Album Sleeve Notes, Part 2
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The Space Ritual.  Has any tour promised so
much - and delivered even more?  NASA was
still firing men at the moon when space
guerrillas Hawkwind conceived the Space
Ritual, a two-hour touring extravaganza that
took its cue from science fiction but travelled
quickly to a universe unlike any other.  From
the opening static of 'Space' to the alien
foreboding of 'Welcome To The Future',
through poems, riffs and electronic mayhem,
the Space Ritual was alternately terrifying,
invigorating and utterly believable.  Indeed, as
vocalist Robert Calvert warned us as the
journey took another sudden twist, 'This is
reality...however grim'.

The roots of the Space Ritual were sown in
November 1971, a full year before it took actually place, at a time when Hawkwind were  still widely
regarded as a loose aggregation of hippie jam merchants, most at home on the free festival circuit.  'At
the moment we're getting a space odyssey together' Dave Brock said in an interview, 'which will be a
completely environmental situation.  In a way, it's a progression of what we're doing now.  Everybody
will be given a free programme so they can understand what's going on, and project their fantasies on
top of it.'  He later admitted that if they'd not been able to stage the Space Ritual, 'I think the band
would have broken up', so desperately excited were they by the concept.  Instead, they scored a
major hit single, watching in astonishment as 'Silver Machine' soared to #2 on the UK chart in
Summer 1972, and generating sufficient funds for the band to finally put the dream into motion.

The tour comprised a total of 28 solidly sold-out shows, climaxing with two in London, at Edmonton
and Brixton.  For two months before that, however, Hawkwind saturated Britain's theatres and
universities - the musty, haunted and supercharged staples of the rock circuit in those days before
soulless stadia, aircraft-carrier sized arenas and grey concrete conference centres crossed atmosphere
and ambience off the schedules.  Further gigs under the Space Ritual banner would follow in Europe
and the United States over the next 18 months, but the set, the stage and the line-up itself were all
rapidly changing.  For connoisseurs of primal Hawkwind, if you missed the Winter 1972 British tour,
you missed the show.

The musical core of the Space Ritual was built around the band's two most recent studio albums,
1971's 'In Search Of Space' and the newly released 'Doremi Fasol Latido'.  But Hawkwind were never
about music alone - a gig was an event, and even in a muddy field, Hawkwind were guaranteed to give
you your money's worth.  "The mood's the thing, and Hawkwind are superb at creating an
atmosphere", enthused International Times, the newsprint bible of the British counter-culture.  
"They've often been compared to Pink Floyd, which is perhaps unfair, as Hawkwind are basically
funkier than the Floyd have ever been.  Also they have a sense of humour that Waters and company
would seem to lack - musically at least."

It was that ability, that humour and that funkiness that allowed Hawkwind to get away with all that
they did, even in the earliest days. Saxophonist Nik Turner was a Free Jazzman whose head had been
turned by the freak form cacophony of the German commune band Amon Duul.  His fellow founder
member, guitarist Dave Brock, was a former busker, rooted in a bluesiness that never allowed him to
stray too far from rock'n'roll.  Electronics wizard DikMik, who joined midway between Hawkwind's
first and second albums, was a former drummer, so he understood the vitality of rhythm, even if
no-one understood what he did with it; Del Dettmar was the band's original sound engineer, moving
onstage when DikMik quit, then remaining there when he returned.  Lemmy, the band's third bassist in
as many albums, was ex-of 60's Rock'n'Roll fiends the Rockin' Vicars, and used to roadie for
Hendrix; drummer Simon King came from psychedelic folk hopefuls Opal Butterfly; and frontman
Robert Calvert was a South African poet and sci-fi freak who ate at the same cafe as the band, then
found he had the same musical appetite as well.

The Space Ritual was the culmination of all their dreams.  'The Space Ritual was a very grandiose
thing' says Nik Turner.  'Big stage sets, a lot of equipment, big trucks, very high overhead.  But
everybody was into it and so it was a very communal thing.'  The touring party alone was vast.  
Onstage, the seven musicians were joined by three dancers - Stacia, Miss Renee and Tony Carrera;
offstage, there was a five-man road crew, five lighting technicians (Jonathon Smeeton's legendary
Liquid Len and the Lensmen team), a costume designer and a mobile disc jockey, fellow festival
veteran Andy Dunkley.  And all threw their own ideas into the show, well aware that, with the most
extravagant tour of their career, Hawkwind really were driving into the unknown.

