Soft Machine grew out of a meeting between two former members of the legendary Canterbury band The Wilde Flowers (Robert Wyatt and Kevin Ayers) An Australian beatnik (Daevid Allen) and an Oxford University student (Mike Ratledge) in 1966. Once the band had got together courtesy of a financial benefactor who agreed to finance the band they contacted William Burroughs to ask his permission to use the name The Soft Machine. Burroughs agreed and the band was in business. Along with other bands including Pink Floyd Soft Machine were at the vanguard of the new London Underground music scene and regularly played gigs at celebrated clubs like UFO and more famously at the launch of the International Times magazine at the Roundhouse.
The band were signed to Polydor records and recorded a single which featured a track called Feelin'Reelin' Squeelin' which featured the talents of Jimi Hendrix who was a Soft Machine fan. The single however was unrepresentative of the bands sound, which leaned heavily on free form improvisation.
Following a gig in St. Tropez the band returned to England however Daevid Allen was refused entry to the country due to visa problems and the band were forced to carry on as a trio. Allen stayed in France and went on to form Gong while the remaining members of Soft Machine went on to tour America supporting Jimi Hendrix where during a short break in the tour the band recorded their debut album which was released by Probe records in America. Following the tour Kevin Ayers left the band and took up residence in Ibiza.
The band recruited Hugh Hopper as their new bassist and made another album entitled Soft Machine 2. By the time of the bands third and fourth albums (Soft Machine Third and Soft Machine Fourth) the band had moved into a jazz-fusion direction.
The recordings on this album stem from a residency at the world famous Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in 1970 and feature the generally accepted classic line up of Soft Machine which at the time featured Mike Ratledge, Hugh Hopper and Robert Wyatt. The band also featured Elton Dean on Sax who was a survivor from an earlier line up of the band, which featured a brass section. This album recorded between the 20th and 25th of April 1970 will be a welcome addition to this legendary bands catalogue and will give long time fans the opportunity to really hear this exciting and near legendary performance from Soft Machine at a time when they were really pushing the boundaries of music.
The double CD has been re mastered for this release to present the best possible sound quality and also contains sleeve notes written by Brian Hopper.
1. Slightly All The Time
3. Eamonn Andrews
7. Moustrap (Reprise)
8. Hibou Anemone & Bear
2. Moon In June
3. Esther’s Nose Job
4. Pigling Bland
6. Esther’s Nose Job (Reprise)
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