Still, despite all the jazz credentials that underscore Another Fine Tune You've Got Me Into
, it's a record that fits comfortably in the progressive vein with Gowan's writing and penchant for electric piano and a soft, pliant synthesizer tone. And for all the complex form, there are plenty of solo opportunities, including Lee's extended solo on the opening "Darker Broghter," one of five Gowan compositions on this seven-song, 35-minute album. Gowan, too, takes the chance to solo at length on the 10-minute "Bobberty -Theme From Something Else," his lithe synth riding above a delicately ambling foundation from Hopper and Tomkins. And for those unconvinced of Lee's undervalued status, his nylon-string solo miniature,"Waiting"which closes the first side of the original LPshould be evidence enough.
Gowan would be recruited to rejoin National Health in 1979, touring with the group through 1980, despite there being no new studio albumsCuneiform one again righting that wrong decades later by releasing Playtime
(2001), culled from two live shows from this previously undocumented lineup.
With only 13 recordings documenting Gowan's strengths as both a performer and composer, there's precious little that remains of his short but, in his circles, influential life. In 1982, a briefly reformed National Health released the tribute album D.S. Al Coda
(Europa), with the core group of Dave Stewart, guitarist Phil Miller
, bassist John Greaves and Pip Pyleaugmented by Elton Dean, flautist Jimmy Hastings, trumpeter Ted Emmet, trombonist Annie Whitehead
, and vocalists Richard Sinclair, Amanda Parsons and Barbara Gaskincreating a most welcome and heartfelt program of all-Gowan compositions, many previously unheard, at least on record.
All the more reason, then, to pull Another Fine Tune You've Got Me Into
off the shelf and rediscover why Alan Gowan remains such an important figure in the history of the Canterbury scene.
So, what are your thoughts? Do you know this record, and if so, how do you feel about it?
[Note: You can read the genesis of this Rediscovery column here