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NATIONAL HEALTH

Canterbury Scene • United Kingdom


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National Health picture
National Health biography
Founded in Canterbury, England in 1975 - Disbanded in 1980

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.

National Health official website

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Buy NATIONAL HEALTH Music


PlaytimePlaytime
CUNEIFORM RECORDS 2017
Audio CD$13.73
$12.00 (used)
National HealthNational Health
Import
Esoteric 2009
Audio CD$9.55
$18.18 (used)
Missing PiecesMissing Pieces
Import
Voiceprint UK 2005
Audio CD$47.95 (used)
Of Queues & CuresOf Queues & Cures
Import · Remastered
Esoteric 2009
Audio CD$9.25
$9.24 (used)
CompleteComplete
East Side Digital 1990
Audio CD$81.01 (used)
Ds Al CodaDs Al Coda
Import
Beat Goes Public Bgp 2012
Audio CD$45.91 (used)
Dreams Wide AwakeDreams Wide Awake
ATOM 2011
Audio CD$8.92
$6.00 (used)
National Health (Shm/Mini Lp Jacket/Remaster)National Health (Shm/Mini Lp Jacket/Remaster)
Import
BELLE ANTIQUE 2017
Audio CD$26.90
Of Queues And Cures (Shm/Mini Lp Jacket/Remaster)Of Queues And Cures (Shm/Mini Lp Jacket/Remaster)
Import
BELLE ANTIQUE 2017
Audio CD$26.90
$37.12 (used)
Playtime by NATIONAL HEALTH (2001-01-16)Playtime by NATIONAL HEALTH (2001-01-16)
Cuneiform
Audio CD$39.34
$12.00 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
NATIONAL HEALTH D.S. Al Coda ARC-7145 CD JAPAN 2006 OBI USD $164.31 Buy It Now
MAXIMO PARK National Health CLASSIC CD GALLERY QUALITY FRAMED+FAST GLOBAL SHIP USD $59.46 Buy It Now
NEW National Health (Vinyl) USD $65.91 Buy It Now 13h 53m
ARTICLE & PICTURE NATIONAL HEALTH (PIP PYLE DAVE STEWART NEIL MURRAY & PHIL MILL USD $6.61 Buy It Now 18h 45m
MAXIMO PARK-THE NATIONAL HEALTH-JAPAN CD BONUS TRACK Ltd/Ed E50 USD $21.50 Buy It Now 1 day
NATIONAL HEALTH of Queues and Cures LP 1978 Charley VG+ [Dave Stewart Pip Pyle] USD $45.00 Buy It Now 1 day
2017 REMASTER NATIONAL HEALTH Of Queues And Cures JAPAN MINI LP SHM CD USD $32.80 Buy It Now 1 day
Of Queues And Cures National Health Japanese CD album (CDLP) ARC-7041 USD $49.60 Buy It Now 1 day
National Health National Health CD album (CDLP) Japanese ARC-7040 ARC└NGELO USD $49.60 Buy It Now 1 day
NATIONAL HEALTH National Health IMPORT CD USD $8.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Max mo Park - National Health [New CD] Hong Kong - Import USD $10.19 Buy It Now 2 days
Max mo Park - National Health [New CD] Hong Kong - Import USD $10.64 Buy It Now 2 days
National Health - Of Queues & Cures [New CD] Rmst USD $13.89 Buy It Now 2 days
National Health - Of Queues & Cures [New CD] Rmst USD $13.21 Buy It Now 2 days
RUSH-ORIGINAL FULL PAGE ADVERT CLOSER N TOUR DATES21-28.1.1978-NATIONAL HEALTH USD $6.61 [0 bids]
3 days
NEW National Health (Audio CD) USD $23.46 Buy It Now 3 days
NATIONAL HEALTH 29ED6030 CD JAPAN 1989 OBI USD $55.39 Buy It Now 3 days
NATIONAL HEALTH s/t Mini LP CD JAPAN ARC-7040 / Gilgamesh Soft Machine USD $9.99 [1 bids]
3 days
NATIONAL HEALTH - OF QUEUES AND CURES NEW CD USD $17.88 Buy It Now 3 days
SIGNED MAXIMO PARK THE NATIONAL HEALTH SLIPCASED DIGIPAK 2 X CD ALBUM Paul Smith USD $17.18 [0 bids]
4 days
NATIONAL HEALTH: D.s. Al Coda LP (inner sleeve, corner ding) Rock USD $20.00 Buy It Now 4 days
NATIONAL HEALTH - OF QUEUES AND CURES. JAPAN.OBI.MINI-LP SLEEVE USD $6.99 [0 bids]
4 days
NATIONAL HEALTH - NATIONAL HEALTH (REMASTERED) CD NEW+ USD $25.52 Buy It Now 4 days
National Health - National Health (NEW CD) USD $14.87 Buy It Now 4 days
