Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Head To Head
Log In
Register
Unsung Forum »
Hawkwind advice please
Log In to post a reply

Pages: 3 – [ 1 2 3 | Next ]
Topic View: Flat | Threaded
Andfurthermoreagain
Andfurthermoreagain
587 posts

Hawkwind advice please
May 10, 2017, 12:44
Having just finished reading Ian Abrahams' excellent Sonic Assassins book, I now feel I need to gradually expand my Hawkwind collection - as the most fascinating parts of the book were the bits covering the lineups and albums I haven't heard (which is usually the opposite for me).
So, obviously, I have the UA years covered already (up to Warrior On The Edge of Time and including Calvert's Captain Lockheed album), but have often read that beyond this point it is advisable to 'proceed with caution' as Sethman puts it in an Unsung review.
Ian Abrahams gives a good overview and critique of the later albums but one man's gold is often another man's shit (and vice versa).

So advice/recommendations need on;

1. The Calvert fronted RCA years?

2. The Arista Years (Levitation, Sonic Attack etc)?

3. The Black Sword albums - I'm drawn due to the Moorcock connection but I've sort of gathered that the studio album is patchy and over-produced so I'm thinking of opting for Live Chronicles instead, probably the 2CD Atomhenge release. Am I barking up the right tree?

4. Anything beyond this point (the free-festival years, 90s, 00s etc).


It strikes me that approaching Hawkwind's back catalogue must be like a newcomer to Cope's work but across a greater time-span, in that there is a regular evolution of approach yet with certain consistent factors (Brock ha ha), and different key members (eg, Alan Davey, Richard Chadwick) inspriring updates and shifts in style throughout the years.
Fatalist
Fatalist
872 posts

Edited May 10, 2017, 18:12
Re: Hawkwind advice please
May 10, 2017, 18:10
Now this is the kind of post I like!

OK, to address your points:

1. The Calvert fronted RCA years?

That'll be the Charisma years ;-) There definitely is quite a difference between this stuff and the UA material, but for me, Calvert is just as integral to the Hawkwind story as Brock, so I'm a big fan of the albums he fronts. Overall, there's less of the deep space chug of the early albums, and the songs are wordier and more arranged, but they include some of HW's best material. Probably the album to start with from this period is Quark, Strangeness and Charm - it's got a slightly 'new wave' production, but tracks such as 'Spirit of the Age', 'Damnation Alley' and 'Hassan I Sahba' are unarguable classics that still get played live. Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music is half stoner prog, half jazz funk (kind of), but does contain the fantastic 'Steppenwolf'. 'Hawklords' is for me the hidden masterpiece - it's perhaps their most 'melodic' album, but features Calvert's best lyrics ('Psi Power' and 'Free Fall' are both sublime). PXR5 is a bit of a hodge podge, but contains another couple of Calvert must-hears: 'Uncle Sam's On Mars' and 'Robot'. Atomhenge has just put out a cheap box-set of all four, why not treat yourself? ;-)

2. The Arista Years (Levitation, Sonic Attack etc)?

That'll be the Bronze and RCA years (sorry, tedious pedant). Levitation sets the template for the 'cosmic metal' direction they would follow throughout the 80s - it's good, but IMO you are now outside their 'classic era'. For me, both Church of Hawkwind and Choose Your Masques (RCA) are more interesting/better, respectively being more electronic and heavier.

3. The Black Sword albums - I'm drawn due to the Moorcock connection but I've sort of gathered that the studio album is patchy and over-produced so I'm thinking of opting for Live Chronicles instead, probably the 2CD Atomhenge release. Am I barking up the right tree?

Haven't listened to Black Sword in years, though recall it has its moments, ditto Live Chronicles, though for all this period, it depends how much you like/can tolerate Huw Lloyd-Langton's tendency to widdle.

