The Canterbury scene may not have been well-known in the United States, but European progressive rock fans would argue that one of the best bands from the area was Hatfield and the North. The band was formed in the early 1970s and released their first album in 1974, Hatfield and the North. The album featured Phil Miller on guitar, Dave Stewart on keys, Richard Sinclair on bass, and Pip Pyle on drums. Pip Pyle was also known as the drummer in the legendary band Gong. Hatfield and The North were not as heavy as other Canterbury bands like Soft Machine or Colosseum, but they did have their moments. The band had a hippie-style groove that at times, ventured into space rock, easy jazz, and psychedelia.
Hatfield and the North released their second album in 1975 with the same core of four groups of musicians. And for the most part, that was it. A few live albums and compilations were released over the years, but for the most part, Hatfield and the North were defined by their two albums from 1974 to 1975.
While Hatfield and the North may not have left that large a legacy of music like other Canterbury bands like Soft Machine, Caravan, and Gong, their music played an essential role in the story of progressive rock in the 1970s. Here are ten of our favorite Hatfield and the North songs.
# 10 – Let’s Eat
We open our Hatfield and the North Songs list with an excellent track from the band’s first album. This album is a noteworthy contribution to the Canterbury scene, a progressive rock sub-genre that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s, known for its blend of jazz and psychedelic rock influences.
The album was recorded at Manor Studios, Oxfordshire, a popular recording site for various progressive rock acts during that era. The production of Hatfield and the North was handled by Tom Newman, known for his work with Mike Oldfield on the album Tubular Bells. Newman’s approach to production played a significant role in capturing the eclectic and experimental spirit of Hatfield and the North.
The musicians on this track, and indeed on the entire album, were part of what made Hatfield and the North stand out in the progressive rock scene. The band consisted of Richard Sinclair on bass and vocals, Phil Miller on guitar, Dave Stewart on keyboards, and Pip Pyle on drums. Each member was already an established musician in the Canterbury scene, and their combined expertise contributed to the intricate and playful nature of their music. “Let’s Eat (Real Soon)” is a prime example of their style, combining complex instrumental arrangements with whimsical and somewhat absurdist lyrics.
# 9 – Going Up To People And Tinkling
The track “Going Up To People And Tinkling,” was released on the Hatfield and the North debut album. The song appeared as the third song on the album. What a title for a song. There is a definite 70s jazz fusion vibe happening here. It reminds me of the Crusaders in some ways
# 8 – Share It (Live Version)
The studio version of “Share it,” originally appeared on the Rotters Club album. We like the live version released on their 1990 CD entitled Hatfield and the North Live 1990. Listen to the great guitar solo at the vocal break.
# 7 – Licks for the Ladies
This beautiful song opens up immediately with a wonderful vocal. “Licks for the Ladies” is a track by Hatfield and the North, featured on their debut album, Hatfield and the North, released in 1974.
# 6 – Finesse Is For Fairies/Nan True’s Hole/Lything And Gracing (John Peel Session)
The great John Peels Sessions CD delivered some killer jams and great grooves from a band that went away too soon and came back very infrequently. This one has such a cool free free-flowing spirit to the song. There is almost a Grateful Dead vibe going on here.
# 5 – Gigantic Land Crabs In Earth Takeover Bid
The guitar work on the great track “Gigantic Land Crabs In Earth Takeover Bid” is to die for. This killer track appeared on the first album. The dueling keyboard and bass riffs that open the song make way for that intense guitar solo that defines this one as a progressive rock masterpiece.
# 4 – Mumps
The song title, “Mumps,” represents a 20-minute musical suite on side two of the band’s second album The Rotters Club. The “Mumps” suite consists of the tracks below
- “Your Majesty Is Like a Cream Donut” (Quiet)
- “Your Majesty Is Like a Cream Donut” (Loud)
# 3 – Calyx
The great Phil Miller song “Calyx” appeared on the band’s debut album. We love the vocal harmonies juxtaposed against the backward tape rolls. Brilliant stuff. The song “Calyx” was released on the band’s debut album.
# 2 – Fitter Stoke Has A Bath
The song “Fitter Stoke Has A Bath,” was released on the band’s second album. It is one of the most popular Hatfield and the North songs. Once again, the Fender Rihides is featured prominently in the song. The Celtic vibe is also extremely dominant.
# 1 – Son Of ‘There’s No Place Like Homerton’
Landing in the number one spot on our Top 10 Hatfield and the North songs list is the very original sounding track “Son Of ‘There’s No Place Like Homerton.’ The song was written by Dave Stewart. It was the longest running track on the band’s first album.
10 Essential Hatfield And The North Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
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