Thursday, March 30, 2017

Van Der Graaf Generator - 1975 - Godbluff

Van Der Graaf Generator 

01. The Undercover Man (7:00)
02. Scorched Earth (10:10)
03. Arrow (8:15)
04. The Sleepwalkers (10:26)

Total Time: 35:51

Bonus tracks (Remaster 2005):
05. Forsaken Gardens (Live) (12:23) *
06. A Louse is Not a Home (Live) (10:26) *

* Live at L'Altro Mondo, Rimini (Italy) on 08/09/1975 - previously unreleased

- Peter Hammill / vocals, guitars, piano, Hohner clavinet D6
- Hugh Banton / organs, bass, bass pedals
- David Jackson / saxes, flute
- Guy Evans / drums, percussion

After a two and half year break spent at different projects , but all four roads kept crossing each other's, the quartet reconvened and recorded a batch of songs that ill produce not only Godbluff, but also a good deal of the following Still Life. The batch off "songs" were actually shorter, mot as intricate, but certainly more aggressive (bar the opener of this album), but this was also fully intended as they were careful not making a "son of" Pawn Hearts, however disputable this choice might have been. One of the characteristic from this era of VdGG is that Hammill will gradually pick up more and more the electric guitar as the picture on the back-cover shows.
From the absolutely stunning Undercover Man, a slow crescendo starting from an all too rare Jackson flute and drums, the progression is astounding as Hammill's voice and Banton's organs slowly fill the soundscape, until halfway through the track hit full stride with Jackson's sax, before slowly returning to the flute to the third track Arrow (the most aggressive), this album is a real stunner and would've been their best ever if the last track, Sleepwalkers (a fairly shoddy track with a completely out of place Cha-Cha-Cha ruining it further, yes colleagues I confirm this point of view ;-) had been substituted by any track from the almost perfect Still Life. But life is made out of choices, and Sleepwalker (still acceptable track, but not up to standards of the others here). If you'll pardon the pun, but Scorched Earth is also a real scorcher of a track, also full of constant tempo changes and Banton's organs pulling in its weight. Actually, Hugh Banton (for other projects were still pending) did not participate as much in this album and one can feel it. He also plays bass guitar on a track.

Except, for the closer, an all too sober/bland artwork (as well as a single sleeve design) and its short duration (the only three flaws), the Godbluff album saw the Generator return in great form, and its remastered version is a must have as it has a few bonus live tracks from Hammill's solo albums (but played with the full VdGG line-up), which were actually played in the group's sets.



  2. Hello
    it's been a long time since i last let a comment but all that jazz and funk of the last weeks makes me discover so many things again that i haven't got time enought to listen to and comment.

    VDGG is really one of my all time favourite band
    (along with Gong and Hatfield and the north and If and Gentle Giant of this era) and i love Hammill's voice
    thank's a lot for all these VDGG posts