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lunes, 4 de abril de 2016

National Health - Of Queues And Cures (1978)



Artista: National Health
Álbum: Of Queues And Cures
Año: 1978
Género: Escena Canterbury
Duración: 52:48
Nacionalidad: Inglaterra


Lista de Temas:
1. The Bryden 2- step (for amphibians) Part 1
2. The Collapso
3. Squarer For Maud
4. Dreams Wide Awake
5. Binoculars
6. Phlâkatön
7. The Bryden 2- step (for amphibians) Part 2

Alineación:
- John Greaves / bass, piano innards (3), crooning (5)
- Phil Miller / guitar
- Dave Stewart/ acoustic and electric pianos, organ, mini moog (3,4)
- Pip Pyle/ drums, percussion, hand claps (3)

Con:
- Selwyn Baptiste/ steel drums (2)
- Rick Biddulph/ bass on organ solo (4)
- Peter Blegvad/ voice (3)
- Georgie Born/ cello (1,3,7)
- Jimmy Hastings/ clarinets (3,5) and flute (5)
- Phil Minton/ trumpets (1,5,7)
- Paul Nieman/ trombones (1,5,7)
- Keith Thompson/ oboe (3,5)





 

 
DISCAZO de National Health!!! Mmm… Se pueden decir tantas cosas sobre la banda y el disco que no sé por dónde empezar! Así que, como de costumbre, voy a empezar hablando un poco de los comienzos del grupo :P.

 Ya de por sí el simple hecho de ver quiénes integraron y colaboraron en la banda genera mucha expectativa. National Health se fundó en 1975 e inicialmente estaba conformada por nada menos que Alan Gowen (Gilgamesh), Dave Stewart (Uriel, Khan, Egg, Hatfield and the North, Gong), Phil Miller (Delivery, Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North), Phil Lee (Gilgamesh), Amanda Parsons, Mont Campbell (Uriel, Egg) y el inigualable Bill Bruford. Sin embargo, no llegarían a publicar ningún disco. Bill se nos fue para tocar con Genesis, siendo reemplazado por Pip Pyle (quien también ya había tocado en Gong y Hatfield and the North), y Neil Murray sustituyó a Mont Campbell. Y si no me equivoco, también Phil Lee había dejado el grupo. De esta forma, los músicos mencionados que no se fueron junto con John Mitchell en percusión y Jimmy Hastings en flauta, son los que tocarían en el fantástico álbum debut del grupo. Sin embargo, esta formación no duraría mucho. Algo que me acabo de dar cuenta de que no aclaré es que el grupo había quedado integrado principalmente por Neil Murray, Pip Pyle, Dave Stewart y Phil Miller. Como decía, hubo otro cambio: John Greaves (ex integrante de Henry Cow) reemplazó a Murray. Además, salvo por Jimmy Hastings, ninguno de los músicos que colaboraron en el disco anterior lo hizo con éste.

 “Of Queues And Cures” es el segundo álbum de la banda y fue publicado en 1978, a un año de su impresionante debut. Más adelante, allá por 1982, sacarían el último disco de estudio, “DS al Coda”. Después de aquel LP, no habría más producciones, aunque por suerte al menos se publicaron otros discos con grabaciones inéditas, en vivo y esas cosas (de hecho, incluso hay grabaciones con maese Bill Bruford!).

 Pero volviendo a “Of Queues And Cures”, se trata de un trabajo realmente soberbio! Las composiciones, en su mayor parte instrumentales, son bastante complejas, sofisticadas y dinámicas, con unas buenas dosis de jazz rock. Es un álbum realmente muy, muy sólido, de esos que no te dan respiro hasta el final! También hay una especie de juego entre luces y sombras, apareciendo más hacia el final los momentos más luminosos. Bah, en realidad es como si hubiese cierto equilibrio en las canciones, sumergiéndonos y arrastrándonos por diversos pasajes, muchos de los cuales son sumamente demenciales y otros más armoniosos. La inclusión de los instrumentos de orquesta es otra genialidad. Por otra parte, los temas son muy inquietos. Es increíble cómo cambian repentinamente de dirección y la capacidad que tienen para ensamblar distintas ideas con muchísima originalidad, logrando resultados extraordinarios  (lo cual habla de un terrible virtuosismo).


 Espero que este disco los haga muy felices y que lo disfruten mucho! Y muchas gracias a Leandro, que se vino con una pila de maravillosos discos, entre ellos éste, para compartir!

