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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 discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

4.27 | 673 ratings
Hatfield And The North
1973
4.20 | 482 ratings
The Rotters' Club
1975

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

2.98 | 27 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)

4.47 | 17 ratings
Afters
1980
3.96 | 24 ratings
Hatwise Choice - Archive Recordings 1973-1975, Volume 1
2005
4.09 | 24 ratings
Hattitude
2006

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

4.04 | 7 ratings
Let's Eat (Real Soon)
1974

HATFIELD AND THE NORTH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Rotters' Club by HATFIELD AND THE NORTH album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.20 | 482 ratings

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The Rotters' Club
Hatfield And The North Canterbury Scene

Review by Walkscore

5 stars Excellent Follow-up.

This album continues in the same vein as its predecessor. It goes beyond that album, however, it being even more complex, with Dave Stewart's fabulous 20-min instrumental "Mumps" suite, which takes up side 2. This is one of progressive rock's essential epics, although some might find it a bit on the cold side (as in calculated and jazz-fusiony - actually, it is very similar to what would come later with National Health, which is understandable given that it is Dave Stewart). Side 1, meanwhile, is quite similar in format to the self-titled first album, with a number of poignant Richard Sinclair songs and highly original instrumentals. The only drawback to this album is that it doesn't have a song like "Calyx", which for me is not just the stand-out track on that first album, but an essential example of the Canterbury sound. Saying this, all the music on this album is of the same high quality as the first album, and for me, the two of these albums make up a core essential listening for the Canterbury sub-genre. I give Rotter's Club 9.0 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which is just 0.1 less than their first album.

 Hatfield And The North by HATFIELD AND THE NORTH album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.27 | 673 ratings

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Hatfield And The North
Hatfield And The North Canterbury Scene

Review by Walkscore

5 stars A Canterbury Star.

The joy of this music is how is mixes together the different approaches of its band members, adding up to more than the sum of its individual parts. Richard Sinclair's distinct singing and songwriting - poignant, whimsical and reflective (similar to Robert Wyatt's style) - meets Dave Stewart's hard-calculating virtuosity, which meets Phil Miller's penchant for the new (preferring to "play a wrong note than one he has played before", according to Robert Wyatt), and Pip Pyle's excellent complex drumming. Indeed, all of them have a whimsical, humourous side (Stewart in particular, with his song titles like "Lobster In Cleavage Probe", but also Pyle). The music is highly diverse and original, and both fun and challenging. And it often segues together effortlessly, taking the listener on a musical journey that is very satisfying. Very compelling. This is an album that has continued to grow on me over the years - I have never got tired of it. As a bonus, it contains the song "Calyx", which has Robert Wyatt guesting as the singer, and this has got to be one of the most archetypical Canterbury tunes. The inclusion of Calyx lifts this one slightly above their subsequent album "Rotters Club", but both are highly recommended. I give this album 9.1 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 5 PA stars.

 Hatfield And The North by HATFIELD AND THE NORTH album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.27 | 673 ratings

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Hatfield And The North
Hatfield And The North Canterbury Scene

Review by Kaelka

5 stars I sat at my keyboard to write a nice review, and then thought : what could I say about this album that hasn't already been said in all the previous reviews?

Nothing really.

So, just a little story then, one that will perhaps appeal to those who are visiting this page only because they wonder who's the band with the funny name.

The year is 1980, the place a middle-sized provincial town near the small provincial town where I was born. In those blessed times, there were still records shop (I don't know about your place, but they vanished from french provincial towns ages ago), and I was coming out of my weekly pilgrimage to the town's biggest records mall when I realized there was a tiny used-records shop next door. I wandered in and spent a few minutes rummaging through the stacks of albums and singles, and I finally extracted two battered-looking LPs and bought them at a ridiculously low price. As I was at a boarding school, I had of course no record-player, and I had to wait until going home the following Saturday to listen to them.

And it was love at first hearing, not with one of them, but with both! They're still around somewhere, probably gathering dust in the attic, but in due time their CD versions have replaced them. They're still in my heart, I listen to them almost every week, and they're still at the very top of my list of favorite albums.

