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Thread: Henry Cow Discussion

  1. #626
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

    To all the above:

    1. Where do you draw the line? Why Skeleton Crew and not The Work?

    2. All books have to have a ending point and the end of the band who the book is about and the AB's 1st album, which was recorded AS a H Cow album and rejected, makes total sense to me. YMMV.

    Now someone else can write the follow up...
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  2. #627
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buddhabreath View Post
    ^^^ I think the first AB album was a logical endpoint since it was meant to be an HC album.
    I just looked it up, and yes, given the line-up, it shoulda been one, indeed.

    Other Q: does it follow Slapp Happy's pre-HC stuff (amazingly enough, I never heard it) or not?
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  3. #628
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post

    Other Q: does it follow Slapp Happy's pre-HC stuff (amazingly enough, I never heard it) or not?
    Yes.
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    This space for rent: Well established location. Perfect opportunity for an up and coming smart-ass to benefit from our years of provocation!

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    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  4. #629
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buddhabreath View Post
    ^^^ I think the first AB album was a logical endpoint since it was meant to be an HC album.
    I just don't completely grasp why the non-Art Bears faction is so angry and resentful of the fact that the material that they rejected came out under a different band identity. At the time they agreed to let the AB trio buy out their interest in the tapes, but now Hodgkinson says "I feel like something was stolen from me" and Born complains that "I wasn't given the option to be in that band." They make it sound like the ABs pulled a fast one, and I have a hard time seeing how that's justified. Would they feel differently if their own contributions had been wiped and re-recorded by the ABs? It seems to me that would have been worse.
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  5. #630
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Triscuits View Post
    I just don't completely grasp why the non-Art Bears faction is so angry and resentful of the fact that the material that they rejected came out under a different band identity. At the time they agreed to let the AB trio buy out their interest in the tapes, but now Hodgkinson says "I feel like something was stolen from me" and Born complains that "I wasn't given the option to be in that band." They make it sound like the ABs pulled a fast one, and I have a hard time seeing how that's justified.
    Bands - even at their best - are often very hard to navigate things, and bands falling apart already without anyone involved really wanting to admit it, are even harder.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Triscuits View Post
    Would they feel differently if their own contributions had been wiped and re-recorded by the ABs? It seems to me that would have been worse.
    well....the complaints would be different....
    Steve F.

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    This space for rent: Well established location. Perfect opportunity for an up and coming smart-ass to benefit from our years of provocation!

    "You run a great label, but sometimes you go out of your way to be a jerk." - Jed Levin

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  6. #631
    It's a 500 hundred pages of dense writing, so I guess it's more than complete. Unless we need to know about post Cow shagging.

  7. #632
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    ^^^ I don’t know how it works in the sunny Hellenic Republic, but over here possessing a copy of a cow-shagging book can get you in trouble with the police!

  8. #633
    Quote Originally Posted by Buddhabreath View Post
    ^^^ I don’t know how it works in the sunny Hellenic Republic, but over here possessing a copy of a cow-shagging book can get you in trouble with the police!
    In the Mediterranean sea, if you are not shagging a couple of cows - or at least goats - you're just not man enough. They even strip you of your driver's license (but who needs one in the bleak times we're living...).

  9. #634
    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    we need to know about post Cow shagging.
    Having long since read the whole thing now, the "shagging" part is actually not only an important but a -necessary- asset of the narrative. Not because it serves to "humanize" them in an objective sense as I stated in an earlier post, but precisely due to the function of contextualization which that humanization assembles.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
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  10. #635
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    It's a 500 hundred pages of dense writing, so I guess it's more than complete. Unless we need to know about post Cow shagging.
    in a band with three women in its latest line-up, shagging must've been a factor in the possible downfall of the band

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Having long since read the whole thing now, the "shagging" part is actually not only an important but a -necessary- asset of the narrative. Not because it serves to "humanize" them in an objective sense as I stated in an earlier post, but precisely due to the function of contextualization which that humanization assembles.
    Yup, in rock book a bit of T&A is always nice to spice things up.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  11. #636
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Having long since read the whole thing now, the "shagging" part is actually not only an important but a -necessary- asset of the narrative. Not because it serves to "humanize" them in an objective sense as I stated in an earlier post, but precisely due to the function of contextualization which that humanization assembles.
    Of course. Also it had more direct and explicit consequences, like changes in the line-up. Lindsay's early sacking is credited, more or less, to the Frith liaison if I am not mistaken.

    I love the book. It has just the right balance between scholar analysis and juicy narration.

  12. #637
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    Of course. Also it had more direct and explicit consequences, like changes in the line-up. Lindsay's early sacking is credited, more or less, to the Frith liaison if I am not mistaken.
    There was also Frith's affair with Dagmar, although the timeline is not exactly clear whether this came before or after her/Henry Cow's rupture with Slapp Happy, and the departure of John Greaves as a result of other infidelities. A busy time was had by all, it seems.
    The more you know you know you don't know what you know

  13. #638
    That "New Suite" from vol. 8 on The Road boxset. Not only do they perform this impossible shit in concert - they do so with virtual fire. Jesus.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  14. #639
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    That "New Suite" from vol. 8 on The Road boxset. Not only do they perform this impossible shit in concert - they do so with virtual fire. Jesus.
    While reading the Book, I have been heavily listening to the Box. It is no exaggeration to say that it contains about 50% of Henry Cow's essential work. Troddheim, Halsteren Goteborg, Erk-Gah, The New Suite etc etc it's like entering a cave full of uncut gems.
    I don't think one is entitled to an accurate opinion of the band without having listened to all this. Incredible combined creative forces at work, which kind of justifies all the mishaps and wreckage described in the book.
    Last edited by Zappathustra; 03-28-2020 at 12:10 PM.

