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The Soft Machine - Live At The Paradiso CD (album) cover


The Soft Machine


Canterbury Scene

3.60 | 44 ratings

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Dick Heath
Special Collaborator
Jazz-Rock Specialist
4 stars This is a legitimised bootleg of the music from 'Volume 2', recorded live in the famed Paradiso Club in the Netherlands. Here Machine are road testing the music of 'Volume 2' only a few weeks after escaping the tighter arrangements/constraints required to record the studio version. And how this album differs from the studio recording: the only Machinists present are Wyatt, Hopper and Ratledge, so inevitably the arrangements are changed and too, the set order varies. This is one of my top 3 Machine albums, on which you'll hear Robert Wyatt, the jazz drummer - he really swings like nowhere else. Indeed this the album for Wyatt the vocalist. Hugh Hopper, is magnificient providing his usual understated, unhurried and original bass lines. Oddly then and one complaint about this album, I find Mike Ratledge to be dozing for almost half the set, his organ set to 'noodle' for a backing - while Wyatt and Hopper are providing a surplus of musical entertainment. But the wait for the wake call is worth it. Everything gels about 20 minutes or so in, with the musical explosion of "Hibou anemone & bear". Ratledge shudders awake as a sleeping giant, his soloing there on in is magnificent - keyboard work light years ahead of Keith Emerson. I'm normally left breathless and I have to play the album through again. A brilliant interpretation of the music of 'Volume 2'.

Footnote: thank goodness somebody recognised that this recording is a valuable historical document, showing an aspect in the development of a most important British band, and have given us a legitimate issue on CD. Another surprising thing about this album, is the high quality of recording especially for a late 60's live taping - in many respects, this shows up the rushed job made of recording the first Soft Machine studio album - this has to be remastered soon - please!

Dick Heath | 4/5 |


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