'We were all totally psyched', Dunkley recalls.  'The Floyd had been a little into that area, but the thing
about Hawkwind was, they were more raw, they were more rough and ready and you could dance to
them.  There was a definite Big Deal to this whole thing, and I remember driving up to the first gig
with Barney Bubbles (Hawkwind's stage designer) and we were imagining all the things we could
requisition from passers-by for the Space Ritual - draw up a huge requisition list, then just go up to
people in the street and take things from them; I'm sorry, we need this for the Space Ritual'.

That first gig in King's Lynn, on England's east coast, however, was almost the last one.  Dunkley
continues 'Hawkwind had long since established a very heavy reputation with the police around the
country, because of the drug thing...and they didn't only get you for drugs, they got you for anything
they thought was subversive activity.  We got to the gig, everything's set up, the light show's set up,
the band's soundchecking on stage, and lo and behold, here comes the East Anglia drug squad.  At the
time, everybody used to stash their drugs in their equipment, and here come the sniffer dogs, up onto
the stage, towards the gear.  Suddenly everyone left the stage except for DikMik and Del, who were
still noodling away at their synthesizers.  The dogs came on stage - and both DikMik and Del got into
subsonics.  The dogs freaked.  Totally.  They didn't have a fucking clue what was happening.  After it
was all over, there was Dame Stacia calming the dogs down, the handlers not knowing what was
happening, and the dogs unable to find a thing, even if they'd wanted to.  And that was the first gig of
the Space Ritual tour!'

Cops, dogs and subsonics notwithstanding, the sheer visual dynamism of the show was the first thing
to hit you.  The band itself was totally sublimated by the lights - squad car strobes, blistered neon,
colours the audience had never before imagined.  Above them, the slide show flashed stark planets and
bleak landscapes while harsh metallic objects rocketed through the icy void, around them, the stage
set was dominated by enormous speakers built into cardboard tubes, the propulsion units of a
spacecraft as huge as the band's ambition.

Fuelled by Lemmy's gut-pounding bass and Brock's hyperdrive guitars, driven by Calvert's desolate
spectral poetry, with a universe of electronics to confuse the watching radar, Hawkwind blasted off
for galaxies that we didn't even know existed - then kept going.  Into and out of the maelstrom,
DikMik's pinprick whistles catapulted from the passenger hold like the blips of asteroids on the radar
screen, while Dettmar interspersed his own generations, with the fuzzy roar of Andy Dunkley's
DJ-ing collection, familiar records spun backwards and off-centre, becoming the static-laden
broadcasts from an increasingly distant planet earth.  Unearthly, unequivocal, unerring, the result was
a solid roar into which the individual instruments blended, until guitar was indistinguishable from
saxophone, flute from bass, rocket blast from engine throb.

But the Space Ritual was never intended as a substitute for space travel.  It WAS space travel, the
band rising so far above it's constituent parts, the musicians themselves - even this most sainted
Hawkwind line-up, unencumbered by the personnel changes and difficulties that have scarred every
subsequent incarnation - seem absolutley secondary to the experience.  The Space Ritual exists within
itself, of itself, for itself, a relentless, flawless entity.

Several shows on the tour were recorded, with highlights of two, in Liverpool and Brixton, released
the following year as the 'Space Ritual' album, certainly the first, and possibly the last truly essential
double live album of the decade.  This CD, however, documents the Brixton gig in its' entirety,
capturing the final night of the tour in all its' manic glory.  'Brainstorm' is as heavy as any song of that
title should be, 'Master Of The Universe' as all-powerful, and 'Sonic Attack' really does make your
bowels disintegrate.  It is a far rawer performance than the familiar, 1973, release, but a more honest
one as well, savage and dramatic, uncut and unyielding.  It is the ultimate soundtrack to the most
dramatic concert tour ever and, if you doubt that, think on this.  When other bands go on tour, they
drive from town to town and from hotel to hotel.  Hawkwind travelled through the firestorms of
atmosphere and the ends of several worlds, down through the night to the realms beyond the sun.  
The Space Ritual documents that journey.

-Dave Thompson
In October 1972, when Hawkwind recorded
this In Concert performance, they were at the
height of their UK popularity.  The original
'space truckers' anthem, "Silver Machine" had
spent 15 weeks in the singles charts and the
band were preparing to unleash 'Doremi Fasol
Latido' on an unsuspecting record buying
public.  The essence of what the Hawks were
all about is encapsulated in the opening 'Born To
Go'; primal riffing, pummelling percussive
tattoos and the screams and swoops of synth
and sax as they weave in and out of the melee.  
Somewhere in there Headhawk Dave Brock is
spouting cosmic babble.  Peter Gunn meets
Buck Rogers, ray-guns and fuzzpedals at dawn.

