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HAWKLORDS/HAWKWIND Reissues Rock Fever Music (2006)

These two underrated Hawkwind albums have been unavailable on CD for many years now, and are almost very welcome here: no matter how good the original albums they come overpriced and very poorly presented.

The first, 1978's 25 Years On (Rock Fever Music RFM014(45:40)) was recorded as Hawklords (legal wrangles over the band name), features mainstay Dave Brock on guitar, keyboards and vocals, and lead vocalist Robert Calvert. Very much a new sounding band, a little new wavy, there's still some classic Hawk moments. PSI Power made a great single if a poor seller, and 25 Years is worth the cover price alone. A more than decent set bolstered by two live tracks. ***

1979's PXR5 (Rock Fever Music RFM031 (79:20)), recorded piecemeal live and in the studio over the previous two years, also featured Calvert, pianist Simon House, bassist Adrian Shaw and drummer Simon King and is actually a great Hawk album. Deathtrap follows in similar fashion to the previous set, and the political Uncle Sam's On Mars is as relevant now as it was then. The highlight of the album is High Rise, or it would be if the original LP version had been used; the version here inferior and very different, despite crediting the same version. Why on earth do they do that?

The 10 bonus tracks, a Michael Moorcock performance from 1975, is passable, laughable and largely irrelevant, despite the presence of several Hawk members. **

Both albums are quietly mastered, and the packaging minimal; 2 page booklets and no sleevenotes. The far from budget pricing and the track shenanigans on PXR5 are all more than offputting. 5/5 top marks for the original albums, 0/5 for the reissue packaging.

Review by Joe Geesin

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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