Hedgehog Pie (UK): Hedgehog Pie (Rubber RUB 009, 1974)
Margi Luckley (joint lead vocals)
Along with the Contraband LP, this is one of the very best electric folk albums from the mid-seventies (and not enormously expensive, though quite hard to find). Musically it bears a strong resemblance to Below The Salt or Parcel Of Rogues-era Steeleye Span, although the sound is a bit more ethereal and psychedelic. GRADE: B.
Hedgehog Pie (UK): The Green Lady (Rubber RUB 014, 1975)
Margi Luckley (joint lead vocals)
The two big changes are that they’ve recruited a drummer and started writing songs (half the numbers are originals). Overall this is much more polished than its predecessor, with a rather different feel – but it’s equally good. GRADE: B.
Hedgehog Pie (UK): …Live! (Blue Guitar VGCD023, CD, 2003, recorded 1975)
This compilation of live recordings from two gigs – in fine, though not quite studio, sound quality – covers most of the facet’s of the band’s sound, from acid-folk with stinging guitar to borderline progressive moves to more singer/songwriter-styled material. As such, it confirms that Hedgehog Pie were a superb band, though perhaps just a hint too eclectic for their own good. GRADE: B–.
Johan Hedrén’s Anna Gram (Sweden): Kollaps Eller Kärlek (Bauta, cassette, 1986)
Ingemo Rylander (occasional vocals)
Since Johan Hedrén is ex-Kultivator, I expected this to be progressive rock, but whilst it has a few minor prog leanings it’s closer to straight pop/rock, even touching on funky electropop. The two cuts fronted by fellow Kultivator alumnus Ingemo Rylander are closest to the former band, and probably the most interesting things on offer. GRADE: C+.
See also Kultivator, Nomads Of Hope
Honor Heffernan & Trevor Knight (Ireland): The Whistling Girl (Feather Head Production FD005, CD, 2017)
Honor Heffernan (principal vocals)
Trevor Knight was the composer and keyboardist in Auto Da Fé and Honor Heffernan bears more than a passing resemblance to Gay Woods, so does this sound like Auto Da Fé? Yes and no. Echoes of the band’s early synth-pop-cum-mild progressive sound can be discerned in many of the album’s tracks, but this is more rock-oriented, decidedly jazzier and more overtly progressive, with a theatrical Slapp Happy-like RIO edge to a number of the pieces. The result is an interesting and quirky set that provides some suitably ironic settings for Dorothy Parker’s poetry. As a footnote, Heffernan released several solo albums, but these appear to be straight jazz and chanson stuff and well outside the scope of this website. GRADE: C+.
Kathy Heideman (USA): Move With Love (Country Flavor DIA-1001, 1976)
Kathy Heideman (lead vocals, guitar)
Like the Australian Dell Dudenhoeffer LP, this appears to be a singer/songwriter set, but in fact all the material was written by producer Dia Joyce. Unlike Dell Dudenhoeffer, this is country music with full band backing and a slight middle-of-the-road edge. ‘Stormy’ is a nice dark ballad with mild psychedelic edges, ‘Need’ is pleasantly baroque and the closing ‘Fine Street Woman’ is decent enough blues, but I’d pay good money never to hear most of the rest again. For some reason, this is a big-ticket album selling for several hundred dollars; I’d be distraught if I’d spent that much on it. GRADE: C–.
Cheryl Heiple (USA): Extraordinary Living For Ordinary Man (Crusade LP S 252-01, 1970?)
As the title and label name make clear, this is a Christian LP, and the lyrics are pretty gruesome even for the genre. Musically, this is lovely, gentle folk, with Heiple writing three of the songs herself, but it’s a bit overly sweet (which also comes with the genre). GRADE: C.
Heir: Pollution (USA): Pollution (Capitol ST 205, 1969)
Barbara Marie Busa
Although the band was mainly white, their album crosses rock and psychedelia with various forms of black music – principally funk, but also some soul and blues. The results are enjoyable, with decent musicianship and lively performances, and there is plenty of good fuzz guitar. Most reference sources unsurprisingly list the band as ‘Heir’ and the album as Pollution, and I’ve erroneously asserted that it should be the other way round; why they chose such an odd moniker is beyond me. GRADE: C+.
