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2 Jul 2017

Gong "Live In Sherwood Forest" 1975 - CD 2005 UK Canterbury Scene







Gong "Live In Sherwood Forest" 1975 - CD 2005 UK Canterbury Scene

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 This is an excellent live document from a period where GONG was in transition. Steve Hillage was playing on his last tour with the band, in fact this concert from this mini 13 date UK tour was the very last date. Steve would come back for re-union concerts but it's cool to think this was his last official gig with the band. Daevid Allen, Gili Smyth, Tim Blake were all gone at this point in 1975. Daevid fo course encouraged the band to continue because he felt this was more than a band and it was a band with no official leader. It was inique. Steve had already released in April of that year his solo album "Fish Rising" in fact we even get 2 tracks from that album here. "Shamal" would be released the following year and we get 3 tracks from that future release. One track played here was never released on a studio album leaving just 2 tracks (both from "You") that the audience would have been familiar with.Yet the audience is very into this concert. Only one song from the concert was left off due to the confined space of a cd. As it is we get 78 minutes from the concert held in Sherwood Forest. Steve Hillage talks a fair bit about Robin Hood even suggesting that they had the ability to time travel back then. I'm not sure how many in the spaced out audience belived him but it's all in good fun. By the way the sound quality is excellent as it was actually being professionally recorded for a radio broadcast that apparently never happened. Thankfully the tape was preserved. Some great pictures of the band especially of Hillage. Interesting that CLEARLIGHT was opening for them on this tour and their violinist for the first time on the tour came out and played with GONG on this final date. He would later join GONG. Hillage on vocals and guitar, Howlett on vocals and bass, Lemoine on keyboards, Malherbe on Sax and flutes, Moerlen on drums, Giraudy on vocals, Pinchevvesky on violin and Bauer on marimba, percussion and glockenspiel.
This is a solid 4 star album that reminds me of a cross between solo Hillage music and the Ozric Tentacles jamming style. It's simply an interesting listen because of who was in the band and the time it was recorded. It's just before the Jazz / Fusion period yet we get a taste of that too. Highly recommended to GONG fans and Steve Hillage fans alike.....by Mellotron Storm .................

Repressing of this live archive release. A rare previously unreleased live recording by Gong recorded at Nottingham University on 25th November 1975 for a live radio broadcast. Includes star guitarist Steve Hillage on the last date of his final tour with the band before beginning a successful solo career. This 78 minute live recording includes songs from the albums Shamal and You and for the first time on record, Gong playing live versions of songs from Steve Hillage's solo album Fish Rising. Includes a 12-page booklet with rare live photos and sleeve notes from the band. Mastered with the assistance of bassist and record producer-Mike Howlett (OMD), the clarity and energy of this live recording is top quality........................

"Recorded at Nottingham University on November 25th 1975 for a long defunct radio station (we don't think it was ever broadcast) and quite a rarity, the Shamal era Gong band before Steve and Miquette's departure. In fact not counting the 1977 reunion this was their penultimate Gong gig (the last was in London in December '75). This excellent quality recording is also notable for being one of the late Jorge Pinchevsky's earliest gigs with Gong - it might even be his first, no-one can actually remember. Jorge was violinist in Clearlight, the support band on a 13 date UK tour and he occasionally sat in with Gong - he didn't officially join the band until the Shamal recording sessions, in Jan '76. The mastering was aided by the studio ears and Gong expertise of Mike Howlett, although we have the recording engineer on the night to thank for a good releasable live mix - very occasionally a little furry round the edges, but he must have done some sterling work way back then to get it to the quality it is. There's a 12 page booklet with some images...Mike also contributed a couple of pages of liner notes, with a couple more by yours truly. All in all a thunderously good CD for all us Gonsters of a very interesting transitional period in the band's history. The rhythm section is on top form, Steve's great, one of the best live versions of Aftagid I've heard, and the Isle of Everywhere builds to be spacey, groovy little beggar as well. In fact the whole band is very tight throughout, and you'd never guess the Shamal material was basically still in development. An invigorating and vital CD of great Gong music to savour - I think you're going to love it."-Jonny Greene .......................... 

