Live in Sherwood Forest '75
Live 'Shamal' Gong with Steve Hillage.
Recorded at Nottingham University on November 25th 1975 for a long defunct radio station (we don't think it was ever broadcast) and quite a rarity, the Shamal era Gong band before Steve and Miquette's departure. Not counting the '77 reunion this was Steve and Miquette's penultimate Gong gig of the 70's (the last was in London in December'75). This very good quality recording is also notable for being one the late Jorge Pinchevsky's earliest gigs with Gong - it might even be his first, no-one can actually remember. Jorge was violinist in Clearlight, the support band on a 13 date UK tour and he occasionally sat in with Gong - he didn't officially join the band until the Shamal recording sessions, in Jan '76.
The mastering was aided by the studio ears and Gong expertise of Mike Howlett, although we have the recording engineer on the night to thank for a good releasable live mix - it's occasionally a little furry round the edges, but he must have done some sterling work back then to get the quality that is there. Included is a 12 page booklet with some images from the GAS archives, some from DT in Swindon, some from a photo library of Gong in Hyde Park in '74, and some from long-time Gongsters Alan and Pauline Clarke of the actual Nottingham gig. Mike Howlett contributed a couple of pages of liner notes, and yours truly added a few comments as well.
All in all a thunderously good CD of a very interesting transitional period in the Gong's history. The rhythm section is on top form, Steve's great - one of the best live versions of Aftagid I've heard to date, and the Isle of Everywhere builds to be spacey, groovy little beggar as well. In fact the whole band is very tight throughout, you'd never guess the Shamal material was basically still in development. An invigorating and vital CD of great Gong music to savour.
Note: It's a sad irony that Pierre died almost on the day that copies of this CD arrived from the record company at the GAS office, along with an advance to distribute among the band. My communications with him over the past few months have generally been about this release, which he was very happy about - not only musically (and he does play some great stuff on the CD), but also the fact that for a change, a reasonable royalty rate and advance had been negotiated and organized. I'm happy that I could help make this contact with music biz positive a thing.