Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

HENRY COW

RIO/Avant-Prog • United Kingdom


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Henry Cow picture
Henry Cow biography
British progressive pioneers HENRY COW was the leading group of the Rock In Opposition* (R.I.O. for short) movement, initiated by their drummer Chris CUTLER. All members of HENRY COW have been involved in collaborations with Canterbury groups and artists at one point or another, and most of them still are. Their music aged amazingly well over the last 20 years due to diverse influences: some of its roots in the Canterbury school, most notably early SOFT MACHINE, other influences (FRANK ZAPPA, BELA BARTOK, KURT WEIL...). The group functioned more or less as a collective, with a true group identity that changed from album to album as members came and went.

HENRY COW's first album, "Legend" (read "Leg End"), is considered by many their most accessible, and makes a good starter. Their sound draws on modern classical music, jazz and experimental music. "In Praise of Learning" was a collaboration with SLAPP HAPPY, which featured in the addition of a real vocalist (the infamous Dagmar KRAUSE), Pete BLEGVAD and Anthony MOORE. However, they sound nothing like HENRY COW. "In Praise of Learning" and "Concerts" are more noisy albums with a fair dose of improvisation. "Western Culture" is the final HENRY COW release, and it represents the next logical step from "In Praise of Learning". "Western Culture" seems the obvious choice as their best album being essentially jazz-tinged modernist classical music for an extended rock band instrumentation but it contains outstanding music: some fantastic, frenetic drumming, biting guitar work, and the usual array of saxophones, clarinets, oboes etc.

After disbanding in 1979, HENRY COW members got involved in multiple side and solo projects:
- Art Bears
- News From Babel
- Slapp Happy
- Tim Hodgkinson
- Fred Frith
- Chris Cutler
- Cutler and Frith
- Cassiber
- The (ec) Nudes
- Skeleton Crew
- The Science Group

* Rock In Opposition (R.I.O.) defines a c...
read more

Henry Cow official website

HENRY COW MP3, Free Download (music stream)


Open extended player in a new pop-up window | Random Playlist (50) | How to submit new MP3s

HENRY COW forum topics / tours, shows & news


HENRY COW forum topics Create a topic now
HENRY COW tours, shows & news Post an entries now

HENRY COW Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Show all HENRY COW videos (6) | Search and add more videos to HENRY COW

