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Robert Calvert - Captain Lockheed & The Starfighters CD (album) cover


Robert Calvert


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.85 | 42 ratings

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4 stars Talk about original. Robert Calvert was probably one of the true oddball prog figures, a combination poet/iconoclast/rebel/punk/weirdo and a true prog personage with no peers. This South African became famous as a Hawkwind stalwart, performing on numerous albums including the quivering Hawklords -"25 years On" album and released this first solo foray back in 1974. Calvert was your original space cadet, wanting to be a jet fighter pilot but rejected because of health (drug?) problems.

Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters tells the slightly morbid yet mildly amusing true story of a massive fighter plane sale in the early 70s to then West Germany, in particular the outrageously designed F-104 Starfighter. It seems that the Yanks at Lockheed were more interested in the sale than providing a decent plane, as the German variant ("G for Germany") kept crashing in flames in droves killing young German pilots in the process! Like fellow weirdo Frank Zappa, the spoken humorous dialogue is part droll and part outright gruesome, courtesy of Viv Stanshall and Traffic's Jim Capaldi, among others. The cockpit check is hilarious ( " Haloperidol 5 mg, .. check, Benzedrine 20 mg, .. Check, Demerol 20 mg,.. Check, Glaaaass of Water...cheeeeck.. Jet takes off and promptly crashes.). Ha, ha, ha...Nicht lustig (not funny).The music is a fascinating bastardized schism of the Hawkwind sound, with Lemmy, Rudolph, King, Brock, Turner & Dettmar morphing with Eno, the wild Arthur Brown and the quirky Adrian Wagner on keys. The take-off 4.5 minute "The Aerospace Age Inferno" is just plain masterful, gritty, lewd, turbulent, brash and leaves a pungent aroma of burnt kerosene in its wake, definitely a track for the ages. All the other songs bathe in sheer genius, interfaced with more sarcastic dialogue , giving space (sic!) to such tunes as the lurid "The Widowmaker", the tantalizing cynical charm of "The Right Stuff", the petulant "Hero with a Wing", the brutal punko-hard prog of "Ejection", the funereal dirge of "Catch a Falling Starfighter" and the smirky 2 part "Song of the Gremlin".

Great original artwork on the vinyl, simply not reproduced on subsequent CD versions, proving again that the LP generation had access to a stronger art sense. A delightful, whimsical monument to a 'fallen Star.fighter". A very unique recording that deserve entrance into any worthy prog collection.

Rest in Space, Robert.

4 crashed jets.

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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