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Henry Cow - Concerts CD (album) cover


Henry Cow



3.64 | 77 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
3 stars I have developed a love / hate relationship with this live double album from HENRY COW. If they had just released the first disc only it would easily be a four star record for me, but the second disc(which is filled with improvs) is a difficult listen to say the least. This is a valuable document though with some great information in the liner notes, including an interview the band did for some young Swedes where they tell them(among many other things) that their major influences were early SOFT MACHINE and MOTHERS OF INVENTION. There are also 2 pages taken from their road diary which is very interesting.

The first five tracks are a medley of songs they did at the BBC Broadcasting House in 1975. The sound quality is great, and the band who did this medley in concerts back then do it perfectly and seemingly without effort. Piano and female vocals(Dagmar Krause) dominate the first part of "Beautiful As The Moon- Terrible As An Army With Banners" but I like the latter section when the angular guitar comes in. "Nirvana For Mice" opens with sax as lots of intricate sounds come into play a minute in, including some great bass from Greaves. It calms right down 3 1/2 minutes in as different sounds come and go. It picks back up 5 minutes in to the end. "The Ottawa Song" features solemn vocals from Dagmar as guitar comes and goes.There is more energy 2 1/2 minutes in. Not a big fan of this one.

"Gloria Gloom" is a MATCHING MOLE cover and I like it a lot. The guitar after 1 1/2 minutes is fantastic. Lots of atmosphere 3 minutes in as the vocals stop. It becomes almost eerie as it blends into "Beautiful Is The Moon". This is another outstanding track with some piano, drums and fuzz organ. Amazing sound. The next 2 songs were taken from a concert with Robert Wyatt at New London Theater also in 1975. "Bad Achemy" is basically Wyatt and Krause singing together with piano accompanying them. "Little Red Riding Hood Hits The Road" is from "Rock Bottom" and is my favourite track on this double recording. Wyatt does his vocal melodies then follows it up with vocals. 1 1/2 minutes in is an incredible section. Love this song. Some good guitar 3 minutes and the drumming is outstanding. "Ruins" is from their "Unrest" album and is remarkable. Check out the organ in the first part of this song ! After 4 minutes it changes to a chamber rock style. Some raw guitar 10 minutes in with vocal melodies a minute later from Dagmar. The last 2 tracks(improvs) on the first disc require some patience and are a let down for me after all that has gone on before.

Disc two is pretty much the band experimenting and improvising. I agree with Syzygy that the final song "Udine" is by far the best of the bunch.

Overall a 3 star recording although I can't see playing disc 2 anytime soon. Still this is a valuable recording for me.

Mellotron Storm | 3/5 |


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