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NATIONAL HEALTH

Canterbury Scene • United Kingdom


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National Health biography
NATIONAL HEALTH was one of the last of the great "Canterbury-style" progressive rock bands. This band performed the same shiny Canterbury Progressive with a touch of jazz-rock, following HATFIELD AND THE NORTH's philosophy, with complex keyboards parts, the saturated guitar of Phil MILLER. Their first eponymous opus is one of the most important albums of the Canterbury scene, containing a unique mixture of rock, jazz and classical music. This is a great find for Canterbury fans and a rare treat in the spirit of the likes of GENTLE GIANT, SPOCK'S BEARD and ECHOLYN.

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Buy NATIONAL HEALTH Music


Of Queues & CuresOf Queues & Cures
Import · Remastered
Esoteric 2009
Audio CD$10.24
$9.55 (used)
National HealthNational Health
Import
Esoteric 2009
Audio CD$8.55
$8.54 (used)
PlaytimePlaytime
Cuneiform 2001
Audio CD$11.48
$9.99 (used)
Ds Al CodaDs Al Coda
Import
Beat Goes Public Bgp 2012
Audio CD$24.99
$26.42 (used)
CompleteComplete
East Side Digital 1990
Audio CD$144.00
$38.99 (used)
Missing PiecesMissing Pieces
Import
Voiceprint UK 2005
Audio CD$59.98
$48.96 (used)
Dreams Wide AwakeDreams Wide Awake
ATOM 2011
Audio CD$6.99
$6.00 (used)
Ds Al Coda by National HealthDs Al Coda by National Health
Beat Goes Public Bgp
Audio CD$72.98
Playtime by NATIONAL HEALTH (2001-01-16)Playtime by NATIONAL HEALTH (2001-01-16)
Cuneiform
Audio CD$50.98
Dreams Wide Awake by National Health (2011-09-13)Dreams Wide Awake by National Health (2011-09-13)
ATOM
Audio CD$51.86
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Maximo Park-The National Health (Deluxe Edition) CD NEW USD $15.59 Buy It Now 1h 13m
THE NATIONAL HEALTH [USED CD] USD $11.09 Buy It Now 2h 42m
MAXIMO PARK_the National Health_used CD_ships from AUS_zz4_Y7 USD $8.94 Buy It Now 12h 29m
In Cahoots Parallel CD Phil Miller Prog Hatfield & North National Health Mole USD $18.74 Buy It Now 23h 39m
Phil Miller Split Seconds In Cahoots CD National Health Hatfield USD $14.99 Buy It Now 23h 39m
Maximo Park, National Health, Excellent USD $50.77 Buy It Now 1 day
Dreams Wide Awake * by National Health. USD $16.54 Buy It Now 2 days
National Health by National Health USD $23.49 Buy It Now 2 days
Maximo Park-The National Health (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $10.41 Buy It Now 2 days
Maximo Park-The National Health (Deluxe Edition) (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $12.27 Buy It Now 2 days
NATIONAL HEALTH Of Queues And Cures UK JAZZ PROG LP USD $40.00 Buy It Now 2 days
NHS WELLBEING RELAXATION CD 1993 UK National Health stress anxiety etc Harrogate USD $22.79 Buy It Now 2 days
Maximo Park Album Bundle: National Health, Certain Trigger, Earthly Pleasures USD $11.39 Buy It Now 2 days
National Health by National Health (CD, May-2009, Esoteric Records) USD $16.35 Buy It Now 3 days
Dreams Wide Awake National Health Audio CD USD $20.67 Buy It Now 3 days
The National Health [2 discs] [602537016549] New CD USD $12.26 Buy It Now 3 days
D.S. Al Coda - Sealed National Health USA vinyl LP album record JP2008 USD $68.29 Buy It Now 3 days
National Health - Playtime [CD New] USD $16.36 Buy It Now 3 days
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Playtime by National Health (CD, Mar-2009, Cuneiform Records) USD $13.34 Buy It Now 3 days
National Health-National Health (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $13.22 Buy It Now 4 days
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5 days
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National Health / Of Queues & Cures Special Promo Edit Version UK LP 1978 Charly USD $44.99 Buy It Now 5 days