NATIONAL HEALTH - DREAMS WIDE AWAKE - DOUBLE CD - NEW USD $10.11 Buy It Now 5 days
NATIONAL HEALTH - OF QUEUES AND CURES USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $14.38 Buy It Now 5 days
2017 REMASTER NATIONAL HEALTH National Health JAPAN MINI LP SHM CD USD $32.80 Buy It Now 5 days
NATIONAL HEALTH-OF QUEUES AND CURES-JAPAN MINI LP SHM-CD H25 USD $31.50 Buy It Now 5 days
NATIONAL HEALTH-S/T-JAPAN MINI LP SHM-CD H25 USD $31.50 Buy It Now 5 days
NATIONAL HEALTH - DREAMS WIDE AWAKE * USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $9.98 Buy It Now 5 days
The Voluptuous Horror Of Karen Black A National Health Care CD Beautiful label USD $55.00 Buy It Now 5 days
NATIONAL HEALTH Of Queues And Cures 29ED6031 CD JAPAN 1989 USD $56.29 Buy It Now 6 days
NATIONAL HEALTH VICP-70085 CD JAPAN 2009 OBI USD $160.72 Buy It Now 6 days
National Health / Gilgamesh / Soft Heap JAPAN 4 Mini LP SHM-CD PROMO BOX SET USD $179.99 Buy It Now 6 days
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NATIONAL HEALTH-OF QUEUES AND CURES-JAPAN MINI LP SHM-CD H25 USD $55.60 Buy It Now 6 days
CARAVAN-same JAPAN 1st.Press w/OBI Soft Machine National Health Hatfield North USD $49.99 Buy It Now 6 days
NATIONAL HEALTH-D.S. Al Coda JAPAN 1st.Press w/OBI Gilgamesh Hatfield The North USD $39.99 Buy It Now 6 days
NATIONAL HEALTH-Playtime JAPAN 1st.Press w/OBI Hatfield & North Gigamesh Caravan USD $49.99 Buy It Now 6 days
HENRY COW-Concerts JAPAN 1st.Press w/OBI 2CD Bonus Track National Health USD $69.99 Buy It Now 6 days
GILGAMESH-Arriving Twice JAPAN 1st.Press w/OBI Hatfield & North National Health USD $49.99 Buy It Now 6 days
EGG-The Civil Surface JAPAN 1st.Press w/OBI Hatfield & The North National Health USD $49.99 Buy It Now 6 days
NATIONAL HEALTH of queues and cures RARE UK 1ST PROG LP DAVE STEWART USD $50.00 Buy It Now 7 days
NATIONAL HEALTH lp NATIONAL HEALTH argentina ID# 26853 PROMO 1979 MH 14417 NM au USD $15.00 Buy It Now 7 days
Maximo Park - The National Health - Maximo Park CD Y4LN The Fast Free Shipping USD $5.06 Buy It Now 7 days
CAMEL-same JAPAN Press w/OBI Caravan National Health Hatfield The North Genesis USD $59.99 Buy It Now 7 days
CARAVAN-Waterloo Lily JAPAN Press w/OBI Camel National Health Curved Air Genesis USD $39.99 Buy It Now 7 days
CARAVAN-Canterbury Tales JAPAN 1st.Press w/OBI Camel National Health Curved Air USD $59.99 Buy It Now 7 days
CARAVAN-Cunning Stunts JAPAN 1st.Press w/OBI Camel Soft Machine National Health USD $49.99 Buy It Now 7 days
NATIONAL HEALTH-same JAPAN 1st.Press w/OBI Caravan Hatfield North Gilgamesh USD $59.99 Buy It Now 7 days
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NATIONAL HEALTH-Of Queues And Cures JAPAN 1st.Press w/OBI Caravan Gilgamesh USD $49.99 Buy It Now 7 days
SOFT HEAP-same JAPAN 1st.Press w/OBI Soft Machine National Health Hatfield North USD $49.99 Buy It Now 7 days
The National Health USD $64.22 Buy It Now 8 days
NATIONAL HEALTH - DREAMS WIDE AWAKE * NEW CD USD $12.72 Buy It Now 8 days
NATIONAL HEALTH AFF6 NEX/NM AFFINITY LP USD $33.07 Buy It Now 8 days
The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black - A NATIONAL HEALTH CARE cd. 1st release USD $87.50 Buy It Now 8 days
16/12/78MM35 ADVERT 15X12" NATIONAL HEALTH : OF QUEUES AND CURES USD $19.84 Buy It Now 9 days
ADVERT 15X12" GREEN BY STEEVE HILLAGE - TOURING WITH NATIONAL HEALTH USD $19.84 Buy It Now 9 days
National Health - Playtime [New CD] USD $14.97 Buy It Now 9 days
