Hawkwind are an English rock band formed in 1969 by singer-songwriter and guitarist Dave Brock. They are one of the earliest space rock groups and their lyrics generally revolved around urban and science fiction themes. Besides be labeled "space rock", the band have also been called proto-punk, progressive rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, all of which generally apply. in 1971 the band added bassist Lemmy (Ian Kilmister) and drummer Simon King. Lemmy went on to form Motorhead.
Hawkwind (Repertoire) 1970
1. "Hurry On Sundown" (4:50)
2. "The Reason Is?" (3:30)
3. "Be Yourself" (8:09)
4. "Paranoia Part 1" (1:04)
5. "Paranoia Part 2" (4:11)
6. "Seeing It As You Really Are" (10:43)
7. "Mirror Of Illusion" (6:58)
This is the beginning of the journey for Brock and his crew of psychedelic merry men on the good ship Earth. Hawkwind's debut may have been released in 1970, but the music is pure 1960's. The album opens with the fantastic, simplistic, groove based "Hurry on Sundown". This song is all built around one simple riff and is driven by an acoustic guitar and some bluesy harmonica. After this track, the psychedelic, acid trips down the road bizarre starts to emerge. The entire rest of the album up through "See It As You Really Are" is just space rock jams with lots of droning guitars and synth noises. The album then closes with "Mirror of Illusion", the only other vocal cut on this album besides the opening track. This song is a little more pop based than anything else on the album but still incorporates plenty of the odd space rock effects.
To be honest, I didn't hear this debut until long after hearing some of the band's classic material, so on first listen "Hawkwind" seemed rather average in comparison. However, with further spins, the subtleties of the music began to become more apparent. Fans of the early space rock of UFO, or 60's Pink Floyd will be able to appreciate the sounds on the first Hawkwind as well.
One thing that is noticeably missing from this album is that grinding bass sound of one "Lemmy" Kilmister. Of course, Lemmy was not yet a part of Hawkwind at this point. However, since it was Lemmy who drew me to Hawkwind in the first place, I found it very noticeable right away.
Turn on the black lights, heat up the lava lamp and dig the sounds of Space Ritual. This live album from 1973 is dark, confused, heavy and completely psychedelic. If I had to compare their sound it would fall somewhere between early Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath. Perhaps Sabbath on acid would be an accurate description. "Space Ritual" is packed full of science fiction and loose, hypnotic rock and roll. There is even quite a bit of humor on this one. I'm not sure how much of it is actually suppose to be humorous, but I'm not sure how anyone can listen to "Orgone Accumulator" or the campy sci-fi "Sonic Attack" and not crack a smile. "Sonic Attack" acts as an introduction for "Time We Left This World Today" where the band finds a heavy groove with one Lemmy Kilmister leading the way with some earth shaking bass.
I am not a avid Hawkwind aficionado and I've never seen Hawkwind live, but can only imagine the experience from the raw energy captured here. Apparently this was one of the biggest tours that Hawkwind had done, thanks in part to scoring a fluke hit single with "Silver Machine", which oddly enough they don't play here. With a live album this intriguing, I can only imagine the show with it's electronics, lighting, poetry and Stacia's exotic dancing to be quite the spectacle.
Hawkwind - Warrior On The Edge Of Time (Rock Fever) 1975
1. "Assault And Battery Part 1" (5:33)
2. "The Golden Void Part II" (4:36)
3. "The Wizard Blew His Horn" (1:57)
4. "Opa–Loka" (5:11)
5. "The Demented Man" (3:57)
6. "Magnu" (8:21)
7. "Standing At the Edge" (2:39)
8. " Spiral Galaxy 28948" (3:49)
9. "Warriors" (1:57)
10. "Dying Seas" (3:04)
11. "Kings Of Speed" (3:55)
12. "Motorhead" (3:12)
13. "Kings of Speed" [live] (4:28)
"Warrior on the Edge of Time" is the first Hawkwind album I have heard a couple decades. Despite being a huge Motorhead/Lemmy fan, I just had not spent much time on Hawkwind since the 80's, and even then I purchased their records more for their collectibility than I did to actually listen to them. Being that I grew up into hard rock and heavy metal, the space rock and psychedelic stuff was never really my thing. However, a friend of mine was on a bit of a Hawkwind trip and hooked me up with a copy of "Warrior on the Edge of Time" and a few of their other CDs. This CD absolutely drug me in and captivated me. This is simply a fantastic album. A quick search around the web and it seems that most fans hold this album in very high regard, some even calling it Hawkwind's crowning achievement.
Hawkwind sound like no other band that I know of. They are a blender mix of odd synths, over-the-top sci-fi poetry, disembodied wind instruments, growling bass guitars, swirling, and swelling melltrone. I even heard some violins in the mix. The album starts with the fantastic combination of "Assault and Battery" and "The Golden Void". These songs sport tons of Mellotron, synths, flutes, saxes, and some excellent bass by Lemmy. "The Wizard Blew his Horn" is a poetic, spoken number, with mainly drums and synthesizers. "Standing At the Edge" is a spoken word track as well, although a bit more trippy and over-the-edge. "The Demented Man" is very beautiful number with both acoustic and electric guitars, Melltoron and synthesizers. Perhaps the standout track on the album is the epic "Magnu" which grooves along with a forceful drum beat. At some points this song has a bit of a Middle Eastern flare. There is even a bit of hard rock thrown into the mix. "Kings of Speed" showed the beginnings of what later would become Motorhead. This song is followed up by the classic Lemmy track "Motorhead", which would become the moniker for his new band. This version of "Motorhead" includes some spacey sounding synth effects. "Warrior on the Edge of Time" would be the last album for bassist Lemmy. Oddly enough he was busted at the Canadian border for drugs and then fired from the band to boot, not for using drugs, but for apparently not using the right drugs.
Break out the tie-die shirts and jump aboard the Hawkwind express, we're going on a psychedelic acid trip back to the 60's. Hawkwind rules!
Hawkwind – Electric Tepee (Griffin) 1992
Hawkwind circa 1982 are down to a trio that included Dave Brock: guitar, keyboards, vocals, Richard Chadwick: drums, vocals and Alan Davey: bass, keyboards, vocals. Despite the ever shrinking size of the band, “Electric Tepee” contains some really excellent, inventive and creative stuff. Despite the fact that it’s 1982, “Electric Tepee” sounds like it could have been released in 1972 as this album rivals some of the most bizarre and experimental Pink Floyd albums. With song titles like “LSD”, “Space Dust and “Rites of the Netherworld”, what else would anyone expect. There is even a hint of punk mixed in with "Right to Decide". However, despite all the experimentation and psychedelic sounds, the albums flows from beginning to end and is quite cohesive. Never did I find myself bored while listening to this one and actually found myself wanting to hear more when it was done. Hawkwind pretty much own the trademark on this synth-layered, space rock sound and this is one of those albums that works well. Turn the lights out, plug in the black light and lava lamp and let Hawkwind take your for a ride through space.
Disc one of this two disc box set was originally released in 1985 as a nine song album on vinyl under the title "Bring Me the Head of Yuri Gagarin". Track 10 included here was not on that original set. The live set was recorded at the Empire Pool, Wembley on May 27, 1973. It is basically a bootleg recording as the sound quality would be considered poor for an official release. However, it's certainly not unlistenable and would be considered an good quality audience recording if it were listed as a bootleg. Much like a lot of early Hawkwind, this is the type of stuff I enjoy late at night while just kicking back in my bed and zoning out. It is most certainly a trippy set. "Urban Gurilla" is a straight forward punk song, obviously pre-dating the punk movement by several years.