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SOFT MACHINE & HEAVY FRIENDS: BBC Concert 1971
A fine BBC recording of the classic band in transition, with various augmentations: drummer Phil Howard (on 2 shorter tracks) and Roy Babbington (double bass) on a couple of pieces, both of whom would subsequently succeed Robert and Hugh respectively in later, increasingly more banal, versions of the group, stalwarts Elton Dean and Marc Charig - as well as Ronnie Scott, Paul Nieman (trombone) and Neville Whitehead (double bass). The bulk of the record is a long chain of Soft Machine standards, as always seamlessly linked together and played with clarity, power and imagination. Robert is on inspiring form; there are lessons here. Altogether a great performance from a truly original ensemble. Evidence again, if needed, that this was one of the great groups of the age.