The National Health cd Maximo Park (2012 Straight To the Sun Records) NEW Sealed USD $8.99 Buy It Now 10 days
new/sealed CD: National Health, Playtime - prog art rock - 045775014524 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 10 days
National Health - Dreams Wide Awake (CD Used Like New) USD $10.70 Buy It Now 10 days
Max´mo Park ?- The National Health (2012) CD NEW/SEALED SPEEDYPOST USD $7.36 Buy It Now 10 days
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NATIONAL HEALTH - Of Queues And Cures - 1978 UK LP Vinyl Records Original USD $39.99 Buy It Now 11 days
National Health: Of Queues And Cures: (CD) USD $21.15 Buy It Now 11 days
NATIONAL HEALTH Of Queues And Cures REMASTERED IMPORT CD PROG/ROCK legendary CD USD $14.99 Buy It Now 12 days
National Health - Playtime [New CD] USD $22.67 Buy It Now 12 days
NATIONAL HEALTH-Of Queues And Cures-78/2003 CD MINI LP USD $15.00 Buy It Now 13 days
National Health - Of Queues & Cures (CD Used Like New) USD $11.20 Buy It Now 14 days
National Health 5013929722927 (CD Used Like New) USD $10.87 Buy It Now 14 days
National Health - Maximo Park 602537016549 (CD Used Like New) USD $8.64 Buy It Now 14 days
National Health - National Health [CD] USD $14.10 Buy It Now 15 days
Steve Hillage + National Health UK Tour advert 1978 USD $13.23 Buy It Now 15 days
NATIONAL HEALTH - NATIONAL HEALTH NEW CD USD $16.94 Buy It Now 15 days
Kraftwerk National Health Roundhouse Stranglers Nashville pub show adverts 1976 USD $13.23 Buy It Now 15 days
National Health tretament Stretch Interview/article 1976 USD $13.23 Buy It Now 15 days
Max´mo Park - National Health (CD 2012) 13 TRACKS -MINT NEW CD USD $10.57 Buy It Now 15 days
Gong National Health Daevid Allen Soft Machine Yardbirds Record Catalogue 1977 USD $23.15 Buy It Now 16 days
Of Queues and Cures by National Health (CD, May-2009, Esoteric Recordings) USD $10.29 Buy It Now 16 days
Dreams Wide Awake * by National Health (CD, Jun-2007, Atom) USD $9.75 Buy It Now 16 days
National Health by National Health (CD, May-2009, Esoteric Recordings) USD $9.90 Buy It Now 16 days
NATIONAL HEALTH - Complete - 2 CD - Import - Like New / Mint Condition - RARE USD $119.95 Buy It Now 16 days
National Health USD $16.95 Buy It Now 16 days
National Health - Dreams Wide Awake [New CD] USD $12.70 Buy It Now 17 days
GILGAMESH (NATIONAL HEALTH/HATFIELD & NORTH) - GILGAMESH (1975) - 1997 VIRGIN CD USD $10.58 Buy It Now 17 days
Playtime - National Health (CD Used Like New) USD $13.24 Buy It Now 17 days
Playtime by National Health (CD, Mar-2009, Cuneiform Records) USD $20.10 Buy It Now 17 days
National Health-National Health CD NEW USD $18.62 Buy It Now 17 days
National Health - National Health [New CD] UK - Import USD $12.87 Buy It Now 17 days
National Health - National Health [New CD] UK - Import USD $12.39 Buy It Now 17 days
Maximo Park: The National Health (CD) USD $13.48 Buy It Now 17 days
National Health - Of Queues & And Cures (NEW CD) USD $14.87 Buy It Now 17 days
National Health-Of Queues and Cures CD NEW USD $24.08 Buy It Now 17 days
The National Health by Maximo Park. USD $12.22 Buy It Now 17 days
The National Health by Max USD $13.19 Buy It Now 18 days
NATIONAL HEALTH-OF QUEUES AND CURES-JAPAN MINI LP SHM-CD H25 USD $48.98 Buy It Now 18 days
National Health-National Health (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $14.07 Buy It Now 18 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 | 330 ratings
National Health
1977
4.26 | 363 ratings
Of Queues And Cures
1978
3.33 | 75 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)

