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HATFIELD AND THE NORTH

Canterbury Scene • United Kingdom


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Excellent band from the Canterbury school, with extreme explored musicianship, led by the ex CARAVAN leader and bass player Richard Sinclair. His strong and characteristic vocals add a lot to the music, already rich in instrumentation. Keyboardist Dave Stewart is another big player here, bringing up the atmosphere with his valve saturation driven keyboard sounds.

Agreed. But both "The Rotter's Club" and their self titled first are easily the best albums of the mid 70s. Basically "TRC" is probably the next step the average prog fan should take into exploring Canterbury after CARAVAN's best albums. This is outstanding music - Canterbury at its best!

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HATFIELD AND THE NORTH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.29 | 504 ratings
Hatfield And The North
1973
4.19 | 380 ratings
The Rotters' Club
1975

HATFIELD AND THE NORTH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.98 | 24 ratings
Hatfield and the North Live T.V. 1990
1991

HATFIELD AND THE NORTH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.07 | 7 ratings
Classic Rock Legends
2001

HATFIELD AND THE NORTH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.79 | 14 ratings
Afters
1980
3.84 | 22 ratings
Hatwise Choice - Archive Recordings 1973-1975, Volume 1
2005
3.82 | 26 ratings
Hattitude
2006

HATFIELD AND THE NORTH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Let's Eat (Real Soon)
1974

HATFIELD AND THE NORTH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Hatfield And The North by HATFIELD AND THE NORTH album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.29 | 504 ratings

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Hatfield And The North
Hatfield And The North Canterbury Scene

Review by BrufordFreak

4 stars A great all-star group out of the ashes of Soft Machine, Caravan, Khan, and Matching Mole-- before Robert Wyatt's paralyzing accident. Lots of fun, lots of short collective explorations, lots of experimentations with editing and mixing. Richard and Robert (on "Calyx") are at the peak of their vocal confidences--though I wish "The Northettes" got a little more air time (like their amazing work on "Lobster in Cleavage Probe"). We get a preview of some of the sounds made famous on Edgar Winter's "Frankenstein" and Todd Rundgren's "Adventures in Utopia" on "Rifferama." The album has only two longer songs, "Son of 'There's No Place Like Homerton'" and "Shaving is Boring" (8:47), which are actually two of my least favorite songs on the album. I love the nonsensical tongue-in-cheek 'classical' vocal harmonies of "Fol de Roi" (3:09)-- especially the "call-in" reprise over the telephone line at the end! Great bass play throughout from Richard, as well as top notch guitar and drum play. The wide variety of keyboard sounds Dave Stewart was experimenting with on this album don't get much traction from him on successive recordings but are fun and interesting here. Not quite as jazzy or proggy as others from this sub genre. Still, there's a lot packed into this album. Check it out!

Five star songs: "Big Jobs (Poo Poo Extract)," "Calyx," "Aigrette," "Rifferama," "Big Jobs No. 2 (By Poo and The Wee Wees)," "Lobster in Cleavage Probe," and "Gigantic Land-Crabs in Earth Takeover Bid."

Overall, Hatfield's debut is a stellar example of the best of what the Canterbury Scene has to offer the Progressive Rock genre. A bit silly at times but otherwise stands up well over time. Not quite the type of album that draws me back as much as some others from the sub-genre, but pretty nearly a masterpiece. 4.5 stars.

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 Hatfield And The North by HATFIELD AND THE NORTH album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.29 | 504 ratings

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Hatfield And The North
Hatfield And The North Canterbury Scene

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

5 stars This classic band - named after a road sign - is a good example of the way the Canterbury bands are inter-related through their line-ups. The group was formed in 1972 when Richard Sinclair and keyboardist Steve Miller left CARAVAN after their Waterloo Lily album, in order to join DELIVERY, in which already played Steve's guitarist brother Phil Miller and drummer Pip Pyle. Steve Miller was replaced first by Caravan's Dave Sinclair (so turns the roundaobout! At this point the group was re-named as Hatfield and the North). And when he eventually returned to Caravan, enter Dave Stewart from EGG! As a Stravinsky fan he brought some art music influences and as a player had to adopt a jazzier touch than before. The group soon found their unique style full of both challenging complexity and warm, witty humour, and was among the first artists in Virgin Records. The working on the debut began in November 1973 with engineer-producer Tom Newman.

For any lover of jazzy Canterbury prog this band is absolutely essential. There are over a dozen of tracks (running times vary between 0:23 and 10:10), but the album flows smoothly and the seams are very unnoticeable. In this sense it reminds of early SOFT MACHINE (vols. 1 and 2). The sound is a bit different though, one could describe it as an airier and jazzier version of Caravan from 1971, featuring the elegant vocals of Richard Sinclair. Stewart has changed his organ tone of Egg into lighter approach favouring electric piano. Phil Miller's recognizeable guitar style brings thicker tones into the sound. A female vocal trio on few tracks brings yet another link to Stewart's, Miller's and Pyle's next band, NATIONAL HEALTH.

