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Nucleus Snakehips Etcetera album cover
3.20 | 33 ratings | 7 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Rat's Bag (5:51)
2. Alive And Kicking (9:30)
3. Rachel's Tune (7:05)
4. Snakehips Etcetera (10:32)
5. Pussyfoot (4:06)
6. Heyday (7:45)

Total Time: 44:49

Line-up / Musicians

- Ian Carr / trumpet, flugelhorn, piano, Moog, percussion
- Bob Bertles / soprano, alto & baritone saxophones, flute, voice, percussion
- Ken Shaw / electric & 12-string guitars, percussion
- Geoff Castle / keyboards, Moog, percussion
- Roger Sutton / bass, percussion
- Roger Sellers / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Michael Farrell

LP Vertigo ‎- 6360 119 (1975, UK)

2xCD BGO Records - BGOCD568 (2003, UK) Bundled edition with "Under The Sun" album

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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NUCLEUS Snakehips Etcetera ratings distribution

(33 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (39%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

NUCLEUS Snakehips Etcetera reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Philo
3 stars Ian Carr continues to go up and down with the ever inconsistent Nucleus. Under The Sun was a high point for the ever changing fusion act but Snakeships Etcetera is nothing but a cheesy pimped up album with little of the charm that its predecessor had. The line up is similar to the group on the last album, though Pitchen has now gone after only a bit part on the last one. But Ken Shaw is a better, more atmospheric guitarist and drags the album out of the frequent lull spots with a distinctive rock edge. The cover of the album itself is rather ridiculous, the back photograph is even worse. It features the band, all six or seven of them-there could be twenty, drapped all of over some sadly typically dressed 70's tart. This leads onto the music, possibly in an intuitive manner... Nucleus at this point are a functional act knocking out sleazy anthems with ease, but this is rather cool all the same. Never do the band break new ground, and Ian Carr seems content with this ease of jazzy sleaze. Ian Carr and Bob Birtles whip some some silky solos with a careless abandon like approach and the album does hit the spot sometimes, the interplay between trumpet and saxophone is always fun. And though the style may differ, Bertles is as good as Brian Smith, Carr's Nucleus partner for many a year-he would even return to fold soon after this album. "Heyday" is particularly cool, and "Rat's Bag" contains some clean lines, but for all its flaws and sins Snakehips Etcetera is a cool album, a dirty album, a corny album, with a few sporadic hints of grit, but lacking a punch.
Review by Zac M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Warning to all of those interested in listening to Ian Carr/Nucleus, Do not start here!!! Sure, this album is not particularly bad, but it is definitely far from their greatest works. The cover art and back side of the album suggest how cheesy this album sounds and appears. Ian Carr must having been thinking that if he made his and Nucleus's image more edgy that it would attract the fans. Obviously, that did not work, seeing how few people actually know who Nucleus are.

On this album, Ian Carr is joined by the likes of no-names (at least to me). I guess by now, everyone had already moved to other bands (e.g. Soft Machine). The title track and heyday are probably the best tracks on the album. Overall, like I said, this isn't particularly bad, just not very good either. I haven't heard Under the Sun yet, so I can't compare the two, but I know that the live album In Flagranti Delicto is even better than this one. Like Philip said, most of the stuff on here is heavy brass fusion cheese and sleaze. I can't recommend this to anyone except those trying to collect the whole Nucleus discography. Two stars, for the serious fans only.

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars The second (almost) stable Nucleus line-up will of course never equal the first one (which recorded the first three albums), but they still smoked big times. With the Sutton/Sellers (Sellers being the last clicking element to fit in this line-up) as the rhythm turbo diesel, Carr and reappearing Bertles at the steering wheel, Shaw and Castle are making their presence felt more than in the preceding album.

So you might think that this album is better, than Under The Sun, but at the risk of deceiving you, it is not the case. For some reason, Nucleus fails to capitalize on the recent musical success (nothing to be ashamed of though, the album still has many great moments), as the album lacks a bit the excitement, but I think the "songwriting" is maybe the culprit, here; Iobviously Carr has a fascination for Snakehips, which from what I remember was a female jazz dancer from the 30's, and he had already done a track in the third album Solar Plexus.

The slow developing, lenghty and repetitive title track is hardly denying my remarks above, but the opening Rat's Bag is a lively offsetting equaliser. Alive And Kicking is clearly an improv, but an inspired one. Exciting Rachel's Tune brings you back to Canterbury days with its fuzzed-out organs, Pussyfoot not shining, but with a good flute solo, and reflective Heyday bringing nothing to the usual Nucleus palette, round up the tracks of yet another good Nucleus album. But the keyword in that last sentence being yet!

