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Hawkwind - Live & Rare: Onward Flies The Bird CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

2.14 | 18 ratings

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2 stars Okay, I bought this only because it’s a Hawkwind album and I got it cheap. Turns out there’s a reason for that – I think this thing was probably a budget production even when it first came out, and the cutout label tells me I should have been more discerning. The track listings are impressive even if (like me) you’re not much of a Hawkwind fan and don’t know much about the band beyond the few Motörhead covers I’ve heard them do, but things go downhill quickly once the thing is opened and played.

I have a friend who’s retired from the Army, about 55 years old or so and a really straight-laced father of four kids. He’s very religious, conservative, reserved – pretty much the kind of guy you’d expect to have a Barry Manilow collection or one of those Time-Life Sounds of the Seventies 85-disc boxed sets full of bands named Boysenberry Urinal Cakes or Lance & the Actuaries or something like that. But instead the guy is a major hardcore Hawkwind fan. Has just about everything they’ve ever put out; and even has an old Volkwagen microbus in his garage. I’m not sure I want to know what he does with it, but more power to him. Anyway, he doesn’t have this one, and actually I don’t think he even knows about it. That tells me that Emporio Records is the British equivalent of K-Tel.

So what about the music? Like I said I’m not much of a Hawkwind fan, but I’ll pick up anything I know is supposed to be progressive if I find it in an out-of-the-way place and its cheap. Garage sales are nice; so are used record stores. Although I have to say used record stores are nowhere near the adventure they were 10-20 years ago. Nowadays they’re mostly filled with video games and DVDs and cheesy posters. This one I came across at a used book store, of all places. Found an Ezra CD there too. I’m guessing the two discs came from different original owners.

Anyway the sound quality on this thing sucks. I’ve heard many, many live bootleg albums that sound better than this thing. I suppose this was a soundboard recording, but you wouldn’t know it to listen to the thing. The bass sounds are almost completely washed out, and the few places where you can actually here keyboards (really “Silver Machine” mostly), they are tinny-sounding and not very effective. Lemmy’s “Motorhead” sounds like one of those sh!tty eighties thrash-band live cassette recordings that were so prevalent back then, and which completely destroyed those band’s music by removing virtually all sound separation when committed to tape. Gun Club comes to mind. The Nip Drivers were another one.

So let’s get this over with – this is not a very good album in terms of sound quality. Virtually nothing of value added to the package: no liner notes to speak of, no band bio or photos or extended song credits or paper 3d-glasses or Cracker Jack prize or rolling papers or anything like that included in the jewel case. So even though this seems to represent a very decent song selection according to my closet- hippie dear friend, even he agrees this one doesn’t deserve anything more than two stars. He did take it off my hands though – hardcore fans of a band will put anything in their collections; no shame whatsoever. Oh well, that would explain the four versions of Kansas’ 1989 King Biscuit concert that I have in my collection on various different labels and formats.


ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |


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