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Posted 20 hours ago

Captain Lockheed & The Starfighters

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Yet another example of great Space Rock from ex Hawks which surpasses recent output from the mothership. It's a satirical concept album with both songs and spoken interludes based on the story of the poor quality of the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter planes. And admittedly it's the bonus tracks that have an immediacy, that the rest of the album may not have. And I am hugely impressed, previously, I had the Hawkwind album around Moorcock's works, and that was fun also as a space opera.

The only non-Calvert composition (co-written with Dave Brock) “The Widow Maker” follows, and it is pure Hawkwind: all churning guitar and Rudolph’s (or Lemmy’s? I have this original version with insert containing lyrics and dialogue stapled to inside center of gatefold. Let's forget Hawkwind for a minute, if you have a penchant for intelligent hard rock which embraces electronica and has humour in abundance, you need this album. Calvert calmly intones echoed lines over Rudolph’s swooping guitar lines AND his overdubbed, pumping bass riffs and Simon King’s ever-stamina drumming.I was so happy to get this remaster and glad to see that it offered three bonus tracks, including an extended version of "The Right Stuff". If you like everything about Hawkwind, and need to have as much as you can relating to the band, then this may be as essential to you, as it is to me. Between the music there are humoristic dialogues of German officials inspecting the army, businessmen doing trade with Americans and some excerpts from pilot conversations from a Starfighter cockpit.

In the end, one of the more mentally anguished and drug addled albums I have ever heard - and rock n roll on par with Hawkwind where it appears. With more tracks, most of Hawkwind, (including Dave Brock and Lemmy), along with Roxy Music's Brian Eno, Pink Fairies Twink et al as musicians, the god of hellfire, Arthur Brown singing one track, and the Bonzo Dog's Viv Stanshall as an actor / character within the dialogue, what more can a fan want? My own favorite tracks are the "Aerospace inferno" with nice pulsing rhythm and creation of moods, a really well rocking "Ejection" which was later also played by Hawkwind on stage, and definitely the end hymn "Catch a Falling Starfighter", which I found very touching conclusion.The sputtering and sprawling planes starts up the album, which portrays the West German minister of defense as a psychopath who's furious about the Luftwaffe. Apart from Brian Eno on synth, the other musicians are all pretty much Hawkwind members, even Dave Brock plays lead guitar on one track. United Artists label as per this version but it also includes the printed inner sleeve with German eagle in light blue on silver background not shown in the pictures here. Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters is the solo debut by Robert Calvert, the former singer of the space-rock band Hawkwind. To put the quality of this album in context, I genuinely believe it is better than any Hawkwind album, a bold claim for sure, but one I will stand by.

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