Although hardly a bad album, this one is a bit inferior to the two around it, as Alleycats is also an excellent album. BGO's pairing of this album with Under The Sun under cat # BGOCD568 is maybe the second best after the pairing of the first two. What I do find frustrating with this formula is that this could be a single CD (both albums are around the 35 min timing) as could most of the other BGO Nucleus releases, therefore making the unnecessarily expensive records, especially that the artwork are reduced to minimal size.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Love is in the air

Coming off the wonderful "Under the Sun" album Nucleus leaned itself down to a mere six with Carr, Bob Bertles (sax), Ken Shaw (guitar), Geoff Castle (keys), Roger Sutton (bass), and Roger Sellers (drums). Here Carr wanted to do something "outrageous" both in the sensuous content of the music itself and in the less-than-PC album cover. Then there is the back photo plate which could be used at a feminist website regarding the objectification of women, nearly (but not quite) a Spinal Tap "Smell the Glove" moment. Then again, considering how women are treated these days by certain recording "artists" the Nucleus art is pretty tame. Alyn Shipton recalls in the liner notes that this album was released at a time when Nucleus was touring constantly "taking the music to the people." He apparently developed an ulcer worrying about the money side as the tours were not advanced funds and money was tight until the gigs started generating the cash flow. It certainly is obvious to me that they were touring a lot during this time as it shows in the quality of the music. This album has a live, jamming feel to it..the band is tight and grooving. I liked the album more than many of the reviews I've read about it. It is true this album is more funked up rocking and less nuanced than the previous fine work but it remains one hell of a good time. There's tons of playful energy here and they pull out all the stops, laying the goods on thick and heavy. Restraint is out the window and why not?

"Rat's Bag" was written by Bob Bertles and the funky opening announces that this album will be a bit different than the previous. The groove is pretty infectious with Sutton's awesome bass paired with Shaw's distinct guitar. The tune features a catchy sort of "instrumental chorus" that repeats between bouts of brass solos. "Alive and Kicking" was penned by bassist Sutton. Thick, spooky bass lines open with Carr injecting distressed calls. Eventually they find a groove and everyone makes good use of it. If there is one disappointment for me on Snakehips it is that I miss Bryan Spring's drop-dead amazing drumming.his replacement Roger Sellers is adequate but a bit less exciting. "Rachel's Tune" written by keyboardist Castle sees bass/rhythm laying down a consistent mid-gear backing, a bit funky but a bit stoic as well, for the horns to runs with. They'll drop off half-way through as Castle takes his keyboard solo. The title track is next starting slow and sexy before pausing to regroup.a very cool spacious section unfolds with each member throwing licks into the melting pot with only the drumming running consistent. Really nice. This approach continues and the free form aspect works well because you feel the players listening and reacting, a conversation develops between each member rather than a more song-oriented blend of instruments. Everyone really shines on this one, I especially liked Castle's injections which seemed perfectly judged. It builds for 10 minutes before gently closing the door with Sellers' drums mimicking a heartbeat. "Pussyfoot" pairs Carr with Bertles on flute for a springy melody that sounds like a "love is in the air" pronouncement. "Heydey" closes with a change of pace, a more sober and reflective feel using acoustic guitar and holding down the sassy for a while. The bass and acoustic guitar will slowly weave towards a final energetic ending when the horns arrive. Bertles delivers a smoking solo in the mid section. PC or not, "Snakehips Etc" will be a proud addition to my admittedly meek (but growing) jazz-fusion genre collection. I loved it. My impression of Mr. Carr is that he is less dry than others in the genre, more interested in providing the listener an enjoyable time and enjoying himself as well. I feel the music here successfully captures the themes they were writing about as well as the previous album did, it's just that perhaps the themes are more light-hearted here. Recommended by this jazz non-expert. Under 4 stars but enough to round up.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars When I first listened to this album I didn't think too much of it because it seemed like it was all uptempo with the horns blasting. The title tack and the closing number were the exceptions though and they became my two favourites. Two amazing tracks. Since my initial listen i've come to really appreciate the other songs, especially when listening carefully because there is so much going on. Ian at this time wanted to do something outrageous hence the front and back album covers. All the band members here played on the previous album "Under The Sun" except for drummer Roger Sellers.

