#77501) | Posted by EMinkovitch | Monday, May 08, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars masterpiece that brilliantly leaves the name for the British rock that can be called one piece that dependence of representing the Canterbury rock also represents the Progressive rock. This music that makes a crossing over sound a starting point is firmly succeeded to NATIONAL HEALTH and the j ... (read more)

Report this review (#43408) | Posted by braindamage | Friday, August 19, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Hatfield and the North's entire album "the Rotter's Club" has been stored in my musical memory ever since it came out- (and that´s when I bought it). It has been so far the ONLY musical entity that I can reproduce without making any sound. That is why it has been so important to me, under a va ... (read more)

Report this review (#36412) | Posted by | Monday, June 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The true beauty of this album, some earlier reviewers suggest, only emerges after repeat listening. After listening three of four times I certainly began to appreciate the subtleties of the music and the skills of the players. Although the musical constructions are often complex and frequently ... (read more)

Report this review (#3449) | Posted by | Wednesday, May 18, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Well ,other fusion bands should really learn from this album. "The Rotters Club" has been forgotten and so are Hatfield and the North. But when I heard it this was a real suprise. I really like the lyrics of this album, escpecially the "Alphabet Song". "Mumps " and "Fitter Stoke has a Bath" ar ... (read more)

Report this review (#3441) | Posted by | Tuesday, November 16, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What Can I say about this band . This is one of the 10 more beautiful masterpieces around the times for ever and ever. Ladies and gentlemen , the gods of music before all of us To get this album is an obbligation for everybody in this life and in this world ... (read more)

Report this review (#3440) | Posted by | Monday, September 13, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The five stars should not be used for many records, but this is without doubt a record that deserves it. Hatfield and The North mastered the Canterbury project by being both fun and intelligent, indeed very difficult. "Share It" is one of a few prog. songs that actually has hit potential while ... (read more)

Report this review (#3439) | Posted by | Tuesday, August 31, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars WOW!! this sample song presses all my buttons at once! Going to get this CD asap. Sounds to these ears like the missing link between Gong and Prefab Sprout, but cleaner than Gong - in more ways than one. The production is awesome too, can't believe this is from 1975, even allowing for re-maste ... (read more)

Report this review (#3433) | Posted by | Wednesday, April 21, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Hatfields best album by far, and a showcase for the talents of Dave Stewart and Richard Sinclair. A strong current of absurd humour and gaiety runs throughout the whole disk, but the musical content is impeccable and I presume it must have taken quite some time to compose. Rotters Club is both a sup ... (read more)

Report this review (#3430) | Posted by | Wednesday, February 25, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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