Exposé Online banner

National Health — D.S. al Coda
(Blueprint BP129CD, 1982/2001, CD)

by Dan Casey, Published 1996-03-01

D.S. al Coda Cover art

After passing away in May of 1981, Alan Gowen's last band National Health went on to record this, their third album, comprised entirely of material Alan had put to paper but never recorded. The remaining band was Phil Miller (guitar), Dave Stewart (keyboards), John Greaves (bass), and Pip Pyle (drums). Several notable guests appear as well, including Amanda Parsons (Hatfield and the North), Barbara Gaskin (who's been working with Stewart ever since), Jimmy Hastings (Caravan), and Richard Sinclair (Caravan). Musically, the album doesn't quite measure up to the previous two National Health releases, but that is largely due to the times and technology and not the songwriting. Although the material is perhaps jazzier than ever before, it is still firmly rooted in the bittersweet Canterbury style. Some of the instrumentation makes certain tracks hard to bear — cheesy early-80s synths, primitive electronic drums, poor horn arrangements, etc., but several standout tracks (like "Toad of Toad Hall," "Portrait of a Shrinking Man," and "Shining Water") make the album worth owning, especially for Canterbury freaks. While this reissue is adeqaute in and of itself, a better choice would be National Health Complete, a 2CD set containing all three albums in their entirety with some bonus tracks.


Filed under: Reissues, Issue 9, 2001 releases, 1982 recordings

Related artist(s): Elton Dean, Phil Miller, Dave Stewart, National Health, Pip Pyle, John Greaves, Alan Gowen, Annie Whitehead

Latest news

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Magma - Mekanïk Zeuhl Wortz – Here's one of those unbelievably powerful Magma concerts that's been circulating on cassette for years, finally cleaned up and transferred to CD. Hallelujah! This is one of the best live shows...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues