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Progressive Rock CD Reviews


Weird Tapes 2 - Hawkwind Live and Hawklords Studio

Review by Gary Hill

In terms of number of albums released, Hawkwind is arguably the most prolific rock band in history. I once read a listing of all Hawkwind releases from several years ago and the number was somewhere in the 80’s. It is by multiple releases of old material, such as this, that the number is so high. This disc, one of a series released this year, contains previously unreleased material. The CD was produced by Dave Brock himself, so those two elements add a definite air of quality separating the disc from a lot of compilations.

Since the material on this disc is from two different years (all but the last three are from a 1978 concert, and the remainder were originally recorded a year later), the lineups on the songs do vary a bit. The lineup on the first set is Bob Calvert, Dave Brock, Simon King and Simon House. The last three tracks are performed by Dave Brock, Steve Swindells, Harvey Bainbridge and Simon King.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 1 at

Track by Track Review
Quark Strangeness and Charm
Bouncy and fun, this is classic Hawkwind of the more basic variety. It drops into a nice weirdly off kilter jam after a time. This jam runs the cut straight into “Master of the Universe”.
Master of the Universe
A hard-edged groove, this is another Hawk classic. The performance here is a bit stripped down, but the vocals are exceptionally strong. As it breaks into the instrumental section, it takes on a definite lushness with an almost Hall of The Mountain Grill era arrangement. The cut comes out of this jam running quite strong. It drops from there to end and flow into the next cut.
Welcome to the Future
This is an effects laden poetry reading. The vocals here get quite interesting and the piece dissolves in to sheer loud chaos to end.
Spirit of the Age
A classic Hawkwind sci-fi tale, this one is a good stripped down rocker. It jumps into a great, almost punky segment and includes a killer violin solo. This one dissolves into keyboards that lead straight into “Sonic Attack”.
Sonic Attack
The quintessential Hawkwind musical theatrics piece, this is a very intriguing version, almost more musical in tone than the original, while still being definite chaos. The ending segment here is especially interesting.
Valium 10
The first of the studio tracks, this one begins with a voice only segment. “I don’t want you to panic, just sit back and relax.” As we hear the sounds of a drill and a blocked mouth making painful sounds, a slight cringe hits at the realization that this is a dentist speaking. The actual song begins with a classic Hawk jam that really feels like the hypnotic sorts of jams that were a big part of the early sound of the band. This one has a great groove and lots of trademark Hawk whooshing keys overlaid. A great keyboard groove emerges and dominates for a time.
Douglas in the Jungle
Droning bass begins this one and as distorted guitar joins, the two form the quirky and chaotic back drop on which the song is built. This makes for a rather freaky sort of Hawkjam. This is quite a weird, but rather fun number.
Time Of...
A great hypnotic jam with some killer keyboard work makes up the early parts of this track. It starts to move toward chaos for a time, but still retains its groove. The keys get just a bit Emersonish (in his effects dominated style). Next, the cut starts speeding up, getting harder in texture, and this instrumental eventually fades out from there.
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