BBC RADIO 1971-1974

1. As If
2. Drop
3. Welcome To Frillsville
4. Fanfare/All White/MC/Drop
5. Stanley Stamp's Gibbon Album
6. Hazard Profile part 1
1. Sinepost
2. Down The Road
3. North Point
4. The Man Who Waved At Trains
5. Hazard Profile parts 1-4

Mike Ratledge: keyboards
Hugh Hopper: bass
Elton Dean: saxes
Phil Howard: drums
Karl Jenkins: saxes, keyboards
John Marshall: drums
Roy Babbington: bass
Allan Holdsworth: guitar

Recorded: CD1: 1-3: November 15th, 1971 / 4: April 11th, 1972 / 5 & 6: October 10th, 1973. CD2: 1 & 2: October 30th 1973 / 3-5: June 10th, 1974
Released: 2003

mike ratledge

Following the successful release earlier of Hux' BBC 1967-1971, this second volume now completes the set of Soft Machine's BBC sessions.
Recorded between 1971 & 1974, this double CD includes 3 Peel sessions, plus one session recorded for BBC Radio 3's Jazz In Britain' programme. With the exception of the first two tracks here, none of these recordings have ever been released before.
This compilation provides striking evidence of the pace at which the band was changing during this period. It plots a drastic change in the sound of the band, from their free jazz leanings of 1971 to the jazz rock fusion of '74.
This album has been compiled with the full help of the band, who have been fully involved at every stage of development. The 12 page full colour booklet includes rare photographs from the band's own archive, plus a brief note from Soft Machine's John Marshall.

The second volume of the BBC Recordings (1971-1974) has a few surprises as well. The first three tracks have Phil Howard on whirlwind drums and cymbals. It is a fierce session. The first two were on The Peel Sessions as well. Completely new is Welcome to Frillsville, which is also a new title in Soft Machineís catalogue. It is a group-improvisation. The group was very (free-)jazz orientated at the time of this recording. They made a lot of progress and even dared to bring this in the studio. Then there is a little jump in time to the group with Karl Jenkins and John Marshall. This session took place after ĎSixí Album was released and has many references to that album. A real surprise is Hazard Profile part 1 without guitar! Itís already a fast drivení track with fuzz bass from Roy and treated piano sounds from Mike. It is good to hear in what direction the band was developing. Listening to this track, it isnít difficult to imagine an added guitar. The composition with guitar, courtesy Allan Holdsworth, is on disc two. That disc opens with a bass solo in Sinepost; another new title. Down the Road is the band during their Seven (the album)-period. The tracks open with Karl, playing recorder, an unusual instrument in Soft Machine, but it works out fine. North Point is Johnís solo and of we go to the last two tracks, the Bundles-band, with guitar. The Man Who waved at Trains sounds almost as the album version, but not with the hysterical hobo solo which follows the track on the record. Hazard Profile is played as expected, fast, good, vivid and sparkling, this time with lots of synthesizer elements from Mike. Great Performances by a great band again!

Paul Lemmens © 2014