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Articles Home » 1979 Articles » Hillage, Steve - 1979 Live Herald
Hillage, Steve - 1979 Live Herald

ARTIST: Hillage, Steve
ALBUM: Live Herald
LABEL: Virgin
YEAR: 1979
CD REISSUE: 2007, Virgin, CDVMR 3502


LINEUP: Refer next page for project/track lineups.. [click here..]

TRACK LISTING: 01 Salmon Song * 02 The Dervish Riff * 03 Castle In The Clouds/Hurdy Gurdy Man * 04 Light In The Sky * 05 Searching For The Spark * 06 Electrick Gypsies * 07 Radiom/Lunar Music Suite/Meditation Of The Dragon * 08 It's All Too Much/The Golden Vibe

This British guitarist is well known within the progessive rock scene, particularly from the 70's decade. Having made a name for himself during the first part of the decade, playing with Kevin Ayers and French based proggies Gong, Hillage went solo from 1975 onwards, a deal struck with Virgin Records that would release many albums over the next few years. Albums such as 'Fish Rising', 'L', 'Motivation Radio', 'Green' and 'Open' added to Hillage's resume, but I think the pinnacle was his live 1979 set 'Live Herald' which showcased many of his best songs up to that point on a two-sided LP. The songs were recorded across several dates between 1977 and 1978, and featured several different live line-ups.

The Songs
If you liked the music that fellow Brit Gary Wright delivered during his 'Dreaweaver' era, then there is a lot to like with Hillage's work. Not as commercial as the former Spooky Tooth keyboardist, it's much more guitar driven, but still, all of Hillage's work is worthy of acclaim, with hints of space rock and prog all interweaved into perfect unison throughout. Some of the guitar doddling from Hillage might resemble the work that Alex Lifeson did on Rush's late 70's albums, and the swirling keyboards make for some glorious listening. The tunes selected for this live set are all familiar to long-time Hillage fans, with the stand-out being the classic staple of the Donovan cover 'Hurdy Gurdy Man' (coupled with 'Castle In The Clouds'), 'Salmon Song' from the 'Fish Rising' LP is another powerful rendition, while 'The Dervish Riff' features some very cool spacey effects and is mostly keyboard driven. Both 'Light In The Sky' and 'Searching For The Spark' are sourced from 1977's 'Motivation Radio', the latter featuring a resonating filter driven moog which could be a 70's version of Ozric Tentacles! A few tracks from 'L' are also included, other than 'Hurdy Gurdy Man'. 'Electrick Gypsies', 'Lunar Music Suite' and 'It's All Too Much'.

In Summary
The original double LP release is quite different to the CD issue which came out a few years later. The CD contains the first three LP sides only, and leaves off the four studio tracks that were originally on Side 4 (D). 'Live Herald' was the only live recording between the 1975-1979 perod, and is an essential album from Hillage during a most fertile recording and live/onstage era. I've since gone on to collect all of Hillage's 70's material, all of his albums release by Virgin up to about 1983. There is some excellent stuff to be found here, but 'Live Herald' remains top drawer stuff.

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#1 | Explorer on September 20 2015 13:24:06
Superb live album, he first came to my attention after seeing him support Queen at Hyde Park in `76.His late 70`s output is terrific and his later work as System 7 is also worth a listen too, that`s if you like the trippy, ambient sounds of The Orb etc.
#2 | Eric on September 20 2015 15:38:02
Hillage just released 'Madison Square Garden 1977' when he opened for ELO. Bonus tracks include two recent songs with Rick Wakeman and William Shatner! Great review by the way George!
#3 | tompa on September 20 2015 22:42:11
Brilliant album! If only he would make a proper comeback, do a tour and play the old stuff. My favourite album of his is 'Open', an album I've read somewhere he doesn't care much for himself.
#4 | Nick C on September 21 2015 02:22:41
Fantastic live album...my mate told me it was back in 79...I was into Aerosmith, Starz, Godz e.t.c. and didn't get it.

It took me YEARS to figure out and get into into monsieur Hillage, a route taken thu listening to stuff like Kevin Ayers, Ozrics, Gong, Shpongle...e.t.c. but I arrived there eventually. Chris Bradshaw ...wherever you are..I got there in the end mate.....hope you still have/love/treasure your clear vinyl copy of Rainbow Dome Music Smile
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