I'd read reviews dogging this record for "bad sound quality." Those people need to pay less attention to fluff and more attention to the music. I have top-of-the-line Polk Audio speakers and I can assure you, aside from the few-and-far-between moments when the great Pierre Moerlen gets a bit happy with his crash cymbals, and a loud saxophone note once in awhile, THERE IS NO ISSUE WITH POOR SOUND. Mike Howlett mastered my cd , maybe there are non-mastered versions out there.
The performances are inspired. Once you get into the songs, you get lost into the music. I believe it might be the best-ever version of Salmon Song. This is an album that bridges the gap between the Daevid Allen Gong and Pierre Moerlen's Gong, with several songs from both eras featured along with two great performances of future Steve Hillage songs ( the aforementioned Salmon Song and Aftaglid.) I actually feel the live versions of Chandra, Cat In Clark's Shoes,Wingful Of Eyes, and Shamal are much livelier and far more interesting than their studio counterparts. It's interesting because, aside from Master Builder and Isle Of Everywhere, the rest of these tunes are being tried out on the audience before they were even cut in the studio for their respective albums.
Please indulge me a minute: My best friend in life and co-owner of a record store with me in the late 70s, Paul Sacks, passed away last summer. In spite of being big Hillage fans, we we never gave the Gong stuff the chance it obviously deserved. I only wish I could share this with Paul. He, as I, would have loved it. At times, it reminds me a little of earlier Genesis, at times Zappa/ Mothers.
If you are a fan of any-era Gong, you owe it to yourself to buy this record......ByKevin.................................

Formed by Australian expat Allen in 1967, GONG, who had the usual revolving cast of members, grew into a formidable and influential progressive-rock juggernaut by the time they signed to Virgin Records in 1973. Although they had already released three albums (MAGICK BROTHER, CAMEMBERT ELECTRIQUE and the soundtrack to CONTINENTAL CIRCUS), they are mostly known for the trifecta of albums released (and in one case co-released) by the label, known affectionately as the "Radio Gnome Trilogy." Solidifying around the line-up* of Daevid Allen (lead vocals & glissando guitar), Mireille Bauer (vibes/marimba & percussion), Tim Blake (synthesizer & vocals), Steve Hillage (lead guitar & vocals), Mike Howlett (bass & vocals), Didier "Bloomdido" Malherbe (sax & flute), Pierre Moerlen (drums & percussion) and Gilli Smyth ("space whisper" vocals), the trilogy; FLYING TEAPOT,ANGEL'S EGG and YOU is a unique brew of superior musicianship and whimsical lyrics, a sound that later became a genre in itself. What might have come off as twee and cloying in other hands becomes enjoyingly fantastical and bracing because of Allen's sly lyrical humour and the outstanding musicianship. Later groups such as ORZIC TENTACLES and RADIO MASSACRE INTERNATIONAL are direct descendants and musical extensions. With such a wealth of musical talent something eventually had to give, and the band imploded in 1975. Blake was the first to jump ship going solo, soon followed by Allen (with his longtime partner Smyth) and Hillage (with his partner Miquette Giraudy who performed on YOU). Which brings us to this release......

While still a member of the band Steve Hiilage released his first solo album, the excellent FISH RISING, which was basically Hillage and Giraudy backed by GONG. The band had also began rehearsing many of the tracks found on their next album, the transitional SHAMAL before Hillage and Giraudy's departure. Recorded during a brief November jaunt, LIVE IN SHERWOOD FOREST '75 features material from YOU, FISH RISING and the still-not-recorded SHAMAL. The remaining members (Hillage, Howlett, Malherbe, Moerlen, Bauer & Giraudy) are joined by new keyboardist Patrice Lemoine and guest violinist Jorge Pinchevesky from sometime GONG openers CLEARLIGHT, who would soon join the band full-time. The recording on this CD, re-discovered in the early 2000's, is manna for any true fan of the band. It comes with a booklet with detailed liner notes including a history by bassist Mike Howlett. Although some reviewers complain about the sound, if you're a TRUE fan of the band the on-the-fly mix won't bother you one whit. Crank it up, sit back, and enjoy a lost chapter in the history and mystery of the band called GONG......By John H. McCarthy...................