Buy HENRY COW Music


Leg EndLeg End
Rer USA 2005
Audio CD$13.11
$9.14 (used)
ConcertsConcerts
Remastered
ReR Megacorp 2006
Audio CD$19.66
$38.00 (used)
In Praise of LearningIn Praise of Learning
Rer USA 2008
Audio CD$13.34
$11.99 (used)
UnrestUnrest
Rer USA 2005
Audio CD$11.73
$8.68 (used)
Vol. 6-10-Road (40th Anniversary Box Set)Vol. 6-10-Road (40th Anniversary Box Set)
Box set
Rer Megacorp 2009
Audio CD$72.87
$84.33 (used)
Western CultureWestern Culture
Rer USA 2005
Audio CD$17.49
$11.65 (used)
Vol. 1-5-RoadVol. 1-5-Road
Box set
ReR Megacorp 2009
Audio CD$70.45
$76.99 (used)
Vol. 1-5 Studio (40th Anniversary Box Set)Vol. 1-5 Studio (40th Anniversary Box Set)
Recommended Records 2009
Audio CD$72.64
$298.00 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Henry Cow JAPAN 5 titles Mini LP SHM-CD SS + PROMO BOX SET USD $219.99 Buy It Now 1h 16m
Univers Zero:Heresie Japan SHM CD Mini-LP Mint (zoyd art bears henry cow magma Q USD $35.00 Buy It Now 7h 9m
ART BEARS The World As It Is Today +book LP slapp happy henry cow dagmar krause! USD $165.00 Buy It Now 9h 15m
HENRY COW 1974 LP UNREST ORIG US RED 2 EX AVANTGUARD USD $34.83 Buy It Now 16h 6m
Henry Cow - Unrest CD (1999) Prog Rock 1973 USD $11.98 Buy It Now 21h 19m
LP: HENRY COW - Leg End NEW SEALED REISSUE PROG 1980 gr IMPORT USD $29.95 Buy It Now 1 day
HENRY COW - UNREST - U.S. PRESS AVANT-GARDE PSYCH JAZZ ROCK RED RECORDS LP 1974 USD $21.14 Buy It Now 1 day
Slapp Happy Sort of Japan Mini LP CD w OBI + Promo OBI Henry Cow Blegvad Dagmar USD $64.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Slapp Happy ST Japan Mini LP CD OBI with Promo OBI Sealed Copy Henry Cow Blegvad USD $69.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Slapp Happy and Henry Cow - Desperate Straights CD OBI USD $12.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Greaves Cunningham CD Henry Cow Evva Japan Flying Lizards Blegvad Jakszyk USD $10.08 Buy It Now 1 day
Henry Cow-Henry Cow - Unrest CD NEW USD $16.16 Buy It Now 2 days
SLAPP HAPPY / HENRY COW Desperate Straights MINI LP CD USD $14.44 Buy It Now 2 days
PETER BLEGVAD knights like this LP NM virgin OVED 188 slapp happy henry cow USD $15.99 Buy It Now 3 days
PETER BLEGVAD naked shakespeare LP NM slapp happy henry cow andy partridge xtc USD $19.99 Buy It Now 3 days
PETER BLEGVAD downtime LP NEW ReR 34 slapp happy henry cow chris cutler USD $19.99 Buy It Now 3 days
HENRY COW - IN PRAISE OF LEARNING LP - VIRGIN UK 1ST PRESS FRED FRITH SLAP HAPPY USD $29.93 Buy It Now 3 days
Fred Frith/Tim Hodgkinson Live Improvisations UK CD *NEW K-Space Henry Cow Momes USD $49.00 Buy It Now 3 days
29/9/73PN18 FAUST IV ON TOUR WITH HENRY COW ADVERT 15X11" USD $14.99 Buy It Now 3 days
COCKNEY REBEL HENRY COW LP Reviews Vintage Music Press Article/Cutting 1974 USD $13.63 Buy It Now 4 days
AIN SOPH - 1st LP Japanese Prog Jazz Obi 1980 w/ sheet Soft Machine Henry Cow USD $32.50 Buy It Now 4 days
HENRY COW+Fred Frith+C. Cutler (Slapp Happy) "Unrest" Red Records #RED 002 (NM) USD $129.99 Buy It Now 4 days
HENRY COW+SLAPP HAPPY+Pierre Moerlen "Desperate Straights" Virgin #V-2024 (NM) USD $129.99 Buy It Now 4 days
HENRY COW - LEG END - NEW LP RECORD USD $24.51 Buy It Now 4 days
Fred Frith JAPAN 3 titles Mini LP SHM-CD SS + PROMO BOX SET Henry Cow Art Bears USD $129.99 Buy It Now 5 days
LP: HENRY COW - In Praise Of Learning NEW SEALED 180gr REISSUE PROG USD $29.95 Buy It Now 5 days
henry cow "Unrest" 1979 NM/VG+ USD $35.00 Buy It Now 5 days
henry cow "In Praise of Learning" 1975 UK Release NM/VG+ USD $60.00 Buy It Now 5 days
henry cow "Legend" 1979 Debut Album NM/VG+ USD $25.00 Buy It Now 5 days
HENRY COW Legend JAPAN MINT!!!!! Promo Obi Insert canterbury slapp happy prog USD $70.00 [0 bids]
USD $100.00 Buy It Now
5 days
MINT/M- PROG JAZZ LP~HENRY COW~WESTERN CULTURE~FRED FRITH~1980 INTERZONE~HEAR USD $19.99 Buy It Now 5 days
Jethro Tull on Magazine Cover King Crimson Soft Machine Curved Air Henry Cow USD $10.22 Buy It Now 5 days
HENRY COW SHM-CD Japanese Paper Sleeve Edition & Promo Box ! USD $200.00 Buy It Now 5 days
CHRIS CUTLER / FRED FRITH - limoges 7" recommended records DIY ralph HENRY COW USD $9.99 [0 bids]
5 days
Henry Cow CONCERTS CDx2 UK ReR Megacorp new USD $19.97 [0 bids]
5 days
Henry Cow HENRY COW (LEG END) CD USA 752725009423 ReR Megacorp new USD $13.57 [0 bids]
5 days
Henry Cow IN PRAISE OF LEARNING ORIGINAL MIX CD UK 752725011129 ReR Megacorp new USD $13.57 [0 bids]
5 days
Henry Cow UNREST CD UK 752725010221 ReR Megacorp new USD $13.57 [0 bids]
5 days
Henry Cow WESTERN CULTURE CD USA 021561816527 East Side Digital new USD $13.57 [0 bids]
5 days
Various - Camel/Gong/Henry Cow - Greasy Truckers - 1973 Prog/Psych Compilation USD $10.22 [0 bids]
6 days
Recommended Records Sampler 2 CD+CDep SS (mini-lp henry cow art bears zoyd Q USD $63.00 Buy It Now 6 days
Avant Garde Jazz Rock 1989 LES 4 GUITARISTES De L'APOCALYPSO- BAR Henry Cow LP USD $39.00 Buy It Now 7 days
Art Zoyd:Musique Pour Japan CD Mini-LP Mint (univers zero art bears henry cow Q USD $31.50 Buy It Now 7 days
Henry Cow - Concerts 12" Lp 1976 USD $47.69 Buy It Now 7 days
Upsilon Acrux - Last Train Out RED VINYL LP! NEW! magma prog math rock henry cow USD $25.00 Buy It Now 8 days
RECOMMENDED RECORDS SAMPLER- Art Bears; RESIDENTS; Faust; HENRY COW; The Muffins USD $99.95 Buy It Now 8 days
Henry Cow Slapp Happy In Praise of Learning 12" Lp 1975 USD $38.15 Buy It Now 8 days