Dejo por aquí algunas reseñas más que interesantes:
Empecemos por un comentario delirante que había dejado nuestro amigo El Conejo hace tiempo y que nunca terminó, pero viene bien para poner el marco social en el que nacía este disco:

Y para celebrar el comienzo de una nueva era maya voy a traer un discazo de los que considero que son de lo mejor que se haya editado en este planeta, y de paso cañazo, a poner a los lectores del blog en el rol de ñoños lectores. No vale hacer scroll a lo bobo con la ruedita del mouse.
Espero no mandar demasiada fruta, y aquel que considere que es así, que por favor me lo haga saber.
No me quiero poner tan goma tampoco, pero cabe recordar un par de cosas. Ubiquémonos primero en el espacio y el tiempo: Planeta tierra, a finales de los años sesenta y principios de los setenta. Entre tantas cosas que pasaban por ahí, el mundo estaba prácticamente dividido en dos mitades: el bloque capitalista, con los E.U. de A. a la cabeza por un lado y el bloque comunista, con la ya extinta URSS por el suyo (estos dos serían la primer mitad, la otra serían todos los colgados que quedaron en el medio (?)).
Estados Unidos está en guerra con Vietnam, lo que genera una respuesta contracultural centrada en los valores de amor, paz y música psicodélica conocida como el Movimiento Hippie, que tuvo una gran repercusión mundial. Puede verse esta repercusión como una cuestión de afinidad mundial o simplemente a que algunos empresarios un poco avivados le encontraron la vuelta comercial al movimiento y empezaron por ello a promoverlo (Woodstock '69 no fueron 750000 hippies que se juntaron porque sí en una granja a sentarse en el barro y pasar un fin de semana al aire libre, algún inversor los llevó hasta allá y se fue derecho de ahí a comprar una pala mecánica para juntar fardos de billetes).
(No voy a ponerme a despilfarrar acerca del movimiento hippie, de si eran legítimas sus intenciones e ideales o si eran una banda de giles que seguían una moda nada más. Si bien hay bocha de tela para cortar sobre el asunto, recomiendo que lean cuanto análisis exhaustivo que encuentren sobre el "We're Only In It For The Money" de Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention.)
Volviendo a esto de la expansión del movimiento hippie y los movimientos contraculturales, no sólo la idea de amor, paz y flower power dieron vueltas por varios lugares, todo el movimiento psicodélico que tenía un surgimiento masivo por esa misma época florecía por varios lugares del mundo. En Alemania empezaban a surgir algunas comunas de músicos que darían más tarde nacimiento a toda la escena del Krautrock. Y hasta en Argentina sin ir más lejos, estaban Arco Iris y la Cofradía de la Flor Solar (de donde salieron luego bandas y artistas como Billy Bond y la Pesada del Rock & Roll, Kubero Díaz, Eduardo Skay Beilinson, Jorge Pinchevsky (que hasta llegó a tocar con Gong, otros surgidos de una comuna de artistas británica-francesa, ya voy a detallar más de esto) Norberto Napolitano también conocido como el Carpo o Pappo). En Inglaterra, pero no en la parte que me quiero centrar, Londres más precisamente un grupito de estudiantes de arquitectura del Politécnico de Londres formaban una banda de rock psicodélico llamada Sigma 6, que con el tiempo se llamaría Pink Floyd. Entonces, careta o no, todo este movimiento dejó un legado musical ENORME, así con mayúsculas y todo.
Dejando por un momento la música de lado, el Hippismo, de todas formas, no fue la única respuesta social contracultural en el mundo frente a los sucesos considerados injustos que tenían lugar en ese momento a finales de la década de los 60's. Como grandes ejemplos, en la ex Checoslovaquia, en la ciudad de Praga, actual República Checa, tuvo lugar el movimiento de oposición al estricto régimen de momento en la llamada Primavera de la misma ciudad (como para no repetir nombres, vio); y en Francia, otra gran serie de protestas de estudiantes y trabajadoras conocida como Mayo Francés. Incluso unos años más tarde, el espíritu de estas manifestaciones tocaría también tierra en España y Portugal y terminarían con regímenes dictatoriales prolongados.
Ahora, un punto clave al que quiero llegar: si volvemos a hablar del arte, y más específicamente de la música el grueso de la atención que podemos darle hoy en día a algunas bandas o escenas y su legado (salvo excepciones, como los Beatles, que ya era algo que se venía vendiendo en el mundo desde hace un buen tiempo antes) tendemos a enfocarnos en aquellos que ondearan los estandartes de la revolución y el cambio: Todas las bandas hippies de Estados Unidos, las más emblemáticas del movimiento psicodélico, y hasta escenas como la del Krautrock, que tuvo una trascendencia más que importante.
A qué se puede deber esto? Miren lo que tiene para decirnos la Omnisciente Wikipedia respecto del ya mencionado Mayo Francés: Los sucesos de mayo y junio en Francia se encuadran dentro de una ola de protestas protagonizadas, principalmente, por sectores politizados de la juventud que recorrió el mundo durante 1968. Estos sucesos se extendieron por la República Federal Alemana, Suiza, España, México, Argentina, Uruguay, Estados Unidos y Checoslovaquia.
Conejo