See also Pollution
Anne-Marie Helder (UK): The Contact (No label, CD, 2004)
Anne-Marie Helder (lead vocals, guitar, piano, percussion, flute, programming, effects)
The Karnataka, Mostly Autumn, Panic Room and Parade member’s short solo album is a different kettle of fish, being a gentle, folky singer/songwriter affair with mainly acoustic backing. It’s rather good too, making it a real pity that she didn’t manage more than thirty-one minutes’ worth. GRADE: C+.
Anne-Marie Helder (UK): Solo Live (No label, CDR, with minisleeve, 2016)
Anne-Marie Helder (lead vocals, guitar)
Solo indeed: this is just Helder and her own acoustic guitar, supporting Ultravox back on their 2009 tour. Like The Contact (from which this duplicates no songs whatsoever), this is lovely, relaxed stuff, clearly indicating her talent as both vocalist and songwriter. GRADE: C+.
See also Karnataka, Luna Rossa, Mostly Autumn, Panic Room, Parade
Helene & Marc (USA): The Beginning (No label SVRC 6203, 1971)
Helene Snader (principal vocals, keyboards)
With backing from acoustic guitars and occasional keyboards, this is hippie folk with a mournful, downer feel and some unusual and introspective lyrics. The disc’s best-remembered cut is probably the eerie, rather psychedelic ‘Smoke Patterns’, in which Helene offers some high-pitched, wordless vocals that are quite unsettling; the haunting, metronomic ‘Time’ is also a highpoint. With just a handful of copies known, this is one of the rarest American folk private pressings. GRADE: C+.
Hellers (USA): Singers… Talkers… Players… Swingers And Doers (Command RS 934 SD, 1968)
Tina Holland, Joan Gerber, Sally Stevens
A collaboration between jingle composer Hugh Heller, inventor and electronic music pioneer Robert Moog and arranger Dick Hamilton, with the resulting music realised by a vocal group (including most of the Love Generation) and studio players. The result is a bizarre hybrid of MOR harmony pop, proto-space rock, electronic bleeps, children’s voices and attempts at satire, creating a totally unpredictable but consistently interesting album. This was their only commercial release, but they issued several 12" EPs aimed at advertising agencies, which are rare and expensive. GRADE: C+.
See also Love Generation
Merit Hemmingson & The Meritones (Sweden): At The Esquire Club (Sonet SLP-50, 1967)
Merit Hemmingson (organ)
Like all Hemmingson’s early albums, this is lounge jazz, with the artiste showing off her mastery of the Hammond organ. With covers of ‘A Taste Of Honey’, ‘The Pink Panther’, ‘Watermelon Man’, ‘I Left My Heart In San Francisco’ and ‘(There’s) Always Something There To Remind Me’, this is amusingly dated hipster stuff, but not without its charms. GRADE: C.
Merit Hemmingson (Sweden): Merit Hemmingson Plays (RCA Camden CAS 22, 1968)
Merit Hemmingson (organ)
More Hammond instrumental lounge fun, this time with versions of ‘Lady Madonna’, ‘What A Wonderful World’, ‘Congratulations’, ‘Too Much Of Nothing’ and a surprisingly good ‘If I Were A Carpenter’ among others. GRADE: C.
Merit Hemmingson (Sweden): Merit! (RCA Camden CAS 10 250, 1969)
Merit Hemmingson (lead vocals, keyboards)
‘Merit does it again’ proclaims the back cover, and indeed everyone’s favourite Swedish lounge organist serves up her takes on ‘Je T’Aime – Moi Non Plus’ (complete with some wordless vocals – a first for her), ‘Galveston’, ‘Games People Play’, ‘Happy Heart’, ‘Mrs Robinson’ and ‘Son Of A Preacher Man’. On several cuts, she swaps her organ for piano, creating a sedate tea dance vibe, although she has a certain something that places her above most muzak. Thankfully, however, this was her last album in the vein, as she quickly moved into more interesting areas of music. GRADE: C.