4.18 | 40 ratings
Complete
1990
3.65 | 48 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
 Complete by NATIONAL HEALTH album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1990
4.18 | 40 ratings

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Complete
National Health Canterbury Scene

Review by Walkscore

4 stars The extra tracks, and Dave Stewart's liner notes, are worth it.

This box-set contains all three National Health albums in their entirety, which is already good value for the price. You also get Dave Stewart's hilarious liner notes, in which he lays out the entire history of the band and tells a number of very funny stories (funny often in the 'tragedy+time' sense). Stewart is a gifted writer and (now we know) comedian. This would be enough, but the compilation also contains two extra tracks. The opening track "Paracelsus" is written by Mont Campbell (who was the bass player in the band for the first year), and pre-dates the first album. Bill Bruford is on drums, and Steve Hillage is on guitar. While only one minute and 41 seconds, it is a killer track, worth getting just for this. The second extra track is a 1990 remake of "The Collapso", originally released on 'Of Queues and Cures', but here remade as "The Apocalypso". This is also worth having, although not nearly as important as Paracelsus. But all together a great compilation. I would recommend getting this version of their catalogue.

 D.S. Al Coda by NATIONAL HEALTH album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.33 | 75 ratings

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D.S. Al Coda
National Health Canterbury Scene

Review by Walkscore

2 stars Unfortunately...

Another complete change of sound. Dave Stewart left the band after Of Queus and Cures and the tour, and Alan Gowan took up the offer to replace him. That version toured the US in 1979, and Europe in 1980. However, Alan Gowan died of leukaemia in 1981. So, Dave Stewart decided to take the band back to the recording studio for one last album, this time an album of Alan Gowan's music, hence the title (D.S. al Coda). Unfortunately, the music is just not up to par. There is a commercial-jazz sheen to the compositions here, and this now ventures into the kind of forgettable jazz fusion that neither celebrates jazz nor rock (nor original fusion). Furthermore, this was recorded in 1982, and the production values here now reflect the 80s sound. While the other two National Health albums were exciting, innovative and musical, if a bit cold, this album just sounds cold. So, not the most fitting tribute to the late Alan Gowan, although I am not fully sure how much of the issue is a result of the band's interpretation, the production values, or Gowan's compositions themselves. But this is not something that draws multiple listens from me, and there is much better jazz fusion out there. Saying this, I am sure there are some people who will like this music, but my guess is it will be a very small pool. I give this album 5.1 out of 10, which translates to (high) 2 PA stars. Really, only for true fans and collectors.

 Of Queues And Cures by NATIONAL HEALTH album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.26 | 363 ratings

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Of Queues And Cures
National Health Canterbury Scene

Review by Walkscore

4 stars Excellent follow-up.

The second National Health album no longer has Alan Gowan guesting on keyboards, nor Amanda Parsons on vocals. But they now John Greaves from Henry Cow on bass, and also guests Georgie Born (also from Henry Cow) on cello, Paul Nieman on Trombones and Phil Minton on Trumpets, and Keith Thompson on Oboe, as well as Jimmy Hastings on flutes and clarinets (Hastings is the only one here who also guested on the first album). So, the music here is virtually all instrumental, with an even more classical (and less jazzy) feel than the first album. Saying this, the music here is really top notch, often better than on the first album. Songs like the two versions of the 'Bryden 2-Step', 'Squarer for Maud' and 'The Collapso' are very musical, sounding a lot like the best moments from Rotter's Club. The only drawback on this album is Pip Pyle's 'Binoculars', mainly because of Pyle's lyrics, and the poor way they are sung (one listen and you will know what I mean). But overall, this album has a great feel, and contains some of the highlights of the band's catalogue. I give this album 8.8 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which is 0.1 more than their debut. So, again, 4 PA stars.

 National Health by NATIONAL HEALTH album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.13 | 330 ratings

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National Health
National Health Canterbury Scene

Review by Walkscore

4 stars Very Modern, not always warm.

The first National Health album is the only one that is close to the vision for the band that Dave Stewart, the founder and leader, originated. His original idea was for the band to feature two keyboardists - himself and Alan Gowan (one in each ear/stereo channel) - with multiple female vocalists over a complex rhythm section. While Gowan left the band before recording the album, he agreed to play on it, as did Amanda Parsons (the one female vocalist who became a permanent member for their earlier tours), and they recorded this album, which they had played on tour for about a year. Each National Health album is different. This album, as you might expect, is notable for Parsons' (often double-tracked) vocals. Not everyone likes her singing here, but I quite like it. The music is very complex and angular, really inventive and original. It is also very modern, essentially a combination of modern classical music played by rock musicians and modern jazz fusion, aspiring to the highest level of quality. However, it is not exceptionally warm. Indeed, only Parsons vocals, and the occasional heavy keyboard solo, warm it up. It is certainly not as warm as Stewart's previous band, Hatfield and the North. Nonetheless, the music reaches excellence at times. I give this album 8.7 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, so 4 PA stars. Not as good as Hatfield, but if you liked Rotter's Club, you will likely also like this.

 Of Queues And Cures by NATIONAL HEALTH album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.26 | 363 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 | 330 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 | 363 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 | 363 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 | 363 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

BUY
Playtime
National Health Canterbury Scene

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

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.

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

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