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Hawkwind advice please
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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!
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