Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Alan King, Aug 16, 2015.
anyone remember them ? i loved their first two albums, Legend and Unrest
I like them a lot as well, but only the instrumental albums... Fred Frith is an amazing musician, but I never warmed to Dagmar Krause's vocals.
Great, great band, although an 'acquired taste', that's for sure. Fred Frith once was described as 'the thinking man's guitar hero'. I think I have the complete output, on vinyl and cd. That includes the rare box set 'The Virgin Years' from '91, of which there are only 1250 numbered copies. Essential is their multi-disc collection of rare live recordings, 'The Road'. Of the studio albums my faves are their debut, 'Leg End' and 'Western Culture', their swan song. I too prefer my Cow instrumental.
I don't 'remember' them, but I have been a fan for over 25 years. Western Culture might just be my favorite, though I'm a big fan of the Slapp Happy collaborations — Desperate Straights is amazing.
I was introduced to them by picking up a vinyl copy of Concerts from my local 2nd hand shop in the late 80s/turn of the 90s. I loved disc 2's long improvisations. I think when I moved to Ireland I only brought that disc with me, I cut a lotof doubles down to a single disc being brought.
Oslo sounds a lot better there than I've heard it on cd since. Not sure if they've used the same mix. Need to find my cd and check.
I bought the box set too bt haven't listened to it that much. I also gt several live sets that I don't think are on there.
THink I prefer them live to studio though the studio lps are pretty good. I still need to get Western Culture though.
I only got to know the music of Henry Cow and Art Bears in the last 15 years or so. I would love to have seen them in the 1970s, but sadly I let them pass me by.
Uniquely original outfit. Early is best for me.
One of my first favorite bands as a teenager. They never played here in Canada - the first time I got to see one of them was a solo guitars on the table Fred Frith show at a downtown bar in 1979.
Never remixed, just remastered.
The only two albums that have been remixed are 'The Henry Cow Legend' and 'In Praise Of Learning', and both of those are OOP.
I love all their albums. Best Prog band ever (along with VdGG).
My favorites are the first two sides of Concerts, Desperate Straights and Western Culture. I haven't really warmed up to the first 2 albums. Their work has a whole seems to pull in so many different directions - I find them a bit unfocused overall while still really enjoying some great moments.
Jonathan Coe's "The Rotters Club" novel features the character Ben Trotter 's introduction to Canterbury music through Henry Cow. "Imagine the Yardbirds getting into bed with Legeti in the smoking ruins of divided Berlin." His fourteen-year-old friend prefers the brand new Tales From Topographic Oceans, though.
I haven't (CAN'T!) seen the BBC-TV version of it, but understand there is no Canterbury music in the series. Can't have our young viewers getting too close a look at Ye Olde Times, or allow that bloated fatcat Richard Sinclair to collect a penny in royalties, after all...
I never quite got the Yardbirds reference in Bittern Storm Over Ulm. Maybe I just need to sit down and listen to it back to back with Got To Hurry to see if any recognisable remnants remain.
Dagmar's vocals weren't the problem. Those ponderous, pretentious lyrics were. IMHO...
Brilliant stuff. I especially love their collaboration with Slapp Happy.
Agreed. For proof, you only need to listen to her charming performances with Slapp Happy for a pleasant contrast. I enjoy some of what Henry Cow did, but I don't sure that they brought out the best in Slapp Happy, who were more satisfying as a quirky art-pop outfit, IMO. Casablanca Moon (which I gather features Henry Cow as backing musicians) is brilliant, but I'm a lot more mixed on Desperate Straights.
One of my favorites. Challenging music for progressive and enlightened minds. Fred Frith is one of my favorite guitarists.
Rock in opposition indeed.
But the best RIO band is without a doubt Samla Mammas Manna (and I'm not saying that just because I'm Swedish).
They did bring more of a sense of freewheeling fun to the proceedings, didn't they?
It was Dagmar's presence that bought the overt politics to the fore. She had been in agit-prop band called The City Preachers before Slapp Happy and it was under her that the two bands joined.
I agree with SirNoseDVoid that her voice is grating in the Cow. Especially where she tackles the improv material. She was better suited to the material on the Bears.
The lyrics and music on Living Heart of The Beast put me off. After that it was muscular complexity (Hodgkinson) or art-chamber-rock (Cooper).
Yeah and they were not that political (even though the music scene in Sweden were at the time).
Really like the band. For anyone interested in more Henry Cowish RIO, I suggest looking into U TOTEM.
Anyone who, like me, enjoys Legend and Unrest the most should check early pre-Legend Cow. In some cases (e.g Hieronymo), The Soft Machine influences are palpable - in a lovely way.
Peels sessions (1971):
Hieronymo's Mad Again
Poglith Drives A Vauxhall Viva
Guider Tells of Silent Airbone Machine (a very good 10 minute composition)
With The Yellow Half Moon And Blue Star (the full version)
This last two pieces are in the boxset. There are also two amusing Wyatt influenced songs with Frith singing.
The 1971 era stuff is only on bootleg for some reason.
Warning. The current 'original mix' Legend CD. Mastered from vinyl.
I guess I'll go against the tide and mention that I like In Praise Of Learning, particularly "Living In The Heart Of The Beast" (amazing music, especially the final part).
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