BlackhillsGarden Party, Hyde Park, London, UK – July 18, 1970
Disc 1 (38:38) Blues, The Embryo, Green Is The Colour, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
Recorder 1 was done by a guy named Dave using BASF L-C60 cassette, a mono Phillips Cassette recorder with a microphone attached to a six foot broom handle. The results produced a fair to good sounding document with thin sound that does suffer from distortion, wind pumps on the microphone. Like other outside recordings the sound does breathe and move around from time to time and there is some hiss present but once ones ears adjust there is no problem enjoying an excellent and laid back performance by the group. I found the sound on Set The Controls particularly enjoyable as Richard Wrights keyboards come through with astonishing clarity. The recording captures the atmosphere of a large crowd gathered to hear music and gives a nice picture of the first part of the concert, the recording ends with an announcement from Roger telling the audience there will be a short break while they assemble singers and more musicians to the stage.
Disc 2 (49:49) Introduction, Green Is The Colour, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Set The Controls for The Heart Of The Sun, Atom Heart Mother
Recorder 2 is a bit longer source, missing the Blues jam and Embryo. Another audience source that falls into the solid good range and at times nudges into the very good region, with better balance and frequency range, it does not float around like Recorder 1 and has a nice bottom end for an outside recording, the label claims this recording is from the master. The level of hiss is much lower in this recording and you do get a bit more tune ups and sound introductions and audience chatter, including some guy with a harmonica trying to talk to a girl. For me this is the highlight of the set as I never really heard the complete second source.
Godfather released an amalgamation of these recordings as Atom Hyde Park (Godfatherecords G.R. 320), the only other silver title to feature this material. It is interesting to listen to these titles, the Godfather title is cleaner with less hiss and sounds a bit sterile when compared to this new Sigma title, yet the Sigma sounds more natural and while it does have a bit of hiss on both sources it is much warmer and enjoyable. For me I like this new release as I get both sources in the complete form and it makes a nice companion piece to the Godfather title. The band’s performance is excellent, after just giving their new opus a name, it had been referred to as The Amazing Pudding, Atom Heart Mother is played with brass and choir for its debut at this concert. The band had been playing it since January of 1970 so they perform it with confidence and certain pride as it was quite the accomplishment at the time.
The packaging is typical Sigma, adorned with pictures of the event. When you see the stage shots it looks small but when you see the crowd shots you get a feel for how large scale the event was. There are picture discs and the obligatory sticker. A nice and thankfully not redundant release from the folks at Sigma and is worth having.
Thanks as ever for the informative review.