Hawkwind - Dreamworkers of Time: The BBC recordings, 1985-1995

Hawkwind – Dreamworkers of Time: The BBC recordings, 1985-1995

Cherry Red Records now have a long history of releasing Hawkwind albums, having handled box sets of their late seventies releases and following those up with their eighties/nineties albums. Each release has been excellently packaged and remastered to create a nice addition to the collection of any fan. So what do we have here? The Dreamworkers of Time set is a collection of live recordings made by the BBC between 1985 and 1995, to be broadcast of various programs at the time.

This release comes in a three CD clamshell box, with sixteen previously unreleased tracks, newly remastered from the original BBC tapes, plus an illustrated booklet which includes notes from Mark Powell, photos and track and band information. This set features live recordings from Reading Festival in 1986 and, for the first time, Hammersmith Odeon in 1988 and sessions from the Friday Rock Show in 1985 and Mark Radcliffe’s show in 1995.

It is safe to say that when most people think of Hawkwind in the live setting, the Seventies incarnation comes to mind. This is somewhat unfair, I feel, as each further era – led by the ever-present Dave Brock – has something great to offer. This box set mainly features the Eighties version of the band, which was an exciting line up, with new blood injecting fresh energy into the Hawkwind experience. We also touch on the newly-formed Nineties version of the band for three tracks, featuring then new singer Ron Tree.

The first disc features highlights of the band’s performance at the Reading Festival on 24th August 1986, first broadcast on the BBC Radio One Friday Rock Show. Here the band are on blistering form, powering their way through some selected Hawkwind classics, demonstrating that they are clearly a talented collection of musicians. They put their own unique stamp on tracks such as Magnu, Master of the Universe and Brainstorm. This band certainly play with great energy and enthusiasm, the sound quality, as you would expect from the BBC, is excellent, although for me the volume mix is a bit low and I had to turn up the amp a bit higher that usual. “No harm there”, you say. I guess the neighbours would disagree… That said, it does not distract from the enjoyment of a set that interestingly includes them being joined by Lemmy and Graham “Dumpy” Dunnel for a rendition of Silver Machine.

On the second disc we get the first of the previously unreleased tracks, in the shape of the 14th May 1988 show at Hammersmith Odeon, recorded for the BBC Radio One In Concert programme. This gig was part of the tour to promote their then latest album, The Xenon Codex, which provided four of the tracks in the selection here. Again, this is a band on fire, playing with great energy as they power their way through the set. The band offers a noticeably different take on Sonic Attack and a fuller version of Brainstorm than the one included on disc one. As you would expect, the sound quality is once again excellent.

After the two live gig recordings, the third disc has two studio sessions, recorded by the BBC for The Friday Rock Show and Mark Radcliffe’s programme. The first of these has the same line-up as the previous live recordings. Presenting three numbers, this line-up was in its early days, but they already demonstrate the skill and unity that would be noticeable in the following years. Again, the sound quality, mixing and remaster is very good. The final three songs are from a Mark Radcliffe session. Here we have a new incarnation of the band, again in its early days, with the introduction of Ron Tree on vocals to the previous trio line-up (Ron would later take on bass duty after the departure of Alan Davey). Again this incarnation of the band shows promise.

These recordings prove that Hawkwind was not a band to lie down through the Eighties and Nineties, which was a difficult time for many long-term established bands from the Sixties and Seventies, but they were able to still be a musical force with the introduction of new band members along the way. This is an excellently presented box set and a worthy addition to the collection of any Hawkwind fan, but there is also enough here for even the casual fan to enjoy.

Disc One: BBC Radio One Friday Rock Show Live at Reading Festival, 24th August 1986

01. Magnu / Angel of Death (8:26)
02. The Pulsing Cavern (3:19)
03. Assault and Battery (4:38)
04. Needle Gun (4:47)
05. Master of the Universe (4:52)
06. Utopia (4:33)
07. Brainstorm (5:20)
08. Dream Worker (7:24)
09. Assassins of Allah (6:39)
10. Silver Machine (11:22)

Total Time – 61.20

Disc Two: BBC Radio One in Concert, Hammersmith Odeon, London 14th May 1988
01. Utopia (7:53)
02. The War I Survived (3:57)
03. Heads (6:21)
04. Shot Down in the Night (6:42)
05. Tides (4:24)
06. Wastelands of Sleep (4:16)
07. Moonglum (4:44)
08. Sonic Attack (5:42)
09. Rocky Paths (5:42)
10. Brainstorm (9:43)

Total Time – 59.23

Disc Three: BBC Sessions 1985 and 1995 –
Friday Rock Show Session 1985:

01. Assault of the Hawk (7:06)
02. They’ve Got Your Number (3:43)
03. Magnu / Dreamworker of Time (7:31)
Mark Radcliffe Session 1995:
04. The Right to Decide (6:24)
05. Death Trap / Wastelands of Sleep / Are You Losing Your Mind (8:01)
06. Assassins of Allah / The Dream Goes On (7:14)

Total Time – 40:00

Dave Brock – Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards (all discs)
Harvey Bainbridge – Keyboards, Vocals (discs 1 & 2, Friday Rock Show disc 3)
Huw Lloyd-Langton – Lead Guitar, Vocals (discs 1 & 2, Friday Rock Show disc 3)
Alan Davey – Bass Guitar, Vocals (all discs)
Danny Thompson Jr. – Drums (discs 1 & 2, Friday Rock Show disc 3)
Ron Tree – Vocals (Mark Radcliffe Show disc 3)
Richard Chadwick – Drums (Mark Radcliffe Show disc 3)
~ With:
Lemmy – Bass (disc 1, track 10)
Graham “Dumpy” Dunnel – Guitar & Vocals (disc 1, track 10)

Record Label: Cherry Red | Atomhenge
Catalogue#: ATOMCD 31049
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 25th March 2022

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