Merit Hemmingson (Sweden): Huvva! (EMI Columbia E 062-34723, 1971)
Merit Hemmingson (lead vocals, keyboards, percussion)
The subtitle ‘Svensk Folkmusik På Beat’ indicates Hemmingson’s unusual change of direction: her fourth album sees her performing a variety of traditional numbers on Hammond organ (plus occasional piano, tuned percussion and wordless vocals) with electric rock backing and sometimes strings and horns. Elements of her former lounge style remain, but it’s also rather proggy in feel and quite unusual, if not hugely memorable. GRADE: C+.
Merit Hemmingson (Sweden): Trollskog (EMI Columbia 4E 062-34604, 1972)
Merit Hemmingson (principal vocals, keyboards, percussion)
This is subtitled ‘Mer Svensk Folkmusik På Beat’, implying that it’s more of the same. However, it’s a big step forward, toning down the lounge elements to create a soft progressive-influenced tapestry of instrumentals, dreamy pieces with wordless vocals and (for the first time) some actual songs. Hemmingson proves herself to have a fine and sensitive voice, and with some well-judged orchestrations and classical tinges, this is an accomplished and distinctive album. Most of these tracks were issued in the States the same year under the title of Swedish Modern (Capitol SP-1-10564). GRADE: B–.
Merit Hemmingson & Folksmusikgruppen (Sweden): Bergtagen (EMI 4E 062-34888, 1973)
This is similar in style to its predecessor, although a little loungier and jazzier. It contains some fine music, but the emphasis on varied short tracks means that the band never really settles into a groove for long enough for much to happen. GRADE: C+.
Merit Hemmingson & Beppe Wolgers With Folkliga (Sweden): Det For Två Vita Duvor… (HMV E 34978/9, double, 1973)
Merit Hemmingson (joint lead vocals, organ)
This unusual album consists largely of monologues by Beppe Wolgers, interspersed with occasional songs by Hemmingson and sparse instrumental backing from her organ and a traditional folk group. The result is quite a sidestep for Hemmingson, with no jazz, rock or lounge elements whatever; at times, this bears a passing resemblance to Shirley & Dolly Collins’s Anthems In Eden. Whilst this is sometimes a lovely album, it’s not very varied or dynamic, and at over an hour and a half it sometimes feels interminable. GRADE: C+.
Merit Hemmingson (Sweden): Balsam (EMI E 062-35250, 1975)
Merit Hemmingson (principal vocals, keyboards)
Her most eccentric release to date, this alternates between lounge jazz (displaying some Latin and big band influences) and gentle, classically-tinged instrumentals. It also finds time to take in an acapella folk song and what can only be described as a ‘lounge funk’ interpretation of ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’, based around wah-wah guitar, synthesiser and flute, among other diversions. With mostly original compositions for the first time, this is a very good album, even if few listeners are likely to enjoy it from start to finish. GRADE: C+.
Marion Henderson (Australia): Cameo (MCA MAP/S 2122, 1970)
Marian Henderson (lead vocals)
This is among the finest folk/rock albums to come out of Australia, packed with beautiful and sensitive interpretations of material by Leonard Cohen, Sandy Denny and the Incredible String Band as well as a number of traditional songs. Henderson’s singing is gentle and haunting, and the backing (partly acoustic, partly electric and partly orchestrated) is perfectly judged on nearly all the songs. For most people, her seven-minute version of ‘First Boy I Loved’ will be the highlight, but there are no weak songs. The album was also released in the USA and UK on Coral, with a different sleeve and one fewer track. As a footnote, whilst the sleevenotes refer to this as ‘her first album in more than five years’, this was her only LP: her mid-sixties collections Australian Folk Songs and Great Folk Songs Of The World were both issued as double 7" EPs. GRADE: B–.