Fred Frith - Henry Kaiser - With Friends Like This 1979 orig. LP Henry Cow USD $19.99 Buy It Now 8 days
HENRY COW-WESTERN CULTURE-JAPAN MINI LP SHM-CD BONUS TRACK Hi25 USD $33.99 Buy It Now 8 days
HENRY COW-CONCERTS-JAPAN 2 MINI LP SHM-CD BONUS TRACK Ji50 zd USD $44.50 Buy It Now 8 days
HENRY COW-IN PRAISE OF LEARNING-JAPAN MINI LP SHM-CD BONUS TRACK Hi25 USD $33.99 Buy It Now 8 days
HENRY COW-UNREST-JAPAN MINI LP SHM-CD BONUS TRACK Hi25 USD $33.99 Buy It Now 8 days
HENRY COW - LSE press clipping 1976 9x5cm (31/1/76) USD $8.16 Buy It Now 8 days
The Muffins-Open City 1977-80 1985 Holland Cuneiform RUNE5 M/M Henry Cow/F.Frith USD $33.30 Buy It Now 9 days
Henry Cow - In Praise Of Learning JEWEL CASE CD! FREE SHIPPING! USD $16.00 Buy It Now 9 days
Art Bears:4 CD+CDep Box+X Japan Mini-LP Mint (henry cow rio chris cutler faust Q USD $211.50 Buy It Now 9 days
Henry Cow - Western Culture CD! FREE SHIPPING! USD $15.00 Buy It Now 9 days
SLAPP HAPPY & HENRY COW-DESPERATE STRAIGHTS-JAPAN MINI LP CD G35 USD $32.50 Buy It Now 9 days
HENRY COW - WESTERN CULTURE (INTERZONE) LP USD $25.00 Buy It Now 9 days
(CD) HENRY COW - Legend [Original Mix] / ESD 81342 USD $17.99 Buy It Now 9 days
(CD) HENRY COW - In Praise Of Learning [Original Mix] / ESD 81522 USD $17.99 Buy It Now 9 days
(CD) HENRY COW - Western Culture / ESD 80852 USD $17.99 Buy It Now 9 days
HENRY COW**UNREST(REMASTERED)**CD USD $20.99 Buy It Now 9 days
FRED FRITH cheap at half the price RALPH FF-8356 US ORIGINAL LP Henry Cow NM- USD $29.99 Buy It Now 10 days
FRED FRITH speechless RALPH US LP FF-8106 Henry Cow noise VG++ USD $19.99 Buy It Now 10 days
FRED FRITH gravity 1980 RALPH US ORIGINAL LP + INNER Henry Cow avante garde  USD $29.99 Buy It Now 10 days
ART BEARS hopes and fears 1978 Arcades UK LP FRED FRITH Henry Cow avant garde USD $29.99 Buy It Now 10 days
Slapp Happy: Alcohol CDep (Japan Mini-LP cd henry cow art bears peter blegvad Q USD $36.00 Buy It Now 10 days
The Road: Volume 6-10, 0752725026321, Henry Cow USD $74.51 Buy It Now 10 days
HENRY COW - CONCERTS 2 VINYL LP ROCK EXPERIMENTAL NOISE INDUSTRIAL NEW+ USD $32.19 Buy It Now 10 days
Geoff Leigh - CHEMICAL BANK - 7" VINYL w/pic slv (Henry Cow / Red Balune) USD $14.95 Buy It Now 10 days
TIM HODGKINSON KEN HYDER VALENTINA PONOMAREVA The Goose CD HENRY COW THE WORK USD $6.29 Buy It Now 10 days
The Road: Volume 6-10, Henry Cow USD $80.71 Buy It Now 11 days
Henry Cow ?Western Culture sealed Fred Frith Lindsay Cooper Chris Cutler USD $12.50 Buy It Now 11 days
HENRY COW UNREST UK PROG LP USD $50.00 Buy It Now 11 days
Soft Machine - Six CD King Crimson,Gong,Henry Cow,Hawkwind,Gentle Giant,Caravan. USD $6.80 Buy It Now 11 days
Verlaine 2 Divine Ignorante by John Greaves (CD Cristal) Henry Cow USD $27.75 Buy It Now 11 days
Western Culture [Henry Cow] New CD USD $15.49 Buy It Now 12 days
Concerts [Henry Cow] [2 discs] New CD USD $23.71 Buy It Now 12 days
FLYING DOESN'T HELP A. MORE ORIGINAL ART ROCK slapp happy '79 henry cow anthony! USD $49.00 Buy It Now 12 days
Henry Cow - Unrest - Virgin - 1974 #745202 USD $54.49 Buy It Now 12 days
Henry Cow 70s ROCK UK LP Legend 1973 UK ISSUE USD $99.98 Buy It Now 12 days
AMP2 + TIM HODGKINSON Hums CD of HENRY COW ART BEARS THE WORK THE MOMES etc RARE USD $6.99 Buy It Now 12 days
Henry Cow Self Title Virgin Record Rock Sealed Lp USD $39.99 Buy It Now 13 days
Parrot Fashions by John Greaves (CD, Nov-1997, Blueprint (USA)) Henry Cow USD $13.75 Buy It Now 13 days
HENRY COW SLAPP HAPPY Desperate Straights UK Virgin 1975 v2024 1U/2U NM LP! rare USD $139.00 Buy It Now 13 days
Henry Cow - The Legend 12" Lp 1973 / Original USD $66.77 Buy It Now 13 days
Art Bears:4 CD+CDep Box+X Japan Mini-LP NM (henry cow rio chris cutler faust Q USD $175.50 Buy It Now 13 days
HENRY COW - UNREST USD $74.93 Buy It Now 15 days
THIRD EAR BAND-same JAPAN Mini LP CD w/PROMO OBI Pink Floyd Amon Duul Henry Cow USD $59.99 Buy It Now 15 days
THIS HEAT-same JAPAN Mini LP CD w/OBI KIng Crimson Henry Cow Pink Floyd Rush USD $99.99 Buy It Now 15 days
QUIET SUN-Mainstream JAPAN 1st.Press w/OBI Roxy Music This Heat Henry Cow Can USD $39.99 Buy It Now 15 days
HENRY COW-Concerts JAPAN 1st.Press w/OBI 2CD Bonus Track National Health USD $69.99 Buy It Now 15 days
Blue RAY CAN-Soundtracks JAPAN Mini LP CD w/OBI Faust Henry Cow This Heat USD $49.99 Buy It Now 15 days
CAN-Box 2 JAPAN 1st.Press w/OBI 3CD Faust Henry Cow Pink Floyd Tangerine Dream USD $59.99 Buy It Now 15 days
Blue RAY CAN-Ege Bamyasi JAPAN Mini LP CD w/OBI Faust Henry Cow This Heat USD $49.99 Buy It Now 15 days
SEALED NEW!! Blue RAY CAN-Soon Over Babaluma JAPAN Mini LP CD w/OBI Henry Cow USD $59.99 Buy It Now 15 days
FAUST-same JAPAN 1st.Press w/OBI Pink Floyd Can Henry Cow Tangerine Dream USD $49.99 Buy It Now 15 days
SEALED NEW FAUST-same JAPAN 1st.Press w/OBI Pink Floyd Can Henry Cow Amon Duul USD $59.99 Buy It Now 15 days
CLUSTER-?2 JAPAN Press w/OBI Pink Floyd Can Henry Cow Tangerine Dream Faust USD $29.99 Buy It Now 15 days
0 result found for "HENRY COW"
Visit LPCDressisues.com for more results
More places to buy HENRY COW music online Buy HENRY COW & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
  • AmazonMP3: Search for HENRY COW DRM-Free MP3 Downloads @ AmazonMP3 (USA Only) | AmazonMP3 (UK Only)
HENRY COW has no upcoming shows, according to LAST.FM syndicated events and shows feed