Y ahora sí, las reseñas correspondientes al disco:

"With John Greaves replacing the departing Neil Murray, and neither Gowen or Parsons involved, Of Queues and Cures may be a more collective effort- -Stewart contributes three of the album's seven tracks, Pyle two (well, sort of; more of that in a moment) and one each by Miller and Greaves—but it's still dominated by Stewart's powerful playing and unmistakable harmonic construction. Opening with "The Bryden 2-Step (for Amphibians) (Part One)"—which possesses such a strong melody that Stewart would reprise it two years later in "Land's End" from Bruford's swan song,Gradually Going Tornado (Winterfold, 1980), that would also prove to be Stewart's final progressive gasp for three decades—there's a strength about the new line-up that makes its short-lived duration all the more unfortunate. Episodic in construction, with more things going for its nine minutes than most entire albums have, it's brighter, more committed and more powerfully played than anything on the group's first effort. And while Greaves has spoken about uncertainty and lack of confidence in joining the group and tackling National Health's knotty compositions, he's a perfect fit; as capable as Murray at navigating its rough waters while being an even more melodic soloist, as he proves on the opening track's fade-out.
Stewart's "Collapso," a track revisited by Stewart in 1990 for Complete's "The Apocalypso," introduces a new texture to the group: Selwyn Baptiste's steel drums. But this is no calypso tune; in fact, there's no hint of the Caribbean to be found anywhere, as yet another challenging context with an unforgettable melody leads into even greater contrapuntal complexity. Given, at this point, that American bassist Jaco Pastorius was using steel drums in his own group, it's hard to say if that was an influence on Stewart's choice to bring the texture into National Health. But regardless, it's a different space, as the song evolves into an unrelenting, high velocity passage that sets up a visceral fuzz bass solo from Greaves before returning to its theme to close.
Coming from Henry Cow, it's no surprise that Greaves' contribution, "Squarer for Maude," possesses some of the Rock in Opposition (RIO) qualities that took Cow away from its initial Canterbury roots into a more abstruse, new music direction. The energy, color and overt pulse may speak rock, but the instrumentation and depth of melodic interaction marks this as more a contemporary chamber piece. Guests including cellist Georgie Born—Greaves' replacement in Cow—oboist Keith Thompson and stalwart clarinetist/flautist Jimmy Hastings, create a collective tapestry different than anywhere else on the disc, and the brief narrative appearance of Peter Blegvad (co-founder of Slapp Happy, who merged and then de-merged with Henry Cow after its 1975 Virgin release In Praise of Learning) makes the departure complete. Still, Stewart's closing organ solo and unmistakable voicings throughout, along with Pyle's more fervent rhythms (as opposed to Cow drummer Chris Cutler's more loosely interpretive approach) tie the tune to the National Health sound, even if it represents something of a departure; a direction that would have been interesting to explore, had the group managed to remain together.
Miller's "Dreams Wide Awake" may seem like a guitarist's composition at first—based, as it is, around a driving riff that creates a rock-hard foundation for one of Stewart's most memorable solos of this, or any disc. Stewart describes his reckless abandon—matched only, perhaps, by Frank Zappa's equally unfettered solo on Over-Night Sensation's "Zombie Woof" (Rykodisc, 1973)—as "a red rag to a bull—with my volume control set hard over on '10' and lashing out at every foot pedal within my reach. I commenced a Genghis Khan-like attack on my organ. Smashing my arms down on the keys, I ripped out valves, wires and strings of components from the Hammond's interior while the rest of the band and engineers watched in aghast. In the shocked silence at the end of the take I knew I'd gone too far...but by some oversight the solo remains." And it's a good thing it does. Any suggestions that Stewart was incapable of a full-out body slam solo are laid to waste here.