Hendrickson Road House (USA): Hendrickson Road House (Two:Dot HRH 81670, USA, 1970)
Sue Akins (lead vocals, guitar, autoharp)
This is one of the rarest and most sought-after American private pressings, selling for quite a few hundred pounds. I’ve seen it compared to Neighb’rhood Childr’n and Yankee Dollar, but that’s nothing short of idiotic; it’s basically the vehicle of singer/songwriter Sue Akins and sounds more like a more ethereal Linda Perhacs with lots of good lead guitar and some jazz and blues edges. A nice album throughout, it’s a bit slight to my ears for a top-flight rarity but certainly worth hearing when you’re in the mood for something so laid-back it’s almost horizontal. GRADE: C+.
Henry Cow (UK): Unrest (Virgin V2011, 1974)
Lindsay Cooper (recorder, bassoon, oboe, backing vocals)
Drawing heavily on free jazz, this virtually all-instrumental LP featured structured compositions on one side and mostly improvised matieral, using a lot of studio trickery, on the other. Radical, inventive and very original, this is a fine album that occasionally drags on the second side. GRADE: B–.
Henry Cow (UK/USA/West Germany): In Praise Of Learning (Virgin V2037, 1975)
Dagmar Krause (lead vocals), Lindsay Cooper (bassoon, oboe)
Their all-time classic, and one of the twin pinnacles of jazzy avant-garde progressive rock (along with Magma’s even more astonishing Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh). A truly remarkable album, it blends naggingly catchy songs that suggest a futurist twist on Bertold Brecht or the Weimar Republic with weird instrumental passages of free jazz, becoming steadily more bizarre as it progresses, and even approaching musique concrète in places. This was Henry Cow’s second and final collaboration with Slapp Happy, after Desperate Straights; whereas Slapp Happy dominated the former release creatively, this time it’s very much Henry Cow in the driving seat. GRADE: A.
Henry Cow (UK/USA/West Germany): Concerts (Caroline CAD 3002, double, UK, 1976)
Dagmar Krause (principal vocals, piano), Lindsay Cooper (piano, flute, recorder, bassoon, oboe)
This expansive live set covers all aspects of the band’s sound, from their catchy Brechtian songs to their most formless avant-garde improvisations. The 26-minute ‘Oslo’ becomes dull and wearing, but everything else is genuinely astonishing. GRADE: B.
Henry Cow (UK/USA): Western Culture (Broadcast BC1, UK, 1978)
Linday Cooper (saxophone, recorder, bassoon, oboe)
Returning to an instrumental format for their final album, Henry Cow offer two side-long suites: one composed by Tim Hodgkinson and the other by Lindsay Cooper. Whilst this a fine album, packed with invention and creativity, it’s a definite step down from In Praise Of Learning, with a slightly chintzy and inconsequential feel in parts. Three other female musicians (Georgie Born, Irene Schweizer and Anne-Marie Roelofs) guest here and there. GRADE: B–.
Henry Cow (UK/USA/Germany): 40th Anniversary Box (RéR HC 7-16, decuple CD plus DVD, with booklets and three boxes, 2009, recorded 1969-1978)
Dagmar Krause (principal vocals), Lindsay Cooper (occasional vocals, piano, accordion, saxophone, flute, bassoon, oboe, recorder, piccolo, harmonica, tapes), Georgie Born (bass, cello)
Issued to mark the fortieth anniversary of the band’s formation, this gargantuan boxed set comprises ten CDs and one DVD featuring previously unreleased demos, outtakes and live performances. Each CD comes with its own jewel case and there are two 60-page booklets recounting the history of the band, as well as three slipcases (the third being designed to house the band’s studio albums). The first disc Beginnings features early demos from an all-male line-up; whilst these are often closer to Canterbury than RIO, the roots of the band’s fearsomely complex style are immediately obvious (a strong B–). The second disc mixes material from 1974 and 1975, including a lengthy live improvisation from Halsteren (a bit rambling in an early seventies Grateful Dead kind of way, but it has its moments) and an early live run-through of ‘Living In The Heart Of The Beast’ (excellent) (overall a B–). The third disc is a