|Space Ritual Album / Tour Reviews
The first of a series of composite pages I'll be adding to the site, made up of a few related articles
cobbled together with bits of string, glue and sticky tape
Hawkwind's Space Epic How It Will Function (from the New Musical Express, 23/10/72)
More details of Hawkwind's "Space Ritual" tour - plans for which were exclusively front-paged by NME last
week - were announced this week by tour manager John Debog. One of the features of the tour will be the
new-custom-built equipment designed by Barney Bubbles, who was responsible for the cover and booklet
for the group's, "In Search Of Space" album. The equipment will be housed in six-sided cabinets,
emblazoned with Hawkwind emblems, which will then build into six-pointed stars in keeping with the overall
concept of the Space Ritual.
The music featured in the show has been written over the last year, mainly by Dave Brock, and is linked by
commentary and poetry by Bob Calvert - space poet and co-writer of the band's "Silver Machine" hit. The
music and choreography are based around the astronomical system of the nine planets. Specially designed
Space Ritual badges, stickers and programmes will be included in the price of tickets.
As reported last week, the tour opens at Dunstable on November 9. A London venue has still to be
announced, but Preston Guildhall (December 21) has had to be cancelled as construction work on the hall
will not have been completed. It is hoped to record the space opera live on tour, with a view to releasing a
double album next year.
Live Goods from the Sonic Assassins (album review from the New Musical Express, 19/5/73)
Hawkwind: "Space Ritual Alive At Liverpool Stadium And Brixton Sundown" (United Artists). Well, these
cosmic tacos ain't about to make you wet yourself, but it's still a fact that, contained on these four sides, are
the very best examples of H. Wind's ability to titillate the old earlobes with their inimitable sledgehammer
I could go straight on to say that this is Hawkwind's equivalent to "Live Dead", only no-one listens to the
latter any more except hippies and this album is geared to a strong Mandrax market. For a start, the tracks
were recorded in Liverpool and Brixton, two accepted murk-pits of England's green and pleasant laud, which
gives a strong indication of the sounds at hand. The two-album set covers the extension of the "Space
Ritual" multi-media experiment the lads took around the country very successfully.
If you purchased the "Greasy Truckers Party" album you won't need me to tell you that the band function
best on black vinyl when recorded live. In fact, that fourth side of the aforementioned record was a
masterpiece of British heavy metal music, cutting the likes of Black Sabbath down to a frazzle.
Throughout their career, Hawkwind have established themselves as prime movers of the heavy-metal
brigade, surpassing Pink Ftoyd and their artsy-fartsy, totally superficial cosmic wallpaper moods, while
never embracing the ritualistic Twilight Zone scenarios conjured up by the German bands.
This live album is a distillation of their finest characteristics - Brock's riffs repeated and surrounded by
amateur but effective electronics. The first number is "Born to Go", recorded only on the "G.T.O." album
and here cleaned up considerably. The sound throughout this album is superior to previous efforts,
particularly the "Doremi" album which suffered from a muddy, bleak overall feel. So much so, in fact, that
the numbers used from that last album are rejuvenated by the complete improvement in texture.
The album's real bonus, however, is the extensive appearance of the band's sometime poet/lyricist Robert
Calvcrt, as well as help from Hawkwind enthusiast Michael Moorcock. The last time I saw Mike he was
playing Woody Guthrie songs on the banjo and talking about forming a Country 'n Western band, but his
two poems "The Black Corridor" and "Sonic Attack", are both performed here by Calvert. There are also
several new numbers performed here, including Calvert's excellent "Orgone Accumulator".
On this album, Hawkwind have achieved the feeling of space, of creating a total environment which has
been their vision from the beginning. They're still Britain's best psychedelic band and a great combo to take
cerebral depressants to.
Hold back the money you were going to squander on that horrendous Yes triple and get this goodie. For a
start, it's infinitely cheaper and will give you almost enough to purchase Iggy and the Stooges' "Raw Power"
or "Blue Oyster Cult" and remember, after "Space Ritual", everything else is just horse tranquilliser.