Well you probably guessed that one of them was "Hatfield and the North" (and Jonathan Coe was wrong, it's so much better than "The Rotters' Club"). The other one was Wyatt's "Rock Bottom". Not bad for a few minutes of improvised shopping, eh?

 The Rotters' Club by HATFIELD AND THE NORTH album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.20 | 482 ratings

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The Rotters' Club
Hatfield And The North Canterbury Scene

Review by Mens1MeterDash

5 stars This might just be my favorite album of all time. Any genre, period. And it's an *album* meaning that each song flows into the next.

I listened to this just about every day for a year or two while attending Berklee College of Music and at the end of that period, I still couldn't say for certain which parts were improvised vs. composed, where one song started or ended. Well, some points are obvious, and on the CD, the tracks are labeled, but with the vinyl, it all sort of blended together.

Other questions too, like "Is Phil Miller an abstract genius, or is he just terrible?" plagued me for years. Clearly he's not a technical wizard and you can hear him hit some obvious clams in the solos, but he's not marching to the beat of anyone else's drum, he does a lot of upper-structure triads with his harmonizations and he composed some of the best pieces (like Underdub). So, yeah, he knows what he's doing, but he's just raw and a little outside.

I know the general consensus is that the first (self titled) album is better, but I have to disagree. It has some high points, to be sure, but this one is just more mature. After listening to them both for 25 years or so, I really don't want to listen to the first album any more, yet I'm almost always delighted when this one comes on shuffle.

In terms of it's place in Prog Rock, I can't say this album is better than Kind of Blue, Birds of Fire, Permanent Waves, The Yes Album, One Size Fits All, or In Absentia. But I like it just the tiniest smidgen better than those and musically I put it in the same league. Thus: favorite album of all time.

 Hatfield And The North by HATFIELD AND THE NORTH album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.27 | 673 ratings

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Hatfield And The North
Hatfield And The North Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

5 stars The Canterbury Scene is without a doubt an incestuous one with virtually every representative band having members engaging in the ole switcheroonie with one another throughout the style's heyday in the 1970s. While many bands came and went, none would be able to exemplify this particular type of whimsical jazz-rock-fusion more than the supergroup HATFIELD AND THE NORTH. This band meant business and was in effect a culmination of all the Canterbury styles that came before. A sifted, refined and filtrated jazz-rock-fusion enigma that still sends shockwaves into the first-time listener by impregnating the casual progressive rock lover's ears with music so flirtatious and sublime that if one is not addicted to this particular brand of music yet, the gravitational forces of such magnanimous music will surely be the boon or bane to one's finances, for this particular album in general is one of my utmost gateway drugs into the extremities of the progressive rock archives and beyond the comfort zone from the more familiar and accessible sounds of Yes, Pink Floyd and Genesis. My bank account has never been the same since :P

This is one of those albums that really demands multiple listens for the magic to unfold. Upon first listen i was only dumbfounded. I was not at all accustomed to music like this. This takes the most adventurous of both the jazz and rock worlds and melds them together seamlessly which is a testament to the top notch musicians involved in this rarest of projects, one that is so daring and oblivious to contemporary trends that it actually succeeds in transmogrifying the listener's consciousness into a state of sonic bliss that feels as if it is taking place in a dream state or in an alien setting far away from the mundaneness of the every day world. While i would have never even dreamt of this existing in my top tier of musical pleasures upon first listen, this eponymous debut album with the equally magnanimous followup "The Rotter's Club" have only recently gained enough mojo to blossom into new musical arenas in my world, one where musical genres blur in a sonic firestorm that only tintinnabulates the most pleasant of musical expressions.