HENRY COW discography


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

HENRY COW top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.12 | 202 ratings
Legend
1973
3.45 | 138 ratings
Unrest
1974
3.95 | 154 ratings
In Praise Of Learning
1975
4.27 | 187 ratings
Western Culture
1979

HENRY COW Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.61 | 52 ratings
Concerts
1976

HENRY COW Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

4.03 | 17 ratings
The Road: Volume 6 - Stockholm & Göteborg (40th Anniversary Boxset)
2008
4.61 | 23 ratings
The Road: Volumes 1-5 (40th Anniversary Box Set)
2009
4.32 | 19 ratings
The Road: Volumes 6-10 (40th Anniversary Box Set)
2009

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

4.67 | 3 ratings
In Concerto
1977
4.25 | 4 ratings
Unreleased Orckestra Extract
2006

HENRY COW Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Road: Volumes 1-5 (40th Anniversary Box Set) by HENRY COW album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2009
4.61 | 23 ratings

BUY
The Road: Volumes 1-5 (40th Anniversary Box Set)
Henry Cow RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by ALotOfBottle

5 stars After the breakup of Henry Cow in 1978, the musicians went their own way. The same year, Chris Cutler, the band's drummer and its most politically-involved member, founded an independent record label, Recommended Records. At the break of the new century, Cutler mentioned at one point that he was planning a compilation of Cow's previously unreleased live recordings, which resulted in numerous rumors around the internet. Several years later, in 2009, Recommended Records released the long-awaited 40th Anniversary Box Set. The Road: Volumes 1-5 is the first part of the set.

For a band with a musical vision as inventive and complex as that of Henry Cow, the recording studio was without a doubt the most comfortable environment, opening a new plethora of technical possibilities, such as overdubbing, pre-recorded tape effects, and electronic sounds. And yet, as opposed to many bands whose style relies heavily on studio equipment, Henry Cow display an incredibly high amount of confidence and knowhow in a live situation.

Disc 1, entitled Beginnings, comprises recordings from the LegEnd period, with Geoff Leigh still a full-time member of the quintet. The overall style presented on this album could really be classified as the Canterbury sound. It opens with "Pre-Teenbeat", a composition in two parts, and is followed by two vocal pieces, which had never been released on any album. These flaunt the influence of bands such as Soft Machine, Caravan or even Matching Mole, with fuzz organ very much in the vein of Mike Ratledge, Dave Sinclair or Dave Stewart. Next come the pieces from Henry Cow's debut album. Tim Hodgkinson's composition "Amygdala Extract" and Fred Frith's "Teenbeat" perfectly showcase the group's well-rehearsed sound characterized by near-flawless musicianship and equal input from all of the members. They are not exactly the same tracks as those on the original album, but they employ the main themes and ideas of the source pieces. "Teenbeat" features Dave Stewart, the keyboardist of Egg and Hatfield and the North, who provides light celeste touches and participates in a conversation in the background. The live-cut version of "Citizen King" is astonishingly similar to the studio version and is followed by "Nirvana For Moles" (originally released as "Nirvana For Mice"). The full version of "With the Yellow Half Moon and Blue Star", for which we have got the taste on LegEnd, is divided into eight movements. One is likely to detect the familiar melodies and passages from the studio album. "With the Yellow Half Moon and Blue Star" is probably my favorite piece out of the whole box set with its truly magical, inexplicable uniqueness. The disc closes with the three-part "Guider Tells of Silent Airborne Machine". A title of every part appears to be a name and a surname. This is by far the most experimental track on the album, pointing the way towards the band's future style.

Disc 2 comes from the Unrest era, with Lindsay Cooper onboard. Geoff Leigh left the group during their tour of the Netherlands as he could not stand the tension in the band and was unable to keep up with the touring schedule. "Introduction", with a dark, Stravinsky-like feel, quickly transforms into a contrastingly bright piece "Ruins I". As one goes on listening, one is likely to discover that the sudden yet natural changes in pace and mood are very common. The following track, "Half Asleep, Half Awake", composed by John Greaves, is built around a catchy motif. The "Ruins" theme returns in "Ruins II", quickly resolving into "Heron Shower Over Hamburg" (originally released as "Bittern Storm Over Ulm"). This track showcases Fred Frith's signature improvisational style, relying on his distinctive fuzz guitar sound. "Halsteren", which was recorded in Halsteren in the Netherlands (naming a live-cut piece after the city it was recorded in is common practice), uses the opening passage of "Living in the Heart of the Beast". Putting them in different musical landscapes really shows its modal ambiguity. "Halsteren" is divided into seventeen segments, such as "Extension", "First Suspension" or "Solo Extension". The rest of the disc is occupied by Henry Cow's 13-minute political statement "Living in the Heart of the Beast", with the line-up featuring vocalist Dagmar Krause. Robert Wyatt, the Canterbury scene pioneer and mastermind, provides his unique vocals for this piece. The recording quality on this one is slightly less perfect than on the previous tracks, but is nonetheless true to the impressive studio version.

Disc 3 was recorded in Hamburg. Once again, the band name some of their tracks by transforming recognizable phrases (for instance, "Nirvana For Rabbits" instead of "Nirvana For Mice"). They feel incredibly comfortable in the odd time signatures. "Ottawa Song", "Twilight Bridge", and "Gloria Gloom" are Robert Wyatt's compositions (the last one comes from Matching Mole's politically-charged Little Red Record). These are less reliant on improvisation and are kept in a more "popular" song convention. "Hamburg" is an ambient piece divided into five parts with "Red Noise 10" in between them. Next, the theme of "Beautiful As The Moon" comes back, followed by "A Heart". Robert Wyatt's input comes back with "Little Red Riding Hood Hits The Road", which comes from his memorable solo album Rock Bottom. The disc is closed by a loud jam on Soft Machine's 1968 hit "We Did It Again", with Wyatt singing.

