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Gong, and others
Histories and Mysteries of Planet Gong (2CD)
Voiceprint VP279CD || 2004-04-05 || £8.00 USD  EUR  JPY  + p+p +tax
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Re-mastered deep 'Gong Family' collection expanded to a double CD.

Greatly improved audio quality over earlier issues and 18 'new' tracks are the things of note on this intriguing grab-bag of Gong audio history. A few of the weaker tracks from earlier issues have been sacrificed to include the 'new' tracks which do add to the breadth and interest of this release. However not all of the 'new' tracks are totally fresh on CD, for example one of my favourites, 'Water, a long solo gliss/vocal homage by daevid to all aspects of that element, was on long out of print 'Australian Years' CD and is available on the few remaining vinyl copies I have. So for the old Gong hand the convoluted logistics of describing exactly what's here, what's totally new and what's not are complex.

The only real reservations I have are with the booklet. The cover just doesn't work and has no-where near the impact of the original. And though there are a few new pictures the CD is illustration light, certainly compared with the original CD or LP releases. The liner notes on the actual tracks do improve on what has gone before but could have been laid out much better. The booklet is missing the 'Wow' factor (which given it's providence and range the audio largely has) and this could have been achieved.

Final verdict: A superior purchase all round for old Gong heads than any other issue of this album. Just about a worthwhile purchase if you have the original release, an interesting historical look under Gong's pettycoats for the novice Gongster and of course it's one of a series of albums reclaimed and released by a much more artist friendly record label.

* starred tracks are new to this edition

Tracks:
  • Disc 1: [53'37]
    1. Gong Concert Intro [3'55] (daevid tape collage)
    2. Captain Shaw [1'13] (daevid tape collage)
    3. Love Makes Sweet Music [1'05] (First Soft Machine single)
    4. Riot 1971 [1'40] (Recording of a huge riot at the Palais des Sports in Paris while Gong were on stage and Soft Machine were trying to set up, 1971)
    5. Radio Gnome Premix [2'40] (daevid tape loop collage)
    6. Pothead Pixies [1'22] (Gong live, 1972?)
    7. Line Up [0'39] (John Peel introducing Gong on BBC radio, 1971)
    8. Clarence in Wonderland [4'35] (Kevin Ayers on radio with Gong at the above session, 1971)
    9. Soft Machine Radio Interview [3'22] (Early pre Hendrix BBC breakfast interview)
    10. *Catspin [1'55] (Mother Gong)
    11. *French Radio Introduction [1'57] (Pierre Lattes introducing Gong on ORTF Pop Club, 1971?)
    12. Gong Poem [2'05] (daevid's Gong vision, 1976)
    13. Moonfield* [5'42] (Harry Williamson composition with daevid on Glissando Guitar)
    14. Where Have all the Flowers Gone [5'39] (daevid in Deya with two Euterpe members)
    15. *Herbacious Border [3'55] (Magick Brothers live. daevid with violinist Graham Clark and Mark Robson of Kangaroo Moon)
    16. *Thirteen Eight [3'25] (Mother Gong)
    17. *Oo La La [3'25] (daevid tapeloops feat. Bill Laswell on Bass)
    18. Deya Goddess [8'27] (Beautiful live version of the feature song from daevid's album 'Now is the Happiset Time of Your Life')
  • Disc 2: [70'04]
    1. *Radio Brainwave [1'40] (Tape loops from the Australian Years for daevid's radio show, mid 80's)
    2. *Chinese Puzzle [3'33] (Mother Gong)
    3. *Afraid [1'44] (daevid allen live acoustic, NYC, 1979)
    4. *Hypnotize You [3'12] (un-used mix of B side 1st Gong single, 1969)
    5. Gliss U Well [1'12] (daevid allen)
    6. *Radio Oversoul [0'52] (Same source as track 1 above, mid '80's)
    7. Opium For The People [4'19] (Planet Gong; French version, 1977)
    8. Dreaming It [5'32] (Live Gong track, 1972?)
    9. *Auburn Mary [3'05] (Mother Gong)
    10. *Are You Ready? [3'29] (daevid allen tape collage featuring Bill Laswell on bass)
    11. *Hypothetical [3'47] (with Lady June)
    12. *Crazy Town [3'15] (Mother Gong)
    13. *Muruoa [0'45]
    14. Red Alert [3'33] (Mother Gong)
    15. Chernobyl Rain [3'48] (Russell Hibbs with UK Invisible Opera Co. band)
    16. *Water [7'09] (daevid improvising words with well known Australian painter John Howley on Guitar)
    17. *Jaminji [6'59] (Harry Williamson composition)
    18. *Hanging Future [5'15] (Thom the Poet)
    19. *Heart Song [6'55] (daevid and friends sacred chant)
Personnel: (partial listing)
  • Soft Machine
  • Various Gong line-ups '69-'75
  • Planet Gong
  • Mother Gong
  • daevid allen
  • Kevin Ayers
  • Robert Wyatt
  • Euterpe
  • Gilli Smyth
  • Harry Williamson
  • Invisible Opera Co. of Tibet (UK)
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