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National Health

Canterbury Scene

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National Health Complete album cover
4.17 | 54 ratings | 12 reviews | 54% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1990

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (78:17)
1. Paraclesus (1:41)
2. Tenemos Roads (14:32)
3. Brujo (10:13)
4. Borogoves (excerpt from Part Two) (4:12)
5. Borogoves (Part One) (6:29)
6. Elephants (14:32)
7. The Bryden Two-Step (for Amphibians) Part 1 (8:52)
8. The Collapso (6:16)
9. Squarer for Maud (11:30)

CD 2 (78:38)
10. Dreams Wide Awake (8:48)
11. Binoculars (11:43)
12. Phlakaton (0:08)
13. The Bryden Two-Step (for Amphibians) Part 2 (5:31)
14. The Apocalypso (6:32)
15. Portrait of a Shrinking Man (5:33)
16. T.N.T.F.X. (3:12)
17. Black Hat (4:51)
18. I Feel a Night Coming On (6:35)
19. Arriving Twice (2:17)
20. Shining Water (8:50)
21. Tales of a Damson Knight (1:53)
22. Flanagan's People (5:20)
23. Toad of Toad Hall (7:25)

Total Time 156:55

Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Stewart / organ, electric & acoustic piano, Minimoog, tone generator (all, except 12)
- Phil Miller / guitar (all, except 12)
- Alan Gowen / Moog, electric & acoustic piano (1-13, except 12)
- John Greaves / bass (7-23, except 12)
- Neil Murray / bass (2-6)
- Pip Pyle / drums, electric drums, percussion, glockenspiel, finger cymbals, shaker, bells, hand claps (all, except 1)
- Mont Campbell / bass (1)
- Steve Hillage / guitar (1)
- Bill Bruford / drums (1)

- Jimmy Hastings / flute, clarinet, bass clarinet (2-6,9,11)
- Amanda Parsons / vocals (2-6,15)
- John Mitchell / percussion, temple blocks, giro (2-5)
- George Born / cellos (7,9,13)
- Paul Nieman / trombones (7,11,13)
- Phil Minton / trumpet (7,11,13)
- Selwyn Baptiste / steel drums (8)
- Keith Thompson / oboe (9,11)
- Peter Blegvad / voice (9)
- Rick Biddulph / bass (10)
- Ted Emmett / trumpet (15-23)
- Annie Whitehead / trombone (15-23)
- Barbara Gaskin / backing vocals (15-23)
- Elton Dean / saxello (15-23)
- Richard Sinclair / vocals (15-23)

Releases information

Tracks 2 to 6 from "National Health"
Tracks 7 to 13 from "Of Queues and Cures"
Tracks 15 to 23 from "D.S. al Coda"

East Side Digital ESD 80402/412 (1990)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy NATIONAL HEALTH Complete Music

NATIONAL HEALTH Complete ratings distribution

(54 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(54%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (4%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

NATIONAL HEALTH Complete reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars I had this one at my disposition in the late 90's for several months and as the title suggest , this is the first three albums including the tribute to the death of one of the member. If you own the first two albums , this will come down as useless (or almost) because the booklet is not great on explanations or small extras you might wait from such compilation. They have split one album over the two CD and this always had the tendency to bother me because I always thought of that as a lack of respect for the original oeuvre but having two albums on one CD bothers me a lot less as they are then complete.
Review by Matti
4 stars I actually liked - many years ago - NH for three stars only, but it is definitely too forgotten band. As Eliott said, "seems like a farewell to a lost age". Maybe it's just that they were there too late (debut from 1977) and they were doomed to be overlooked. But speaking of Canterbury scene one really should remember National Health. They come pretty close to Caravan in style but still it is their own. You absolutely feel that these guys enjoy making music. Whatever happened to the amazing keyboard player Dave Stewart (NOT the Eurythmics man!)? ________ By the way, after reading Jonathan Coe's The Rotters' Club (which has a lot of references to 70's prog) I expected to like more of Hatfield & The North's album that gave name to the novel. I came to compare it to (my memories of) National Health and thought the latter is better. Maybe I should seek for this 156-minute set again...
Review by Progbear
4 stars A superbly packaged compilation of all three of National Health's studio albums on two discs, with informative and witty liner notes courtesy of Dave Stewart himself. Having Stewart's remeniscences to read as you listen brings you a whole other level of appreciation of National Health's output; they clearly produced this music at a time of great hardship, when the very industry that produced them showed them little more than outright hostility.

The cover art is (frankly) uninspired, and the bonus tracks are a tad inessential (the abbreviated "Paracelsus" has been made redundant with the release of MISSING PIECES, and Stewart's solo synth remake of "The Collapso" seems a bit pointless). Minor complaints, though, this is for me an invaluable collection. Every home should have one.

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is the one for you, especially if you've been wanting a little Health in your life. National Health were one of the premier progressive rock fusion bands of the era and, at their best, equalled the musicianship and sophistry of Yes or King Crimson. This CD is a definitive and thoroughly satisfying chronicle of the best recorded work from this great ensemble and has something for everyone. Hear the clever syncopation, understated yet complex structure, and wacky English humor, all on one 2-disc set that is well worth your investment new or used.
Review by Tapfret
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Worthy

The Canterburians of my collection are in general some of my least favorite listens. In National Health's case, I only became aware of them through Dave Stewart's collaboration with Bruford in his solo work. As a matter of fact, there are at least 2 musical movements that the 2 projects share in common.