If Little Green Men ever beamed down at a
Hawkwind gig, chances are they'd be wearing
jackboots and cadging Rizlas.  Unlike their fellow extraterrestrial troubadours from Planet Gong,
Hawkwind had scant regard for the whimsy of teapots and pixies.  With Godfather of Metal Lemmy
pumping the heart of the beast, subtlety was never going to top any priority lists.  The band were 'in
yer face' when 808 State were squeezing zits in Salford and Kingdom Come's Lenny Wolfe had just
bought 'Led Zeppelin IV'.

A Hawkwind show was (and indeed remains) a sonic assault on the senses, complemented by the
kaleidoscopic visuals of Liquid Len and the Barbarella of Notting Hill Gate, Stacia.  Not without good
reason was their 1973 live album dubbed 'Space Ritual Alive'.  The soundtrack to the union of droves
of unwashed, ill-favoured, afghan coated Youth, in communion with the half dozen doyens of the
Ladbroke Grove Astral Navigation Society.  Oh, and everybody is off their heads.  So with the amps
humming up way past '10' (they were always 'one louder') and the strobes unleashed (slowly, mind,
blip, blip...) a trip to the Roundhouse or to the Sundown became a charabanc ride to Alpha Centauri.

Hawkwind's influence has been rarely acknowledged over the years.  This recording documents a
powerhouse performance from what is arguably the fans' favourite line-up in their preferred live
environment.  Whilst 'Space Ritual' languishes in dusty vaults, this recording is the nearest you'll get to
experiencing that legendary album.  Almost twenty years on, the band they called Group X are still out
there plotting their course for the stars.  Hawk Lords, long may they roam.

-Raymond Casey (1991)


For a band that started out as a bunch of enthusiastic amateurs, who played for free almost anywhere,
Hawkwind did pretty well for themselves.  I always remember meeting one of the recording engineers
who had worked with Hawkwind in their very early days.  He told me they were the only group with
whom he had ever worked where each time any one of the musicians came into the control booth he
asked to be turned *down* in the mix because they considered themselves such poor musicians!

Well, we certainly had everyone fully turned *up* when we recorded this concert in late September
1972.  By this time the band had grown in confidence, not only having a very strong following of fans
but also having had a big hit in July of that year when 'Silver Machine' reached no. 3 in the charts.

As for the personnel of the band itself, Hawkwind's line-up was somewhat fluid over the years but for
this occasion it consisted of DEL DETTMAR - synthesizer, DIK MIK - audio generator, NIK
TURNER - sax, DAVE BROCK - guitar, SIMON KING - drums, and IAN 'LEMMY' KILMINSTER -
bass.

One other piece of information about this concert concerns the recording itself.  As with all our
concerts at that time, it was recorded straight onto quarter-inch tape - there were no overdubs and no
possibility of re-mixing.  This particular performance was also continuous for one hour which made
for an interesting changeover when the programme was aired since the reels of tape only lasted
approximately 30 minutes each.  That's certainly one problem that can be avoided on CD.  Good
listening.

-Jeff Griffin, Producer of the BBC In Concert programmes
Some bands earn accolades for establishing
themselves as genuine rock icons.  Others earn
their place in history for their iconoclastic
enterprise.  Yet perhaps no rock band can match
Hawkwind's own inimitable interpretation of the
ebbing curds and flowing wheys within the Hard
Rock genre.

Since their inception back at the end of the 60's,
this remarkable band have eschewed fashion, yet
by contrast have never fought against it.  They
have followed their own musical and visual path
without recourse to leaning into or fighting
against the vagaries of what was going on
around them.  Sure, they had a hit single in 1972
with the estimable 'Silver Machine' (Number
Three in
the charts), which again hit the Top 40
six years later on its' re-release, but this was
never allowed to colour their outlook, either positively or negatively.