"Rat's Bag" opens with trumpet and is led by it until around 1 1/2 minutes then the horns come in blasting. The trumpet's back leading as themes are repeated. This song really grooves. "Alive And Kicking" opens with intricate sounds coming and going like bass, horns and drums. It picks up 2 1/2 minutes in as we get a melody. The guitar is great here. Piano is prominant before 7 minutes. It settles down late. "Rachel's Tune" opens with drums. This one has a funky rhythm with horns blasting. Piano leads after 4 minutes.

"Snakehips Etcetera" is one of NUCEUS' best compositions i'd say. They slow it down here. Disturbed keyboards and guitar before 2 minutes. Horns and organ come and go.The drums are more prominant before 5 minutes. There's that disturbed keyboard again after 6 minutes. Trumpet leads late. "Pussyfoot" is catchy and uptempo with lots of flute. Great sounding tune. "Heyday" is excellent with the guitar, bass and drums to start. Piano after 2 minutes.This is melancholic and I love it. It does brighten some later on.

This is NUCLEUS' most enegetic album where they seem to be having a blast. Just be careful though because it's contagious.

Review by Bonnek
2 stars Another typical mid 70's Nucleus album with funky fusion marked by Carr's leading trumpet playing and kitsch artwork. The line-up remained largely unchanged compared to the preceeding 'Under The Sun', and while the musicianship is enjoying, none of these players has enough stamina to leave a noticeable mark on the Nucleus sound. It all remains very much within of the confines prescribed by Carr.

The disappointing thing about it all is how none of the tracks manages to rise above mere background fusion music and as such it's quite a letdown after the nice 'Under the Sun' album. On the plus side, there's nothing really offputting about it neither. On occasion they still manage to attract the attention of the listener by small psychedlic details such as on the title track, but mostly they stick to passable melodic funk-fusion. The hooks are average though, sounding too much like those from any other Nucleus track or album.

Review by stefro
4 stars Key exponents of classy jazz-rock, Ian Carr's Nucleus burst onto the British rock scene sometime during 1970 with the release of their dazzling debut album 'Elastic Rock'. Featuring Carr on trumpet, guitarist Chris Spedding and future Soft Machine leader Karl Jenkins, the music of Nucleus was both versatile and exciting stuff, the group capable of playing the most fiendishly-difficult blend of genre's, both on record and in the live arena. Despite a series of line-up shifts, between 1970 and 1975 Nucleus issued a series of excellent studio albums, with 'Elastic Rock' followed by 'We'll Talk About It Later' and 1971's 'Solar Plexus'. Featuring a multi-faceted hybrid of fusion styles and psychedelic sounds and textures, yet always underpinned by a strong jazz core, these first three records represented Nucleus at their most progressive and experimental, before 1973's 'Labyrinth' saw the onset of a slicker and funkier style. After 'Solar Plexus', an album billed under the heading of Ian Carr & Nucleus, the original line-up of Carr, Spedding, Jenkins, saxophonist/flautist Brian Smith, bassist Jeff Clyne and drummer John Marshall began to fragment, Spedding going solo and Jenkins joinng up with Soft Machine. By now the de-facto leader, Ian Carr would issue the group's next album, 1972's 'Bella-Donna', under his own name, before switching to yet another moniker - Nucleus with Ian Carr - for the following year's 'Labyrinth'. The group's fifth album overall, 'Labyrinth' opened up a new chapter in the Nucleus story, as Carr and company started playing a brand of jazz-rock influenced less by rock and more by funk. 'Roots'(1973) and 'Under The Sun'(1974) would continue the formula, before 1975's 'Snakehips Etcetera' saw Carr as the only original member left, the trumpeter now augmented by keyboardist Geoff Castle, saxophonist Bob Bertles, bassist Roger Sutton, guitarist Ken Shaw and drummer Roger Sellers. Featuring some truly striking artwork, 'Snakehips Etcetera' remains arguably the strongest of Nucleus' jazz-funk albums, yet it would also be the last Nucleus album of note in an impressive five-year run of releases. Many musicians would play on these albums, yet at the very core of the group was Ian Carr, a trumpeter and arranger of real skill. 'Snakehips Etcetera' may not have been the greatest of Nucleus albums, yet it proved the final piece in Carr's wonderful sonic puzzle of expertly-crafted jazz- rock. Alongside Soft Machine and If, Nucleus represent the very apex of British jazz-rock. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2013

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