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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.
So began my fascination with the Soft Machine. Upon listening to the album, I was hooked. Compiled and written by Vernon Fitch. The concert took place in a small exhibition room with an audience of no more than to people who sat in wooden chairs. It was almost like there was a switch that turned him on and off at precise moments.
I was a huge fan of Hendrix, ever since the first notes of Purple Haze hit the U. Mike Ratledge used classical improvisations and complex melodic structures to guide the songs like an instructor.
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Robert Wyatt's drum structure not only followed the music, but had a rhythmic purpose of its own as it influenced the direction of the music by its own creativity. I consider the period from to their creative peak, as their music has both an interesting rhythmic background and improvisational creativity.
This was really a band at its peak. The first Soft Machine album I bought was Third. We played local Michigan weddings, dance clubs, and parties, and if you happened to catch us casino trips from reading pa you would hear renditions of Why Are We Sleeping, and We Did It Again, thrown in among our other standards.
What more can you ask for? Any comments, corrections or additions to this chronology would be appreciated. I followed the band through the end of the s and throughout the s, purchasing every album as they were released. I have never seen a band that have been able to create so much on a live stage.
So my curiosity about this mysterious group on the Hendrix tour led me to purchase the first Soft Machine album when it was released in December The album was such an influence on me that I even played two songs from the album with my band, Invinculis.
The thing that caught my interest about the album was that each song was an entire side of the LP. Hugh Hopper had an advanced bass technique, with lyrical movements and bass solos that also directed the movement of the pieces. Since then I have collected all of the Soft Machine records that were available.
It was just amazing.
The first set lasted an hour or so, followed by a 15 to 20 minute break, then another set. I have never, ever seen such a wall of sound being pushed at an audience for evaluation. The band was just fantastic, especially Mike Ratledge with his fuzz organ and extended organ solos. I don't remember him playing any rhythm guitar, just lead solos. Soft Machine was a part of my transition period in the late s from rock to jazz.
Not that anyone who hired us had likely ever heard the Soft Machine before, but I loved the words, the ideas, and the music. The intensity, the complexity, and the cooperation between the musicians was amazing.
So fast forward to So I created this chronological history of the Soft Machine for the purpose of documenting the history of the band, a band that became a part of my life many years ago.
Soft Machine is still very much a favorite of mine. At the time, Soft Machine had no records available in the U. I hope that you enjoy reading this as much as I did in creating it. A very unusual performance, but exactly what you would expect from the Soft Machine. So in the summer ofwhen Hendrix was touring the U. And Elton Dean's improviosations provided an excellent bridge between the musical sections.
In fact, their only record at that point was the obscure British single, Love Makes Sweet Music, which garnered no airplay in the U. I loved every minute of their music.