Exposé Online banner

Soft Machine — Live at the Paradiso 1969
(Voiceprint VP139CD, 1969/1995, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 1996-03-01

Live at the Paradiso 1969 Cover artOh yeah! More gold mined from the Soft Machine treasure troves! Softs re-releases are innumerable between the UK and USA in the past two years (and will continue to be through 1996), but somehow Voiceprint obtained the go-ahead approval to release this much-booted, nearly legendary live performance from 1969. Featured is the core album Volume Two line-up: Mike Ratledge (keyboards, primarily loud, obnoxious organ), Hugh Hopper (bass, primarily fuzz tone), and not-the-least infamous Robert Wyatt (drums, and off- miked vocal). This group seemed to be a semi-sedate, jazzy polished trio in the studio, but in a live setting they became a frenzied, frantic monster triumvirate which displayed high energy and versatile improvisation. Originally recorded as a potential official live album recording in Amsterdam, Holland (as clarified by Hopper in the new liner notes), the band had problems accepting the performance quality (after the fact) and vetoed release. For shame! However, the live tapes mysteriously 'slipped out' into the desperate hands of those greasy, grimey little bootleggers who scour the face of the earth looking for that ultimate rare live performance of note (such are yours truly, of course). And guess what? They found one that was actually inspirational and sounded fucking great to boot (pardoning the pun of course)! I remember first hearing this on a CD boot from 1988 and being awestruck as to the great band interplay and force these guys put out: like a jazzier ELP (Tarkus period), predating Egg's core sound by one year. This Soft Machine was a group who were loud! evidenced by the set included herein: several small tunes which comprise the bulk of Soft Machine Volume Two, but played at break-neck pace. Wyatt's somewhat disoriented vocal can be heard opening the disk, singing over booming bass and grinding organ. These guys were tearing through their set like a freight train steaming down the track. Included are some great drum solos and trademark key/time changes which show off each player's tremendous individual talent. The thing that absolutely makes it for me is Ratledge's demon-like ragged, thrashy organ sound which really rips through the entire set. One of my choices for top ten re-releases of the 1995.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 9, 1995 releases, 1969 recordings

Related artist(s): Hugh Hopper, Soft Machine, Robert Wyatt

Latest news

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Nathan Mahl - Exodus – It’s been at least five years since Shadows Unbound, the band’s previous album; now Nathan Mahl returns with Exodus, a large-scale concept album – dare I say rock opera, based on the second book...  (2009) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues