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National Health - Playtime CD (album) cover


National Health


Canterbury Scene

3.72 | 62 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
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.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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