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Hatfield & the North: Hattitude

People will argue, but it is not beyond the pale to consider Hatfield and the North to be the pure distillate of the Canterbury Scene. Chart out the various guesting and guests and the group covers a lot of names and places, and their music goes even further. Gratefully, Hattitude adds to the still smallish set of live recordings and beginning to end it is a delight to hear. Live, they again demonstrate one of the few examples in which every musician can easily be called a virtuoso writer and performer, and despite all the enormous individual talent the music itself is still perfectly unified, original, entertaining and moving.

Edited by Pip Pyle, who died in late August of last year, the CD demonstrates again just how inventive and unique a set of musicians comprised this band. Culled from live recordings made between 1973 and 1975, most of the Hatfield studio pieces are represented. So, don't let the track titles fool you "K Licks" is Calyx, "Drowning in the Bathroom" is "Fitter Stoke Has a Bath", and so on, along with a few oddments and transitions that recall moments from Egg and the sort of squawky-noodling that the lads always kept in proportion. And decoding the live titles and the way in which they pun the studio recordings is again typical of the band's tongue-in-cheek self-depricating humor, and still only half the fun. Like the studio work, these performances either run together or are edited together to provide the same suite and stream-of-consciousness quality of the albums accomplished in so many and convincing ways.

As for how all this got done, here's a quote from Pip Pyle, taken from the 20-page booklet (rare photos indeed!). "Back then we used to play hour-long sets with no breaks. It was partly because of only having to confront the apathy of the audiences twice a night once when you walk on, and again when you finish playing. It was something Soft Machine and Matching Mole did (for the same reason) and I thought it was a good idea."

What kept them going? Any of them? Obviously, the music. By way of belated amends, here's another chance to let them each know that there are people who really do care about and continue to appreciate the (enormous) effort.

Track Listing
1) Grosso Lavoro
2) Drowning in the Bathroom
3) K Licks (long)
4) The Crest
5) Pink & Green Machine
6) Further Dances
7) Le Barbe extract
8) Confiture de la Barbe
9) Born Again Crustacean
10) Elevenses
11) Farce Majeure
12) Spaces Not Notes
13) Song for All Our Mums
14) Extract
15) The Men's One-Metre Dash
16) K Licks (short)
17) One of Wilde's'
18) Blane Over The Low Countries
19) Drowning reprise
20) Goodbye For Now
21) Al Clark Presents

Added: March 2nd 2007
Reviewer: Kerry Leimer
Related Link: Hatfield & the North Website
Hits: 3119
Language: english

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