Let me speak a bit about this unbelievable music. This is music for the gods and of the gods, for this is truly a prog supergroup of the highest level. This eponymous album comprises the absolute best in the Canterbury jazz-fusion scene and although the music itself focuses more on intricate instrumental prowess, there is more than enough comedic lyrical whimsy to suck the ego out of the transpositional chromaticisms and instead create a beautiful universal sound of surrender where the musical deities take the rei(g)ns and lead to one splendid sounding piece of work. The main players in this game are Phil Miller (Delivery, Caravan, Matching Mole), Dave Stewart (Arzachel, Delivery, Egg, Khan), Richard Sinclair (Wilde Flowers, Caravan) and Pip Pyle (Delivery, Gong) but the subordinate cast is JUST as essential for this brilliant soundscape which is deviously melodic with occasional touches of pure surrealism.

These subordinate entities include Robert Wyatt on vocals, Geoff Leigh (sax, flute), Didier Malherbe (sax), Jeremy Baines (pixiephone, flute), Same Ellidge and Cyrille Ayers (vocals) and the beautiful enchantresses called the Northettes: Amanda Parsons, Barbara Gaskin and Ann Rosenthal. All the tracks connect like an early Soft Machine album and elements of all the contributing players unfold here into a frenzy of some of the most sophisticated music ever to exist in the rock world. HATFIELD AND THE NORTH just nails it. I have to emphasize that this is an acquired taste but just like triple IPA beer or certain stinky varieties of cheese, one that is well worth the effort. This kind of music is truly unparalleled at this point of time and still to this very day remains some of the most demanding yet satisfying music that exists. A veritable masterpiece of the ages that just hasn't been discovered by everyone yet. Inaccessible like the tombs of a long lost undiscovered Pharaoh but beckoning the progressive rock love to explore the nooks and crannies of some of the most sophisticated music ever. Can you tell? I love this one :O

 Let's Eat (Real Soon) by HATFIELD AND THE NORTH album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1974
4.04 | 7 ratings

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Let's Eat (Real Soon)
Hatfield And The North Canterbury Scene

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I like this too forgotten band a lot, as I like the Canterbury scene in general. Their music is witty, charming, happy and humorous. Or is 'humorous' an appropriate word? The so called humour music has never much appealed to me; for example the humorous side of Frank Zappa - even as he's roughly on the same musical map, ie. jazz-rock - tends to irritate me, and Spike Jones and such sonic slapstick is just awful. Actually melancholic music has averagely a bigger chance to move me than cheerful and happy. But in Canterbury I have the best exception to that rule.

This single was released the same year as the eponymous first album; the CD edition features both tracks as bonuses. 'Let's Eat (Real Soon)' is a happy, slightly naive song in the unmistakable Hatfield style. Richard Sinclair's vocals are light and elegant as always, there's the fuzzy organ of Dave Stewart, the easily identifiable guitar tone of Phil Miller and the relaxed, jazzy rhythm. The lyrics could be frankly any nonsense and still I'd like the song, but they're very nice too.

'Fitter Stoke Has a Bath' is composed by drummer Pip Pyle (who co-wrote 'Let's Eat' with Richard Sinclair). Though he's not as prolific composer in the Canterbury scene as e.g. Sinclair and Stewart, not to mention solo artists such as ROBERT WYATT and STEVE HILLAGE, he has done some very fine songs for the two bands that in my opinion are the best examples of what Canterbury is all about. NATIONAL HEALTH's 'Binoculars' may be the best Pyle song I know, but this one's also a pleasant slice of the style, featuring Sinclair's vocals.

A proper sleeve with a cover art would be nice, but this pair of (originally non-album) songs is worth four stars to me.

 The Rotters' Club by HATFIELD AND THE NORTH album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.20 | 482 ratings

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The Rotters' Club
Hatfield And The North Canterbury Scene

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Last year (2014) I stretched my progressive music boundaries into Italian prog and Canterbury scene. I'll tell you right up front here that jazz and jazz fusion are not where I usually lean my ears. I have always thought it was cool when a metal band or symphonic prog band experimented with a bit of jazz; however jazz music and jazz fusion is not something I rave and drool over. Nevertheless, if there's one thing the last three years have taught me it's that when it comes to prog there is good music to be found almost anywhere.

