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16.2.09

Hatfield and the North




Hatfield and the North - Live 1990 - 1993 - Code 90

A rather disappointing live set from a partially re-formed Hatfield and the North (keyboardist Dave Stewart didn't return, nor did the band do any of his material), Live 1990 only barely qualifies as a reunion album. Since Stewart had been the band's primary composer on their two studio albums of the '70s, only two of the nine tracks, "Share It" and "Underdub," are old Hatfield songs. (A third, "Going for a Song," is a Richard Sinclair song that was occasionally performed by the original band in concert but never recorded.) The new material, including replacement keyboardist Sophia Domancich's lounge-fusion snoozer "Blott," isn't a patch on what the lads had done back in the band's heyday, and although it's all most competent in both performance and arrangement, Live 1990 is overall just a bit of a drag. Only the most die-hard Hatfield and the North fans will want to bother, and even they might feel a strong twinge of disappointment. © Stewart Mason, allmusic.com

No keyboards from Dave Stewart on this "reunion" album, but Sophia Domancich does one hell of a good job. If you are unfamiliar with the original H&TN line-up, and haven't heard the band's "The Rotters' Club" masterpiece album, you may hear this recording in a new light. This is brilliant seventies style Canterbury progressive rock played in a live nineties setting. Musically the band are light years ahead of many similar bands of the genre. Complex but enjoyable jazz/rock fusion, with some great melodies, and wonderful improvisation by brilliant musicians. Hatfield and the North's "Live in Nottingham" album is the same album as "Live 1990" less the two tracks, "Underdub", and "5/4 Intro", so you might not consider it worth purchasing. Check out their Canterbury Rock masterpiece, "The Rotters' Club". For other music in this genre, check out Caravan's "For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night", Gong's "Camembert Electrique", Soft Machine's "Fourth", and Matching Moles's 1972 s/t albums.

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

Share It [Sinclair/Pyle]
Shipwrecked [Pyle]
Underdub [Miller]
Blott [Domancich]
Going For A Song [Sinclair/Pyle]
Cauliflower Ears [Pyle]
Halfway Between Heaven And Earth [Sinclair]
5/4 Intro [Miller]
Didn't Matter Anyway [Sinclair]

MUSICIANS

Richard Sinclair - bass, vocals
Phil Miller - guitar
Pip Pyle (R.I.P) - drums
Sophia Domancich - keyboards

Recorded in Nottingham, 30th March 1990

NOTE ON ALBUM (Wikipedia)

Live 1990 is a 1993 live album released by a reformed line-up of Canterbury scene band Hatfield and the North. This marked the band's first manifestation since its 1975 break-up. Original keyboard player Dave Stewart declined to take part and was replaced by French jazz pianist Sophia Domancich, at the time a member of drummer Pip Pyle's band Equip'Out. This line-up's activity was limited to this one appearance on Central TV's "Bedrock" series. In addition to a number of tracks from the band's classic repertoire, a large part of the concert was devoted to more recent material. This was to be Hatfield's swansong until the 2005-06 reformation.

REVIEW

Japanese television programming decided to film several Canterbury bands as part of their 1990 Bedrock show including Caravan, Gong and a reformed Hatfield and the North. Live 1990 is a large portion of the show, which features Miller, Pyle, Sinclair and French jazz keyboardist Sophia Domancich (replacing Dave Stewart who refused the invite). What we find in this performance is a well-rehearsed group going through a few "standards" such as "Share It" and "Underdub" from The Rotter's Club. Domancich excels on several new tracks including Pyle's "Shipwrecked" (much later on Pip's solo album Seven Year Itch) and "Chinese Eyes". Her piano work is excellent and reflects a honed skill based in part on her work with her own trio and Pyle's own band Equipe Out. Miller and Sinclair are in fine form, especially on other new songs including Sinclair's "Going for a Song" (from his first solo album) and Domancich's fusion contribution "Blott". The only complaints I have is that the entire show is not available on the disc or video of the group, since there was also a great version of Matching Mole's "Oh Caroline". Too bad this line-up didn't stay together long enough to do some studio work. Even though Stewart was missed, it didn't taint the performance significantly, and the group could have been successfully resurrected for more than one stellar performance. © Jeff Melton , 17-May-2001, http://gnosis2000.net/reviews/hatfield.htm

