Hawkwind: Space Ritual

May 11, 1973 – Hawkwind: Space Ritual is released.
# allmusic 4.5/5
# Rolling Stone (see original review below)
The Space Ritual Alive in Liverpool and London is a live double album recorded in 1972 and released on this date in May, 1973. It is their fourth album, reached #9 in the UK album charts and briefly dented the Billboard Top 200, peaking at #179.
The album was recorded during the tour to promote their Doremi Fasol Latido album, which comprises the bulk of this set. Featuring Hawkwind’s classic lineup, which included vocalist / guitarist (and band constant) Dave Brock and bassist/occasional vocalist Lemmy (soon to depart and form Motorhead), 1973’s Space Ritual is monolithic in stature and stands as the group’s most impressive live (if not overall) recording. Although the ensemble often garnered comparisons to Pink Floyd, Hawkwind was far more aggressive than Waters, Gilmour, and company, charging through a potent, freeform set of cosmic freakouts (the trippy “Earth Calling”) and rumbling metal (“Lord of Light” sounds like Black Sabbath in lunar orbit). While the entire outing is stellar, the British space-rock group really hits a stride during the epic “Orgone Accumulator,” which settles into a deep, acid groove. Although the spoken-word segments (most notably a recitation of sci-fi/fantasy author Michael Moorcock’s “Black Corridor” by vocalist/poet Bob Calvert) might not suit everyone, Space Ritual endures as both a document of its era and one of Hawkwind’s finest releases.
The Space Ritual show attempted to create a full audio-visual-cerebral experience, representing themes developed by Barney Bubbles and Robert Calvert entwining the fantasy of Starfarers in suspended animation travelling through time and space with the concept of the music of the spheres. The performance featured dancers Stacia, Miss Renee and Tony Carrera, stage set by Bubbles, lightshow by Liquid Len and poetry recitations by Calvert. On entering the venue, audience members were given a free program featuring a short sci-fi story by Bubbles setting the band in a Starfarers scenario returning to Earth.
In the Q & Mojo Classic Special Edition Pink Floyd & The Story of Prog Rock, the album came #8 in its list of “40 Cosmic Rock
You never see any Hawkwind albums in bargain bins because they never get there. The unsold copies are apparently re-released and resold at regular prices. And that simply makes Space Ritual, In Search of Space twice, because this is a double package. For the benefit of those who insist this is truly a new LP set, please note that the bassist is still playing his same two notes, the synthesizer manipulators still maintain their fixation on “Journey to a Forbidden Planet” and the band’s idea of dynamics still consists of turning the volume controls up or down. The group’s real efforts seem to go into making up the record-album covers. This one folds six separate times before it’s capable of holding the album intact. At the very least, Hawkwind’s continued existence proves that somebody out there is still doing acid.
~ Alan Neister (January 31, 1974(
Side 1
“Earth Calling” (Robert Calvert) – 1:44
“Born To Go” (Calvert, Dave Brock) – 9:56
“Down Through The Night” (Brock) – 6:16
“The Awakening” (Calvert) – 1:32
Side 2
“Lord Of Light” (Brock) – 7:21
“Black Corridor” (Michael Moorcock) – 1:51
“Space Is Deep” (Brock) – 8:13
“Electronic No. 1” (Dik Mik Davies, Del Dettmar) – 2:26
Side 3
“Orgone Accumulator” (Calvert, Brock) – 9:59
“Upside Down” (Brock) – 2:43
“10 Seconds Of Forever” (Calvert) – 2:05
“Brainstorm” (Turner) – 9:20
Side 4
“7 By 7” (Brock) – 6:11
“Sonic Attack” (Moorcock) – 2:54
“Time We Left This World Today” (Brock) – 5:47
“Master Of The Universe” (Nik Turner, Brock) – 7:37
“Welcome To The Future” (Calvert) – 2:04
Bonus tracks on 1996 Remasters CD
“You Shouldn’t Do That” (Turner, Brock) / “Seeing It As You Really Are” [unlisted] (Brock) – 6:58
“Master Of The Universe” (Turner, Brock) – 7:23
“Born To Go” (Calvert, Brock) – 13:02
2007 Digital remaster
CD 1
“Earth Calling”
“Born To Go”
“Down Through The Night”
“The Awakening”
“Lord Of Light”
“Black Corridor”
“Space Is Deep”
“Electronic No. 1”
“Orgone Accumulator”
“Upside Down”
“10 Seconds Of Forever”
“Brainstorm” (full version) – 13:46
CD 2
“7 By 7”
“Sonic Attack”
“Time We Left This World Today”
“Master Of The Universe”
“Welcome To The Future” (full version) – 2:49
“You Shouldn’t Do That” – 10:38
“Orgone Accumulator” (alternate nights performance) – 8:50
“Time We Left This World Today” (alternate nights performance) – 13:22
“You Shouldn’t Do That” (alternate nights performance, from the Roadhawks compilation album) – 6:42

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