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Nektar - Sunday Night At The London Roundhouse (1974) CD (album) cover



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4 stars The latest in the series of Nektar remasters from the wonderful Eclectic Discs label sees a brand new and complete edition of the band's landmark live album from 1974. The original album was a single vinyl release and featured this track listing : Desolation valley /A day in the life of a preacher featuring the birth of oh Willie /Oop's (unindentified flying abstract)/Mundetango/Summer breeze (2:40). However (as I recall) just three of those tracks came from the actual gig and the other two were from a live studio set, which has since been released as 'Oops Unidentified Flying Abstract' on the Bellaphon label (good luck with finding that!). The new edition has been extensively remastered and sounds absolutely stunning! The full track listing from the 2CD set is as follows : CD One: King of Twilight; Desolation Valley; A Day in the Life of a Preacher (full version); Summer Breeze; Cast Your Fate CD Two: Remember the Future Part One; Odyssey (Ron's On); 1-2-3-4; Let It Grow; Woman Trouble. Any Nektar fans out there will quickly seed that this is a collection of some of their finest material. The opening two tracks come from my favourite of all the Nektar albums, 'A Tab In The Ocean' and the set also features almost the whole of 'Remember The Future' Even if you've got the original vinyl or the earlier CD reissue it's still well worth picking up this as there is so much extra stuff here! Also the sound quality is so far superior to that of the 'Live In New York' set. The closing track on disc 1 'Cast Your Fate' is a classic example of Nektars cocktail of ballsy rock and melancholia, just one of a handful taken from the classic 'Sounds Like This' album, which is also due for re- issue soon.
Report this review (#19147)
Posted Tuesday, February 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album was recorded during a concert at The London Roundhouse on Noverber 25th, 1973. It was first released in 1974 and this version almost covers the whole concert because at least "Oop's - Unindentified Flying Abstract" and "Mundetango"won't be featured.

This album starts with two great tracks. "King Of Twilight" and "Desolation Valley". They belong to my favorite of the bands (with several of their their debut one "Journey to the Centre of the Eye" from which no songs are featured here). These songs are played very well and are the highlights of course. It's always a magical moment to hear these two songs.

This live album is rather complete since "Remember The Future" is almost fully represented (only "Part II" will be seriously shortened). The original studio version did not impress me but this live one sounds far much better to my ears. Fully rocking. It is a great rendition and this song takes its full power while played live. "Part II" is a little weaker (but a lot shorter as well than originally).

A fave of their live "sessions" was "A Day In The Life...". Almost present on each of their live albums, it will be the occasion for a very long improvisation. Not always interesting. Again, this version is a good and hard-rocking one. But you have to be able to digest this almost twenty minutes song. And it's not always easy.

"Odyssey" is a true jam session with a very good drum solo. Not essential, but in those days it was an integrant part of rock concerts. It was a favourite of their live concerts (it is also featured in more or less the same format on "Sounds Like This". But I prefer this version : shorter by three minutes, it's sounds fresher (maybe due to the sound restoration on this remastered version).

When he introduces "1,2,3,4" Roye tells the audience that "It's time to get and move". This song is seriously hard-rock and fully jam oriented. Like "Purple" could do in 1970/1971. It is not my favourite moment of this live album but it rocks savagely.

The album closes on "Woman", a boogie in the style of "Canned Heat". Another rocking moments like there will be many here. But this how "Nektar" sounded like. In terms of live album, I prefer this one to "Sounds Like This or "Unidentified Flying Abstract".

If ever you have to decide to get one "Nektar" live album; I would recommend either this one or the remastered "Live In New-york" (two CD set). It gives a pretty good idea of how the band sounded live. Three stars.

Report this review (#141403)
Posted Monday, October 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars A no nonsense groovy tripped out live performance from Nektar during their heyday in the early seventies. Far from a command performance, but what makes this live recording remarkable are it`s flaws such as Albrighton`s raw in-your-face vocals which are nothing to write home about but work here with Nektar`s brand of head banging art-rock. The echo that is semmingly created from the acoustics in the venue also add to the very relaxed, loose and intimate mood which hangs in the air throughout the whole disc. Some of the longer tracks such as A Day In The Life Of A Preacher start to drag at times but Roye Allbrighton manages to pick up the groove with intense psychedelic and sometimes spacey guitar lines with some jazzy licks thrown in on Odyssey which also contains the compulsory drum solo and noise freakout of the day. One nice thing about this live recording is the omnipresence of the Hammond Organ which doesn`t get too " Emersonistic " and creates a constant mellow backdrop even during Albrighton`s more fiery moments providing a sort of relaxing contrast ocassionally soloing and providing some spacey effects.

Apart from a few subdued sections of Remember The Future, the instrumental Summer Breeze and Cast Your Fate, Live At The Roundhouse is an otherwise jamming live album, with spontanaeity throughout, particularily on 1-2-3-4 and the bluesy encore track Woman Trouble. Unfortunately Nektar was a band that was frequently compared to their contemporaries but this excellent document of Nektar at the top of their game in `73 has a lot more "move to it" than Deep Purple Purple or Uriah Heep had in their live acts in the early 70s and can even sound distantly like Grand Funk Railroad !

Previously released in `74 as a single vinyl record now extended to over 100 minutes, Sunday Night At The London Roundhouse is a highly recommended for those who want a less crebral dose of 70s psychedelic art`n roll. Play loud and trip out.

Report this review (#152439)
Posted Friday, November 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars A Tale of Two CDs and an LP.

The original LP of this album dates back to 1974. My first encounter with it was the first CD release in 1990 or shortly thereafter. At the time we were being (mis)treated regularly with CDs that were dirt cheap re releases of LPs where the original master for the vinyl disc was just copied without any a proper remastering for the CD format, much less any improvements on the master taking advantage of the latest of what technology has to offer. In this case the CD actually came with a booklet having no information on the album other than track names and times. I'd hope they did a better job with the LP, but I don't know, haven't seen it.

When the 2005 edition arrived I was initially a little disappointed that two of the tracks I really liked, partially due to them not being available otherwise (Oop's (Unidentified Flying Abstract), and Mundetango.) Summer Breeze was still there though. Then I started reading the CD booklet and found an interesting detail: Oop's, Mundetango, and Summer Breeze were actually live in the studio recordings several months later than the Roundhouse recordings.

What you get for what was taken, more than makes up for the tracks removed. An excellent assortment of tracks from their A Tab In The Ocean to the Return To The Future period. Nothing from Journey To The Center Of An Eye, though. Though there is good material there, they had moved on a bit to their next phase. As befitting a great live album, the tracks aren't clones of their studio counterparts. Nice integration of jamb band with progressive elements. Not sure if I'd still rank the studio albums as more essential than this, but most likely by a small margin. The band really worked magic together.

Report this review (#177900)
Posted Tuesday, July 22, 2008 | Review Permalink

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