But when Stewart's solo is over, Miller takes the tune into territory as episodic as anything Stewart has written, combining oblique melodies with near-funk and a second solo from Stewart that, when compared to his initial barrage, seems almost polite...but only almost. Whether he's tearing the guts out of his organ or seated more civilly, the underlying melodicism remains. And Miller, who finally takes a heavily distorted solo towards the song's end, continues to prove, as ex-Soft Machine drummer/vocalist Robert Wyatt has suggested, that he'd "rather play a wrong note than a note that somebody else had ever played." In a large repertoire of original composition, "Dreams Wide Awake" remains one of Miller's finest.
Pyle gets two compositions back-to-back. On the more song-like "Binoculars," the witty but equally dark pen that contributed "Fitter Stoke Has a Bath" to Hatfield's The Rotters Club remains as sharp as ever, even as it descends into complete freedom before gradually turning pastoral for a return to its initial theme across nearly 12 minutes of keys, guitars and horns. But it's the brief "Phlakaton" that, perhaps, stands out as the late drummer's most memorable writing—if only for a mere nine seconds. Pyle rarely, if ever, took a drum solo, and so to increasing demand for one, "Phlakaton" is the answer. That an entire audience in Toronto, Canada, memorized Pyle's vocal interpretation of a drum solo in 1979, documented on Missing Pieces, is remarkable in itself: "Phlak, phlakka phlakka phlakaton cash. Ker- chaffa, ker-chaffa, oum ka ka oum-er ka kaf dof, flibbet, flibbet, flibbet, flibbet, raka taka raka taka BISH!"
It's a terrific lead-in to Stewart's closer, "The Bryden 2-Step (for Amphibians) (Part Two)," which features (for the time) a rare synthesizer solo from a keyboardist who was rarely heard on the relatively nascent instrument, even while those around him succumbed more heavily to the lure of sounds that often sound dated today. But Stewart's ear for tone meant a texture that remains fresh 30 years later, leading into a reprise of the powerful melody that drove "Part One" as, once again, rather than ending in great drama, the group fades in greater atmospherics, turning yet another album into a full-circle experience.
Stewart's departure before National Health's final tour changed the complexion of the band, from one dedicated to complex writing and solos largely over firm structures to a more open-ended improvising unit with the brief return of Gowen. Still, after Gowen's passing, when the group reconvened for an album dedicated to the late keyboardist's compositions, D.S. Al Coda, it retained the strong voice of Stewart in the arrangemements, even on material that wasn't of his own making.
National Health and, shortly afterwards, Bruford, may have been Stewart's last progressive efforts. As dominant and defining a force in both groups as he was, it would be unfair to dismiss the collective sound created by both groups' participants. Still, these final recordings—along with D.S. Al Coda—represent the highest water marks in Stewart's career; one that had an ever-rising trajectory. That he's now reconciling his progressive interests with a desire to create accessible pop songs is great news for fans who've missed him on a scene that, thanks to the internet, is finally surging again in popularity.
Esoteric's timely reissues of these two National Health discs are a strong reminder of just how important Stewart was at a time when there were few, if any rules and it was not just acceptable, but demanded to pursue all avenues to their logical conclusions...and, often, beyond. Esoteric's forthcoming Hatfield and the North reissues will, no doubt, bolster this belief even further, providing further evidence that it was and remains possible to create music of great compositional depth without resorting to excessive self-indulgence or over-consideration. As significant as the contributions of everyone in National Health are to these two releases, it's equally true—as was the case with Hatfield and was also proven when Gowen took over the reins in National Health— that National Health would have been a completely different affair, had Stewart not only been a major participant, but its de facto leader. "
John Kelman  (el artículo completo está acá)

