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The Wilde Flowers

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Album Review

Twenty-two tracks, recorded between 1965 and 1969 by various aggregations of the band. Some of the fidelity is primitive, and the performances are much more tentative and less virtuosic than what the musicians would tender on their Soft Machine and Caravan records. But the songs are playful and melodic, pushing the boundaries of the British Invasion pop they began with toward something more idiosyncratic and adventurous. Several of the songs, like "Memories" (three versions, considerably different from each other, are included here), ended up in the Soft Machine's early repertoire. Indeed, it's a shame that the Softs didn't record more of them; the chief flaw of these tracks is that the arrangements and instrumental proficiency are underdeveloped, and the Soft Machine could have transformed them into prime stuff. A few of the cuts were recorded in late 1969, and could have easily slotted in on the Wyatt-era Soft Machine albums. Wyatt and Hugh Hopper appear on most of the 22 tracks; to a lesser extent, Kevin Ayers, Pye Hastings, and even Mike Ratledge also pop up. Comes with an excellent booklet of photos and an extensive history by Wilde Flowers guitarist Brian Hopper, brother of Hugh.

Biography

Formed: 1963

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s

The Wilde Flowers never released a record during their existence, but their influence exceeds that of many groups with lengthy discographies. The band served as the wellspring of the so-called Canterbury sound: future Soft Machine members Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers, and Hugh Hopper all played with the Wilde Flowers before the Soft Machine were founded, and Pye Hastings, David Sinclair, Richard Sinclair, and Richard Coughlan played in the group at various points before forming Caravan. The musicians...
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The Wilde Flowers, The Wilde Flowers
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