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Live 1991

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Album Review

A companion piece to the same year's Wild Child album, Live 1991 is the sound of Mother Gong at their most relaxed and inspiring. Recorded on the band's American tour, in front of audiences that were reverential without being silent, the set has been in and out of print since its original release, but 2004's Voiceprint edition should be considered the definitive version, both in terms of remastering and availability. Largely improvisational, even when touching down on familiar territory, the 18 tracks range, as expected, from the purely poetic through to Gilli Smyth's so-individual stance on the far side of the avant-garde, a position that former Caterpillar sax man Robert Calvert confirms via his own wired contributions. (Harry Williamson and Tom the Poet complete the lineup.) In terms of Mother Gong's entire canon, it probably falls somewhere behind their earliest albums and live recordings — the group simply seemed to have more focus early on. But Smyth is in fine voice and the band will lead you places that you didn't even know you wanted to visit.

Live 1991, Mothergong
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