Perhaps only America's Grateful Dead or Daevid Allen's Gong are made of similar hue and hubris, but
musically, Hawkwind are out on their own.  Combining effective, sturdy guitar rhythms with powerful
backbeats and syntheizer melodies long before the world caught on to this notion in the mid-70's the
'Wind quickly established a sound and thought-motion of their own choosing.  It has the metallic carve
of Deep Purple or Black Sabbath. It had the anarchic energy of Punk long before the Sex Pistols or
The Clash existed.  It had the meandering electronic miasma of the electro-synth groups long before
Depeche Mode or the Pet Shop Boys were formed.  Combining this musical tour de force with a
unique visual extravaganza, Hawkwind quickly built up a strong following that has remained loyal to
them down the years.  Moreover, thanks to a continual flow of musicians and performers through their
ranks, Hawkwind have retained the creative fluidity of being more of a wandering carnival than a
strictly formulated group.  Anything is possible, anyone is welcome to contribute.  Only guitarist /
vocalist / keyboardsman Dave Brock has remained a constant factor.  Others such as Motorhead's
Lemmy, late poet Robert Calvert, novelist Michael Moorcock, legendary drummer Ginger Baker, exotic
dancer Stacia, synthesizer innovator Tim Blake and saxophonist Nik Turner have moved smoothly
through the ranks, making their mark before moving on.  This tape from the Reading Festival in 1986
is another triumph for Hawkwind, perfectly capturing their essence, their fervour, their being.  Tracks
such as 'Master Of The Universe', 'Needle Gun', 'Utopia' and the inimitable 'Silver Machine' (with guest
appearances from Lemmy and indefatigable guitarist Dumpy Dunnell from Dumpy's Rusty Nuts) are
delivered with a scholarly yet fierce commitment by Brock, bassist Harvey Bainbridge, guitarist Hugh
Lloyd Langton, drummer Alan Davey and keyboardsman Danny Thomas Jnr.

This is a fitting example of Hawkwind at their best.  A British institution performing at a British
institution.  Magnificent.

-Malcolm Dome (who really ought to know better than to mangle the band line-up like that!)
Hendrix was dead.  Around the corner at one end of the ballroom lurked John Travolta in his white suit,
and among the trash cans in the alley outside the Sex Pistols were tuning up, But that was all above
ground, all visible, day-to-day pop culture.  Hawkwind operate on a different cosmic time scale in
another dimension which side-steps mundane pop history.  To Hawkwind, all the great mysteries of
time and space combine with music's potential to take the brave traveller to distant places and other
times - especially the future.

Hawkwind are at their best at great festivals because in their own way that's what they are - a timeless
festival which will endure into the very future they began taking us to outside the Isle of Wight festival
way back in 1970.  It was that memorable free gig at the closed gates of pop commerce which
confirmed them for all time as the musical figureheads of something the press rushed to call an
'alternative society'.  Being a member of Hawkwind - and there have been many recruits down the years
- is something akin to joining a bizarre interplanetary circus where anything could - and often did
-happen.  Perhaps the fact that there exists today a Hawkwind 'community' of fans in Britain can point
up the suggestion that they represent the alternative culture in the UK to the same degree that the
Grateful Dead did in the USA.  Take Hawkwind's tours of the USA for instance, in the early 70s.  Back
then they attracted a broadly curious American audience - and apart from their psychedelic credentials,
their semi-nude dancer Stacia in the line-up added something to their daring reputation.  In 1974 the
Indiana Police virtually closed the band down by confiscating all their equipment, claiming that
Hawkwind owed $8,000 in taxes.  The following year, on the Warrior On The Edge of Time
tour.Lemmy Kilmister (later to form Motorhead) lost his job as bassist when he was arrested by
Canadian customs and jailed on a drugs charge.  Talk about paying your rock'n'roll dues - this band
wrote the manual.

The tracks on this collection are sterling Hawkwind performances from such memorable occasions as
the 1975 Watchfield Festival, the 1976 Atomhenge, a very atmospheric 1977 Stonehenge and a
Christmas Eve bonanza in the Queens Hall, Barnstaple, in Devon in the same year.  As with most live
Hawkwind material, there's a ready-made communal ambience one can soon feel immersed in.  This is a
musical experience which engenders a kind of spiritual electricity which always crackles through an
audience, connecting souls and uniting minds.  Hawkwind take you to pristine places your intellect
tends to keep hidden away.  On CD1 Dave Brock, (guitar, vocals) Paul Rudolph, (bass) Andy Dunkley,
(electronics) Alan Powell, (drums) and Nik Turner (sax) manage to swoop and dive through the
galactic range of their musical sound in a performance which culminates in the bizarre spoken survival
instructions -dark poetry indeed- of Sonic Attack, followed by a bounce back to a rock'n'roll Mother
Earth with Kerb Crawler.