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National Health "Dreams Wide Awake" 1978 (2CD) NEW (Caravan) USD $8.94 [0 bids]
USD $13.40 Buy It Now
6 days
NATIONAL HEALTH - ROUNDHOUSE press clipping 1977 approx 5x10cm (5/11/1977) USD $7.58 Buy It Now 6 days
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National Health-Of Queues and Cures CD NEW USD $18.37 Buy It Now 7 days
National Health S/T Japan Mini LP CD 1978 Jazz- Rock Prog USD $25.00 Buy It Now 7 days
NATIONAL HEALTH D.S. Al Coda LP Europa Rec JP-2008 US 1982 NM- 0D USD $20.78 Buy It Now 7 days
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CARAVAN-same JAPAN 1st.Press w/OBI Soft Machine National Health Hatfield North USD $49.99 Buy It Now 8 days
NATIONAL HEALTH-D.S. Al Coda JAPAN 1st.Press w/OBI Gilgamesh Hatfield The North USD $39.99 Buy It Now 8 days
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HENRY COW-Concerts JAPAN 1st.Press w/OBI 2CD Bonus Track National Health USD $69.99 Buy It Now 8 days
EGG-The Civil Surface JAPAN 1st.Press w/OBI Hatfield & The North National Health USD $49.99 Buy It Now 8 days
NATIONAL HEALTH - DREAMS WIDE AWAKE - DOUBLE CD - NEW USD $9.67 Buy It Now 8 days
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Max´mo Park - National Health (CD 2012) 13 TRACKS -MINT NEW CD USD $10.11 Buy It Now 9 days
Hatfield North:3 CD+Promo Box Japan Mini-LP New(egg national health gilgamesh Z USD $87.50 Buy It Now 10 days
ALAN GOWEN / PHIL MILLER - National Health ~ EUROPA 2008 {nm orig} *1981* RARE USD $60.00 Buy It Now 10 days
National Health Maximo Park CD USD $13.47 Buy It Now 10 days
National Health - Of Queues & And Cures (NEW CD) USD $14.23 Buy It Now 11 days
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National Health by National Health (CD, May-2009, Esoteric Recordings) USD $10.78 Buy It Now 12 days
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National Health-National Health CD NEW USD $18.37 Buy It Now 12 days
CAMEL-same JAPAN Press w/OBI Caravan National Health Hatfield The North Genesis USD $59.99 Buy It Now 12 days
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NATIONAL HEALTH-same JAPAN 1st.Press w/OBI Caravan Hatfield North Gilgamesh USD $59.99 Buy It Now 12 days
SOFT HEAP-same JAPAN 1st.Press w/OBI Soft Machine National Health Hatfield North USD $49.99 Buy It Now 12 days
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National Health Missing Pieces CD {very rare} USD $20.11 Buy It Now 15 days
NATIONAL HEALTH Of Queues And Cures REMASTERED IMPORT CD PROG/ROCK legendary CD USD $16.99 Buy It Now 15 days
@ 2-CD NATIONAL HEALTH - DREAMS WIDE AWAKE / ATOM MUSIC 2005 PROG USD $9.99 Buy It Now 17 days
National Health-Of Queues and Cures (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $13.22 Buy It Now 17 days
National Health D.S. al Coda LP Jazz Europa JP2008 VG VINYL USD $29.00 Buy It Now 17 days
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Of Queues And Cures National Health Audio CD USD $18.51 Buy It Now 19 days
National Health - Playtime CD (2001) Live Recordings 1979 Prog Rock USD $12.65 Buy It Now 19 days
NATIONAL HEALTH - OF QUEUES AND CURES - '78 / 2002 JPN MINI LP REPLICA USD $25.00 Buy It Now 19 days
Maximo Park-The National Health (UK IMPORT) VINYL NEW USD $26.52 Buy It Now 19 days
National Health NATIONAL HEALTH CD UK 5013929722927 Esoteric Recordings new USD $17.97 Buy It Now 19 days
National Health OF QUEUES AND CURES CD UK 5013929723023 Esoteric Recordings new USD $17.97 Buy It Now 19 days
National Health [Analog] Maximo Park CD USD $14.57 Buy It Now 19 days
National Health, D.S. al Code, 1982, Europa Records, JP 2008 USD $26.00 Buy It Now 20 days
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NATIONAL HEALTH - Complete CD ** Excellent Condition RARE ** USD $59.49 Buy It Now 22 days
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NATIONAL HEALTH discography


