Soft Machine - Third (expanded) 2 x CDs

SKU 15-Sony 87293
OK, here it is. The landmark. The album. The first album by the 'classic quartet' lineup of the Softs (Elton Dean, Hugh Hopper, Mike Ratledge, Robert Wyatt). Four musicians, four side-long tracks (man, that must have seemed incredibly heavy in 1970 when this was released!).
Soft Machine were so sophisticated so early that I think that that may have actually harmed their chance for popularity in the long run. This received a lot of attention and good press upon its release, even here in the USA (I remember a glowing review in Rolling Stone and Columbia taking out full page ads for it). And then...nothing. The band never 'broke big' here, although they remained quite beloved on the European continent & especially France.
And I must mention that it's one of the worst sounding studio-recorded, big label releases you will ever hear! For this remastered reissue, they've gone back to the original stereo masters and definitely done some work on them, but the original stereo masters are definitely sonically deficient and there's only so much that can be done.
What were they thinking? What were they taking? (What was Hugh thinking *and* taking when he and Bob Woolford took out the old shears and hacked two live concert tapes into the squaling mighty behemoth we know as Facelift? I would ask him, but I'm too polite nowadays...) Having said all that, this is a classic, classic, CLASSIC of progressive/jazz/rock/fusion/musique actuelle/what-have-you!
In addition to the fact that this is probably as good as it will EVER sound, you also get a bonus disc of the band's famous appearance at the Royal Albert Hall as the first-ever rock band to play the famous classical showcase concerts known as the Henry Woods Promenade Concert) on August 13, 1970 (about the same time that this album was being released) which captures the band at the peak of their critical popularity; they were being taken very seriously if they were allowed to play 'The Proms'.
This live material has been released before as "Live at the Proms", but it's been unavailable for a number of years and it is licensed and taken here from the original BBC masters, so it too sounds as good as it ever will. Wouldn't you like to hear the album that your humble reviewer suspects he tripped to more than any other album? I thought so...
  • LabelColumbia
  • UPC0828768729328
Your Price $12.00

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The other track which spawned a completely different (Hatfield and the North) slant on the Brit jazz prog scene was Robert Wyatt's "Moon In June" ... where would we be without Matching Mole and the Hatfields ... much worse off, I think ... God bless 'em.
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