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Khan: Space Shanty (Remaster)

The list of musicians who formed the short-lived Khan read like a who's-who in Cantebury music. This album is best known for bringing guitarist Steve Hillage to the public's attention, although it also did much for exceptional keyboard player Dave Stewart and bassist Nick Greenwood. Khan's band members also have credits in such prestigious Cantebury acts as Gong, Arthur Brown, Egg, National Health, Hatfield and the North - and many more.

The odd thing about this CD is that there's no single aspect worth mentioning. Hillage was still honing his soon-to-be unique style, and no musician's performance is really outstanding - no solos, no vocal delivery, none of the melodies, no flashes of brilliance; and to cap it all the lyrics are just so damned cheesy. But the whole is so much more than the sum of the parts. Everything works together so perfectly that music teachers should use this CD as a case-study for keyboard / guitar interplay. The whole vibe is laid back, the musicianship shows a relaxed confidence and ranges between tight compositions and carefully structured jam sessions. The instrumentation and the style are pure early-era progressive art rock and it wafts comfortably through the genre-scape of rock, blues, jazz and space-rock with competent two-part vocal choruses striving for a quasi-operatic sound.

The bass is very prominent - a jazzy, insistent, soft but very clear bottom line that drives every minute of every song. But the star of this CD is Dave Stewart with his excellent organ and piano work - listen for the rare but prominent Wurlitzer passages and cast your mind back to the hippy days of free pot, free love and flower-adorned VW micro-busses.

Space Shanty was released in 1972. Eclectic Discs has done an exceptional job of remastering it from the original master tapes, they've added two previously un-released tracks, and Khan's history is detailed in the CD's high-quality liner notes.

Cantebury rock didn't start with Khan. But if you're not intimate with that genre, then Space Shanty would be the perfect place for you to start. This is a pure gold-plated classic.

Track Listing:
  1. Space Shanty (8:59)
  2. Stranded (6:35)
  3. Mixed Up Man of the Mountains (7:14)
  4. Driving to Amsterdam (9:22)
  5. Stargazers (5:32)
  6. Hollow Stone (8:16)
  7. Break the Chains (3:26)
  8. Mixed Up Man of the Mountains (4:25)

Added: February 4th 2005
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: Eclectic Discs's Web Site
Hits: 5077
Language: english

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