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

NATIONAL HEALTH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.13 | 304 ratings
National Health
1977
4.26 | 333 ratings
Of Queues And Cures
1978
3.40 | 72 ratings
D.S. Al Coda
1982

NATIONAL HEALTH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.72 | 48 ratings
Playtime
2001

NATIONAL HEALTH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

NATIONAL HEALTH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.19 | 39 ratings
Complete
1990
3.66 | 47 ratings
Missing Pieces
1994
2.33 | 6 ratings
Dreams Wide Awake
2005

NATIONAL HEALTH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

NATIONAL HEALTH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Of Queues And Cures by NATIONAL HEALTH album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.26 | 333 ratings

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Of Queues And Cures
National Health Canterbury Scene

Review by Kaelka

5 stars Despite some slight personnel changes (Greaves for Murray on bass, and the vanishing of the heavenly Amanda "Northette" Parson), there is such a continuity from "National Health" to "Of Queues and Cures" that they could almost have been released as a double. This review (and the 5 enthusiastic stars that go with it) is therefore meant for both works. So many nice (and true) things have been said here about NH's first two albums that all I can do is add my little voice to the choir of praise. Yes, this music is incredibly brilliant and complex, so full of surprises and time and tone changes, so brimming with ideas at every turn of a bar, that you can never get tired of listening to it. Yes, those guys are so good that they don't need to show off with never-ending solos, the way some jazz musicians do. And yes, this music is funny and joyful (to call it "cold" is deeply absurd) to the point that you could almost call it "feelgood music", to echo the concept of the "feelgood movie". To all intents and purposes, National Health is essentially Hatfield and the North under another name, and without Sinclair's songs (the same way Soft Machine got rid of Wyatt's songwriting and singing in 1972, although with far less interesting results). What you have here is the quintessence of Canterbury sound. Whatever began at the Simon Langton school in 1963 with the Wilde Flowers (although of course none of NH members were there at that time) reached its summit in 1978, at a time when prog was almost beaten senseless by the punks, with those two eternal albums.
 National Health by NATIONAL HEALTH album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.13 | 304 ratings

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National Health
National Health Canterbury Scene

Review by DeadSouls

4 stars Formed out of the remains of Hatfield and the North and Gilgamesh, National Health represented an incredibly adventurous proposition. Capable of producing inordinately complex music.

This unusual combination of brains and brawn was central to ex-Egg/Hatfield keyboard player Dave Stewart's long-cherished conception that had first seen the light of day in 1973 when The Hatfields and Gilgamesh shared a concert platform, successfully demonstrating how a rock ensemble might work.

Though National Health's timing in a music sense was nothing shot of impeccable, the arrival of line-up that in July 1975 boasted two keyboard players, 2 guitarists, bass, drums and an intended three singers (though this was slimmed down to just one) proved to be entirely out of step with what the labels were looking for.

By the time the album was recorded in March '77, the line-up was down to a quartet consisting of Stewart, Miller, Pyle and Neil Murray. Sid Smith (2009)

The first track of the album is 'Tenemos Roads', one of the most notably compositions by Dave Stewart in National Health. It begins with a quietly building introduction by Alan Gowen, and then it blasts off energetically with Stewart's most memorable melodic tunes, plus an angelic vocal from Amanda Parsons. Miller guitar solos gives a rush of adrenaline to it in the most tense moments of the song.

'Brujo' presents a soft-atmosphere, producing a sense of relax after the first kick. The sound is quite characteristic from Gowen's compositions. The most intense and enjoyable moment comes when the moog solo emerges from the soft passages brought by Phil Miller and Amanda Parsons.

