LIVE 1970

1. Facelift (excerpt)
2. Moon in June (excerpt)
3. Out-Bloody-Rageous
4. Facelift
5. Pig
6. Orange Skin Food
7. A Door Opens and Closes
8. 10:30 Returns to the Bedroom 

Recorded: 1 & 2 is either an unknown venue in Swansea on February 13th, 1970 or the London School of Economics on February 14th, 1970
tracks 3 - 8: August, 13th , 1970 at Henry Wood Promenade Concert, Royal Albert Hall, London
Released: 1998

Robert Wyatt: drums 
Mike Ratledge: organ, piano
Hugh Hopper: bass
Lynn Dobson: saxes (1-2)
Elton Dean: alto sax, saxello (3-8)


mike ratledge
Soft Machine made eleven albums and that was it. In the early cd-era, many new releases were released, but I have to say, without much coordination or knowledge. Sometimes you bought a cd and in a next year another one with a different cover, different tracks, different sound, but if you listened carefully it appeared all one and the same concert. This set, Soft Machine somewhere in Europe in 1970, is one such a release. The disc has two excerpts of an unknown concert and three tracks of another concert ‘somewhere in 1970’. Somewhere? We know exactly where it was, even day and hour are familiar: Soft Machine at the Proms, Royal Albert Hall, August 13, 1970. The tracks are exactly the same, but have different names. On ‘Live 1970’ Esther’s Nose Job, which is the title on ‘At the Proms’ has the original (Volume Two) titles. The sound is different though. A question of money I guess. The first two tracks, Facelift and Moon in June, are both incomplete and don’t sound too well either. But they are worth listening too, because the woodwind player is Lyn Dobson. The concert must have taken place in early 1970, because in that period Soft Machine had five members; the trio with Elton Dean and Lyn Dobson. Lyn left after three month, but in this special concert Elton isn’t present. Maybe he was ill, or had other things to do. “Stuck somewhere else in Europe” writes Hugh in the liner notes. Lyn hasn’t the experimental approach Elton has; his soloing is nice, but not outstanding. On the other hand two short tracks are not enough to get a good impression of his attitude. The other tracks are reviewed on the next page: ‘At the Proms’. So, if you like ten minutes of a special Soft Machine, this is a nice release. But there are better ones….

Paul Lemmens © 2014