Robert Wyatt's vocalise input on 'Calyx' is a certain Canterbury classic, and so is this whole instrumental-oriented album with many funny track titles such as 'Lobster In Cleavage Probe'. Perhaps the nicest song on the CD is 'Let's Eat (Real Soon)', originally appeared as a single. The album received some warm reviews, but the studio sessions (delayed by some technical problems) were more expensive than what the album sold. The follower album, equally recommendable The Rotters' Club actually made it into No. 43 in the charts, surprisingly. It also gave the name to Jonathan Coe's fine novel, in which progressive rock has a central part in its picture of the 1970's.

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 Hatfield And The North by HATFIELD AND THE NORTH album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.29 | 504 ratings

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Hatfield And The North
Hatfield And The North Canterbury Scene

Review by Ktulu4997

5 stars Nothing embodies the Canterbury Scene quite like Hatfield and the North's self titled release, with its eccentric yet vaguely refined sensibility on songwriting and overarching song structure. The lyrics tend to poke fun at the establishment of music and culture alike, but also tend to relate to spacey introversion, like examining a dream in detail. The meandering and warm improvisations seem to follow a definite path, but Hatfield and the North excel in the art of occasional and necessary atonalism (via taking a harmonic note and running off in a tangent and eventually coming back to the original path) mixed with a lose sense of time signature. Basically Hatfield and the North take jazz concepts and instrumentation then fuse it with the aesthetics and subject matter of British Psychedelia.

The album differs from other Canterbury releases in that it showcases conventions and attributes from the entirety of the scene; in other words it's eclectic, but mostly in the context of Canterbury. From a more general perspective "Hatfield and the North" is successful in that it's a complex interweaving of strong and soft dynamics, complex melodies, improvisations, mood changes, and most importantly contains a wide array of textures. There is always something new to discover with each and every listen, some new textures that comes to the forefront of the complex mix (depending on how and where you listen to the album), or some new way to interpret the enigmatic lyrical "content" throughout the album. Hatfield and the North are able to build such a complex textural compendium in bending the traditional tasks of their instruments or through the use of musique concrete (or found sounds).

Hatfield and the North is one of those albums that are essential to any musical collection, because of their ability to experiment while still being bound to some sort of code or tradition.

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 Hatfield And The North by HATFIELD AND THE NORTH album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.29 | 504 ratings

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Hatfield And The North
Hatfield And The North Canterbury Scene

Review by Wicket
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Foreword: The score for this album will only be relevant depending on if you're familiar with Canterbury Prog or not. I recommend going straight to the Verdict if you are unsure what to expect with this record.

Now, I will not ever claim to be an expert on the unusual isolated realms of prog (Zeuhl, Krautrock, the Canterbury Scene and the like), but looking at the tracklist and the fact that Dave Stuart and Robert Wyatt make appearances here (both well known Canterbury prog rockers), the possibilities are endless when you're talking about a hive mind of Canterbury prog vets who know how to boggle the mind. Sure enough, they scrambled my brain with this record. And then some.

Why all the songs are divided as such, I'll never know and never bother to question (why is the intro 30 seconds long with a 10 minute jam just shortly afterwards?), but the creepy tinkling intro gives way to a 30 second verse ("Big Jobs"), followed by a cool jam ("Going Up To People And Tinkling" [with a few guitar links that sound very Grateful Dead-ish]), and then another 2 minutes of men saying "Ahh" a lot ("Calyx"), all leading in to the 10 minute jam, "Son Of 'There's No Place Like Homerton'".

Now, I am familiar with Soft Machine and the drug-crazed insanity that resulted in many of the early Gong albums, but as far as British drug-crazed insanity goes, "Hatfield And The North" might just take the cake. At least with Gong, many of the early albums followed a storyline. An insane story line, involving drugs (a lot), but a story nonetheless. This album has no story. No guidelines. No rules. Even during the somewhat sober 10 minute jam "Son Of", it's very much a free-flowing progression. The sax lines move without care or progress, the organ has a mind of its own, the drums have a very mechanical feel, even during some of the impressive solos and fills drummer Pip Pyle engages in.

It really wasn't until this song that I could understand the point of this album. This band is a collection of prog veterans, a British supergroup of drugs, pornography and plenty of alcohol. "Son Of" broke open the chaos of the first five minutes by introducing order, a massive contrast to the first four tracks heard previously. Yes, it's not for everyone. But then again, drugs are not for everyone either, but that's another story entirely.