'Borogoves (Excerpt from Part Two)' builds up a very slowly tension, 'Borogoves (Part One)' puts you back in action with an stunning conclusion. These pieces are clearly less appealing and not at the same level of the first two tracks.

'Elephants' opens with Phil Miller's atonal scatterings on guitar synthesizer for a few minutes, the piece resumes with the reprise of 'Tenemos Roads', a nice final touch to conclude this excellent album.

In therms of ProgArchives, my rating is 4 stars. I highly recommend this album for 'Jazz Rock/Fusion' lovers. In my opinion, it lacks a bit of consistency though, 'Tenemos Roads' is National Health essential song.

 National Health by NATIONAL HEALTH album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.13 | 304 ratings

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National Health
National Health Canterbury Scene

Review by Groucho Barks

5 stars Being a closet Canterbury scene fan for more years than I care to recall, I am more and more drawn to National Health and this their first album. 1978 was never going to be a great year to release such an eclectic set....very Canterbury, very prog/fusion and even an ethereal feel with Amanda Parsons ur-scat vocals giving it a then contemporary Kate Bush edge. There is nothing concise or danceable here....well, it depends on how you dance I guess! There is a lot in common with Pierre Moerlens Gong and mid to late 70's Soft Machine and while you get a hint of Caravan (not in the sustained melodic passages sense) and the compositional twists and turns of Egg, I do feel it is the extended use of Parsons vox that gives this an anchor and also something to differentiate from the rest of the bands in the Cant. scene. 5 tracks and a near 50 mins, although it is a 50 mins that is utilised to the full. Very little noodling for the sake of ......even allowing for the adept musicianship on show. They are not afraid to utilise a heavier King Crimson groove at the start of 'Tenemos Roads' (which later on has echos of ELP)and any band with 2 keyboard players are going to go through the whole prog gamut of sound although mellotron is absent and while being firmly based in a prog/classical style, I can hear a sound not dissimilar to Herbie Hancock post Headhunters especially at the start of 'Elephants.' You also get a feel of Hamburger Concerto Focus (marvellous!) but the album is more than a sum total of these parts and influences. It is mood music, providing you can change moods several times over the 50 mins, but it keeps coming back to the oft ignored contributions of Amanda Parsons superb voice. As mentioned earlier....but Parsons is a far superior singer....you do get the Kate Bush colour wash but without the strained piping screech. Phil Miller provides both cutting and smooth jagged scale interludes on guitar without falling for McLaughlin speed freakery and Neil Murray (yes he who went on to Whitesnake err fame!) gives us non- blues/rock bass figures from jazz rock slides to a rolling punching foundation for the heavier passages. It's an album I can always lose myself in and it has grown on me (I confess over 35 years!) to be at the top of the sub genre. Although it isnt perfect it is certainly at least a 4.75 stars so rounded up to 5.
 Of Queues And Cures by NATIONAL HEALTH album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.26 | 333 ratings

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Of Queues And Cures
National Health Canterbury Scene

Review by Suedevanshoe

5 stars John Greaves comes in to play bass replacing Neil Murray on Of Queues and Cures. The result is National Health's Magnum Opus, a culmination of absurd creativity, absurd humor, absurd musicianship, absurd dynamism....absurd as in good.

Incredible riffs intertwine with melodic, pastoral passages and a vocal lament on television addicts, "Binoculars". In addition, this album is the last great feature for the fuzz organ that made the Canterbury sound so recognizable. Dave Stewart belongs at the head of the Progressive keyboardist hall of fame. Check out the beginning of "Dreams Wide Awake"

A must have for all serious progressive collectors, and a possible bridge album for those with no prog experience.

 Of Queues And Cures by NATIONAL HEALTH album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.26 | 333 ratings

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Of Queues And Cures
National Health Canterbury Scene

Review by The Frontal Cortex

4 stars National Health is one of those bands I had no idea existed until now. First album of theirs I'm listening and I was really impressed.

The first track "The Bryden 2-Step (for Amphibians) Part 1" is really good and it opens up the album in a way that makes you wanting more which is always important. I just loved the way the keys sounded from the very start and the rhythm which was constantly changing though complicated and hard to follow if you're not used to these kinds of brilliant composition, was in the end more than rewarding.