"Once again going against the grain of the fading prog scene while punk and disco were usurping the attention of the masses, NATIONAL HEALTH pumped out one more album before calling it quits (ok technically there's a third) and what a magnificent album it is! Their second masterpiece in a row is OF QUEUES AND CURES and it does not disappoint one bit despite having a totally different sound than their debut.The core line up has changed a bit as Neil Murray abandoned his bass duties and was replaced by John Greaves who is most famous for his work with Henry Cow but also was in Soft Heap as well as releasing several solo albums. His addition gives this album a rougher sound with his more experiment RIO approach. Noticeably missing from this sophomore album is the angelic vocal contributions of Amanda Parsons meaning this 2nd album sounds a lot less Hatfield and the North influenced. This album has more of a complex jam session feel to it with less vocals and more instruments. In addition to the long list from the debut we also get some cello, trumpet, trombone and oboe added to the mix. It is more of a jazz-fusion meets Canterbury sound with all the quirkiness turned up to 11 and bass and fuzz organ boosted up accordingly.Tracks like "Squarer For Maude" have the perfect recipe for brilliance with their frenetic and sometimes repetitious jazz-fusion template that blends guitar solos and even a brief spoken word excursion inspired by Peter Blegvad of Slapp Happy. The jam continues in a hypnotic continuity until suddenly and unexpectedly changes completely reminding you that this band is always full of surprises and breathes life into everything they touch. This track is no anomaly as each one is brilliant in its own special way.Overall an absolutely phenomenal album that pretty much celebrates the end of an era where prog ruled for a brief period which celebrates this crowning achievement with bravado. You could not ask for a better culmination of the Canterbury sound than what you get on this album where Dave Stewart kills it on keyboards, Phil Miller sizzles on guitar, Pip Pyle rocks the house and the entire block on drums and John Greaves adds yet more elements of complexity to an already amazing non-easy listening band. All the extra sounds that are incorporated on this album are just super exciting icing on an already spicy deliciously rich cake. This National Health plan is mandatory for my health and i highly recommend it for yours."
siLLy puPPy 

"An oasis (one of many, I'd say) in prog's lean years between the fading of the first golden age and the dawn of the neo-prog movement, National Health's second album is the glorious culmination of all the different Canterbury scene strands that fed into that particular supergroup. With intriguing spoken word from Peter Blegvad on Squarer for Maud, an intriguing anti-TV rant in the form of Binoculars, a hilarious "a capella drum solo" and wonderful instrumentals in between, the album shows all the humour, whimsy, and musicianship usually associated with the best of the Canterbury scene. As essential as the band's debut, and as important any Canterbury collection as Hatfield and the North's two albums, or the best releases by Caravan and Soft Machine."


Warthur
"The second National Health album is without question one of the major highlights of the Canterbury scene, despite coming relatively late in the game both in terms of that scene and in terms of the heyday of progressive rock itself. The album opens with lilting synthesizers and birdsong before transitioning into the ferocious, driving rhythm of The Bryden 2-step (Part I), all courtesy of Pip Pyle's stunning drumming throughout the track. The major compositions were for the most part divided among the core group of musicians, a slight change from the first album where Stewart was the main writer. The album simply moves from one outstanding track to the next; the musicianship is of the highest caliber throughout the entire record. This author admits a certain predilection indeed for the first side - the relentlessness of Bryden Part I, the brilliance of Stewart on the Hammond on The Collapso, the majesty of Squarer for Maud - rivals anything that progressive rock has ever produced. While difficult to pinpoint any single highlight, as the entirety of the record is just sheer brilliance, it seems to this writer that the Greaves composition Squarer for Maud seems to encapsulate everything that Dave Stewart wanted this band to be - a rock orchestra of sorts playing some of the most intricate and challenging music conceivable, a feeling certainly enhanced by the presence of guest musicians such as Georgie Born on cello and Jimmy Hastings on clarinet and flute. For those that claim prog was dead by 1977 one merely has to hand such detractors a copy of this album and their mind shall be changed forever more, as they are in possession of one of the best albums of all time. An easy 5 stars for this masterpiece."
Padraic



Si no saben cómo conseguir el disco, consulten acá: http://cabezademoog.blogspot.com.ar/p/por-si-algun-dia-no-estamos-aca.html 

2 comentarios:

  1. Que enorme disco!!!! Gracias Vicky! Y creo que Lean había traído el disco, así que a él también. Bah, a toda la comunidad cabezona porque siempre falta nombrar a alguno.
    Enorme disco, infaltable!

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    1. Si si, era Leandro quien compartió el disco, ahí vi el texto de Vicky. Así que gracias a ambos dos en nombre de todos los cabezones!

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