So as the self-appointed Space Wizard of Über Rock, I felt it only appropriate that I should turn my attention to mighty space rock progenitors and overlords Hawkwind with the remastered version of the 1976 compilation ‘Roadhawks’, which covers the years 1970-1975 and was curated by the sole remaining founder, Dave Brock.
While Mr Brock and co have long since referred to themselves in this manner in regards to their live show, there is actually only a single live track on the album, ‘You Shouldn’t Do That’, which follows seamlessly on from previous track ‘Paranoia’ in a way that sounds so natural that you don’t actually realise it yourself until a very faint crowd sound comes through, putting me in mind of what I lovingly term a hippy pit – where at concerts such as Hawkwind, Ozric Tentacles and similar the crowd has a tendency to dance almost as one to the music, rather than pogo or throwdown as would be more common among their more punk or metal brethren.
The mixing of the album makes it feel more of a concept album than an early collection of fan favourites, with the mixing of the tracks into each other creating a flow that works so well and certainly puts me in mind of the many times I’ve caught Hawkwind live across the years, more than any other band. The re-mastering is sympathetic with the original in terms of not losing any of the authenticity of the first release compilation, while they have now been able to produce something that showcases what makes them such a compelling live act still to this day and something that, in my opinion, fits their sound better than a lot of what they were able to do with the original recordings.
Getting away from the debauchery that was the early live Hawkwind shows, even as a re-release of a compilation – something I would usually be quite firmly against – I’ve found it hard not to be swept along by this particular one and it’s certainly given me food for thought in terms of how to approach any future things I cover similar to this. If you’re a fan of Hawkwind, you’ll enjoy this and even if you’re not, it’s kind of hard not to just appreciate quite how good their music is and feel lifted by it. The arrangement of the tracks feels more like a complete album in itself, showcasing the lighter, uplifting side and the heavier, entrancing space rock that they are more renowned perfectly while feeling like an actual cohesive body of work.
‘Roadhawks’ is released on 24 April. You can get your copy HERE.
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