ABOUT HATFIELD AND THE NORTH

Emerging from the Canterbury, England musical community which also launched Gong and Kevin Ayers' the Whole World, the whimsical progressive rock unit Hatfield and the North formed in 1972. Named in honor of a motorway sign outside of London, the group's founding membership brought together a who's-who of the Canterbury art-rock scene — vocalist/bassist Richard Sinclair was a former member of Caravan, guitarist Phil Miller had tenured with Robert Wyatt in Matching Mole, and drummer Pip Pyle had served with both Gong and Delivery. After a series of line-up shuffles, keyboardist Dave Stewart (an alumnus of Egg) was brought in to complete the roster, and in tandem with the Northettes — a trio of backing vocalists consisting of Barbara Gaskin, Amanda Parsons and Ann Rosenthal — the group began gigging regularly. Upon signing to Virgin, Hatfield and the North recorded their 1974 self-titled debut LP, a jazzy, largely improvisational work halfway between melodic pop and more avant-garde stylings. A single, "Let's Eat (Real Soon)," appeared at the end of the year, and in 1975 the group resurfaced with The Rotters Club; although the record briefly landed in the U.K. charts, their commercial future looked dim, and so Hatfield and the North disbanded within months of the album's release. Sinclair soon joined Camel, while Stewart recorded with Bill Bruford before finding pop success in 1981 with ex-Zombie Colin Blunstone on a cover of the Jimmy Ruffin chestnut "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?" In 1989, Hatfield and the North reunited, minus Stewart, for a series of live dates; a document of the performances, Live 1990, followed in 1993. © Jason Ankeny, allmusic.com

BIO (Wikipedia)

Hatfield and the North was an experimental Canterbury scene rock band that lasted from October 1972 to June 1975, with some reunions thereafter. The band grew out of a line-up of Delivery in mid-1972 consisting of Phil Miller (guitar, from Matching Mole), Steve Miller(†) (keyboards; Phil's brother), Pip Pyle(†) (drums, from Gong) and Richard Sinclair (bass and vocals, from Caravan). The band played a few live shows between July and September that year, but with Steve Miller being replaced by Dave Sinclair (from Matching Mole and Caravan), the band soon changed its name to Hatfield and the North. The Delivery line-up reunited for a BBC session in November 1972 with Steve Miller, Phil Miller, Lol Coxhill, Roy Babbington (bass), Pip Pyle, and Richard Sinclair on vocals. (Steve Miller went on to release a couple of duo albums with Coxhill in 1973/74.) Dave Sinclair left in January 1973, shortly after the band's appearance (with Robert Wyatt on guest vocals) on the French TV programme "Rockenstock", and was quickly replaced by Dave Stewart (from Egg) before the band's first recordings were made. The band recorded two albums, Hatfield and the North and The Rotters' Club. Backing vocals on the two albums were sung by The Northettes: Amanda Parsons, Barbara Gaskin and Ann Rosenthal. On the Autumn 1974 "Crisis Tour", which Hatfield co-headlined with Kevin Coyne, the opening act was a duo of Steve Miller and Lol Coxhill (also previously of Delivery) and Coxhill usually guested with Hatfield on the jamming sections of "Mumps". After disbanding, Dave Stewart joined National Health with Alan Gowen from Gilgamesh; Miller was a member throughout the band's existence, and Pyle joined in 1977. (Richard Sinclair also sat in on a couple of gigs and a BBC radio session that year.) Hatfield and the North and Gilgamesh had played a couple of shows together in late 1973, including a joint "double quartet" set, in some ways the prototype for National Health. Miller, Stewart, Pyle and Sinclair also worked together in various combinations on other projects. In March 1990, the group reformed to record a TV show with Phil Miller, Richard Sinclair and Pip Pyle joined by Sophia Domancich (keyboards, Pyle's then-girlfriend and band mate in Equip'Out). In January 2005, the band reformed again with Alex Maguire (from Pip Pyle's Bash!) on keyboards and toured between 2005 and 2006 (notable appearances included a short Japanese tour in late 2005, and the BajaProg and NEARfest festivals in North America). On a small number of European dates in June 2005, Mark Fletcher (from Miller's In Cahoots band) reinforced the band while Pyle was recuperating from a back operation and only played on part of each gig. Pyle died in August 2006 after travelling back from a Hatfield show in Groningen. Following Pyle's death, Hatfield played two previously booked gigs with Mark Fletcher on drums, including the Canterbury Festival in October 2006. In 2005/2006, the band released two archival collections, Hatwise Choice and Hattitude, featuring the classic Miller/Pyle/Sinclair/Stewart line-up and distributed by the UK label Burning Shed. Both releases contained a mixture of BBC radio sessions and live recordings, along with the odd demo. In 2007, Cuneiform Records re-released two albums by Steve Miller and Lol Coxhill with bonus material including 20 minutes of material by the proto-Hatfield and the North line-up of Delivery playing "God Song", "Bossa Nochance/Big Jobs", and "Betty" (a variation on some of the Sinclair bass riffs that also produced Hatfield's "Rifferama"). Jonathan Coe's novel The Rotters' Club takes its title from the band's second album. The novel also mentions them several times.

5 comments:

A.O.O.F.C said...

LINK

Deckard said...

Thanks for this one. Although not a patch on the original stuff it is well worth a listen. Also cheers for all the other music and especially all the useful info you post for each album.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi Deckard. Thanks for comment.I suppose "The Rotters Club" is the band's best work. I communicate with Geoff Leigh, who played with The Hats on and off. His blog is @

http://aliensatsea.blogspot.com/

Keep in touch with A.O.O.F.C

pino said...

hi paul,if possible, re-up this, ciao grazie!

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,pino. I'm sorry. I haven't got the original to re-up. Maybe somebody reading this could help out? Thanks...Paul