BRITISH TOUR '75

  1. Bundles
  2. Land of the Bag Snake
  3. Out of Season
  4. The Man Who Waved at Trains
  5. JVH
  6. The Floating World
  7. Ban-Ban Caliban
  8. Sideburn
  9. Hazard Profile-part 1
10. Hazard Profile-part 2
11. Hazard Profile-part 3
12. Hazard Profile-part 4
13. Hazard Profile-part 5
14. Song of Aeolus
15. Sign of Five


Recorded: Saturday October 11th, 1975 at Nottingham University, UK
Released: 2005

Karl Jenkins: electric piano, piano, soprano sax
John Etheridge: guitar
Roy Babbington: bass guitar
John Marshall: drums, percussion
Mike Ratledge: organ, synthesizer, electric piano
 


British Tour '75 was recorded In Concert originally for a live radio broadcast at Nottingham University in October 1975. Over 78 minutes, this amazing previously un-released live recording, captures the band touring Britain between the releases of the 1975 album ĎBundlesí and ĎSoftsí in 1976. The set list includes fifteen tracks containing numbers from both these albums plus three new numbers comprising over 30 minutes of previously un-recorded material.
Quality is superb as the CD was mastered straight from the original record tape with the assistance of guitarist John Etheridge who along with drummer John Marshall writes sleeve notes in a 16-page booklet containing many previously unseen photos of the band from award winning Italian photographer Guido Harari.

* texts from MLP-website

Shortly after the release of Bundles, Allan Holdsworth left the band for a once in a Tony Lifetime opportunity. Since Bundles was a guitar dominated album and played in a way everybody liked, it was obvious that the new musician should be a guitar player. Allan suggested the unknown John Etheridge. As with other replacements before, the band asked John if he would like to play with the band; they rehearsed and the other John (Marshall) told him ďYouíll doĒ and he was in. John Etheridge got a double job: he had to learn the scores, but also he had to develop his own soloing style, since the music needed a strong guitar player who could give fiery solos. British Tour í75 captures the band after half a year of being on the road. You can hear that guitar-John learned his parts and learned how to give a good solo. He is almost as good as Allan Holdsworth; maybe Allan was a bit more aggressive, where John is a little more melodic and soft. Nevertheless he fitted in the band and in the music as well. The set opens with Bundles and Land of the Bag Snake; both from the album Bundles. As on the cd, Floating World Live, both compositions segue and are in fact one long guitar solo in which John plays a very fine solo indeed. Out of Season was a new composition which would be recorded in the next year for the album Softs. Karl Jenkins, who didnít play his woodwinds live anymore concentrated on keyboards and composition. Out of Season is neat, maybe a little bit too long to impress. The Man who Waved at Trains is now waving with a guitar; on the sets with Allan he used his violin, but John didnít play that one. Mike plays his Lowrey organ, but it sounds different, more synthesized and thatís exactly the instrument he uses more often on this recording. JVH see him toying with the instrument and bleeps and burps are flying around your ears. The Floating World is a very small world this time, just played on two pianos. It leads into Ban Ban Caliban, a very rhythmic composition from Karl. Mike and John give their solos, but the track itself it is not that impressive. Sideburn is drummer Johnís new J.S.M., which means a very (too) long drum solo; I have heard that sound before. Lucky for everyone Hazard Profile starts and is played completely; all parts are here. Guitar John does a great Job on this one. It is not easy because you always compare it with Allanís playing, which is more fluid, but still it is a very strong guitar part from him. In Hazard Profile part Five, Mike helps out with crazy synthesizer parts, which leads to the climax of this composition. After all this heavy stuff it is time for (soft) romance with the beautiful Song of Aeolus. But not for long, the romance is done with Sign of Five (the five musicians in the band?); a live group improvisation which has some nice moments. In short, this was a good performance from another version of Soft Machine; a good band, but Iím sorry to say not the best. Mike Ratledge, the only member from the beginning, probably had the same thoughts; he left his group in February 1976, leaving the name to the people in it. That meant more new members, some would stay, some would leave and in the end the band silently was disbanded. There was yet one other live record: Alive & Well, but thatís a regular record in Soft machineís history.

Paul Lemmens © 2014