Title - 'Volume 1 - Memories' (Gonzo Multimedia)
Artist - Hugh Hopper
For those not in the know, Hugh Hopper (who sadly died aged 64 of leukaemia in 2009), was an incredible British progressive rock and jazz fusion bass guitarist. He was a prominent member of the Canterbury scene, as a member of Soft Machine and various other related bands both before, during and after.
Starting in 1963 as bassist with The Daevid Allen Trio, alongside drummer Robert Wyatt, he alternated between free jazz and rhythm and blues. In 1964 with Brian Hopper (his brother), Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers and Richard Sinclair he formed The Wilde Flowers, a pop music group. Although they never released any records during their existence (a compilation was released 30 years later), The Wilde Flowers are acknowledged as the founders of the Canterbury scene and spawned its two most important groups, the aforementioned Soft Machine and then Caravan.
The subject of a 10-disc series featuring previously-unreleased live recordings, here on Volume 1 - Memories, Michael King (compiler, editor and mastering wizard) has brought together a retrospective compilation of rare tracks; as introduced by Hugh himself. First up is the title track, 'Memories' (1969), which is a demo with Soft Machine, and that's backed by both 'Was A Friend' (2004, the Hugh Hopper Franglo Band) and 'Shuffle Demons' (1995, North & South with Mike Travis).
Next up on this first volume of unreleased Hugh Hopper recordings is 'Playtime' (2002), where Hopper interprets Alan Gownen, then comes 'Dabinaire' (2004, another Hopper Franglo Band track), with both 'MGH' (2002, Nigel Morris & Hopper) and then finally, 'Long Piece' (2002, a Hopper Computer Collage) wrap this incredible musical release up.
With new Liner Notes from such dedicated authors such as Davey Cross, Michael King and even the older brother of the late bassist, Brian Hopper, Volume 1 - Memories is just one of those albums that makes you miss the genius behind the music quite like you never knew you missed them before.