Hawkwind

Hawkwind Family Box

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An intriguing package released by Cleopatra during the early-to-mid-'90s, Hawkwind Family Box rounds up four albums. The most direct link to Hawkwind themselves, of course, is their own Psychedelic Warlords compilation, a genuinely sterling gathering of early-to-mid-'70s album cuts and rarities. It is joined by two albums by founding member Nik Turner -- Sphynx, remaking his earlier Xitintoday album, and the Prophets of Time collection of both new and re-recorded material -- with the box completed by keyboardist Simon House's Solar Wind, cut under his Spiral Realms alter ego, with many of the same musicians that powered Turner's sets. This includes one further survivor of the classic Hawkwind lineup, electronics whiz Del Dettmar, latter-day drummer Alan Powell, Chrome's Helios Creed, and members of Pressurehed, for many years the undisputed heirs to Hawkwind's own space rock throne. And it is to all the musicians' credit that, chronology and technology notwithstanding, the four albums flow seamlessly into one another, from the 1970 recordings "Hurry On Sundown" and "Paranoia II" that are among the manifold highlights of the first disc through to the 1996 recounting of Pink Floyd's "Interstellar Overdrive" that closes disc four. Indeed, if there is any criticism to be leveled at this set, it is that it perhaps plays just a little too cautiously. Both Turner and House recorded several other albums for Cleopatra during this period, including two sensational live albums: Turner's Space Ritual recounting of Hawkwind's own legendary outing of the same name, and Past or Future. A similarly vast collection that truly delved into this magnificent catalog, as opposed to simply lifting and repackaging entire albums, would be a true joy to behold. As it stands, however, the strengths of this collection should be obvious even to neophyte Hawkwind supporters.

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