"The Collapso" was next and it makes me feel like it's continuing a story with the music being similarly confusing. The synths really made a difference but the drums were also exceptional with a very progressive sound. It's one of those tracks I don't enjoy as much but it's still one heck of piece.

The almost 12-minute "Squarer for Maud" has a nice progression from a soft starting sound to the strong and complex one of the previous tracks. The alternation between the guitar and the keys as the lead is really well placed and I especially liked the solo after the spoken words which btw weren't random. Apparently "Maud" is a computer programmed to measure the "numinosity" mentioned. The cello is just excellent choice of a lead for this particular piece. It fitted perfectly and the last one and a half minutes or so were an especially well crafted closing. This one just grows on you.

"Dreams Wide Awake" just captures you from the title alone. Ofcourse the keys here are amazing and the first time I heard it with my eyes closed I was almost certain it would be my favorite track of the album (it turned out it wasn't though). The different sounds created by the keys were incredibly rhythmic and it helped a lot because of the fact that it wasn't as difficult to follow as the previous pieces. The guitar sound here was good too.

"Binoculars" is my favorite one of this album, and it's not only 'cause I always like my tracks with some lyrics in them. It's got a nice little orchestra playing with all the wind instruments after the lyrics. The flute and the trombone were a great choice for the theme of the song. The drumming and particularly the closing guitar were something else and they convinced me that this one was the best in the album. "Phlakaton" is probably the shortest separate track I've ever seen in an album, the only thing I have to say is that it brings back the absurdity of the previous pieces and it leads to the last one.

Finally "The Bryden 2-Step (For Amphibians) Part 2" is kind of a reprise of the first one (also, kind of obvious). I enjoyed it as much as the first one. The keys sound fantastic and the drums are once again showing off. A great way to end the album, with a reprise of the one that started it.

My closing thought is that it's a very difficult album to listen to and although I might need to update this review in the future I'm giving this a 4/5 star rating because it kind of grows on you and I wouldn't call that essential but DEFINITELY Excellent addition to any prog rock collection.

 Of Queues And Cures by NATIONAL HEALTH album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.26 | 333 ratings

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Of Queues And Cures
National Health Canterbury Scene

Review by Thai Divone

5 stars I don't remember exactly when I first heard them, but to this day they are still with me. It's a band that is so unique, and so magnificent, that I don' really have the words to describe what I feel for them. Hearing their melodies make my smile uncontrollably, and for ages I hummed their melodies (and it ain't easy, mind ya). And yet, I don't think that I can leave them outside of my reviews list, even though the rating is clear from the first sentence.

"The Bryden 2-steps (for amphibians) part 1" opens the album, with some birds and a synth, with some soft organ sounds. Some keyboards-bass noes follow, and for the first 2 minutes nothing really happens. And then the song explodes, with a great guitar motive that just screams perfection. The rhythm in here is just magical, and the organs just complement the guitar beautifully. The song continues through a series of metamorphoses, before a little bit after the 4 minutes mark it changes again, and then again. At the 5 minutes mark begins a new short section that sounds like its coming from a fifties jazz show, before we get back to our variations on the motive, with a great solo guitar beginning at the 6 minutes mark. The keyboards-guitar duet in the closing section is no less than pure minimalist genius.

"The Collapso" is a different beast, with a great rhythm and a nice play on this unique style. The overdrive guitar is magnificent, and actually- every line, every instrument role in here, is just so demanding and complex that one can just listen to every instrument on its own and still be amazed, not to mention the combination. And even so, the percussions in here just steal the show for me.

"Squarer for Maud" opens with a great bass line, with some very dark and claustrophobic overtones. Over this repetitive line layers are added and instruments just try to top each other, without really breaking free or seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. After 2 and a half minutes the Henry Cow influence is finally taking the lead, with some avant-garde sounds and textures, joined by an amazing guitar solo. The saxophone answers greatly to the call, before the song changes back and the tempo is rising slowly but steadily. As we come closer to the 6 minutes mark layers are taken out, but the avant-garde factor rises at the speed of light. And then, a short silence before some spoken poetry takes center stage, and the guitar goes soloing a few seconds later. It still sounds dark and morbid, even though it is now carrying some more weight. Clarinet is added next, after the tempo rises again, and the keyboards do their usual magic. As we come towards the end, the piano, the drums and the cello take the stage, leading us closer and closer towards the unavoidable end. The entire song has a Henry Cow vibe to it, which is only fitting and a huge win for me.

