Please watch the video above for the full review
A remastered 2CD edition of the 1975 album ‘Bundles’ by the celebrated Jazz/Progressive group Soft Machine. The album was the band’s first for EMI’s Harvest and featured a line-up of Mike Ratledge (keyboards), Karl Jenkins (oboe, piano, soprano sax), John Marshall (drums), Roy Babbington (bass) and Allan Holdsworth (guitar).
I already had the previous single CD version of this album but this is a very welcome upgrade. We tend to think of the USA in the 1970s for Jazz Rock or Fusion music but the UK was also responsible for some great music from the genre.
‘Bundles’ showcased Allan Holdsworth who was a formidable guitarist hiding in plain sight. The term Jazz Rock might of put some rock fans off in the the mid 1970s but this would have appealed to fans of rock and PROG and perhaps even more so now.
Following the release of ‘Bundles’ in March 1975 the band embarked on a busy touring schedule, but they soon faced the blow of Allan Holdsworth departing suddenly to join The New Tony Williams’ Lifetime.
Holdsworth was replaced by guitarist John Etheridge, and Soft Machine toured extensively for the remainder of 1975. Taking over from Allan Holdsworth can not have been an easy task with music as complex as this but the concert at Nottingham University on 11th October 1975 (CD2) is stunning and featured much of the material featured on the album. The live disc also includes tracks which would be recorded for the band’s 1976 album ‘Softs’.
Phil Aston | Now Spinning Magazine