Text Of Festival Reappraised

This piece was written by Derek, proprietor of the Hawkfanfare website, which will not, now, see any
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● 05 Nov 70 - Paris Cinema - Seeing It As You Really Are (Brock) 8:50 - appears on Text Of Festival

● 19 Apr 71 - Playhouse - We Do It (Brock) 13:45 - appears on Text Of Festival, Weird 6, Anthology
Volume 3, HW Friends & Relations 2

● 19 Apr 71 - Playhouse - Come Home (Brock) 2:00? - appears on Weird 6, Anthology Volume 3

● 19 May 71 - Maida Vale - Master Of The Universe (Turner/Brock) 6:00 - appears on Text Of Festival,
Dawn Of Hawkwind

● 19 May 71 - Maida Vale - (Visions Of) You Know You're Only Dreaming (Brock) 4:15 - appears on Text
Of Festival, Weird 8

● 19 May 71 - Maida Vale - You Shouldn't Do That (Turner/Brock) 5:52 - appears on Text Of Festival,
Weird 8

The band on these recordings were Nik Turner (vocals, sax and flute), Dave Brock (vocals and guitar),
Dik Mik (electronics), Terry Ollis (drums) with bass duties split between Thomas Crimble (1970) and
Dave Anderson (1971). Huw Lloyd-Langton makes a solitary appearance adding lead guitar to Hurry On
Sundown.

The 19 May 71 session starts things. These offerings are not live but from a one day studio affair giving
the opportunity for overdubs, as is evidenced by Turner simultaneously singing and playing sax. It's typical
In Search Of Space era but more aggressive. The Anderson/Ollis rhythm section is impressive and at
times, as on
Master Of The Universe, damn funky. Master also boasts an additional vocal passage for the
middle section by Turner. Turner offers some nice flute touches to
You Know You're Only Dreaming
which showcases a refinement that perhaps diminished the following year. An otherworldly organ that's
more Floyd than Hawkwind bridges into
You Shouldn't Do That. A female voice exclaims "David! Stop
it! Naughty!" and You Shouldn't Do That fades out, which is weird and it has crossed my mind that the
taper's mum has just walked into his room, seen what he's up to, and succinctly pointed out the copyright
in these sound recordings is owned by the Britsh Broadcasting Corporation and unauthorised copying,
hiring and lending is strictly prohibited. Or perhaps Brock or Anderson was getting over amorous with
Stacia in the studio. This is an excellent session and makes me yearn to hear it with clarity.

The first side ends with the track most fans associate with the birth of Hawkwind,
Hurry On Sundown.
The original demo version with Mick Slattery had more of an electric psychedelic slant compared to the
album's acoustic folky take with Huw Lloyd-Langton. This version, from their first BBC studio session,
rocks out with Huw wading in with some scorching electric lead while Crimble gives it some heavy bass.
Elsewhere Dik Mik's electronics make it sound like a radio recording with signal interference and Brock's
acoustic intro meanders well off course.

The second side offers two In Concert live performances. We start with
Paranoia Part 1 rising and falling
followed by
Paranoia Part 2 also rising and falling, then some breathy slow pulsing leads us into Seeing It
As You Really Are
which ups the pace. It feels like some underworld creatures menacingly creeping up on
us and then we're off onto a high speed chase through the caverns. Then the pace slackens, maybe we've
lost the creatures, but I can still hear them plodding around in the background. Oh no, here they are again,
and we're off on one final chase. There's an abrupt ending that comes out of nowhere that spoils this
illusion. Perhaps the producer was pointing at the clock and circling his other arm in a "wind it up boys,
time's out" fashion. I've just realised this is one of my favourite Hawkwind titles, I used to love the
Roadhawks version of this.

We Do It, I Do It, You Do It, Everybody Does It. This is a lengthy mainly instrumental jam centered
around a good bass motif that mutates and keeps going. And going. And I'm sure it was still going at the
Watchfield 1975 festival. This is repetitive mantra like music aimed at inducing trance-like states. Yep,
we're back to the drugs again. Some simple repetitive group chants give some focus, the electronics take
the centre stage at an early point, Brock f***s about on his guitar and Turner gives it some in his own
fashion. But this is about Anderson and Ollis dominating things with a pounding rhythm. On the 13 minute
mark Anderson ups the ante for a finale which fades on this recording. Listening to this again, it reminds
me an awful lot of the Jah Wobble / Jaki Liebezeit groove from the Solaris gigs which was only a few
years ago. There's a place for this kind of music today, but this is not it.

Come Home is listed as the final track on this first set but doesn't actually appear here, which is a shame
as it would have fully completed the early BBC sessions. It does appear on other releases, so for
completeness sake and the fact it's never been recorded elsewhere, I'll offer my opinion here: It's a Yee-Ha
slap your thighs hoe-down with Brock doing a comedy vocal concerning a salacious Big Fat Mama. This is
a mere oddity, but there's some very impressive whistling.
No other Hawkwind album has caused as much furore and debate as Text Of Festival has done. This
album was originally released in July 1983 on the Illuminated label (JAMS 29), titled after a Mick Farren
book and boasting John Coulthart artwork supplied by Dave Brock. Illuminated were a decent (if
shortlived) label, concentrating on 1970s German (Klaus Schulze, Amon Duul II) and 1980s British
(Throbbing Gristle, 23 Skidoo, Lemon Kittens) electronic and industrial music. They were given the green
light for this release as Hawkwind exited their RCA contract.