superb live set from Hamburg, largely consisting of an extended improvisation that runs the gamut from quiet noodling to all-out cacophony (B). Discs four and five are given over to a 1976 live set from Trondheim that mostly consists of a giant cosmic improvisation – again very Grateful Dead-like though also working in jazzy, electronic and neoclassical elements (B–). The sixth disc features excerpts from live sets from 1975 and 1977 that were broadcast on Swedish radio – again, the improvisations sometimes meander but also contain some superb moments (B–). Disc seven (Later And Post-Virgin) features more material recorded in 1976 and 1977 – mostly jazzier, more psychedelic and more song-based, though there are some improvisations too (B–). The eighth disc features a live set from Bremen in March 1978, mostly featuring jazzy and sometimes surprisingly rocking improvisations (a strong B–). The final CD is fairly short, at less than 36 minutes, and gathers up fragments of 1978 sets – all quite weird and pretty intense (just about a B). The final disc is a 75-minute live DVD, recorded in Vevey in Switzerland in 1976 – apparently the only video footage of the band. It’s fascinating to watch the musicians – mostly seated, mostly deceptively serene – performing such ferociously complex works, and it’s the best live set in the box, striking just the right balance between melody and dissonance, structured pieces and improvisation (A–). The ‘subscribers’’ edition’ of the set came with a bonus CD (limited to 750 numbered and personalised copies) A Cabinet Of Cow Curiosities, featuring raw demos from 1972 to 1978. This is an enjoyable and varied collection of shorter pieces (a strong B–). Ten years later, the set was reissued for the band’s fiftieth anniversary, with simplified packaging (plastic sleeves instead of jewel cases for each disc) and the addition of remastered versions of their studio albums plus a third 60-page booklet. The ‘subscribers’’ edition’ came with a twelfth CD, available to purchase separately, Ex Box, collecting newly discovered rarities. These include two live recordings by the Orckestra: a collaboration between the Cow and Mike Westbrook’s band, including folk singer Frankie Armstrong on vocals and Kate Westbrook on euphonium. Surprisingly, this is the best of the audio discs – a fascinating collection of pieces adding up to some world-class RIO (A–). GRADE: B–.
See also Art Bears, Canaille, City Preachers, Lindsay Cooper, ID Company, Dagmar Krause, News From Babel, Officer!, Slapp Happy, Stormy Six, Mike Westbrook
Judy Henske & Jerry Yester (USA): Farewell Aldebaran (Straight STS 1052, 1969)
Judy Henske (joint lead vocals)
Given the straightness of Henske’s work, this is remarkably eccentric (making it ideal for the Straight label, whose releases were unusually anything but). The basic style is baroque folk/rock, but they throw in odd instrumentation (Mellotron, synthesisers, banjo, zither, dulcimer), gothic narrative lyrics and all kinds of diversions into other musical forms. Starting with the fuzz guitar-driven bluesy trip of ‘Snowblind’ and ending with a more literal trip to the stars, this is a curious, creative and mostly very successful record. GRADE: C+.
Hercules (Taiwan): Nightmare (Rock Empire TR-0909, CD, with obi, 2009)
Yi Qiao (joint lead vocals)
This is an enjoyable album of power metal, mostly operating at the heavier and more dynamic end of the genre. There’s some good chunky riffing on offer, as well as definite undertones of death metal, but like most Far Eastern metal outfits they’re not exactly innovators.
Here & Now (UK): Give And Take (Charly NOW 1, with inner, 1978)
Suze Allport (occasional vocals), Anni Wombat (occasional vocals)
Daevid Allen’s partners in Planet Gong display strong Gong influences on their own album, with plenty of Allen-style glissando guitar and Tim Blake-like synthesiser and some vaguely Gilli Smyth-ish vocals here and there. Unlike Gong, they were rooted in anarcho-punk and some of the vocals are a little grating, but the album contains some excellent moments of space-rock, especially on the closing eleven-minute improvisation. GRADE: B–.
