Robert Calvert

Live at the Stars and Stripes

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Long available either on bootleg or as a download from the Inner City Unit website, this is the first official CD release for what is widely regarded as one of the best surviving recordings of the solo Robert Calvert. Taped later in the same tour that provided the At the Queen Elizabeth Hall live album, it finds Calvert and his Maximum Effect backing band sounding a lot tighter, and more confident, than they ever were on the earlier show, roaring through a set of over 20 songs that draw on both the Captain's solo career and highlights from his time with Hawkwind. Indeed, the opening "Orgone Accumulator" is as vital a statement of intent as any show could hope for, seething guitars and rhythms pulsating around Calvert's robot-made-flesh vocals. Certainly the environment breathes ecstatic new life into songs from his most recent solo albums, Freq and Test Tube Conceived, with "Ned Ludd" in particular a savage celebration of rebellion. Elsewhere, the two-CD package leaves the stage to offer listeners a glimpse into what might have been Calvert's next LP, the clutch of electrifying demos that he recorded with Maximum Effect around the same time as the tour. His death precluded any further investigation of their potential, but they appear here as a welcome reminder that, even at the end of his life, Robert Calvert was as powerful as he had ever been.

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