What does it sound like?:
Originally released in 1976, this compilation looked back over the prior 5 years, combining songs from all the studio releases to date plus their non album chart topping singles. Oddly, whilst the album name referenced the general term the band used for live shows, the album for the most part was taken from studio releases.
Opener “Hurry On Sundown” from the debut album is a real earworm of a track, psychedelic without being stoned and a glimpse of what had gone before when busking had been Dave Brock’s main way of earning a living. Thereafter the tracks catalogue the interest in levitating minds (“in a nice way”) with a “completely audio-visual thing”.
Capturing the immersive sights and sounds of a band that thrived on long jams on record can’t have been easy and the further challenge here is that individual tracks have been extracted from different albums. Nonetheless, the album hangs together well, mixing the trippy soundscapes of “Space Is Deep” and “Wind of Change” (popular with mates of mine at the time for testing hi-fi speakers) with the pulsing “You Shouldn’t Do That”.
The inclusion of “Silver Machine” and “Urban Guerrilla” (which had reached #3 and #39 in the UK singles chart) was a sound business idea, giving people who had come to know the band via the charts a chance to access some back catalogue whilst at the same time. Listening today, “Guerrilla” sounds very tinny by comparison to “Machine” which has to be one of the most enduring rock anthems ever recorded, even if drummer Simon King thought he was playing on a Chuck Berry cover.
There are no archive outtakes or previously unreleased remixes here, and it’s all the better for that. Instead there’s a chance to enjoy a long deleted album as it was originally intended.
What does it all *mean*?
It’s where Lemmy got his mojo.
Goes well with…
A bubble machine.
Might suit people who like…
Hawkwind trivia. I only recently discovered that Lemmy’s vocal was added after the original live take sung by Robert Calvert was ditched becuase according to Mr Kilmister it “sounded like Captain Kirk reading ‘Blowing in the Wind’.