6 August 2012

Welfare State/Lol Coxhill

This is something of an oddity in the Lol Coxhill discography, but a delightful record all the same. Coxhill was the musical director for this travelling troupe from 1973 to 1975. This is functional music, adapted to the multi-dimensional performances of Welfare State, Welfare State was a nomadic consortium of artists, makers, musicians and performers. As said by John Fox in the liner notes, the WS envisaged themselves as Civic Magicians and Engineers of the Imagination, devising rituals and constructing images for particular times, places and seasons. They travelled throughout Europe with a mobile village of lorries and caravans, creating and animating outdoor events with sculptures, theatre pieces, celebrations, dances and processions. Consisting of 16 adults and 7 children, WS would stop for shorter or longer residences, whenever the opportunity arose to "make poetry concrete".

The record captures the functionality and the ceremoniality of the music, though listening to it one inevitably misses the other sensory elements needed to make it a full spectacular experience, but one might conjure up suitable visual images from the sounds captured on this album, not the.least the front cover pic which reminds me of the cult film "The Wicker Man".  Obvious referneces here to medieval ceremonies and rituals and old-age mythology. It might bear some resemblances to what in the UK has become known as the Travellers movement, dating back to the festivals of the 70s and ideas of alternative life styles, ironically at a certain distance from the welfare state, one might think.

As said above, this is altogether lovely. Lots of tracks here which made track-splitting into an ordeal, but perseverance shall be rewarded, they say. Among the troupe, there is a certain vocalist extraordinaire by the name of Phil Minton. Hard to pick out favourites here, but there is a duet of blackbird (?) and soprano saxophone, a splendid piece of pastoral idyll.

The info is a mite too extensive to put here, but there is an info file attached and scans of the back cover for those who want to engage in details. I keep thinking this is a very British record (more so as the liner notes even go to the point of emphasizing that the Ayler tune "Ghosts" has a BRITISH arrangement). So after this one, there will be a very Norwegian record, also rooted in folk music traditions. We'll get to that in a little while.


kinabalu said...


wightdj said...

Thanks for your work om this beauty.

glmlr said...

Thanks K. Is there any hope that you could post this on a different filesharer? For me, a free user, all Rapidshare links over the last 3-4 weeks refuse to open up to anything but a blank white screen. They’re entirely inaccessible. Why, I don’t know.

kinabalu said...

@glmlr: Oron, which we have been using is off-line; the usual thing, law suits over copyright infringement, so it might be off-line for good. I'm looking round for alternatives. RS is working for me, even as a free user, though it's pretty slow.

Btw, the Retroshare gang has set up a DC++ hub, so that's another possibility. All new IS posts are shared there by me; Onx, riccardo and mine.

riccardo said...

@ kinabalu

i'm trying "mirrorcreator.com",
for my last post (Lacy in Florence),till now, 54 download
with mirror and 51 with rapid.

kinabalu said...

@riccardo: Yes, I saw that. 131 RS downloads so far. I'll have a look at the alternative options.

Igor said...

Many thanks for this gem, kinabalu.

@glmlr: I faced a similar problem with a blank white screen with Rapidshare. I used Mozilla, but when I tried the same RS links with Google Chrome, everything went well. Did you try with Chrome?

kinabalu said...

Strange. The link works on both Firefox and Chrome.

glmlr said...

Igor: Thanks a lot for the tip. I'll try a different browser. (I was using IE).

Kinabalu: Don't trouble yourself to upload it elsewhere, especially since Oron's out. Thanks anyway.

glmlr said...

Thank you gentlemen. Chrome downloaded this very happily.

Bender said...

You'v just made my entire day, my good sir. You have my most heartfelt gratitude.

gidouille said...

Thanks for your efforts here. I have this on vinyl, but have never gotten around to ripping it due to all the short tracks.

SOTISE said...


Anonymous said...

Thanks, my dear - that's swell! :)

SOTISE said...

Mon Plaisir ... mon cher!

Bulkang U. Antibop said...

The Blanket Instrumentarium for the At-A-Glancers:
Alto Saxophone – John Fox
Cello – Colin Wood
Clarinet – Cathy Kiddle
Concertina – Boris Howarth
Conch – Lou Glandfield
Flute – Liz Lockhart
Guitar – Boris Howarth
Organ [Pipes] – Boris Howarth, Cathy Kiddle, Diana Davies, Jane Durrant, Liz Lockhart, Lol Coxhill
Percussion – Boris Howarth, Diana Davies, Lol Coxhill, Lou Glandfield, Penny Glandfield, Steve Gumbley
Soprano Saxophone – Lol Coxhill
Sounds – Boris Howarth, Diana Davies, Jane Durrant, John Fox, Liz Lockhart, Lol Coxhill, Phil Minton, Steve Gumbley
Tenor Saxophone – Jane Durrant, Lol Coxhill
Trombone – Steve Gumbley
Trombone [Valve] – Lou Glandfield
Trumpet – Phil Minton
Violin – Boris Howarth
Vocals – Phil Minton, Sue Fox, Varner Van Wely, John Fox
Whistling – John Chapman, Peter Kiddle
Zither – Boris Howarth

Solomon said...

Thank you!