Tales of Canterbury - The Wilde Flowers Story;
Limited Edition spiral bound version with 13 page booklet by Brian Hopper (Brian's Tale) and pictures


  1. Impotence
  2. Those Words They Say
  3. Memories
  4. Don't Try to Change Me
  5. Parchman Farm
  6. Almost Grown
  7. She's Gone
  8. Slow Walkin' Talk
  9. He's Bad for You
10. It's What I Feel (A Certain Kind)
11. Memories (Instrumental)
12. Never Leave Me
13. Time After Time
14. Just Where I Want
15. No Game When You Lose
16. Impotence
17. Why Do You Care (Zobe)
18. The Pieman Cometh (Zobe)
19. Summer Spirit (Zobe)
20. She Loves To Hurt
21.The Big Show

Recorded: between 1965-1969
Released: november, 10th, 2004

Kevin Ayers: voice
Richard Coughlan: drums
Graham Flight: voice
Don Lawrence: voice, bass
John Lawrence: guitar, voice
Bob Gilleson: drums
Pye Hastings: guitar, voice
Brian Hopper: soprano alto & tenor sax, flute, acc.oustic & electric guitar
Hugh Hopper: bass, voice
Mike Ratledge: piano, organ, flute
Richard Sinclair: guitar
Robert Wyatt: drums, percussion, voice

2cd version (Retroworld, 2015)
disc 1 is the set reviewed here, disc 2 is a collection of tracks from Canterburied Sounds, except: track 1 'The Pieman Cometh' and track 12 'Hope For Happiness'of the second CD (resp. the first and the last) were recorded in 2003 by Brian Hopper and Robert Wyatt.

Wilde Flowers: l-r Hugh Hopper, Richard Coughlan, Robert Wyatt (sitting), Brian Hopper

l-r: Brian Hopper, Richard Sinclair, Robert Wyatt, 
Hugh Hopper and Kevin Ayres. (Canterbury in 1963)
At a certain point in history some musical friends from Canterbury decided to make music and have fun. Hugh Hopper (bass) and his brother Brian (lead guitar and alto sax), Robert Wyatt (drums and voice) and Richard Sinclair (rhythm guitar) sometimes asked other friends to play along: Kevin Ayers (vocals), Richard Coughlan (drums), Pye Hastings (guitar) and Graham Flight (vocals). The name of their band: The Wilde Flowers, although there is a photograph which mentions Wild Flowers on the bass drum. Maybe the name was changed into Wilde because of the writer Oscar Wilde? It must been said that the boys in the band were into art, poetry. Literature and jazz; the more freer side of it made by ‘giants’ like Charles Mingus, John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman. But on the other hand, they liked James Brown, Booker White, Chuck Berry and some blues music as well. Their show was a mixture of all these sorts of music; not the potpourri the mass was waiting for. After a while Brian and Hug started composing their own songs and sometimes Robert and Kevin added theirs. The seed was planted and out of it grew two trees: Caravan and Soft Machine. Because of that people (the musical press?) started to give names to the place where it all started: The Canterbury Scene. Robert Wyatt: “I can’t remember a single stimulating thing about Canterbury.” People like to put everything in boxes; otherwise it’s too abstract for them. On the other hand, the Canterbury Sound is used for quality music. The Wilde Flowers never released an album, or a single, but in 1994 Voiceprint released twenty-two historic tracks. Some of them became Soft Machine tracks, like Memories and She’s Gone. But most of the tracks give us an interesting view in the musical history of the musicians mentioned before. The music is fun to listen to, more pop music than jazz, and more songs than instrumental music. Played with verve, but one can hear that their musical abilities weren’t developed that far. Most of the tracks were recorded at Wout Steenhuis (a Dutchman) studio in 1965-66, some of them in Sellindge (at home?), a few in 1968 with the band Zobe, but four (!) were recorded in Regent Studios. London on august, 6, 1969: Impotence, She Loves to Hurt, The Big Show and another version of Memories; the last two tracks had Mike Ratledge on flute, piano and organ. The story was that Mike had enough of his study at Oxford University and wanted to start a band. But if you take s sharp look at the recording date (1969), one must see a peculiar thing: these tracks were recorded even after Soft Machine recorded Volume Two (!). So far for The Wilde Flowers. But after these tracks the group seized to exist. The story of this band was written by Brian Hopper and released as a small booklet in a limited edition (2000) release of The Wilde Flowers disc. Hugh, Kevin and Robert teamed up with Daevid Allen for another recording session which also wasn’t released at that time. This time Giorgio Gomelsky paid the band to record some tracks. It was the last then unheard stop on the way to Soft Machine.

Paul Lemmens © 2014