Monday, 8 December 2008

Cup o' tea anyone?

You see a lot of Gong in the blogosphere; but this is an album you never see.
I felt that needed addressing.

This is a great retrospective album, featuring some excellently recorded performances; and if there’s one thing that seems to be severely lacking amongst the plethora of Gong material, it’s quality of sound.

After existing as a kind of guerrilla art movement attached to various protests and acts of disobedience in ideologically ravaged France at the end of the sixties, Gong signed up with up and coming new independent label Virgin Records in nineteen seventy-two.
Apparently, Branson believed in the band so much, he gave them preferential studio time over Mike Oldfield (an artist who would keep Virgin Records afloat over the next few years with absurd sales of his wishy-washy Tubular Bells).

Gong Live etc, the last album the band made for Virgin, captures live performances from the band’s associative years with the label; leaving a solid reminder of their energy and creativity over their short but prolific stay, showcasing their best material from the first half of that gaudy decade.

So this is to a certain extent a Greatest Hits album; but it’s better than that, as all the recordings here are unique to this release. And let’s face it, Gong didn’t have any Hits!
Which is why I always loved them.

The album is chronological in structure, beginning in 1973 with material from Camembert Electrique, moving through the Radio Gnome Trilogy of 1974, into the final period of the original conception in 75, post-Gong shaman Daevid Allen and High Priestess Gilli Smith, usurped by Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy.

The quality of sound is superb throughout, corrupted slightly by the odd crackle from my recording – you can’t have everything – but it is far superior to many live recordings of this band in existence.

It is often forgotten, amongst all the pot-head pixies, earth-mother magick, flying teapots and mantra chanting, that Gong were a mighty fine collective of musicians.
Whether it was Didier Malherbe’ superb sax playing, Pierre Moerlen’s athletic percussion, Gilli Smith’s creepy space whispers or Allen’s or Hillage’s breathtaking guitar playing (I don’t know what it is, but the glissando guitar (I think it’s just slide played with a glass finger[?]) creates some beautiful sounds), the listener is transcended and readily abducted to their crazy, vibrant planet of sound.
And the Planet Gong was a beautiful and remarkable place.

Gong - Live etc (1977)

You Can't Kill Me
Zero the Hero & the Witche's Spell
Flying Teapot
Dynamite/I am Your Animal
Est-Ce Que Je Suis
Ooby Scooby Doomsday or The D-Day DJ's got the DDT Blues
Radio Gnome Invisible
Oily Way
Outer Temple
Inner Temple
Isle of Everywhere
Get it Inner
Master Builder
Flying Teapot

Excellent cassette rip @ 320kbs
Grab a cuppa here


Anonymous said...

wow - thought i'd got all the virgin era gong + hillage stuff as it came out in the 70s - somehow this must've zinged past my radar! thanks :))

BananaYogi said...

Glissando guitar is not quite the same as slide guitar. For a right-handed guitarist, the left hand plays chords as usual (no slide) with the right hand using something like a long bar of slightly rough metal to 'stroke' the strings. Daevid used to use a surgical instrument - now he uses the detachable whammy bar from his guitar.

Try it - it's great fun! Great blog by the way...

Wayfarer said...

Many thanks for making this rare recording available. It's a pity that Virgin hasn't made yet a CD remastering.

-- Wayfarer

roy rocket said...

I'm glad you like it.
Yes, it is one of their better albums.
Virgin is a very different animal these days, and probably not that interested in re-releasing back catalogue such as this.
Bloody shame, I say.

Thanks for the info on the glissando.
It make sense now as to what Hillage was doing when I saw him live, many, many years ago, as he seemed to be filing the strings with what looked like an Allen Key!(Huh! I've just seen the pun!), but that must have been the glissando technique! Hmm.
Shanti, roy

Matías Eladio Árbol Vallejo-Arce De Loa said...

Hello, I've just found your blog after looking for a "Live, Etc" rip at 320. I've been also browsing through your collection and you got some interesting records.
Greetings from the End of the World (Chile).

roy rocket said...

Hello Chile!
Glad you found me.
Keep watching; there's a big Gong post coming this way soon; and it's not available anywhere else.
Ooh, exciting! roy

Anonymous said...

Greetings from the end of Europe -Ireland - thanks alot for that
record & I'm sure I'll enjoy browsing a bit more here.


roy rocket said...

Backatcha. Wales (next door!). roy

Andrew said...

Ah, Celtic love-in . . .

Anonymous said...

all links are dead. any chance of of a re-up? thanks in advance.

roy rocket said...

Yep, I'll sort this. Soon.
Keep 'em peeled; look for 'fixed' comment. roy

roy rocket said...

Link fixed! roy

E Craig said...

Big Gong fan!

Thanks for this.