Hawkwind endure as the mighty major oak in a dying forest of alternative, underground rock'n'roll
culture.  It is doubtful that original Hawklord Dave Brock could have ever predicted way back in 1969
that his obstinate quest for a musical philosophy of freedom which would be contagious among
generations of future fans -some unborn- could survive like some new tradition into the cyber age of
the 21st century.  But the various line-ups over the decades have carried forward the Hawkwind baton,
sustaining and preserving the core vision of intergalactic expression whilst outlining in no uncertain
terms the frustrations of our own earthbound existence.  The personnel on tracks 1-5 of CD2 features
Brock with Bob Calvert (vocals), Simon King (drums) Simon House (keyboards & violin) and Adrian
Shaw (bass/vocals) taking us from the anger and frustration of High Rise through the double-barrelled
brainstorms of Damnation Alley Parts I & II and the spot-on comment of Uncle Sam's On Mars.  
Tracks 6-10 -the Barnstaple recordings- feature Brock and Calvert with Paul Hayles (keyboards/synth)
and Martin Griffin (drums).  In performance terms Over The Top lives up to its title admirably with
some fine, chest-beating poetic declarations.  The rest of the tracks from that particular Yuletide feast,
especially Free Fall, will make you wish you'd been there, because this was one alternative Christmas
concert worth going to.  Track 11, Nuclear Toy sees Dave Brock in the studio on his own, playing all
the instruments with a song which addresses all the real nuclear paranoia which dominated the
counter-culture more than ever from the late 70s onwards.  This was the threshold of the
Thatcher/Reagan era, with a lot of itchy gung-ho fingers on very hot nuclear buttons.  Track 12, Who's
Gonna Win The War follows the theme with Brock, bassist Harvey Bainbridge and Martin Griffin
(drums) and keyboardist Steve Swindells.

In a strange way (there's no other in the Hawkwind story) this band's existence has no beginning and
certainly no end in sight.  They may well have come together in the late 60s as Group X and then
Hawkwind Zoo, but the subterranean stream of cosmic consciousness they have swum in down the
years was already running deep under the foundations of rock'n'roll.  Hawkwind were drawn to the
dangerous outer limits of the genre in the same way that Mohawk Indians were drawn to building the
skyscrapers of Manhattan.  Dave Brock & co. have taken the spirit of an age of technical invention and
examined the possibilities of the future using every available blend of electronic sound.  Sure, rock and
roll is at the core, and deep in the grain there's a seam of blues, but they have always pushed past the
pop envelope and managed to branch out on their own trips into an improvisational fantasy,

When the great science fiction novelist Michael Moorcock joined Hawkwind's line-up in May 1971 it
came as no surprise to die-hard fans.  Moorcock's free-form imagination was in every way the literary
match for Hawkwind's time warp wall of sound.  That's the difference between the long-established
underground culture as exemplified by Hawkwind and the shallow popular culture of today, where the
nearest thing to togetherness and emotion is the facile massed waving of cigarette lighters.  60s
counter-culture had its foundations in a decade where we actually did believe that we might be able to
change the world.  There's a strength in such a committed dream which will always
endure.                        

Hawkwind quite often played gigs for free because that was the way they played their music - free
from conventional restrictions.  It was the way we all wanted to be - free.  There seemed a chance that
we might avoid being pushed into the regimented ranks of the immediate future, forced to be mundane
members of the 51st state, wearing our baseball caps whilst exclaiming the cultural benefits of
McDonald's and Pizza Hut.

However since the end of the 70s an ice-cold tidal wave of 'reality' has all but washed away some of the
more interesting monuments of the alternative society.  Thankfully Hawkwind's foundations were
stronger than most institutions and for almost four decades in one form or another, this raucous,
far-out starship has continued to dock in the world's recording studios and grace the tribal festival
stages.  The cynical younger observer might see Hawkwind as the ultimate "old hippie's" musical
bolt-hole, but they would be wrong.  What began in 1969 is today more man just a band.  Hawkwind is
a celebration, an extra-terrestrial philosophy, a musical and cultural emblem which is even more valid
against the evil backdrop of modern political chicanery, double-speak and social heartlessness.  Young
and old, we all now have rock'n'roll as part of our heritage, and when the need arises - more often than
not - for us to hear and see a wider, more hopeful horizon than the one which faces us, then thankfully
we'll always have the option of listening to purveyors of a passionate alternative to the pap of
pre-packaged pop.        
Time and Space go on forever, and there, lodged between the two, stands Hawkwind.  Can't get
enough?  No problem - the Universe is bountiful - there'll always be more where this came from!

-Roy Bainton
Distant Places, Other Times...

It was an easy word to bandy around at the time
-'underground'.  And we weren't talking about
London's tube system, either - being
'underground' in the heady cultural climate of the
late 1960s and into the 1970s meant something
apart, something special.  In musical terms, no
other outfit epitomized being underground more
than Hawkwind.  Listen for instance on CD1 in
this collection to the bizarre and intriguing musical
and emotional gulf we cross between I Am The
Eye and the slightly sinister, scary Slap It On The
Table.  Consider the period we're talking about
here - 75 to 77.  The great excitement of th
e
1960s had turned to ashes.  The rhythm and blues
boom had been and gone.  The Beatles were over.