Hawkwind in Earth Orbit (from Sounds, 26/5/73 - though I've previously regurgitated an excerpt of this
article, as republished in Knave magazine - which I assumed at the time was the original source, and the
reason why this piece contained some smutty comments)
Ride the Hawkwind! That's the message from our music critic. Sounds goods, according to him.
Time was when Hawkwind were called, with some justification, 'The poor man's Pink Floyd'. A band in
search of identity - a group questing for a musical oasis they could colonise and call their own - that' was
Hawkwind. Times, fortunately, change. And Hawkwind have changed with them and emerged as their own
men (and one woman).
Their latest album, Space Ritual (United Artists UAD 60037/8) is a double set recorded live in concert at
Liverpool Stadium and The Sundown, Brixton, and is a fine concentration of proof that Hawkwind have
gelled into a superior musical team and an important performing one. The two don't naturally go together -
many fine writers shrivel and die before audiences, and many a great performer has emerged ball-less from
recording studios with no buzz from an ecstatic audience to pull the adrenalin from him.
Hawkwind's recordings to date have suffered from that latter complaint. They've been filling British and
European halls for a couple of years now, and if those halls haven't literally gone into orbit, thousands of
Levi'd bums have lifted from seats by the end of earth-shattering sets. These two albums show why.
As the title suggests, Hawkwind are heavily into things astral. Correction: things astral/scientific. Friendship
with best-selling sci-fi writer Michael Moorcock (who gets composing credits for two songs) has added
weight to their writing and maybe even his. Moorcock's classic Jerry Cornelius books have a heavy pop
influence which could be credited to Hawkwind.
No matter, that's an argument for academics. What of the music? If I may be forgiven comparisons in order
to help you judge before hearing, and continue the Pink Floyd parallel, Hawkwind emerge as a Floyd-plus.
Plus overdrive, maybe? They certainly speed through their particular region of space, pausing only from time
to time to deliver commentary / illumination / instruction. This is certainly not easy listening time, by any
stretch of the imagination. But if you can stretch your imagination, you're in for a helluva ride across the
Line-up of the band, which has been together now in its present form for some two-and-a-bit years, is Bob
Calvert (poet & swazzle), Dave Brock (guitar, vocals), Lemmy (bass, (vocals), Nik Turner (sax, flute,
vocals), DikMik (audio generator, electronics), Del Dettmar (synthesizer) and Simon King (drums). Not to
forget, lest you don't know and they come your way and you are. thinking maybe of seeing them, the
delectable Stacia. She's their dancer and the owner, if unabashed male chauvinism may be excused, of the
most incredible pair of boobs since Jayne Mansfield. Cross my heart (which is more than she can, probably!)
Space Ritual is contained in a great poster / cover assembled by Ladbroke Grove's own Barney Bubbles in
which, I suppose, you can enclose the records, or stick up on that blank space on the wall. Having made up
the cigar box out of Jefferson Airplane's Long John Silver cover and subsequently had no sleeve for that
album, this one stays wrapped round the LP. Brilliant graphics which encapsulate both the mood of the
album and the philosophy of Hawkwind. If the word "philosophy" immediately puts you off, don't worry. At
root Hawkwind rock like hell, and as it takes some time to unravel the lyrics, you can quite cheerfully boogie
with them and discern words when you feel like it. They've done a superb job of capturing most of what has
made Hawkwind one of Britain's top groups. So even if you don't see Stacia flaunting those mammaries, or
the fascinating light show which is an integral part of the Hawkwind attraction, the essence is there. You
could do much worse than fork out the special low sum of £3.10 for this double set.
It could be worth your while, if only for Sonic Attack. One of the Moorcock numbers, it's an instruction
manual on what to do in case of such a bombardment. "If you are making love, orgasm in unison is
imperative" intones the voice. Right. It's pretty good that way anyhow, sonic attacks or not.