Sunday, December 19, 2010
Songza Song Of The Day-Soft Machine
Song: Moon In June
Album: Third (Bonus CD)
Though nowhere near as well known as other progressive rock bands of the 60s, Soft Machine remains one of the most important bands of the era and were the cornerstone of what was known as The Canterbury Sound. By the time they recorded Third in 1970, they had gone through personnel changes and were early adopters of jazz fusion. Soft Machine began as The Daevid Allen Trio in Canterbury, England 1963. Robert Wyatt, Mike Ratledge, Kevin Ayers and Hugh Hopper were part of that band and were also part of Wilde Flowers with the Sinlclair brothers who would become Caravan. Soft Machine was formed in 1966 with Robert Wyatt on drums and vocals, Kevin Ayers on bass, Daevid Allen on guitar and Mike Ratledge on organ. So they went out on tour. Allen left when he was denied re-entry into England. He remained in France and formed Gong. Ayers left after a 1968 US tour with Jimi Hendrix and Hugh Hopper joined. They were unhappy with ABC Records and recorded their second album to fulfill their contract. They signed with Columbia in 1969. Hopper and Ratledge were interested in exploring a more jazz oriented sound and brought in sax player Elton Dean and he brought in some of his friends. Though Wyatt still contributed Moon In June for Third, he was gone by the time Fourth was released in 1971. Third was released as a two LP set with only four songs. So each song took up one side of the LP. Obviously it was not a commercial success. But it is considered today a classic of British progressive rock. Sony Europe released a remastered version of Third complete with a bonus CD of live performances. Robert Wyatt left in 1971 and at that point Soft Machine's lineup became a revolving door with Mike Ratledge remaining the base of the band until he left in 1976 and they limped along in name only until they split in 1981. But Soft Machine's 1970 album Third is a must for progressive rock fans. Here's Soft Machine performing Moon In June 1969.
Soft Machine - Moon In June
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