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The Long Hello - Volume Three CD (album) cover


The Long Hello


Eclectic Prog

2.75 | 17 ratings

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Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The name Nick Graham (ATOMIC ROOSTER, SKIN ALLEY) was brought to my attention recently and I thought I'd review an album to which he contributed to; Volume 3 of the 'Long Hello' series. The 'Long Hello' project was conceived back in 1973, where ex-VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR members could get together and have a bash and contribute some compositions which were otherwise overlooked by visionary PETER HAMMILL. It is a somewhat overlooked recording, not that it's a particularly bad one, but it's not the holy grail either. Actually, it's sax player DAVID JACKSON's project more than anything. 'Jaxon', as he is known to many, was also a crucial part of, not only one of the most incredible progressive bands known to humankind - VDGG, but also contributed to several side-projects including Hammill's solo work, 4 Long Hello volumes, Magic Mushroom Band's sensational 'Spaced Out' album, and even hooking up with R.P.I. legends OSANNA. The saxophonist is truly gifted, one of those amazing musicians who could play multiple saxes simultaneously along with The Blockhead's Davey Payne, a trick that only (to my limited knowledge) jazzer Roland Kirk had mastered. Options were open..... Recording took place between September '79 - November '81 and the resultant music reflected a good dose of experimental jazz-prog and New-Wave influences. Amongst the 'big names' we find Graham, Hammill, drummer Guy Evans, bassist Dave Anderson, and guitarist/vocalist Jakko Jakszyk (and others). Opening tune, 'Jacko and the Polar Bear', we find a folksy tune with vocalisings from Jaxon and his then baby son Jacob, leading into an odd-metred riff with Graham on bass and Evans on drums, and Hammill eventually joining in on some atonal organ stabs. Jaxon's whistles and sax work are superb. 'Dr. Mop' is a rather catchy tune featuring Graham on rhythm-box, Anderson on bass, Brian Evans on vox and Jaxon's usual grating sax work. The melody is simple, and it's in- keeping with the new-wave vibe of the time. 'Mayday Mayday' is the instrumental equivalent of the previous track, this time with Jaxon on rhythm-box (and you can't tell the difference ......!!). 'Sogni D'oro' is a longer piece, credited to Jaxon (saxes & keys) & Jakszyk (vox, guitars and bass), along with John Clarke on a Simmons electronic drum kit keeping a steady 4/4 beat. Again more new-wave inclinations along with some ethereal instrumental stretches. Flipside we get another instrumental, 'Stonewall Stands with Thomas Davies' - a more playful tune showcasing saxes and whistles, and rhythm- box. 'Sometimes I Do, Sometimes I Don't' is a cool, melodic tune with Jaxon's saxes leading the way and tasteful bass from Graham. 'Range Change' has some cheezy sounding keys, along with that bloomin' cheap-sounding rhythm-box and bass from Anderson. The saxes are the highlight. The finale of the album is 'The Honing Of Homer', a composition credited to Jackson and Hammill, even if the latter does not appear on the recording itself. Possibly the most exciting piece of the album. Sung by Jakszyk, the tune twists around from new-wave to distinctively weird, and back again. It isn't too far away to what one may find on Hammill's solo albums PH7 or A Black Box. Overall, a good-to-very good album, more of an obscurity for VDGG obsessives..........3.5 stars from me.
Tom Ozric | 3/5 |


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