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The Soft Machine

Canterbury Scene

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The Soft Machine The Dutch Lesson album cover
4.10 | 10 ratings | 1 reviews | 30% 5 stars

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Live, released in 2023

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (65:24)
1. Stanley Stamps Gibbon Album (7:16)
2. Between (2:12)
3. The Soft Weed Factor (11:05)
4. Lefty (1:58)
5. Gesolreut (9:30)
6. EPV (4:33)
7. Down the Road (10:40)
8. Ealing Comedy (5:33)
9. 37 1/2 (7:17)
10. J.S.M. (4:39)
11. Riff II (0:41)

CD 2 (36:54)
1. Chloe and the Pirates (9:57)
2. Hazard Profile (13:56)
3. Improvisation (5:20)
4. Gesolreut Jam (7:41)

Total Time 102:18

Line-up / Musicians

- Roy Babbington / 6-string bass, electric bass
- John Marshall / drums
- Mike Ratledge / electric piano, organ
- Karl Jenkins / soprano & baritone saxophones, oboe, electric piano

Releases information

Released by Cuneiform Records - Rune 490/491
Recorded at De Lantaren, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, October 26, 1973

Thanks to zeb1981 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy THE SOFT MACHINE The Dutch Lesson Music

THE SOFT MACHINE The Dutch Lesson ratings distribution

(10 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(30%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(70%)
Good, but non-essential (0%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

THE SOFT MACHINE The Dutch Lesson reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kev rowland
4 stars There is no doubt that the Softs are still to this day one of the most important and influential progressive rock bands ever, and this live recording captures the short-lived quartet of Roy Babbington (electric 6-string bass), Karl Jenkins (soprano sax, baritone sax, oboe, electric piano), John Marshall (drums) and Mike Ratledge (electric piano, organ). Actually, this quartet formed the core of the band for a few years in the mid-Seventies, but they first extended with the addition of Allan Holdsworth who was then later replaced by John Etheridge. It is incredible to think that some 50 years after this recording there is still a version of the band going, and a new album (with Marshall still involved) has just been released.

But in 1973 the quartet were back in Rotterdam, playing at De Lantaren, on October 26th to a sell-out crowd. In that audience was record store owner Bert Boogaard, who sat in the front row with a tape machine and captured the night in remarkable quality as this never sounds like an audience recording at all. This was a band who lived for the road and the improvisations and different versions which came with it, and it would have been some surprise to many that they only played one song, "Down The Road", from their latest album, 'Seven'. There had been a heavy use of overdubs on that release and possibly they had decided other songs were not working in the four-man line-up onstage, but for hardcore fans there is the delight of an early version of "Hazard Profile", which would feature in a greatly extended version on their 1975 album, 'Bundles'.

Having a multi-instrumentalist in Jenkins means the band are able to change the approach, but for the most part they are happy with two keyboards players, a bassist with a heavily fuzzed and distorted sound, and a drummer who never seems to settle and who must have been exhausted at the end of every set. This is dynamic and exciting music, and to my mind the best way to listen to this is on headphones and with eyes closed and allow yourself to be taken on a journey of exploration and excitement as one never knows where the music is going to lead, and often that is the same for those playing it as well. Apparently, there are not many recordings available from this period of the band's history, which is a real shame, as this captures the Softs in full flow and there really was/is no-one else like them.

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