Second vital collection of archival live Soft Machine recordings from 1967 and 1968.
The tracks on this disc are drawn from three live performances: tracks 1-5 are from Amerstdam, 10 December 1967; track 6 is from the Middle Earth Club in London, 10 November 1967; tracks 7-14 are from Col Ballroom, Davenport, Iowa, 11 August 1968
Robert Wyatt's drumming is nearly miraculous, and Mike Ratledge's organ is at its daring and explorative best. Admittedly this is not meant as an introduction to the band for novices, but lovers of the Soft Machine will be blown away by the alternate versions on this disc; they are even more daring than the official releases. Soft Machine (billed as The Soft Machine up to 1969) were formed in the summer of 1966 by Robert Wyatt (drums, vocals), Kevin Ayers (bass, guitar, vocals), Daevid Allen (guitar) and Mike Ratledge (organ) plus, for the first few gigs only, American guitarist Larry Nowlin. Wyatt, Ayers and Hopper had been founding members of the Wilde Flowers, later incarnations of which would include future members of another Canterbury band, Caravan.
This first Soft Machine line-up became involved in the early UK underground, featuring prominently at the UFO Club, and subsequently other London clubs like the Speakeasy and Middle Earth, and recorded the group's first single ' Love Makes Sweet Music. During July and August 1967, promoter and manager Giorgio Gomelsky booked shows all along the Cote d'Azur, with the band's most notorious early gig taking place in the village square of Saint-Tropez. This led to an invitation to play at producer Eddie Barclay's trendy "Nuit Psychédélique"; the band performed a forty minute rendition of We Did It Again, singing the refrain over and over, achieving a Zen-like quality. This made them instant darlings of the Parisian "in" crowd, resulting in invitations to appear on leading television shows and at the Paris Biennale in October 1967. Meanwhile, upon their return from their summer sojourn in France, Allen (an Australian) was denied re-entry to the United Kingdom, so the group continued as a trio, while he returned to Paris to found Gong.
|1||Moon In June||2:23|
|2||I Should've Known||13:30|
|3||A Certain Kind||4:02|
|7||Lullaby Letter / Priscilla / Lullaby Letter (Reprise)||8:03|
|8||We Did It Again||1:38|
|9||Why Are We Sleeping||5:20|
|10||Joy Of A Toy||3:06|
|11||Hope For Happiness||4:19|
|12||Clarence In Wonderland||1:52|
|13||Moon In June||6:24|
|14||Esther's Nose Job||6:20|