I digress, "Aigrette" starts like a sort of spin-off of "Son Of", with the mindless shouts and singing of "Calyx". Once it bleeds into "Rifferama", though, the groove becomes infectious. It seems like everyone wants to rock out all at the same time, til the guitar takes center stage. Definitely one of my favorite tracks of the album. It still has the crazed, drug-hyped, spasticality of Canterbury prog with the groovy, infectious tone of classic 70's rock that everyone knows and loves.

"Fol De Rol" takes a step back from the fast-paced insanity and slows down the jam, with the bass getting time to shine for 3 minutes. Love the telephone, though. The guy picks it up and the singing picks up where it left off, through the telephone. Nice little effect there. Luckily for fans of long jams, though, the fun continues with another long jam, this time 8 minutes long, with the amusingly named (and truthful) "Shaving Is Boring". Pyle picks up the pace a little bit with the drums, and Phil Miller pulls off some impressive licks on the guitar here. Though, I'm still confused about the samples of previous songs, then what sounds like a guy punching a radio, running over to another radio, turning it on to another sample, punching it again, and running away again. Odd. Still, it goes back into another jam. And that's nice.

"Licks For The Ladies" is actually a misnomer. There are no real licks, here, just a ballad of sorts. "Bossa Nochance" is actually a continuation of that ballad. And, coincidentally, so is "Big Jobs No. 2". This sequence of tracks, then, is the first properly structured song on this entire album. And also, the last. Segue into the weirdly named "Lobster In Cleavage Probe", which mainly consists of a female chorus, til the guitars and synths plug in halfway into the track with skipping lines and up and down licks. Ominous bass lines pepper "Gigantic Land Crabs In Earth Takeover Bid" , headlined by a massively distorted guitar solo that sounds like a lick taken straight out of Buckethead's book 30 years prior. Then it suddenly settles down again, seamlessly bleeding in and out of this chaos/order philosophy. "The Other Stubbs Effect" is a continuation of the weird sparkly intro to the record which ends this set of tracks.

Then you get to the bonus tracks, which aren't really bad at all. "Let's Eat (Real Soon)", funny enough, is the complete opposite of the previous song. A happy melody, a cool little verse, and a nice little synth lick with peppy drumbeats filling the whole track with life. "Fitter Stoke Has A Bath" is structured similarly, With a vocal line, a happy melody and lots of little licks and lines from synths, guitar and flute.

VERDICT: This record is definitely not for the faint of heart. Of course, if you love Wyatt and Dave Stewart's works, and Canterbury prog in general, this will be a must have. Surely, then, if you are reading this review, you probably like Canterbury Prog and know what to expect, so my review will probably be misleading to both insiders and outsiders of the genre. In terms of sweeping melodic lines and beautiful song structures, this album is definitely, repeat, DEFINITELY NOT FOR YOU. It takes a bit of a stomach to appreciate the boundaries these guys are breaking and leaping beyond to create this record. As I said previously, this is mainly a free-formed collection of jams. The album focuses less on songwriting and more on sound sculpting. The Chaos/Order philosophy occurs many times throughout this record. This album gives no mercy upon its listener, so hopefully this review helps to prepare you for what you'd expect when popping this in a record player or iTunes.

Then again, if it's still confusing for you, just think "drugs". It'll all make sense eventually.

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 Hatfield And The North by HATFIELD AND THE NORTH album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.29 | 504 ratings

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Hatfield And The North
Hatfield And The North Canterbury Scene

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

5 stars After having played in almost all the most important Canterbury's bands, the drummer Pip Pyle reforms his first band "Delivery" who had left years before after a hard discussion with the band's singer, with the Miller brothers but with Richard Sinclair just out of Caravan and the former Arzachel and Egg Dave Stewart. The story says that while they were going to a gig by car they have seen a motorway signal indicating to "Hatfield and the North". That's were the band's name is for.

Just a bit of history, to say that this "late" Canterbury band is made of elements who have played in all the biggest bands of the genre, and in addition there's also the hypnotic effort of Robert Wyatt's vocals in one song.

As in the Canterbury tradition, a jazz layer is mixtured with folk and psychedelic elements. Mushrooms and Trolls united with a strong instrumental jazz skill. All those elements together can be found on the longest track "Son Of There's No Place Like Homerton" which also in the title reminds to Caravan but with brasses in Soft Machine style and a high pitched choir which has a Gong flavor, but also to late Soft Machine, thinking to "Land Of Cockayne".

There's a number of very short tracks and this is the main reason why I'm not writing a track by track review, but all the tracks fade one into the next so the album is not "fragmented". I think Pat Metheny has liked tracks like "Aigrette" and parts of it have later become standards in his soft jazz.

It's a classic of the Canterbury subgenre created by what can be called a supergroup.

