NATIONAL HEALTH — Of Queues and Cures

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NATIONAL HEALTH - Of Queues and Cures cover
4.61 | 14 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 1978


A1 The Bryden 2 Step (For Amphibians) Part 1 8:52
A2 The Collapso 6:16
A3 Squarer For Maud 11:30
B1 Dreams Wide Awake 8:48
B2 Binoculars 11:43
B3 Phlâkatön 0:08
B4 The Bryden 2 Step (For Amphibians) Part 2 5:31

Total Time: 53:23


Bass – John Greaves
Drums – Pip Pyle
Guitar – Phil Miller
Organ, Electric Piano – Dave Stewart
Cello – Georgie Born (tracks A1,A3,B4)
Piano – Dave Stewart (tracks A1,A2,A3,B4)
Trombone – Paul Nieman (tracks A1,B2,B4)
Trumpet – Phil Minton (tracks A1,B2,B4)
Steel Drums – Selwyn Baptiste (track A2)
Bass Clarinet – Jimmy Hastings (track A3)
Oboe – Keith Thompson (tracks A3,B2)
Percussion [& Hand Claps] – Pip Pyle (track A3)
Piano [Innards] – John Greaves(track A3)
Synthesizer [Minimoog] – Dave Stewart(tracks A3,B1)
Voice – Peter Blegvad(track A3)
Bass [On 6/4 Organ Solo] – Rick Biddulph(track B1)
Flute, Clarinet – Jimmy Hastings(track B2)
Vocals [Crooning] – John Greaves(track B2)

About this release

Charly Records – CRL 5010 (UK)

Recorded At – Ridge Farm Studios

Thanks to snobb for the updates


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Members reviews

siLLy puPPy
Once again going against the grain of the fading prog scene while punk and disco were usurping the attention of the masses, NATIONAL HEALTH pumped out one more album before calling it quits (ok technically there's a third) and what a magnificent album it is! Their second masterpiece in a row is OF QUEUES AND CURES and it does not disappoint one bit despite having a totally different sound than their debut.

The core line up has changed a bit as Neil Murray abandoned his bass duties and was replaced by John Greaves who is most famous for his work with Henry Cow but also was in Soft Heap as well as releasing several solo albums. His addition gives this album a rougher sound with his more experiment RIO approach. Noticeably missing from this sophomore album is the angelic vocal contributions of Amanda Parsons meaning this 2nd album sounds a lot less Hatfield and the North influenced. This album has more of a complex jam session feel to it with less vocals and more instruments. In addition to the long list from the debut we also get some cello, trumpet, trombone and oboe added to the mix. It is more of a jazz-fusion meets Canterbury sound with all the quirkiness turned up to 11 and bass and fuzz organ boosted up accordingly.

Tracks like “Squarer For Maude” have the perfect recipe for brilliance with their frenetic and sometimes repetitious jazz-fusion template that blends guitar solos and even a brief spoken word excursion inspired by Peter Blegvad of Slapp Happy. The jam continues in a hypnotic continuity until suddenly and unexpectedly changes completely reminding you that this band is always full of surprises and breathes life into everything they touch. This track is no anomaly as each one is brilliant in its own special way.

Overall an absolutely phenomenal album that pretty much celebrates the end of an era where prog ruled for a brief period which celebrates this crowning achievement with bravado. You could not ask for a better culmination of the Canterbury sound than what you get on this album where Dave Stewart kills it on keyboards, Phil Miller sizzles on guitar, Pip Pyle rocks the house and the entire block on drums and John Greaves adds yet more elements of complexity to an already amazing non-easy listening band. All the extra sounds that are incorporated on this album are just super exciting icing on an already spicy deliciously rich cake. This National Health plan is mandatory for my health and I highly recommend it for yours.
An oasis (one of many, I'd say) in prog's lean years between the fading of the first golden age and the dawn of the neo-prog movement, National Health's second album is the glorious culmination of all the different Canterbury scene strands that fed into that particular supergroup. With intriguing spoken word from Peter Blegvad on Squarer for Maud, an intriguing anti-TV rant in the form of Binoculars, a hilarious "a capella drum solo" and wonderful instrumentals in between, the album shows all the humour, whimsy, and musicianship usually associated with the best of the Canterbury scene. As essential as the band's debut, and as important any Canterbury collection as Hatfield and the North's two albums, or the best releases by Caravan and Soft Machine.
Sean Trane
If the first NH took a long time to materialize, their second album certainly didn’t make itself long to appear, as it came out the same year as the debut. It is also a fairly different beast than its predecessor, even if only the departed brilliant Neil Murray is now replaced with ex-Henry Cow bassist John Greaves. Although it might appear a minor line-up change, it also opens the studio gates to a bunch of other ex-Cows to participate to the album’s sessions. And this is where the difference appears: Phil Minton, Georgie Born, Keith Thompson and Peter Blegvad all join mainstay guest Brother Jimmy Hastings. A very pleasant line-up news for this proghead is the departure of Parsons and her irritating vocals. Musically the album is less jazz-rock and more pure prog, as if Steward’s omelette days were indeed not fully digested. Yes, you can hear some Egg/ELP-like prog

Opening with a wandering bass line and birdsongs, the album on the book-ending Bryden 2-Step is soon a wild jazz-rock, much reminiscent of their first album, but an added slightly symphonic touch. The closing section of this track is the same riff repeated tiredlessly until interrupted its slow death. Collapso is a play on word (calypso) due to the steel drums, but rest assured that outside these drums, you won’t find any tacky Caribbean music on this track. It is hard to call this track jazz-rock either, especially midway through, when the group members are giving it their all. Greaves’ bass opens the lengthy Squarer For Maud, probably the most Cow-esque NH track, with Born’s cello in the background with Hastings’ clarinets and Blegvad’s short spoken vocals, but the second part returns to a Caravan-type bossa improv, before going in an insane stop & go section to end it. Great stuff. Just as demented is Miller’s Dreams Wide Awake, where Stewart’s organ goes completely mad in the first part, then in a much quieter Caravan-styled second part, followed by Miller’s usual once-per-album wild solo. Binoculars is the only sung song (by John Greaves), features another of Miller”s sizzling solo

This last NH album (besides the Gowan tribute) is another one of these links between the RIO circle and the Canterbury family, but sadly seems to indicate that Canterbury is reaching its end as RIO is only really getting under way. A marginally better album than their debut, it is mostly the disappearance of Parsons” vocals in the NH soundscape that makes the difference for this proghead. Essential and the last masterpiece of Canterbury music.

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