Discs 4 and 5 are almost entirely occupied by a lengthy ambient improvisation "Trondheim". The piece might appear as aimless noodlings, but an experienced listener will discover that it goes far beyond that. It should really be regarded as a thought-provoking provocation. Its single-layered flatness and sterility expressed by improvised dissonant parts plays an important psychological role. Even an accurate description of every single note on "Trondheim" will not properly carry the musical metaphor. The subjective meaning of time plays a crucial role here. Towards the end, it becomes a little more ariose. The box is closed by "March", which brings in a repetative melodic sequence.

The Road: Volumes 1-5 presents numerous different periods of Henry Cow's existence; from atonal ambient workouts to fast-paced jazz-rock jams to mellow, melodic, Canterbury-style pieces. Henry Cow was without a doubt a unique band and despite its dynamic, ever-changing style, two elements remained the same: excellent musicianship and incredibly clever musical detailing. Each listen to any of their works reveals many new factors and qualities. This box set is not only a very important historical document, but also an exceedingly addictive listening experience.

 Concerts by HENRY COW album cover Live, 1976
3.61 | 52 ratings

BUY
Concerts
Henry Cow RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by ALotOfBottle

4 stars 1976 was a very busy year in Henry Cow's career. The band had just released a fruit of their collaboration with a German avant-rock outfit Slapp Happy, In Praise Of Learning, and was busy touring western Europe (for nearly two years continously). At that time, Anthony Moore and Peter Belegvad left the project with Dagmar Krause becoming the lead vocalist of Henry Cow. The sextet got a chance to play alongside Robert Wyatt, who had just completed his newest album Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard. Too busy to record an album, Henry Cow gathered all the worthwhile live material they had and released a double album Concerts.

The album consists of twenty two tracks on two LPs. Disc one starts out with a medley of "Beautiful as the Moon; Terrible as an Army With Banners", "Nirvana For Mice", Matching Mole's political statements "Ottawa Song" and "Gloria Gloom", and the reprise of "Beautiful as the Moon". Than come two pieces recorded with Robert Wyatt himself, "Bad Alchemy", a fruit of collaboration between John Greaves and Slapp Happy's Peter Blegvad, and "Little Red Riding Hood Hits The Road", which comes from his memorable solo release Rock Bottom. After his unfortunate accident, Wyatt was unable to play drums, devoting fully to perfecting his signature vocals. Next, "Ruins", is a 16-minute jam over Henry Cow's piece from Unrest."Groningen" and "Groningen Reprise" are two improvisation-driven tracks, which close the first LP.

Side A of the second disc is fully occupied by an atonal, free-form piece "Oslo" with half-an-hour of disturbing, dissonant noodlings with Dagmar Krause moaning somewhere in the distant background. One might be tricked into regarding this in the same way as other pieces. However, these kinds of melody-less, single-layered, improvised pieces far beyond being just aimless noodlings. Time and its subjective meaning plays a crucial role in "Oslo". Side B comprises tracks from Greasy Truckers Live at Dingwall's Dancehall sessions (recorded a few months after their debut, Legend), which also included Camel, Gong, and Global Village Trucking Co. (a very interesting album, by the way). The four tracks are also fully improvised, but are far more entertaining than the aimless "Oslo". In fact, at moments I feel like they would, but are highly likely more accessible than "Oslo". At moments, they might remind of Pink Floyd's Ummagumma. As always is the case with Henry Cow, the titles of these tracks are excellent - "Off the Map", "Cafe Royal", "Keeping Warm in Winter".

Similarly to thier studio releases, the instrumental skill of all the Henry Cow members is superb. It appears that they actually do not need studio equipment and possibilities it brings to sound good. Fred Frith's unique guitar style is as always spot-on and the multi-instrumentalist abilities of Tim Hodgkinson are really highlighted here. Lindsay Cooper's bassoon, oboe, and flute give the band a unique, chamber-like feel, which often provides a much-needed rest from tiring free-jazz work-outs. John Greaves' bass is a very pleasant suprise. On studio releases, his playing always seemed to stay in the shadow of other musicians. Concerts perfectly showcases his great skill.

All in all, Henry Cow's only official live album (excluding those released long after the band's departure) is a quintessence of what the group really was. Concerts features diverse, varied compositions, which display the incredible loads of live energy and technical know-how that Henry Cow's members have. The album portrays the band in great form, full of fresh musical ideas. Like studio releases, it needs to be given time and numerous listens to be fully comprehended. Recommended!

 Western Culture  by HENRY COW album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.27 | 187 ratings

BUY
Western Culture
Henry Cow RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by ALotOfBottle

5 stars Henry Cow in a nutshell?

After the release of In Praise of Learning, Henry Cow toured Europe intensively for nearly two years, which ultimately compelled John Greaves to leave. To replace him, the band recruited a young female cellist Georgie "Georgina" Born. Despite the fact that she had never played bass guitar before, she adapted well and turned out to be quite proficient with the instrument. Dagmar Krause, the band's vocalist, left the group due to poor health, which made it impossible for her to tour. However, she agreed to sing on Henry Cow's upcoming album. In the end, the material known as Hopes and Fears was released by the trio of Fred Frith, Chris Cutler, and Dagmar Krause under the name Art Bears. Almost simultaneously, numerous problems forced Henry Cow to break up. Not for long, however, as the band recorded their last album Western Culture a few months later as a quartet consisting of Fred Frith, Tim Hodgkinson, Chris Cutler, and Lindsay Cooper.