Dreams Wide Awake opens with some of the craziest organ lines ever put on a vinyl, with the added beauty of a great bass and drums combination to complement it. Stewart here sounds like he took way too many drugs, 2 and a half minutes and the song changes completely, and the entire band just do some magic tricks in the recording studio. The mood and tempo change regularly and continuously, and the meter doesn't stay the same for more than a few seconds. The guitar starts soloing at the 6 minutes mark, before a change of pace and mood takes place. So the guitar just goes dueting with Stewart.

Binoculars opens with a Hammond, creating an atmosphere of loneliness. After a minute the bass joins in, and vocals kick in 20 seconds later. The drumming is quite, yet outstanding, and the short bridges are beautiful. A strange lament on the addiction to television, way to relevant to our days. The flute solo, beginning around the 3 minutes mark adds another layer of genius, and then the rest of the band join back in, slowly, really slowly, making them sound even more like a jazz ensemble than they sometimes sound. The drumming grows much more prevalent, and a nice keyboards solo comes next. Then we slow down for a dramatic interval, and then we get a little avant-garde bridge utilizing a few saxes and other wind instruments. Vocals come back at around the 8th minute mark. We get another wonderful guitar solo to close the song, with the bass and the drums playing melodies that are just as wonderful if not even more.

Phlakhaton is a quick change of pace before we get back to The Bryden Part 2, beginning with a great keyboards line with some great drumming and bass lines underneath, and then the guitar kicks in. the atmosphere here takes the center stage, with the variations on the first part taking the second, smaller one. What a great way to close a perfect album?

I guess that by now it is pretty clear- for me it a solid 5 stars. I can't imagine a collection without it.

 Playtime by NATIONAL HEALTH album cover Live, 2001
3.72 | 48 ratings

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Playtime
National Health Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars The third phase of NATIONAL HEALTH can only be found on this live album (their only live album) for no studio album was ever recorded with this lineup despite this being the most stable one of the band's history. Most of the material can be found nowhere else and doesn't really sound like the previous stuff either but we do get some classics like the two parts of "Squarer For Maude." These two live performances take place in France and the US from 1979 but not released until 2001 thanks to the virtuous mining of the past by Cuneiform Records. This lineup includes Alan Gowen (keyboards), John Greaves (bass / vocals), Pip Pyle (drums) and Alain Eckert (guitars).

Although not as brilliant as the first two studio albums, this is nonetheless an outstandingly memorizing listen that brings the band into full jamming mode with lots of emphasis on the fun factor. Expect lots of complex free jazz meets prog rock interplay in a live setting and you'll get the idea of what's going on here. All instrumental affair with scant vocals to be found. At this point the band's days were number and Gowen would die from leukemia in 1981 essentially ending the band. Not a bad way to end as these are some quality recordings that fans of the first two phases will surely dig. Note the lone clappers on the audience you could count on one hand reminding one of the state of this kind of complex music from that time.

 National Health by NATIONAL HEALTH album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.13 | 304 ratings

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National Health
National Health Canterbury Scene

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

4 stars This much acclaimed album from a virtual all-star band of Canterbury stars with the likes of Phil Miller, Pip Pyle, Dave Stewart, Alan Gowen, Jimmy Hastings, and Amanda Parsons helping out but this album has always left me feeling a bit on the outside, that is, I have problems engaging with (and, thus, enjoying) the music on this album.

