The Weird Tapes No. 3: Free Festivals

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This CD is the reissue of a mid-'80s limited edition cassette (with remastered sound and new artwork). The Weird Tapes No. 3: Free Festivals collects excerpts from two live performances. The first two-thirds of the CD was recorded at a show at Stonehenge in 1977 and features Bob Calvert, Dave Brock, Simon King, Simon House, and Adrian Shaw. The sound quality is very nice considering the archival origins of the tapes, and the energy and musicianship ranks among the band's best efforts around that time. Most of the material was unreleased at the time ("High Rise," "Uncle Sam's on Mars," and "Robot" would appear on the 1978 LP PXR5). "Damnation Alley Pt. 2" listed as track three is actually "Uncle Sam's on Mars," which makes track four "Robot" and track five an uncredited instrumental tune. The last three tracks (accurately listed) come from a show at the Watchfield Festival in August 1975, with Brock, Paul Rudolph, Andy Dunkeley, Alan Powel, and Nik Turner. All are obscure songs, "I Am the Eye" being the most interesting (a typical jam). "Slap It on the Table" is a 50-second joke. Overall, this third installment in the Weird Tapes series is worth both the fan's and the neophyte's money, as it presents Hawkwind in its raw live environment. The "Damnation Alley"/"Uncle Sam's on Mars" medley is worth the whole disc alone. Recommended.

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