Hatwise Choice and its companion volume
Hattitude feature the classic line-up of Phil Miller, Pip Pyle, Richard Sinclair and Dave Stewart. Culled from previously unheard live tapes and first generation radio recordings made between 1973 and 1975, the material was personally compiled by the Hatfield musicians and released on their own Hatco label in 2005. The CDs ship in full-colour Digipaks with archive photos and a 20-page booklet, featuring an extensive history written by the four players - Hatwise Choice also contains a foreword by Jonathan Coe, who named his best-selling novel The Rotters' Club after the group's legendary 1974 album.
Both CDs are available from Hatfield and the North's online shop, operated by our musician colleagues Burning Shed. Profits from these sales go directly to the musicians with no record company involvement.
Phil Miller www.philmiller-incahoots.co.uk
Pip Pyle obituary www.burningshed.com/hatfield/pip.html
Dave Stewart www.davebarb.demon.co.uk
Richard Sinclair www.richardsinclair.net
About the CDs
Hatwise Choice consists of over 68 minutes of hitherto unreleased material. The gig tapes show aspects of Hatfield's music never before heard on record - on stage, the tight control of the group's studio work is replaced by a looser, improvisatory approach. Flashes of humour give way to frightening electronic landscapes, interspersed with extended arrangements of the band's compositions and occasional moments of musical madness. This carefully researched package features rare tunes, musical surprises, period photos and artwork.
Featuring compositions from all four members, Hattitude gives a rare insight into the band's performances at a time of rapid musical development, charting its evolution from early gigs (including a concert recorded in the swirly psychedelic acoustics of Amsterdam's Paradiso club) through to the more sophisticated arrangements of 1975. En route there are moments of surreal humour and instrumental virtuosity. Written passages are punctuated with extended improvisations where the band cuts loose in a way it never quite managed to do on its 1970s albums. Virtually all the material is from first generation audio sources which have been carefully transferred and digitally restored.
The band history initiated in Hatwise Choice continues in Hattitude with the four musicians recounting behind-the-scenes events, road stories, musical reflections and descriptions of recording their debut album in Oxfordshire's Manor Studios. These personal memoirs provide a detailed chronicle of the heyday of a young, talented and highly creative British band. Performed exclusively by the classic Hatfield line-up of Phil Miller (guitar), Pip Pyle (drums), Richard Sinclair (bass / vocals) and Dave Stewart (keyboards / tone generators), the CDs are authorised and controlled by the musicians with no record company involvement.
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A Brief History
Formed in 1972 and named after a motorway road sign, Hatfield & The North were one of the most original and musically adventurous English bands of the 1970s. The group wrote and played fearlessly creative music, became a legend with music fans in Europe, America and Japan, but broke up in 1975 just as its reputation began to build. Hatfield's music was a unique blend of its four members' ideas and compositions, comprising the dreamy lyrical songs of Richard Sinclair, Phil Miller's intricate jazz-tinged melodies, Dave Stewart's complex instrumentals and the free-flowing compositions of Pip Pyle, who also contributed lyrics. During its brief life span, the group recorded two highly acclaimed albums (Hatfield & The North and The Rotters' Club), played numerous live gigs and recorded four BBC radio shows. Apart from the 1980 compilation Afters (now deleted), no retrospective albums were released until the advent of Hatwise Choice in January 2005.
Live on stage, La Faute-sur-Mer, France, July 1973.
Artwork and text copyright Hatfield & The North 2004.
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