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National Health - Missing Pieces CD (album) cover


National Health


Canterbury Scene

3.67 | 67 ratings

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Paul de Graaf
4 stars Despite some differences, National Health is often regarded as the logical successor of Hatfield and the North, allthough Hatfield ceased to be in 1975 and National Health only released their self-titled debut album two years later, after having had several changes in their line-up. 'Missing Pieces' consists of twelve tracks with studio demos and radio recordings, almost all of which are from the period before the release of the much-delayed debut album: most of them are studio demos from autumn 1975 and recordings from radio sessions in 1976. All of whom were previously unreleased, for by the time National Health recorded their first album, these songs had been superceded by new material. Illustrative: six of the songs were written by bassist Mont Campbell, who had left the band before the first album recordings without leaving traces. Theoretically, that makes this cd fill a gap, and actually: it sure does! Actually, the songs on this cd remind me more of Hatfield and the North than of the National Health we know from their two studio albums. The keyboards sound more heavy than with Hatfield (and not only because National Health had two keyboard players: Dave Stewart and Alan Gowen!), but over all the atmosphere of most of the songs is more like the wayward experimental relaxed humorous chamber-rock style of Hatfield, than like the more symphonic rock-swinging style of 'National Health' and (especially:) 'Of Queues And Cures'. If it had been an album, it would have been a great album, comparible in quality with the two masterpieces of Hatfield! The only minus is the 1995 re-recording of 'Starlight On Seaweed' by Stewart and Barbara Gaskin at the end of the cd, which is completely out of place. 4.5 stars; only because it sounds funny to give a 'rarities-and-unrelaesed'-cd a 5-stars rating. But nevertheless: historically and qualitatively a must for all fans of Hatfield and the North. (I mean: National Health. No; I díd mean Hatfield. Sorry for the confusion.)
Paul de Graaf | 4/5 |


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