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Progressive Rock CD Reviews



Review by Gary Hill

This is a new CD release of an album only available on vinyl (and cassette - I know because I own the cassette still) previously. A compilation album, this was always a special set as far as I'm concerned. This release features a reproduction (albeit a smaller version) of the fold-out poster of the cover that came with the album. The music has been remastered, and the gatefold sleeve reproduced. All in all, this is a product that I'm glad to have in my collection. They've done a really classy job putting it together.

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Track by Track Review
Hurry on Sundown
I reviewed this song on the debut album, and this is a remastered version of that recording. So, here's what I said that time: This is a classic. Pretty, progish acoustic guitar starts this cut. The track becomes more rock oriented, but still progish, although a bit simplistic in structure. Certainly the lyrics to this one are quite prog oriented. "Look into your mind's eye, See what you can see." When the guitar solo comes in, the cut takes on very psychedelic tones, quite reminiscent of The Doors. This is strong space rock with early prog and psychedelic leanings. It even includes some wailing, Hendrixish guitar.

This song also comes from the self-titled debut album, but on that set it's divided into part one and part two. Here we get a single track variant. This comes with trippy psychedelic weirdness. I think this is actually the "part two" section, with it's trippy weirdness. Here's what I said about that on the original review. A darkly psychedelic tone begins this number, which has a very strong sci-fi texture and quirky progish riff. It speeds up and slows down and other than some odd chanting at the beginning is an instrumental. This one is also from the album that takes the band's name as its title.

You Shouldn't Do That (LIVE)
This is a powerhouse live recording of a Hawkwind classic. It's tribal in terms of the chanting sounds. The music is driving space rock that works so well. It is screaming hot in this performance. The original vinyl release of this was the first time this version has ever been released.
Silver Machine
This was a huge hit for the band. It's a driving, space rock tune that is all class. It was originally released on single. Apparently, it's actually a live recording, which I never realized, and I do own the single. There are a number of versions of this out there, but this is the quintessential one, as far as I'm concerned.
Urban Guerilla
At the time this album was originally released, this was a real rarity. It had been released as a single, but quickly pulled as bombings in London were ramping up, and the BBC didn't feel it was appropriate to have the song out. I originally reviewed this on Epoch Eclipse, and here's what I said about it.  This is a hard rocking, almost punky cut. It really seemed to foresee the unfortunate future of our society. "I'm an urban guerilla, I make bombs in my cellar." "So, let's not talk of love and flowers, and things that don't explode, you know we've used up all of our magic powers trying to do it in the road." This one features a definitive Hawkjam.
Space Is Deep
Coming from the band's Doremi Fasol Latido album, I originally reviewed this tune when I covered that album. Here's what I said: Pretty acoustic guitar leads this one off, and as it builds keys shimmer across the top. The track launches out into a balladic sort of texture with a more sung vocal line. All the while the keyboards chirp and twitter across the sky of the piece. This track is a very different beast than the one that came before it, but it’s also a classic “text book” example of “space rock.” This doesn’t move far, instead (like most great space rock) it gains its power from reworkings of the central themes in varying formats and subtle transitions. They do power this one out for good effect later into a more hard rocking version of itself, though. It also drops back the acoustic guitar modes as Dave Brock coaxes all kinds of explorations from his strings. Eventually keys and sound effects take the lead from him, though – coming up gradually at first. Still Brock gets the last word.
Wind of Change
Coming from the Hall of the Mountain Grill album, this instrumental starts with the sound of an explosion that pulled it from the previous cut on the original set. The sound of wind picks up before organ rises up to move it forward. When I reviewed that album I said this about the tune: This cut is much slower and quite melodic, beginning just on keys. It is a fairly static, but pretty, instrumental.
The Golden Void
A crash brings this into being. The cut drives outward from there with a killer space rock magic element. This is one of my favorite Hawkwind songs. Given the depth of their catalog, that says a lot. This original studio version has a lot of instruments and textures that get left behind on a lot of the live versions out there. This has some strong vocal hooks and some real soaring musical moments. There are some interesting shifts and turns here, too.
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