Album review: Access All Areas – HATFIELD AND THE NORTH, SAD CAFE, RICK WAKEMAN

Hatfield And The North - Access All Areas

Edsel [Release date 30.03.15]

‘Access All Areas’ is a new series from Edsel culled from the 1980 ‘Rockstage’ and 1990s ‘Bedrock’ Central TV series.   Although many of these live sets have appeared previously, it takes Edsel to produce the definitive edition with each package containing a remastered CD and a DVD.  Each concert has been fully restored where tracks were formerly edited or omitted.

Hatfield And The North had amongst their ranks one-time Caravan (and Camel) bassist/vocalist Richard Sinclair and drummer Pip Pyle who had played in Gong.  The band only existed for three years 1972-5 so the 1990 TV gig was a reunion of sorts although without their original keyboard player Dave Stewart (who had earlier worked in Egg).

The band were signed to Virgin and this gig features selections from their 1975 album ‘The Rotters’ Club’.  Along with new material such as the long ‘Shipwrecked’ and ‘Blott On The Landscape’ the band play in a mainly lighter jazz fusion vibe – Gary Boyle and Isotope were contemporaries and not a million miles away musically – although this collection might appeal also to the prog fan.  ***1/2

Sad Café recorded in 1980 are captured at the peak of their success.  In the early 80′s they succumbed to the prevailing music trends of punk and new wave.  But, 35 years on, they have proved far more durable and with the late Paul Young on vocals giving them a USP.

This collection includes some of the band’s key tracks, with ‘Every Day Hurts’ perhaps the best known and with an understandable emphasis on then current album ‘Facades’ but also a nod to the eponymous next album.  It also features their earliest single, the excellent ‘Black Rose’.  ****

The Rick Wakeman package is a chance to hear the keyboard maestro recorded in 1990 with only bass and drums for company and vocalist Ashley Holt.  This allows more of a focus on Rick’s keyboard dexterity without the usual intrusion of guitarists, choirs and large inflatables.

It’s essentially a mini greatest hits set, opening with ‘Catherine Parr’ and including ‘Anne Boleyn’ (beware – drum and slap bass solo) and highlights from ‘Journey To The Centre Of The Earth’.  ****

Also in this round of releases – which include sets from Caravan, Lindisfarne, Steve Hackett and Fairport Convention amongst others – a 1990 gig by Buzzcocks (reformed after a decade) and a 1991 appearance from The Monochrome Set who were more influential than successful in their own right.  At this time the band had reformed with original members vocalist Bid and guitarist Lester Square.

Each of these releases includes informative liner notes by Michael Heatley and they are a worthy addition to any fan collection – no doubt some will only have the filmed part on a badly chewed VHS tape – or by way of introduction.

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 26 July.. In the first hour David pays tribute to the blues/rock guitarist Peter Green.

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