Hawkwind – Roadhawks remastered: Album Review

A live release that brought closure to the first era and incarnation of the legendary outfit that is Hawkwind. Long out of print and now remastered and reissued complete with poster.

Release Date: 24th April 2020

Label: Atomhenge/Cherry Red

Formats: CD / vinyl with poster

We can vouch for the longevity of Hawkwind having recently witnessed a striking performance in Manchester on their 50th anniversary tour (our review here).

Long deleted and never re-issued on LP since 1984, Roadhawks finally appears once again on Atomhenge. The reissue has been re-mastered from the original United Artists master tapes and been cut at Abbey Road Studios. There’s a fully restored gatefold artwork and also a copy of the Roadhawks poster originally included with the first pressing of the album. It’s the album that gathered together highlights from the band’s first five albums and features the classic singles: the albatross that is Silver Machine and Urban Guerilla.

Not an easy task to be fair as the seventies output provided many of the classic moments of the Hawkwind catalogue and in hindsight could be considered their early peak on which they didn’t always build.

The significant factor in the new creation of Roadhawks was the remixing and editing of some tracks by the Captain, Dave Brock, and the inclusion of a previously unreleased live version of You Shouldn’t Do That.

A splendiferous Hurry On Sundown opens proceedings. It sees the guys almost reverting to a folky acoustic band until you remember this is Hawkwind, and recognise the rustic and repetitive (a word that crops up often in Hawkwind songs) groove that carries the track. Not the most technically challenging (probably a C, D. G three-chord trick….) but great fun.

It serves the same purpose as it does on the first Hawkwind album, from fifty years ago, finding a place in lulling us into a false sense of security for the oncoming assault where Paranoia sounds like it should complete with eerie chants and eastern mystery. The same template of hypnotic and frenzied riffing continues into that live version of You Shouldn’t Do That.

Acoustic mode slips in again in that sees the band channelling some pastoral Led Zep III vibes (I still hear Going To California and yes I know it’s from the fourth album, apart from the cosmic throbs) in the opening part to Space Is Deep. The lushness of Wind Of Change evokes a sense of the trademark swathes of strings of the Moody Blues and leads into a finale of The Golden Void that speaks to us in a deeply cosmic swirl.

For once, there’s a notable absence of extended explorations of mind-expanding astonishing music but plenty of the amazing sounds in short bursts. As Hawkwind head beyond their fiftieth anniversary with new music that’s carried on waves of their trademark sound, Roadhawks gives us a warm burst of nostalgia.

Here’s Hurry On Sundown, the opening track for the first album:

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