'Complete' is basically a box set of NH's first 3 albums in almost their entirety. The NH sound is very similar to the first 3 Bruford solo works. very tightly constructed Jazz/rock fussion. It is quality music and makes good background sounds, but if I sit and listen just to listen, it becomes rather tiresome about two thirds into the first disc.

2.9 stars.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars For some reason, back when their records were originally released, I had a very difficult time locating National Health's albums. And I wanted them badly. A local college radio station gave them frequent airplay. So it wasn't until this CD came out that I actually owned anything by what I think is the best Caterbury band ever.

This collection includes the first three albums, plus an excerpt from an early recording of the band, featuring Bill Bruford on drums.

The music starts out as classic Canterbury, with some fusion mixed in. But it's with the second album that the band transcends pure Canterbury, and heads in the direction Dave Stewart will explore in Bruford's fusion group. In fact, Of Queues and Cures rivals many of the best fusion albums of the seventies.

The best songs are The Collapso, The Mahavishnu Orchestra-like Dreams Wide Awake, The Apocalypso, and Portrait Of A Shrinking Man, the last of which is vaguely reminiscent of some of Zappa's fusion works.

So I'd rate this 4.5 stars, rounded up.

Review by Man With Hat
COLLABORATOR Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team
5 stars An easy decision.

National Health are the best Canterbury band around. And this is the ultimate NH document. The first statement is debatable, but the second isn't. Complete collections all three of National Health's albums on to two CDs, complete with an extra or two. At the time, their main albums were either out of print, or just very scarce, which made this collection even more invaluable. And finally, the price was well worth it (assuming you buy from legitimate retailors...).

I won't go too in depth about the music here, as that would be better suited for the individual albums, but it is top notch Canterbury scene stuff. Jazzy, complex, wonderful keyboard arrangements/sounds, pleasing vocals, and a big dose of fun. The two other incentives for buying this album are the opener Paraclesus, a fun litter number that's a great introduction to their first CD (with Bruford on the drums to boot!), and The Apocalypso, a track that would feel right at home on DS Al Coda. Its hard to choose favorites when a band's entire studio repertoire is presented, but I'll make special mention for Tenemos Roads (with probably my favorite female vocals in all of prog), The Collapso (an exotic tinged number), and Squarer for Maud (which is just so damn infectious). There really isn't anything bad to say about Complete. Perhaps it would be annoying that their second album is spilt between two discs, and if you are listening to these in the conventional manner, a little more effort is required (and perhaps the mood broken slightly). But really, this is minor.

All in all, this is an excellent way to acquire the bulk of National Health's discog. (All that's left is an excellent live offering, and a collection of unreleased material.) The sound quality is warm and expressive, and the value is top notch (especially since the recent re-releases of National Health's first two albums are a bit on the pricy side, for single disc efforts). 5 stars. There is no better way to get to know National Health. Highly recommended.

Review by Warthur
4 stars This is a pretty solid collection of the original three National Health albums, though it's worth raising some caveats. Firstly, the bonus tracks are highly pointless: Paracelsus offers only a small snippet of the track in question, and the Missing Pieces collection is where you will want to go if you want to hear the material the band cooked up before their debut. The other bonus is The Apocalypso, a Dave Stewart solo synth remake of The Collapso... er, which was already provided on disc 1. What was the point?

Another quibble is that the split of three albums into 2 CDs means that Of Queues and Cures, arguably the band's masterpiece, gets cut in half. At least the split is where the end of side 1 of the vinyl will be - but half the convenience of CDs is not having to turn the disc over!

Still, it's a good collection, though it has to be said that only two of the three albums here are truly essential - D.S. al Coda suffers from a badly dated synth sound - and both of those got nice rereleases on Esoteric more recently, rendering this set redundant unless you absolutely, truly must own D.S. al Coda. (...why?)

Latest members reviews

4 stars The extra tracks, and Dave Stewart's liner notes, are worth it. This box-set contains all three National Health albums in their entirety, which is already good value for the price. You also get Dave Stewart's hilarious liner notes, in which he lays out the entire history of the band and tells a n ... (read more)

Report this review (#1697058) | Posted by Walkscore | Sunday, February 26, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars If you're new to National Health, and don't already have their other albums, this is a great choice if you can find it--it's three for the price of, er, two, reasonably well-mastered, and Stewart's commentary in the liner notes is extensive and absolutely priceless. (Did you know Pip Pyle is made ... (read more)

Report this review (#226795) | Posted by ods94065 | Wednesday, July 15, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Album of CD2 piece set released in 1990 "National Health Complete". An additional track is collected to this work besides the original album. Especially, initial "Paracelsus" is a masterpiece of the phantom. In addition, the charm of the keyboard that adapts "The Collapso" of the second work i ... (read more)

Report this review (#54599) | Posted by braindamage | Friday, November 4, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars National Health's music seems like a farewell to a lost age. At the end of the 70's, when progressive rock has been stifled to death by the greedy music industry, NH (along with U.K. and perhaps one or two others) was the only remaining true progressive band and have put together all that was ... (read more)

Report this review (#5065) | Posted by EMinkovitch | Wednesday, June 2, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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