Western Culture is the first studio album that does not have the band's signature sock on the cover. The sound is once again strongly oriented towards classical music. It's their only entirely instrumental album (Unrest did feature some word-less vocal parts). The jazz methods are gradually estranged with only tiny bits of the genre's influence, mainly on improvisational passages and on parts relying on heavier rhythm. The contemporary classical music influences of Schoenberg or Stravinsky are evident, while the free jazz of Ornette Coleman, once an important element, is alienated. All this made the quartet sound somewhat similar to Art Zoyd or Univers Zero. Henry Cow introduces electronic effects, which were to some extent used on In Praise Of Learning. Not infrequently, the band also plays in odd time signatures, which is typical of them.

Fred Frith's fuzz guitar does not play a substantial role here, compared to previous releases. It is used economically, more as a musical ornament than a solo instrument, like on previous releases. In addition, Frith introduces a completely new element to Henry Cow's music ? an acoustic guitar, which has a bright percussive sound, fitting perfectly the band's music. He also plays bass parts (Georgie Born plays the instrument on one track only) as well as soprano saxophone. However, he completely has abandoned playing violin, letting Anne-Marie Roelofs handle the instrument. In addition to wind instruments and piano, Tim Hodgkinson uses synthesizer and organ, although not the lush Hammond, a mainstay of progressive rock, but the organ sounding closer to a violin or a harmonium. Lindsay Cooper laid down the bassoon, oboe, Soprano sax, and sopranino recorder parts, while Chris Cutler supplied the band with trombone and, of course, drum work. One of the tracks also includes a guest pianist, Irene Schweizer, whose playing gives the band a jazzy flavor. Taken together, all these instruments create a very unique, yet familiar sound.

Some moments on Western Culture remind me of the band's debut Legend. This might be partially caused by the band's general retreat towards chamber influences. The album is rather short at only 36 minutes long divided into seven pieces, each of which has a different feel.

Western Culture was Henry Cow's farewell song. The band blessed us with four albums. Although not flawless, they all are very different and one-of-a-kind experiences. Sometimes jazzy, sometimes classical, the band always looked for what had not yet been said. They still remain a very respected band, known as one of the inventors of experimental rock. Western Culture is a quintessential album of the group, summing up everything they had to say over the ten years of their existence. Five Stars!

 In Praise Of Learning by HENRY COW album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.95 | 154 ratings

BUY
In Praise Of Learning
Henry Cow RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by ALotOfBottle

4 stars During their recording sessions for Unrest in Virgin's Manor Studios, Henry Cow were introduced to a German avant-rock band Slapp Happy. This group invited Henry Cow to guest on their new album Desperate Straights. Despite stylistic differences, the two decided to carry on playing together. In 1975, they joined forces to record an album with Henry Cow's material and named it In Praise Of Learning. Soon after, the bands started touring Western Europe for nearly two years continously and played alongside Robert Wyatt.

In Praise Of Learning is a milestone in Henry Cow's catalog. The band's dissonant free-jazz approach of Unrest is being estranged with more of "pure" avant-rock quality being put in the foreground. The contemporary jazz influences are by no means uncommon, but they are just a part of the musical extract. Although to a lesser extent, the band still shows some of their older chamber music elements, which played an important role on their previous releases. Even some Krautrock-inspired electronic effects are introduced. In addition, the band is becoming a lot more politically-oriented. We were able to catch just a glimpse of Henry Cow's political views on their debut Legend, specifically on "Nine Funerals Of Citizen King". Chris Cutler's left-wing lyrics deal with problems of social injustice as well as the ruthless music industry.

Anthony Moore, the keyboardist of Slapp Happy enriches the band's sound by adding organ as well as various electronics, while Phil Becque deals with synthesizer parts. Although it is not entirely felt, the wind section is extended with an addition of trumpet player Mongezi Feza, the comeback of Geoff Leigh (who played on Legend) on woodwinds and Peter Blegvad (who also played guitar). These combined with Lindsey Cooper's woodwinds give more of a jazzy, rather than chamber feel. Dagmar Krause, Slapp Happy's female singer adds a unique quality to the group's sound with her emotional soprano vocals. These work very well with the lyrical themes, as they picture an ordinary woman, who talks about class war. Other than that, Henry Cow's sound remains unchanged with Fred Frith's distorted guitar timbre and folk fiddle, Tim Hodgkinson's jazz-influenced piano, Chris Cutler's accurate and percise drumming or John Greaves' steady basslines.

This album contains six tracks. These are not very varied, really presenting only two or three different stlyes, but they all contribute to a very interesting and a unique whole. "Living In The Heart Of The Beast" is Henry Cow's own 15-minute suite, which opens with a dissonant distorted guitar and going through many different moody phases, it closes with a jazzy march, that brings some of more mainstream progressive rock acts to mind. I feel like this is the most representative piece of the album, both musically and lyrically. "Beautiful as the Moon - Terrible as an Army With Banners" is another longer track with a very smooth jazz-rock feel, leaded by solo piano. "Beginning: The Long March" or "Morning Star" (named after a British socialist magazine) present the more experimental side of Henry Cow's sound with more of an ambient electronic free-form approach. All in all, the band organized their album time very profficiently.

In Praise Of Learning is an absolutely exceptional work with a distinctive, unique sound. This album could be the closest that Henry Cow got to being a progressive rock band and so naturally In Praise Of Learning should be quite appealing for fans of the genre. Fairly inaccessible, this recquiers much more than one or two listens to appreciate fully, But I assure you - this will be a very rewarding journey. Highly recommended, a masterpiece! 4.5 stars!

 Unrest by HENRY COW album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.45 | 138 ratings

BUY
Unrest
Henry Cow RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by ALotOfBottle

3 stars The return of the sock!

After releasing their debut album Legend, Henry Cow were organised a tour with a German experimental band Faust. In addition, the group was offered to play with Mike Oldfield (whom they met while recording Legend) on the BBC session recordings of Tubular Bells. It was at that time that Geoff Leigh left the band. He was replaced with a female oboe and bassoon player Lindsay Cooper, who had previously played in a folk rock outfit Comus. In early 1974, Henry Cow returned to Virgin's Manor Studios to record their second album called Unrest.

