THE PHILIP COHEN COLLECTION: SOFT MACHINE - SYRACUSE 1974

March 17, 2010 – 10:42 am

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

SOFT MACHINE
Live Bundles [Banquet, 1CD]

Live at Crouse College, Syracuse, NY, March 13, 1974. Very good soundboard.

For Robert Wyatt fans, they would think of Soft Machine as the ’60s rock band that featured drummer Wyatt, bassist Kevin Ayers, guitarist Daevid Allen and organist Mike Ratledge. Over the years, Soft Machine were seen as a psychedelic band as well as a pioneering prog rock band.

By the time they recorded Bundles in 1974, they can be said to have morphed into a jazz/fusion band, or even a band that played experimental music (the sound that jumped from speaker to speaker on The Floating World being a case in point).

The wikipedia noted that on Bundles, only keyboardist and founding member Mike Ratledge is left of the early Soft Machine lineups. Guitarist Allan Holdsworth’s prominent contributions set the album apart from previous Soft Machine recordings, which had not featured a guitarist for seven years, since their debut single.

On his website, Soft Machine fan, Vernon Fitch (neptunepinkfloyd.co.uk) commented: “While I was in college at Michigan State University, I witnessed the 1974 version of the Soft Machine perform live at the Silver Dollar Saloon in East Lansing, Michigan. The band was just fantastic, especially Mike Ratledge with his fuzz organ and extended organ solos.

“The new guy (that’s how I referred to Allan Holdsworth) was a bit mysterious, as he stood at the front of the stage, waiting quietly for his section of the song to come around when he would come to life and begin playing these amazing lead solos, up and down the guitar neck at incredible speed, before stopping completely and letting the rest of the band carry on. It was almost like there was a switch that turned him on and off at precise moments. I don’t remember him playing any rhythm guitar, just lead solos. A very unusual performance, but exactly what you would expect from the Soft Machine.”

According to drfusion.blogspot.com, the source tape for this recording was unearthed from the tape archives of WAER-FM in the early 1980s. By this time, it had seeemingly been forgotten. The original reel-to-reel quarter inch tape was carefully transferred to cassette tape using Nakamichi equipment… Judicious use of noise reduction has been digitally applied to help bring out the subtleties of the performance.”

Philip Cohen notes: “The first copy of this CDR bootleg that I tried had three loud digital glitches from high-speed duplicating. The replacement was better and has only one glitch. Because the disc had professional printing onto a CD-R that was not a ‘printable’ CD-R, this was obviously a professionally made CD-R, and I assume that there was never a aluminum CD of this disc. In any event, it was the best copy that I could obtain.”

Thanks to Phil Cohen for sharing the tracks.

Note: A longtime music fan, Philip Cohen was a contributor to the now-defunct ICE Magazine and compiled the boxsets for The Yardbirds, The Small Faces, Humble Pie and Nice.

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality MP3s - sample rate of 192 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Track 01. Hazard Profile Pt. 1 (14.1MB)
Click here if you reside in North America
Click here if you reside outside North America
Track 02. Hazard Profile Pt. 2 (3.3MB)
Track 03. Hazard Profile Pt. 3 (567k)
Track 04. Hazard Profile Pt. 4 (2.1MB)
Track 05. Hazard Profile Pt. 5 (8.3MB)
Track 06. The Floating World (18.0MB - visit the html page to download the track)
Track 07. The Man Who Waved at Trains (27.4MB - visit the html page to download the track)
Track 08. Bundles - Drum Solo (16.6MB)
Click here if you reside in North America
Click here if you reside outside North America

Lineup:
Allan Holdsworth - guitar
Mike Ratledge - keyboards
Roy Babbington - bass
John Marshall - drums
Karl Jenkins - saxophone

Click on the link to order Soft Machine albums.

  1. 8 Responses to “THE PHILIP COHEN COLLECTION: SOFT MACHINE - SYRACUSE 1974”

  2. The stop/start nature of Holdsworth’s guitar playing(playing only solo passages) may be, because in this group, he was the only member that couldn’t read sheet music. He played by ear.

    By Philip Cohen on Mar 17, 2010

  3. hey bigo, this is pretty good. thanks! i’m playing it right now.

    best,
    ed

    By Ed Saad on Mar 18, 2010

  4. Thanks Philip and BigO - I also saw the band on this tour - much different sound from “5/6/7″ LP’s but very enjoyable. I think only Mahavishnu, 11th House/Coryell and RTF were playing guitar fusion at the level of these guys. Very nice addition to my Softs collection. Fans should also check out the “British Tour ‘75″ disc which features the same band, or the “Breeda Reactor” discs for a taste of the previous band.

    By Johnny Kinkdom on Mar 18, 2010

  5. Magic!

    By Rochacrimson on Mar 19, 2010

  6. Thank you for this version of Soft Machine. Very nice. Thanks, too, to Johnny Kinkdom for the Soft Machine “leads”.

    By Dennis on Mar 20, 2010

  7. Back in the Seventies, “Bundles” was magical yet a little incomprehensible to me. On one hand, being a guitar player (classical and the like), it seemed unbelievable to me that anyone could play a continuous obstinatto flawlessly, like Holdsworth does. Or, like a critic once wrote about “Sailing away”, a guitar player shows true mastery in this instrument when playing a great acoustic piece, like Holdsworth does. But, then, the album seemed to me a little “cold”; yet it was “mental” or intellectual, not cold. It stands as a great piece of music like, in a different genre, The Incredible String Band’s “Hangman’s daughter” -they are both masterpieces, the kind of music one wants to listen to when growing older.

    By Ricardo on Jun 11, 2011

  8. @Phillip Cohen…on Fanatic
    Allan can Most Definitely read music.
    Simply listen to ANY Holdsworth composition…the Level of Musicianship…
    What could possibly have given you the idea that he doesn’t read.
    Good Joke though!
    Peace…
    The Fusi

    By TheFusionFanatic on May 1, 2012

  9. are there any shows available from the 1976 tour with Percy Jones on Bass?

    By hugh manatee on Aug 14, 2014

Post a Comment