So why "The Rotters' Club" and not something by Soft Machine or National Health or even the debut by Hatfield and the North? As it happens, this album is mentioned among 65 recommended prog albums in the book "Citizens of Hope and Glory: The Story of Progressive Rock" by Stephen Lambe, and I have found the book to be very useful as a guide in my prog education. I began with owning barely 20 of the 65 albums and now I am somewhere over 50 and I have enjoyed all but one of them. So, I put my faith in chance and my own patience with new music and bought the CD with five bonus tracks from the "Afters" album.

Though there's a fair bit on the album that shouldn't thrill me because of my usual preferences, I have been finding the album actually quite enjoyable. The opening track "Share It" is a short and witty song with a synthesizer solo that I can get into. It's an upbeat, jazz-influenced number performed by a rock band. Richard Sinclair's English accent and English humour, and his somewhat laid back delivery, make the vocals interesting and rather fun. Thankfully, he makes an appearance on a few of the tracks. The rest are all instrumental.

One thing I have come to take caution with is the synthesizer sound used by jazz fusion bands (see my review of Bill Bruford's "One of a Kind" album) but I am glad to report that on this album I quite enjoy the keyboards. Dave Stewart uses some smart and sassy sounds for lively solos but also soft lounge tones that remind me of metal tines being plucked. The electric piano sound works well. As this is a jazzy album, I find that the drum sticks spend more time on the cymbals and snare than anywhere else. It gives the music a very light feel, unlike a lot of what I usually listen to. The bass guitar is busy and I do like that. In particular, the King Crimson / John Wetton bass sound used in "Chaos at the Greasy Spoon" is appealing.

As guitar is very important to me, I am pleased to mention some very fine psych-sounding fuzz-toned guitar which appears two or three times for some soloing. The solos themselves are not especially spellbinding (coming from a metal perspective) but they are a welcome addition to the sound palette. I am also a sucker for flute and there are some appearances there as well.

The music is light and for the most part pleasant and beautiful with that jazzy swing to it. There is a little bit of sonic experimentation near the end of "Fitter Stoke has a Bath" which brings to mind what I heard on Egg's "The Polite Force" but thankfully this is much more agreeable to my ears. Mostly you can expect very light keyboard-led jazz with the guitar hanging well back until solo time. There is some brass as well as one would expect to hear on a jazz fusion album; however, Dave Stewart's keys and Jimmy Hastings' flute are what provide most of the lead instrumentation.

The one long epic track, "Mumps" covers a range of territory. It begins with and includes at least two times more a duo of female vocals singing softly and in high tone some "la-las", and this is the turn off point for me. I enjoy female vocals like this usually but perhaps because of the jazz thing, at least one of them will sing an odd note that probably sounds very cool in jazz but not at all in more traditional music like folk or classical. I did discover, though, that these vocal parts precede more interesting musical segments, including guitar solos and an almost ELP-like keyboard piece. After the first two listens I was put off by "Mumps" but after giving it both ears today, I found it has a lot of good material making it worth the 20 minutes of attention.

The mood of the album continues with the bonus tracks, two of which are just different versions of what already appear on the main album. The one stand out track is the completely and stylistically different "Oh, Len's Nature", which plays like a mid-seventies heavy metal instrumental. I suspect it was recorded live and this is only the demo version as the sound is not so polished. But this had potential to be quite a heavy rocker. How this ended up in their repertoire is baffling.

Though I haven't become enamoured with Canterbury scene to the point that I will hunt down many more albums, what I have learned from the jazz fusion of Hatfield and the North, Egg, Bruford, and even Happy the Man is that I can confidently buy a jazz fusion album and find it a pleasant holiday from the usual suspects in my music player. I am quite comfortable giving this album four stars.

 Hatfield And The North by HATFIELD AND THE NORTH album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.27 | 673 ratings

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Hatfield And The North
Hatfield And The North Canterbury Scene

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

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.

 Hatfield And The North by HATFIELD AND THE NORTH album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.27 | 673 ratings

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Hatfield And The North
Hatfield And The North Canterbury Scene

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Hatfield And The North by HATFIELD AND THE NORTH album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.27 | 673 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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