It is known that there were many tensions between the members while recording this album. This is very much reflected in the music. Unrest is really a game of two. Side one presents a rather familiar Henry Cow sound with just a few new touches. The Canterbury-style jazz influence is substituted with a darker avant-garde chamber-like feel to it. Free-form elements previously being just a portion of the group's musical extract are being embraced to a much greater extent. Side two is said to have been fully improvised based loosely just on little themes that the musicians brought in. It's really a shame, because it feels like that material does not lead to anything and does not contribute to a whole in any way whatsoever. And they could do much better than that! "Bittern Storm Over Ulm", "Half Asleep; Half Awake" or "Ruins" are very decent tracks, but their potential glory is overshaded by side two's experimentation on pieces such as "Upon Entering The Hotel Adlon" or "Deluge".

As previously mentioned, Henry Cow's sound on Unrest is a lot darker than on Legend. The fast-paced jazz passages are virtually gone and are replaced with slow, dissonant, experimental bassoon and saxophone parts, which must admitt are more typical of Rock In Opposition or Avant-rock than the things the band did on their debut. Despite the changes, we are still capable of observing the group's classic elements: Fred Frith's fuzz guitar tones, his violin, Tim Hodgkinson's piano, Chris Cutler's percise drumming or John Greaves' basslines. However, the "magic", the claw and the true spark of their first album is absent.

All in all, Unrest is a bit of a let-down after Henry Cow's excellent and promising debut release. It's by no means bad or unambitious, but monotonous and a bit lacking. That is not to say that I wish the band would put aside their musical exploration and carry on playing old tunes, no. I think though, the group didn't particularly pick the right direction with their material. Thankfully, much better things were to come. Nonetheless, this is an important album in Henry Cow's discography and deserves attention. 3.5 stars!

 Legend by HENRY COW album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.12 | 202 ratings

BUY
Legend
Henry Cow RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by ALotOfBottle

5 stars Henry Cow was formed in the summer of 1968, soon after two Cambridge University students, Tim Hodgkinson and Fred Frith, met in a blues club. The two quickly found they shared common approach to music and started performing as a duo. In a short time, they were joined by a few other musicians and after various personel changes Frith and Hodgkinson recruited a bassist John Greaves, who would stay in the band for a longer period of time. It was around 1971, when Henry Cow started functioning as a proper band, playing at numerous music festivals and taking part in John Peel's "Rockortunity Knocks" contest, for instance. The band took their time to observe ever-changing musical trends and constantly learn. By and by, the quartet was joined by Geoff Leigh on woodwinds and Chris Cutler on drums. In 1973, the quintet signed a deal with Virgin to record their debut, which they called Legend (or Leg End as it is often called).

Legend comprises diverse musical styles including post-bop and free jazz of Ornette Coleman or Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 20th century classical music of Arnold Schoenberg or Benjamin Britten, as well as some material of their contemporaries - Soft Machine, Gentle Giant, King Crimson or Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention. Henry Cow's music is demanding and complex throughout, full of exceptionally clever detailing. The band's sound is rich in countless free sections, odd time signatures, unconventional arrangements, and unusual sounds.

All of the previously mentioned characteristics are executed in a proficient way. Virtually every musician appearing on Legend is a multiinstrumentalist. Tim Hodgkinson handles most keyboard parts and can be often heard playing clarinet and saxophone. This becomes evident on Hodgkinson-Leigh sax duel on the opening track "Nirvana For Mice". Fred Frith's guitar tone varies from highly saturated and almost synthesizer-like to clean and glassy. Frith also plays violin, which is an important element of the band's music, giving it a feel of Bartok's violin concertos. Geoff Leigh laid down flute, clarinet, recorder and saxophone parts. John Greaves is capable of fantastic grooves, while Chris Cutler's drumming is characterised by astonishing precision. With all of that in mind, without a shade of doubt, the musicians of Henry Cow present phenomenal musicianship and musical know-how throughout the whole work. The sounds of the so-called "toy instruments" such as a pixiphone are not uncommon and enrich the album, giving it even more of a unique sound.

Henry Cow's Legend consists of ten tracks. Varying from melodic to improvisation-based, most of them are instrumental. That is with an exception of "Nine Funerals Of Citizen King", which includes charming harmony vocals and bright political lyrics. The track brings Gentle Giant and King Crimson to mind at times. The "Teenbeat" trilogy is highly influenced by free jazz, while "Tenth Chaffinch" is an experimental, beat-less electronic work-out. Overall, the tracks have a much-needed diversity, which saves this album from sounding monotonous, sterile and "ho-hum".

All things considered, Henry Cow's debut album is a consistent and a very mature work. Borrowing from many different genres, Legend sounds like no other record. Not quite Canterbury scene, not quite jazz-rock, not quite progressive rock - Henry Cow occupy a strange territory of their own. Experimental, complex, vigorous, original, eclectic and one-of-a-kind, in short - a beautifully twisted masterpiece, five stars.

 Western Culture  by HENRY COW album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.27 | 187 ratings

BUY
Western Culture
Henry Cow RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by GKR

5 stars How do we speak without words?

HENRY COW fascinates me. Its a constructed band aware of their own social construction, trying to explain the world in gestures (sometimes with actually words). The band, when decided to use lyrics, produced one of the most aloudly speaking poems of the late-capitalist society, "Nine funerals for the citizen king".

As one of the unique (and almost only) marxist bands that was formed in the seventies, HENRY COW was also aware of what made HERY COW be HENRY COW. And its here that they produced with heart what is the instrumentation equivalent of Demetrio Stratos singing. Full expression without saying a word. Full humanization of thoughs through metal squalid sounds. If the tracks' titles already give us the hint of what each song is about ("Industry", "The decay of cities", "1/2 the sky") and the sides are also named (a-side: History and prospects; side-b: Day by Day), a good experience is listen to the album without knowing the titles - you'll probably get a correct answer, as their playing lead you into the idea.