1. "Tenemos Roads" (14:32) Chunky rambling bass, a drumming style that seems very imitative of Bill BRUFORD, and the by-now "old"-sounding buzz organ. It's not until 5:50 that anything new or fresh or even Canterburian begins to happen. Even Amanda Parsons' crystalline voice is not enough to bring warmth to this experiment in dissonance. How dissonant, how jazzy can Canterbury get and still be called Canterbury? This is one example. Even Dave Stewart's solo Mr. Rogers electric piano doodling in the tenth and eleventh minutes fails to allow the listener hear consonance. Finally at the end of the twelfth minute Amanda and flute are given permission to use pleasurable Occidental harmonic structures for their melodies. (7/10)

2. "Brujo" (10:13) opens with Amanda's distant high-register vocal scatting interplaying with the dissonant melodies being played by the bass and guitar in the foreground. In the second minute, slow, quiet piano arpeggi and random percussives provide a background for flute and then Amanda, to try to engage the listener with their slightly comforting melodies. At 4:11 the full band kicks into full gear with an uptempo section that puts Pip PYLE's drumming skills on display. Awesome! Then a kind of Chick COREA/RETURN TO FOREVER Latin-flavored section with mini-moog solo and awesome cymbal play and chunky bass lines in the WEATHER REPORT fashion helping out. Dave Stewart's nice buzz organ solo is then followed by a brief Phil Miller guitar solo before the band shifts gears again--signalled by the return of Amanda's high voice scatting. Piano and synth play again sound so much like Chick COREA. Decent song if derivative and imitative. (8/10)

3. "Borogroves (Excerpt from Part Two)" (4:12) does have a kind of Lewis Carroll feel to it in the way the keys, bass, and guitars toy around with their odd sounds in kind of childish experimentalist fashion. Everybody (even flutes) is just messing around seemingly in their own little world of make-believe. Then, around 2:30, the clavinet appears to signal integration and set up a foundation for Phil Miller to use his wah-pedal-effected guitar during an extended solo to the song's end. Not my cup of tea--no matter how deep into the rabbit hole I choose to venture. (7/10)

4. "Borogroves (Part One)" (6:29) Why these two Borogrove songs are ordered "part two" before the arrival of "part one" I can only surmise has everything to do with the Lewis Carroll theme alluded to in the title. Whether or not this was an alternative take on the same musical ideas I do not know. Could be. This version is much more structured in a rock band format with piano chords and steady, forward moving drum and bass lines. Though the music does have a kind of carnival Fun House feel to it, dissonance is still the rule, which continues to leave me feeling left out. (7/10)

5. "Elephants" (14:32) (7/10) opens with more independent masturbatory instrument play from four musicians. For all I know, the four could very well have recorded these tracks in separate studios and then tried to splice them together later--that's how disparate they sound to me. And then at 4:11 they all come together for six brief seconds of cohesive harmony. Heaven! The ensuing RETURN TO FOREVER jazz fusion section laying a steady base for the Moog to solo is at least familiar and coherent to me. Call me a musical retard, but I just don't get the joy and enjoyment of playing/performing the discordant dissonant parts. Is it all mental masturbation? Technical posturing? The softer, dreamy section beginning at the end of the eleventh minute at least lets my nerves relax--which is a change of pace. But to have to go forty minutes into an album to final feel this? This is not the kind of album for me.

I don't think of myself as a musical expert. Nor do I pretend to understand musical theory. But I do know when music fails to bring me into its fold--and this music does that for me. Oddly, there is a LOT of modern music from the jazz and classical realms that use dissonance and odd time signatures and structural formats that I love. This just happens to not be one of them.

A three star album rated up for appreciation of the outstanding musicianship and compositional daring on display.

 Of Queues And Cures by NATIONAL HEALTH album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.26 | 333 ratings

BUY
Of Queues And Cures
National Health Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars Once again going against the grain of the fading prog scene while punk and disco were usurping the attention of the masses, NATIONAL HEALTH pumped out one more album before calling it quits (ok technically there's a third) and what a magnificent album it is! Their second masterpiece in a row is OF QUEUES AND CURES and it does not disappoint one bit despite having a totally different sound than their debut.