  15. #640
    ^ Well, furthermore it also displays their 'humane' qualities when listening to stuff like the full version of "Teenbeat" or "Yellow Half Moon"; even this band possessed a certain sense of naivité to beginnings, an almost juvenile or adolescent and hopeful stab at "accomplishing" things that sound on the absolute verge of their capabilities. I suppose this is what renders those earliest recordings somewhat more accessible than what came later when they'd "matured" and basically turned into a monster intricate, hyper-serious avant/art-rock ensemble. Like I wrote previously in here, a great example may be Cooper's "Untitled Piece", which shows a near-embryonic stage of a highly demanding work yet to be through-rehearsed for full executive effect. And I simply can not get enough of that "March" theme; as jolly and beautifully melodic as anything ever mustered by a 70s British progressive group and a slap in the face of anyone's allegations of "non-coherency". That boxset really was a major Investment, although customs were extraordinarily costy.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  16. #641
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    ^^^ Indeed! The box is a absolutely essential. I was a huge fan before hearing it, but this has opened up a whole new dimension largely missing from the back catalogue. What a superb, fearless group they were. Fiery creativity without descending into formless dissonance - they exhibited a high level of musicianship and discipline as well as improvisational freedom and exploration. I love cow so much that if I lived in Greece, they’d give me two drivers licenses!

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Having long since read the whole thing now, the "shagging" part is actually not only an important but a -necessary- asset of the narrative. Not because it serves to "humanize" them in an objective sense as I stated in an earlier post, but precisely due to the function of contextualization which that humanization assembles.
    I’d love to sit around the table with you and Chris Cutler and hear you discuss musical philosophy and its sociological implications, but I would have to have half a dozen bong hits and a few generous shots of Laphroaig first. After that I think I would be able contribute to the conversation.

  17. #642
    According to Mr Piekut, "there were 10 unique pairings in the band, most of which are not mentioned".

    This threw me in such an enthusiasm, that I ordered the 18disc box straightaway. The problem is I don't own a CD player. So it's going to be Henry Cow in my car for the next few months. At least when I drive alone. I really can't face yet a second divorce.

  18. #643
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    ^^^^^
    Two drivers licenses for you
    The more you know you know you don't know what you know

  19. #644
    Quote Originally Posted by Munster View Post
    ^^^^^
    Two drivers licenses for you

  20. #645
    The most stupefying aspect of Piekut's book is this constant sense of failure, of disappointments, of missed opportunities that permeates the whole Henry Cow saga. You read it and it seems like a complete disaster. Then you get to hear the music and it's just some of the best - if not the best - musical output in the rock territory.

    I am pretty sure that this is not Piekut's interpretation of things, but it reflects the way the members of the band understood things at the time. Reading Hodgkinson's opinion on his own Western Culture suite just takes the concept of "perfectionism" to a completely unprecedented level: "I don't think it's extreme enough - I find it too mild. I think that the actual music is not of the highest quality and whatever sound you get you can't cover that up" My goodness, did these guys set the bar high! To me, it's some of the most decisively convincing musical statement ever put on record.

    But again this kind of perfectionism, and how all obstacles became wood cast in the fire of raging creativity constitute the essence of the Henry Cow ethos - an ethos absent in the present days.

  21. #646
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    ^ ^ ^ ^ ^
    To all the above:

    1. Where do you draw the line? Why Skeleton Crew and not The Work?
    2. All books have to have a ending point and the end of the band who the book is about and the AB's 1st album, which was recorded AS a H Cow album and rejected, makes total sense to me. YMMV.
    Now someone else can write the follow up...
    Sorry, had not seen this.

    Yeah, I agree with a line dropped somewhere, but let's face it, how likely will we get the second part of the history (post-HC)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    According to Mr Piekut, "there were 10 unique pairings in the band, most of which are not mentioned".

    This threw me in such an enthusiasm, that I ordered the 18disc box straightaway. The problem is I don't own a CD player. So it's going to be Henry Cow in my car for the next few months. At least when I drive alone. I really can't face yet a second divorce.
    Seriously?? Not even a small ghetto blaster hanging in the bedroom or koitchen or somtehing?
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  22. #647
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    but let's face it, how likely will we get the second part of the history (post-HC)?
    How likely was a serious, well researched book on Henry Cow??

    Take what is offered and enjoy it for what it is, without complaints about what 'might' have ALSO been.

    What 'might' have been is what there was before this: zero.

    YMMV.
    Steve F.

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    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  23. #648
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    ^^^ Unacceptable. We want detailed histories of the Art Bears, News from Babel and Cassiber at least as well as every damn thing Chris Cutler has done for the past 42 years, sordid affairs included. In fact, if that bastard gets up to go to the rest room, I want to know about it!

  24. #649
    "When I get up to go to the rest room, it is with a purpose much higher than less pretentious people. I am not "merely" going to the restroom. I see beyond the common needs of the human body and the confinements of physiology."

  25. #650
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    ^^^ Hmmmm, on second thought maybe that wasn't such a good idea...

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