Hawkwind have a great track record of releases, and to be fair it is rare that any fall through the re-release net, but here we have one that maybe did. Roadhawks gets its first release on CD through Cherry Red Records who have an excellent reputation for repackaging and releasing albums from bands’ back catalogues.
This album is presented with restored artwork in a replica cardboard vinyl sleeve which has a lot of track details printed on the left-hand side of inner sleeve, which are clear and easily readable. It also contains a restored replica poster of the artwork that was originally included with the first pressing of the 1976 release, a little larger than A4 size. This CD edition of the classic compilation has been remixed and re-edited from the United Artists original master tapes by Dave Brock himself, and a very fine job he has made of it.
The track selection comes from the band’s first five albums, with their debut Hawkwind providing two, the other albums one track each, the selection from In Search of Space being a previously unavailable live version of You Shouldn’t Do That that is Hawkwind doing what they do best, full of energy and drive in full-on space rock mode, recorded in Liverpool on 22nd December 1972, probably on the Space Ritual tour. Alongside these, two of the band’s singles from that time are included, Silver Machine and the BBC banned (at the time) Urban Guerrilla, which all goes to make a varied and interesting selection.
We kick things off with the two tracks from the first album, which I guess don’t get as much play as later ones, which is a shame as there is so much on this album to enjoy and a great indicator of where the Hawkwind journey was going. First up, Hurry on Sundown, a great upbeat folksy blues song which at first listen could be mistaken as not being a Hawkwind number, although there are a lot of moments here which are developed and put to use in the forging of the Hawkwind sound. This is followed by Paranoia, maybe the polar opposite of the previous track, stark, almost fearful and would not be out of place in a horror noir with its use of electronics and sonic sounds with eerie repetitive tones.
After the live You Shouldn’t Do That, the two non-album singles follow, Silver Machine, recorded at The Roundhouse on 13th February 1972, and Urban Guerrilla, which was withdrawn from sale two weeks after release due to it coinciding with terrorist attacks in London (hence the BBC ban). Both tracks are an interesting listen, and it’s good to see Urban Guerrilla get an airing.
The final three songs begin with Space is Deep, taken from Doremi Fasol Latido, a great musical journey through space rock, just what this band do so well. The remix and re-editing is particularly good on this track, and the following two with Wind of Change from Hall of the Mountain Grill up next, another sometimes overlooked album. An atmospheric start builds slowly, developing a lovely melody with some great violin from Simon House which works so well. As the last echos of Wind of Change come through the speakers we almost crash into The Golden Void from Warrior on the Edge of Time, a track which has now become a live staple. I always enjoyed this on the original album as it worked well following on from Assault and Battery, the two tracks sitting well as a pair, and it would have been good if that could have been continued here, however due to vinyl constricts at the time that would have been at the expense of one of the other tracks, so good call Mr Brock.
This is a timeless release that clearly helps us to understand what Hawkwind were doing at the time. The good selection of tracks here demonstrates the variety available in what the band were doing. A great historical record of this period in the band’s history, one for collectors, completists and fans, but is it essential? Maybe, but worth getting? Definitely, never before released on CD, it’s a well put together release which I thoroughly enjoyed.
01. Hurry on Sundown (4:51)
02. Paranoia (4:11)
03. You Shouldn’t Do That (Live) (6:55)
04. Silver Machine (Live) (4:23)
05. Urban Guerrilla (3:39)
06. Space is Deep (6:03)
07. Wind of Change (4:56)
08. The Golden Void (4:38)
Total Time – 39:36
Dave Brock – Guitar, Vocals
John Harrison – Bass (tracks 1 & 2)
Huw Lloyd-Langton – Guitars (tracks 1 & 2)
Terry Ollis – Drums (tracks 1-4)
Nik Turner – Sax, Flute
Dik Mik – Electronics, Generators (tracks 1-6)
Del Dettmar – Synthesisers (tracks 3-7)
Simon King – Drums (tracks 3-8)
Lemmy – Bass (tracks 3-8)
Bob Calvert – Vocals (tracks 3-6)
Simon House – Keyboards, Mellotron (tracks 7 & 8)
Alan Powell – Drums (track 8)
Record Label: Cherry Red / Atomhenge
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 24th April 2020