The core line up has changed a bit as Neil Murray abandoned his bass duties and was replaced by John Greaves who is most famous for his work with Henry Cow but also was in Soft Heap as well as releasing several solo albums. His addition gives this album a rougher sound with his more experiment RIO approach. Noticeably missing from this sophomore album is the angelic vocal contributions of Amanda Parsons meaning this 2nd album sounds a lot less Hatfield and the North influenced. This album has more of a complex jam session feel to it with less vocals and more instruments. In addition to the long list from the debut we also get some cello, trumpet, trombone and oboe added to the mix. It is more of a jazz-fusion meets Canterbury sound with all the quirkiness turned up to 11 and bass and fuzz organ boosted up accordingly.

Tracks like "Squarer For Maude" have the perfect recipe for brilliance with their frenetic and sometimes repetitious jazz-fusion template that blends guitar solos and even a brief spoken word excursion inspired by Peter Blegvad of Slapp Happy. The jam continues in a hypnotic continuity until suddenly and unexpectedly changes completely reminding you that this band is always full of surprises and breathes life into everything they touch. This track is no anomaly as each one is brilliant in its own special way.

Overall an absolutely phenomenal album that pretty much celebrates the end of an era where prog ruled for a brief period which celebrates this crowning achievement with bravado. You could not ask for a better culmination of the Canterbury sound than what you get on this album where Dave Stewart kills it on keyboards, Phil Miller sizzles on guitar, Pip Pyle rocks the house and the entire block on drums and John Greaves adds yet more elements of complexity to an already amazing non-easy listening band. All the extra sounds that are incorporated on this album are just super exciting icing on an already spicy deliciously rich cake. This National Health plan is mandatory for my health and i highly recommend it for yours.

 National Health by NATIONAL HEALTH album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.13 | 304 ratings

BUY
National Health
National Health Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars The quintessential high note of the whole Canterbury scene and another one of those touched by God albums that transcends sonic believability into an alternate reality where only heavenly bliss is allowed. Like Hatfield and the North, this was a Canterbury supergroup with a whole bunch of veterans dishing out some delicious jazz fusion and prog frenzied musical madness that takes all the lessons of their previous incarnations and melds them into one outbloodyrageous display of what it sounds like when the best of the best collaborate their talents to make a masterpiece. This was 1977 when prog was on its way out to take a siesta and punk was the new dominate species. Not only was NATIONAL HEALTH totally oblivious to this trend but they took the sound to new roaring heights.

Let's take a roll call as I see so many mistaken claims of who's actually on this debut album.

Original member Dave Stewart handles most keyboards. He obviously played in Hatfield and the North but also with Uriel, Egg, Khan and Bruford (the band for which Bill Bruford was the leader).

Alan Gowen of Gilgamesh who formed National Health also contributes to keyboards to a few tracks on this album but soon left the group thereafter.

Neil Murray handles all bass duties. He played with a bunch of different groups but is most famous for playing with Black Sabbath in the 90s, Whitesnake in the late 70s and with other bands like Gogmagog, Vow Wow, The Company Of Snakes etc.

This group originally began with Bill Bruford from Yes, but he is not on this album. He was replaced by Pip Pyle who worked with both Gong and Hatfield and the North and he alone handles all percussion on this album including drums, gong, tambourine, glockenspiel, cymbals and even a pixiephone! John Mitchell who replaced Bruford was replaced by Pip but he still contributes some percussion on a few tracks.

Phil Miller handles all guitar duties. He worked with many bands including Delivery, Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, Short Wave and In Cahoots.

Jimmy Hastings handles flute, clarinet and bass clarinet duties. He played in not only Hatfield and the North but also in Caravan, Soft Machine, Trapeze and with Chris Squire and Bryan Ferry amongst others.

That leaves the precious angelic voice of Amanda Parsons who makes the association with Hatfield and the North immediate and tangible. Her contribution to these albums elevates the ingenious musicianship to heavenly and otherworldly.

In my opinion NATIONAL HEALTH was not only the best Canterbury band but one of the best musical groups ever to grace the planet. The pleasant interplay of all the keyboards, the guitar and bass, the drum rolls and the exotic winds and chimes graced by the heavenly siren makes me quite grateful that these musicians were so dedicated to their craft that they paddled against the turning tide to create some of the most magnificent sonic bliss. Luckily we got another album after this.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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