4. Anything beyond this point (the free-festival years, 90s, 00s etc).

Can't say I've heard everything, but Palace Springs is the best of the GWR years, some interesting live versions of old tracks. And while it's standard to say whenever a new album is released that it's a 'return to form', The Machine Stops and particularly their new one Into The Woods really are the best they've done for a long time and worth a listen.

Hope that helps!
chaosdemon23
1 posts

Re: Hawkwind advice please
May 11, 2017, 07:01
All the early albums from X In Search of Space upto 1979's Levitation are great. The Black Sword material is actually some of their weakest material and isn't a good reflection on them at all. For the free festival years, Stonehenge This Is Hawkwind Do Not Panic is a good live representation, as is the version of Brainstorm on the Travellers Aid Trust album, you even get a police announcement at the start
wychburyman
938 posts

Re: Hawkwind advice please
May 11, 2017, 07:36
chaosdemon23 wrote:
All the early albums from X In Search of Space upto 1979's Levitation are great. The Black Sword material is actually some of their weakest material and isn't a good reflection on them at all. For the free festival years, Stonehenge This Is Hawkwind Do Not Panic is a good live representation, as is the version of Brainstorm on the Travellers Aid Trust album, you even get a police announcement at the start


I'm not an aficionado, but Levitation is fantastic, especially on the headphones
Andfurthermoreagain
Andfurthermoreagain
587 posts

Re: Hawkwind advice please
May 11, 2017, 08:35
Ha ha - thanks for picking me up on the label confusion (I knew RCA were involved at some point, but where I got Arista from I have no idea. I have read a few rock biographies lately so my mind is mush :-))

Thanks for the recommendations - very useful on the Calvert years as this is likely my next investigation (I try to keep things chronological).
Will definitely consider Quark... but am very very tempted to Hawklords - the 2CD Atomhenge version with the Sonic Assassins outtakes looks great
Andfurthermoreagain
Andfurthermoreagain
587 posts

Re: Hawkwind advice please
May 11, 2017, 08:36
Aye, Mooncat's Unsung review certainly makes it sound appealing
Andfurthermoreagain
Andfurthermoreagain
587 posts

Re: Hawkwind advice please
May 11, 2017, 08:55
I was fascinated (and didn't realise before reading the book) by how much Hawkwind embraced and were embraced by that scene, taking inspiration from Ozric Tentacles and the like. I think getting Richard Chadwick and Bridget Wishart into the band was an inspired move.
I do get a bit of a Hawkwind vibe from early Poisoned Electrick Head.
Kid Calamity
8930 posts

Re: Hawkwind advice please
May 11, 2017, 10:35
Andfurthermoreagain wrote:
Aye, Mooncat's Unsung review certainly makes it sound appealing


It does! I might seek this one out on vinyl, as I'm not familiar with it at all.
Fatalist
Fatalist
872 posts

Re: Hawkwind advice please
May 11, 2017, 10:58
Andfurthermoreagain wrote:
Ha ha - thanks for picking me up on the label confusion (I knew RCA were involved at some point, but where I got Arista from I have no idea. I have read a few rock biographies lately so my mind is mush :-))

Thanks for the recommendations - very useful on the Calvert years as this is likely my next investigation (I try to keep things chronological).
Will definitely consider Quark... but am very very tempted to Hawklords - the 2CD Atomhenge version with the Sonic Assassins outtakes looks great


Go for it, the Sonic Assassins stuff is also fantastic
wychburyman
938 posts

Edited May 11, 2017, 18:41
Re: Hawkwind advice please
May 11, 2017, 14:05
Kid Calamity wrote:
Andfurthermoreagain wrote:
Aye, Mooncat's Unsung review certainly makes it sound appealing


It does! I might seek this one out on vinyl, as I'm not familiar with it at all.



All good, but Motorway City and Levitation are gems, especially cranked up loud or on the cans
Pages: 3 – [ 1 2 3 | Next ] Add a reply to this topic

Unsung Forum Index