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 The Rotters' Club by HATFIELD AND THE NORTH album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.19 | 380 ratings

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The Rotters' Club
Hatfield And The North Canterbury Scene

Review by aelulea

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 record are Richard Sinclair (bass, vocals), Dave Stewart (keyboards), Phil Miller (guitar) and Pip Pyle (drums).

Not only are these musicians extraordinary, the album itself is beautifully crafted and balanced, with lovely backing vocals of the Northettes (Barbara Gaskin, Amanda Parsons and Ann Rosenthal). This is definitely one of the masterpieces of the Canterbury sound, together with Caravan's "In the Land of Grey and Pink".

My initial personal favourite on the album was "Share It", probably because I have been a long-time fan of Caravan. This particular melody sounds very much like Caravan, in particular with the characteristic vocals of Richard Sinclair. However, with Hatfield standards, it is a rather conventional song. The rest of the album is more avant-garde, well exposing the astonishingly solid musicianship of the individual group members. This is truly outstanding music.

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 The Rotters' Club by HATFIELD AND THE NORTH album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.19 | 380 ratings

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The Rotters' Club
Hatfield And The North Canterbury Scene

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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 The Rotters' Club by HATFIELD AND THE NORTH album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.19 | 380 ratings

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The Rotters' Club
Hatfield And The North Canterbury Scene

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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 Hatfield And The North by HATFIELD AND THE NORTH album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.29 | 504 ratings

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Hatfield And The North
Hatfield And The North Canterbury Scene

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars 'Hatfield and the North' is a stunning debut from the darlings of Canterbury. The album is a milestone of the genre and features some incredible musicianship from the likes of Dave Stewart of Egg and Khan on keyboards, Phil Miller from Matching Mole on guitar, Pip Pyle of Gong on Drums and Richard Sinclair from caravan on bass and vocals. Guests include Robert Wyatt singing 'Calyx'.

The album tracks fly along at breakneck speed, 4 of which are less than a minute long, and it soon launches into a jazz improvisation on 'Going up to people and tinkling'. A great deal of Caravan and Gong's humour is injected into the music and it is wildly experimental throughout. In reality every track is glued to each other rather than a separate entity and it would have been interesting as one long suite rather than a bunch of snippets as it is. It certainly works well on CD without having the breaks a vinyl experience forced upon the listener.

'Calyx' is Wyatt's vocal intonations, and not too bad overall. This is segued immediately into "Son of 'There's no place like Homerton''. The sweet backing vocals are sung by "The Northettes" and it has a jazzy keyboard line and some wonderful sax; one of the best tracks on offer here, clocking over 10 minutes. The flute at 4 and a half minutes is a fabulous embellishment.

'Aigrette' is a showcase for Phil Miller's guitar prowess and Sinclair's vocals; one of the highlights. 'Rifferama' follows with Miller's blazing guitar in all its glory and some manic vocals, including canned laughter at the end. I like the experimentalism and telephone section in 'Fol De Rol', and it has a Gentle Giant vocal technique.

Another definitive highlight is 'Shaving is Boring' with experimental jazz sections and Krautrock nuances, running for 8:46. It has electronic keyboard melodies and changes signature almost at will. The cool effect of footsteps running flat out of someone in a corridor opening up a series of doors is fascinating. Each door that opens reveals a section of music and the protagonist opens each until the right riff is discovered; a very innovative playful moment of the album.

Other tracks are instrumental based and very short at times, not as good as other tracks, though I love 'Lobster in Cleavage Probe' with the female angelic voices and chimes. It ends with the bonus tracks including the popular 'Fitter Stoke Has a Bath' driven by Sinclair's quirky style. Overall the album is essential Canterbury, though a bit hit and miss but then most Canterbury is. One of the greatest debuts in rock history, it is definitely worth hearing and ranks as one of the quintessential Canterbury albums along with 'The Rotter's Club'.

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 Hatfield And The North by HATFIELD AND THE NORTH album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.29 | 504 ratings

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Hatfield And The North
Hatfield And The North Canterbury Scene

Review by Pink Vlosy

5 stars value 9/10 I am an estimator of the Jazz Music and I have discovered from few the musical kind of the Canterbury scenes. This Musical genres is an alternative between the pop rock and the real music jazz. Surely this CD represents a fusion of genres musical that from the away to refined and psychedelic sonority typical of the underground of the seventies. A predictable and banal music never. Very interesting the use of the keyboards with the typical hammond organ that it remember knows lines sonority of the LSD music and the guitar in swing distortion version that creates atmospheres typical of the fusion music. CD to be recommended to all the estimators of the progress genres and it is one of mine preferred with the Caravans and the Khans of Prog -sub genres Canterbury scene

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