Only in ART BEARS we can see how they perceived revolution as a whole, but in "Western Culture" we perceived... well... everything else.

 Legend by HENRY COW album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.12 | 202 ratings

BUY
Legend
Henry Cow RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TerryDactyl

4 stars And with a great reeling squonk, the Mighty Henry Cow are born, and it seems to have been a rather difficult birth, of course there's tons of weird facts about how it came to be, and there are many discourses upon how difficult a band the Mighty Henry Cow are, but to my ears the very first time I heard the Mighty Henry Cow, they sympathized and stretched in to fit so perfectly that the only thing I could say after the ravishing was "Where have you been all my life?" as I lit a Kool Mild and took a slug from my bottle of Olde English.

It's like John Coltrane sometimes, other times not so much (Coltrane is better than the Mighty Henry Cow but only because he happened to be a walking god among men) mostly because the Mighty Henry Cow ARE a rock band of some stripe, though the stripes might be vertical or horizontal, depending if you are knocked on the floor by their brilliant beaming ugliness.

Also there's guitars. Coltrane had no guitar. the Mighty Henry Cow would make two really wonderful records, then acquire Dagmar, of whom I'm not incredibly fond, and remain not quite as good as this before disbanding. I can't give either this or the next album Five stars because they aren't quite five star affairs, but for what it's worth, This record kicks asps, and rattle snakes too. Try it and you may I say listen to 'the Cow every day.

 Unrest by HENRY COW album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.45 | 138 ratings

BUY
Unrest
Henry Cow RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by claugroi

1 stars This is the first time I rate an album 1-star. The reason is that it deserves so. This album goes against everything I consider to be music. And I'm not even talking about GOOD music, but music in general. It seems to me that the guys arrived in the studio and said "Ok, let's record a new album. Hit anything that makes any noise, but be sure not to hit it with rhythm. Let's make the most chaotic music ever".

No sense of rhythm and melody are to be found here. Also, the sounds are too dissonant. One thing is producing a very jazzy album with sparse and light instrumentation or an eclectic prog album with lots of counterpoint and dissonant layers, but this goes beyond that. It really trespasses the limits of music and becomes sheer torture.

Some reasonable moments do exist, but only for some seconds. For instance, the piano intro of Half Asleep, Half Awake and some oboe or bassoon notes here and there, but most of it is pure improvisation with no goal at all. It seems they just turned the mics on and played anything, literally anything. That's not music to my ears. Music should be a sincere and deep expression of one's artistic inner feelings. There's a big difference between that and making any noise you can. Not even Solemn Music and Bittern Storm Over Ulm, which are the ones that resemble actual songs the most, are enjoyable.

I'm really sorry for this rating. I know some people like this (some even rated it 5 stars, a huge blasphemy in my opinion) and I tend to recognise a band's effort even in the poorest albums, but I just can't stand this.

Some people might say to me I need some time to understand this album and, consequently, enjoy it. Well, I've been listening to this record since 2009 and I don't think I should give it any more tries. I guess I just don't like it and that's it.

All in all, a very dark and unpleasant album. Stay away from it.

 In Praise Of Learning by HENRY COW album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.95 | 154 ratings

BUY
In Praise Of Learning
Henry Cow RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars HENRY COW had joined forces with the German trio SLAPP HAPPY as they collaborated to make the album "Desperate Straights" under the SLAPP HAPPY name. "In Praise Of Learning" sees this collaboration continue only this one is released under the HENRY COW name. This collaboration would end shortly after this album was released. Still this melding of the two bands makes "In Praise Of Learning" quite different from their previous two studio albums. More avant-garde i'd say plus having Dagmar Krause on vocals changes the mood completely. I am used to her vocals from the ART BEARS albums but those who haven't heard her sing before don't usually view her participation as a positive. Including guests we get eleven musicians involved with the making of this record. SLAPP HAPPY would fold after this recording when Dagmar announced she was staying with HENRY COW as the COW would tour a lot the following year or so. She would return to SLAPP HAPPY though as witnessed on their 1980 release "Acnalbasac Noom".

"War" is only 2 1/2 minutes long and was composed by the SLAPP HAPPY duo of Moore and Blegvad. Both Blegvad and Krause sing on it and Dagmar is quite passionate here. I like the brief instrumental sections. "Living In The Heart Of The Beast" opens with Frith ripping it up with some dissonant guitar leads. Krause comes in vocally and I like this song already much better than the first tune. It settles down before we get some more aggressive guitar. A calm follows with piano and Dagmar returns in a reserved manner. It turns dark before 3 minutes as we get a complex instrumental section that really impresses. Vocals are back before 4 1/2 minutes. Another calm a minute later as the vocals stop and the sounds become intricate. Vocals are back and they do get passionate at times. Another calm before 7 1/2 minutes with organ. Violin joins in from Frith after 8 minutes. It will kick in again but settle back quickly. This is so good ! Vocals are back before 12 1/2 minutes as it stays fairly relaxed. Great, great track composed by Tim Hodgkinson.

"Beginning- The Long March" like the final track "Morning Star" were joint efforts by the two bands. The first is experimental throughout as various sounds come and go. I like this instrumental a lot, it's a real trip. "Beautiful As The Moon-Terrible As An Army With Banners" is a Frith / Cutler composition. It opens with reserved vocals and a laid back sound with plenty of piano. It does become a little more passionate then settles back before 3 minutes. It picks back up before 4 minutes with an excellent instrumental section. Dagmar is back late. Another excellent track. "Morning Star" ends it as we get dissonant horns and random drum patterns to start and more. Avant is the word and it continues throughout. An adventerous instrumental to close out the album.

A very solid 4 stars. I really enjoy everything about this except for the short opening track.

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

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — the ultimate jazz music virtual community | MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music virtual community


Server processing time: 1.97 seconds