Slapp Happy / Henry Cow - Desperate Straights

“Slapp Happy meanwhile was planning its second record for Virgin. One night the trio showed up at the quartet's door and proposed that the two groups make the second Slapphappy LP together...Henry Cow jumped at the chance and Desperate Straights was the result. It's still a gem to my ears, and now at last it's possible to release it, properly re-mastered (by Bob Drake), its sound closer to the original tapes even than our earlier Nimbus vinyl pressing. Great songs, great arrangements, great performances and Dagmar on top of her form... real people in a room together, playing straight to tape. Those were the days..”-Chris Cutler

This was the first co-mingling of Slappy Happy and Henry Cow DNA, and it created a unique art-song monster! This was also the album that introduced the excellent and unique voice of Dagmar to many of us and as Chris says, she is in absolute top, top form here.

This was remastered by Bob Drake. "It's from the original 1/4" mix tapes. As in all my mastering jobs every step of the process was done with only the most transparent and high-resolution gear with my fastidious attention to details. The old CD release was very low resolution and suffered from the harsh unpleasant sound of early A/D converters. The vinyl, as always, has less detail than the master tapes. So listening to the new CD is the closest thing you'll get to listening to the master tapes, except I made some things even better of course, in my extremely subtle ways."
  • LabelReR
  • UPC752725019026
Your Price $15.00

Customer Reviews

Average Rating

The first time I heard "Desperate Straights" was when it was new, and it was my first hearing of both HC and SH. And also of Dagmar. I remember the exact room and stereo system (does everyone remember precisely where they were the first time they heard Dagmar sing?) (editor's note: I do, and like the author here, it was right here on 'Hats') and vividly recall her vocal from "Hats" leading off the album piercing my brain like shreiking ice needles. And I can remember thinking, "This is the strangest stuff I've ever heard." But it's not really. What it is, is Henry Cow's (wonderful!) take on pop music, together with the aforementioned vocals and some of Peter Blegvad's best lyrics. And wait til you hear Chris Cutler playing something resembling somewhat normal pop music, but still sounding like himself. Many songs don't or barely crack the two-minute mark. I don't hear a great deal of sonic difference between this new remastered version and the old one on Virgin. There's also about a 20-second gap between the old "Side 1" and "Side 2" for some reason. No matter. Get used to hearing it a few times, and you may also think it's one of the most enjoyable albums EVER. -T.A.
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