|CD Overload - Do Not Panic!
This piece is from a mid-90's Record Collector
There are now well over 60 different Hawkwind CDs to choose from. So when half-a-dozen or so more
beam down simultaneously onto the Editorial desk, no-one bats an eyelid. In fact, no-one particularly cares.
Because, after years of wanton plunder, and no authoritative box set to tell the real Hawkwind story, aren't
these simply reissues of reissues of material that should never have appeared in the first place? And
individual group members' solo projects masquerading as the 'Wind of old?
Quite possibly. But one of the latest arrivals is "California Brainstorm" (Cyclops CYCL-021), a 75-minute
live recording of Dave Brock and his 1990-era crew. This is, for all intents and purposes, the genuine
Hawkwind, the one with a direct lineage back to the days of Stacia and Lemmy and "Silver Machine" on
'Top Of The Pops'.
The music is largely forgettable: workaday retreads of "Ejection" and "Brainstorm" fail to excite the strange
charm of nostalgia, although the "Out Of The Shadows" / "Eons" / "Night Of The Hawks" medley captures
something of the band's early stoned abandon. But what makes "California Brainstorm" stand
head-and-shoulders above its competitors on the racks is the accompanying 176-page book, 'The Illustrated
Collector's Guide To Hawkwind'.
Researched by intrepid Hawkfan Robert Godwin, it fulfills its brief admirably, illustrating every single,
album, CD, tour programme, video and poster bearing the band's name. And while there's been one
Hawkwind biography, Kris Tait's 'This Is Hawkwind Do Not Panic', this latest publication offers
at-a-glance details relating to the band's history, interviews with Dave Brock and Michael Moorcock,
exhaustive gig guide and a family tree. What it doesn't do is help you make sense of the catalogue, but then
Brian Tawn's excellent piece in Record Collector no.157 admirably covers that.
It's not the first time the "California Brainstorm" CD has been available -it first appeared on the U.S. Iloki
label- though it now boasts an extra track, "Images". And the book, too, was first published in 1993. But
together for the first time in the U.K., this latest package at last makes both readily available at -presumably-
a reasonable price.
More controversial, but to these ears musically more thrilling, is "Space Ritual 1994 Live" (Cleopatra CLEO
95062). Not actually a Hawkwind release at all, but a double-disc souvenir of Nik Turner's 1994 U.S. tour,
it is the 'Wind in everything but name. Turner shrewdly concentrates on the golden years - "Brainstorm",
"Sonic Attack", "Master Of The Universe", "You Shouldn't Do That", "Orgone Accumulator" and "Silver
Machine" are all present and (reasonably) correct - with ex-band members Del Dettmar and Allan Powell
among the many fellow travellers. Other name 'musicnauts' contributing to the neo-psychedelic stew
include Genesis P. Orridge and Helios Creed.
For a sample of the 'real' Hawkwind, you'll have to seek out "The Business Trip: Live" (Emergency
Broadcast System EBSSCD 111). With packaging as evocative of the "In Search Of Space" sleeve as is
possible with the CD format, it was recorded on the current trio's November 1993 U.K. tour, and
concentrates almost entirely on the band's recent work.
One of the most useful 'Wind-related CDs in some time has to be Anagram's recent "Friends & Relations,
The Rarities" (CDMGRAM 91). In gathering together 15 Hawkwind and related rarities, it trawls back as
far 1972 for a live version of "Earth Calling", takes in Robert Calvert and Michael Moorcock oddities, and
picks the choice cuts from the "Friends & Rarities" vinyl series, issued during the early 80s.
Dojo's "Church Of Hawkwind" and "Out And Intake" are reissues of previously available, if unexceptional
albums, while "Born To Lose - Live To Win: The Best Of Lemmy" is much more fun. It could be more
authoritative, but starting with the Rockin' Vicars' "It's Alright" isn't a bad way to open a set that relies
heavily on the Motorhead years. Ironic that Hawkwind's favourite son was only in the band a couple of
years, isn't it?