At the time of picking this up, there was still some semblance of professionalism and quality about
Hawkwind, who still had a sizeable following, so to hear this low-grade record was somewhat of a shock,
although it was quickly followed by a slew of other low-grade material from Flicknife and Samurai, so in
that context it was in good company. Zones was issued a matter of months later, and that was even more
of a shock than this. Of the record itself, it was comprised of double 12" vinyl which neatly split into two
sets.
Disk 1 - BBC Sessions 1970-71

The first 12" is a collection of the 1970-71 BBC
Sessions which are not taken from BBC tapes so
their inclusion is legally questionable to say the least.
The sound is poor, being mono, lacking sonic width
and covered in hiss. It wouldn't surprise me if I
learnt that the taper had simply placed a microphone
in front of the radio speakers during broadcast. It
does however collect the early recordings all into one
place which gives it continuity and completeness,
whereas the appearances of these tracks elsewhere
just seems odd. The full list of the known available
early BBC sessions are:

● 18 Aug 70 - Maida Vale - Hurry On Sundown
(Brock) 6:20 - appears on Text Of Festival, Weird 6,
Anthology Volume 3, Dawn Of Hawkwind?

05 Nov 70 - Paris Cinema - Paranoia (Brock) 3:00
- appears on Text Of Festival
Disk 2 - Colchester 19 Feb 71

The second 12" comprises part of a gig at Colchester
Technical College 19 Feb 71 and is a significantly
superior sound, boasting stereo and good sound
definition. The band at this gig consisted of Brock,
Crimble, Turner, Dik Mik and Ollis. The first side,
labelled '
Sound... Shouldn't... Improvise' is actually
You Shouldn't Do That, and the second side labeled
'
Improvise... Compromise... Reprise' is The Reason
Is? and Be Yourself. It strikes me as being back to
front as The Reason Is? is the beginning of the suite
that comprised the bulk of the first album.  Two minutes of electronic priming and we hit the rhythm of
You Shouldn't Do That. I hope you're familiar with the extended version of this track, and I hope that
you've picked up on the tenor of the band's repertoire at this point, as this is more of the same. Ollis and
Crimble draw the line through the middle and the others are hanging on, Brock doing his choppy guitar
thing, Turner concentrating on flute and Dik Mik giving his own. There's no vocals except on the bleated
'chorus'. And the lock groove goes on, this is rhythmic music, we're back to the mantra. After 20-odd
minutes it fades without resolution. As an aside, it certainly gives credence to Crimble's claims that he
deserves a writers credit for this, and Ollis too I would have thought, but that would surely apply to a lot of
the titles on offer here.

The Reason Is? is an ambient piece designed to set the mood and draw you in. And if you're turnipped
enough to spend half an hour staring at the skin of an orange in deep contemplation, this may well draw
you in. But I'm not, I'm stone cold sober, and this ambience goes on for 11 minutes. 11 minutes! 11
minutes of moaning, splattering of cymbols, swooshing electronics. OK, time for an epiphany.

'Be Yourself! See Yourself! I Can See! Others like me!' That's really deep man, but the vocals are bleeding
all over the side. And then it stops, the audience are a bit unsure and start to clap. But wait, here comes
Ollis pounding around his drum kit like a tribesman possessed. Crimble is in there holding it up and Brock is
doing his percussive rhythm playing but this is a showcase for Ollis in what starts to sound like a drum
solo, but we'll never know as the track infuriatingly fades (again! there are loads of fades on this
collection). This is the highlight of this set, but has always been omitted from the CD versions. It is also the
only known live version available of this track, so, do you want to hear it? Oh,
OK...click here
Reissues

The BBC sessions have been plundered and reissued many times as can be witnessed by the above session
list, and the Text Of Festival set has been reissued so many times it would hurt to count, although Steve
Starfarer has scrambled his brain
[thanks mate] in putting together a full catalogue. The most annoying
thing is that, if the reissues were simply that, boasting the same title and cover, then there would be little to
criticise other than for what it is. The problem is the reissues are on multiple labels, with different titles and
different covers, so unless you know exactly what you're looking at you can be quite easily deceived that
there may be something worth having.

And for dedicated fans, it is worth having, just the once. For myself, I picked up a very cheap 3 disk CD
set (with Yuri Gagarin and Space Ritual Volume 2). I may not listen to it often, or even simply for pleasure,
but once in a while I'll think, hmm, I wonder what that sounded like? Like now. Someday in the future the
BBC will put all their session material online (which they've already started to do, for example with these
Can, Queen and Pink Floyd sessions), so we'll be able to hear this stuff again as we really should be able
to hear it. And the Colchester gig? It certainly would be intriguing to hear in quality sound an entire gig
from that time period - someone must still have these tapes.

One final point, there are inaccurate credits on latter CD releases of this disk claiming it was recorded at
Cambridge Corn Exchange 27 Jan 72. That Cambridge gig, billed as a "Six Hour Technicolor Dream" with
The Pink Fairies and Syd Barrett, was recorded by college students but it has never been commercially
released. If they ever do find this tape and are able to get it out, then we may witness the only surviving
Pinkwind performance. Whether it was any good or just an almighty shambles, well...

-DRW June 2006