Another should-have unreleased archive live recording of Gong, after two key members Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth had already jumped ship. However, check this out: guitarist Steve Hillage had apparently rejoined the cosmic Gong clan for a brief tour. This is a very good quality (don't know why several others I've spoken with gripe about the sound quality) audio document of the gig the band had played on November 25, 1975 at Nottingham University. Interesting setlist, to say the least. "Master Builder" and the awesome 12-minute "Isle Of Everywhere" comes off of their 1974 landmark lp 'You',then the cuts "Chandra", "Cat In Clark's Shoes" (really enjoyed this version), the jazzy "Shamal" and "Wingful Of Eyes" are off the 1976 'Shamal' album. Finally, "Aftaglid" and the trippy "Salmon Song" were originally on Hillage's first solo work 'Fish Rising'. Not all Gong fans will exactly flip over this CD. Do keep in mind that Hillage does a fine job of covering for both Allen and Smyth's absence. Line-up: Steve Hillage: guitarist & vocals, Mike Howlett - bass & vocals, Didier Malherbe - flute & sax, Pierre Moerlen - drums, Miquette Giraudy - vocals, Patrice Lemoine - keyboards and Jorge Pinchevesky - violin. Recommended..........By   Mike Reed............

An unexpected gift of the gods (or from the cosmic Devas?) to the pot head pixies. This incredible document came out from nowhere and features live covers gongheads would not imagine in their wildest dreams. Recorded live at Nottingham University on November 25th 1975 -the transition's period between You and Shamal- everybody is here, except Captain Capricorn aka daevid Allen. Steve Hillage is on top shape here (have a look at his pic in the booklet). It also features Jorge Pinchevesky on violin (from Clearlight), Patrice Lemoine on keyboards and of course Mike Howlett, Bloomdido, Pierre Moerlen, Miquette Giraudy and Mireille Bauer.

Live pieces from "You", "Shamal" and Hillage's "Fish rising" (completely unexpected!) on the same record.But there's a shadow on this idyllic drawing: sound quality is poor with muffled sound, saturation, level variations (recorded in open air).

The concert begins with a mind blowing "Master builder" cover, featuring an incredible psychedelic guitar solo.

Then comes Chandra, with the new Gong world jazzrock sound from the future Shamal. Excellent.

"Aftaglid" from "Fish rising" is simply fantastic, it's the longest piece and the record's summit, with its fantastic space/cosmic rock flights leaded by Hillage at his best and the long eastern influenced moment. It's simply better than the studio version, and the band on stage manages to play all the subtleties of the piece.

"Cat in Clarks shoes" and "Wingful of eyes" features longer developments than on the future Shamal album and it's quite amazing to hear these pieces which were still in gestation.

"The Salmon song" from "Fish rising" is stunning and also features fantastic guitar.

"Isle of everywhere" is very good also and can compete with the studio version.

"Shamal" ends nicely the record.

The band is at its best, a blend of the technical mastery of You with the funky world jazz rock Shamal sound (Patrice Lemoine on keyboards contribute to this sound with his wha wha distorted keyboards). For sure, good astral vibes were there this very day .

A real surprise which shows that many documents are still unreleased.....by oliverstoned ...................

Credits 
Line-up / Musicians
- Steve Hillage / guitar, vocals
- Mike Howlett / bass, vocals
- Patrice Lemoine / keyboards
- Didier Malherbe / saxophone, flute
- Pierre Moerlen / drums
- Miquette Giraudy / vocals
- Jorge Pinchevesky / violin
- Mireille Bauer / marimba, percussion, glockenspiel

Tracklist
1 Master Builder 6:08
2 Chandra 6:31
3 Aftaglid 16:36
4 Cat In Clark's Shoes 9:03
5 Wingful Of Eyes 7:40
6 The Salmon Song 11:09
7 Isle Of Everywhere 12:50
8 Shamal 8:32 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..