Here & Now (UK): What You See… Is What You Are (Deptford Fun City DLP 2, 1978)
Suze Allport (backing vocals), Anni Wombat (backing vocals)
This split album features one side apiece from Here & Now and Alternative TV (with the latter offering rather basic and uninteresting punk). On their side, Here & Now offer three songs: a reworking of ‘What You See Is What You Are’ from Give And Take, the reggae-tinged ‘Dog In Hell’ and the seemingly improvised and quite chaotic ‘Addicted’. None of these numbers equal the best moments on the previous album. GRADE: C+.
Here & Now (UK): Gospel Of Free (GAS AGAS CD 015, CD, 1999, recorded 1976-1978)
Suze Allport (backing vocals), Anni Wombat (backing vocals)
Downplaying their punk roots, this live retrospective presents Here & Now as a tripped-out, jamming space-rock band taking almost all their cues from Gong. With nothing under six-and-a-half minutes, it’s superb stuff, with Stephan Lewry in full Steve Hillage mode over washes of swirling synthesiser, with the music driven forward by the primitive but powerful rhythm section. GRADE: B.
Here & Now (UK): Rivington Pike 1 – Free Festival 30th July 1977 (Free Love 70SNOWCD002, CDR, 2009, recorded 1977)
Suze Allport (backing vocals)
This isn’t as tight or as consistently satisfying as Gospel Of Free, as it features the band’s complete Saturday night set at the Rivington Pike festival. However, at its best it features some fantastic space-rock jamming, and it’s amazing that underground bands were playing this kind of stuff at the peak of punk. GRADE: B.
Here & Now (UK): Rivington Pike 2 – Free Festival 1st August 1977 (Free Love 70SNOWCD003, CDR, 2009, recorded 1977)
Suze Allport (backing vocals)
In contrast to their set two days earlier, this is entirely improvised and heavily features a guest violinist, creating a sound similar to mid-seventies Gong with Jorge Pinchevsky. Almost exclusively instrumental and sometimes quite hesitant (with the band experiencing problems with the mix at various points), it’s nonetheless fascinating. Oddly, the cover bills the disc as containing 52 minutes of music, but it’s in fact far longer. GRADE: B.
See also Androids Of Mu, Planet Gong
Heritage (USA): Living… Standing… Burning… (Pyramid, CD, 1995)
Sharon Jordan (lead vocals, keyboards, flute)
Fronted by former Groundstar vocalist Sharon Jordan, Heritage offer a similar brand of AOR and melodic hard rock. Aside from a radical (and very successful) cover of ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking’, all the material is self-penned and is of a high standard. There’s even a proggy science fiction-inspired closer ‘Other World Friends’, harking back to Jordan’s Groundstar days, rounding off an unusually good mainstream rock album. GRADE: C+.
See also Groundstar
Herodias (USA): Dance Of The Seven Veils (No label, CD, 2012)
Kristina Rocco (lead vocals, keyboards)
This unusual album from an obscure duo blends elements of doom (the tempos and guitars) and gothic metal (the soprano female vocals and piano) with long, rambling song structures and lots of sound effects. With a lo-fi recording and programmed rather than real drums, it’s an interesting record that never quite achieves its full potential. GRADE: C+.
Herodias (USA): Antevorta (No label, CD, 2012)
Kristina Rocco (lead vocals)
Their second is in the same style as their debut, though a little more haunting and atmospheric. As such, it’s the better of their two releases by a small margin. GRADE: C+.
See also Cult Of Herodias
Herzkasper (West Germany): Eigen-Sinniges (SL 7004, 1981?)
Maria Amrhein (principal vocals, guitar, bodhrán, flute)
This duo of singer/songwriters produced a beautiful and delicate acoustic folk LP, full of melancholy and bittersweet moods. Comparisons could be drawn with Laine & Alan and Tickawinda, with the sparse arrangements (for acoustic guitars, bodhrán, bouzouki and flutes) heightening rather than undermining the material. GRADE: B–.
Herzkasper (West Germany): Schwarz-Weiss (SL 7007, with insert, 1983)
Maria Amrhein (joint lead vocals, guitar, percussion)
This time round, the duo is backed by a couple of other musicians, but the big change is that whereas Maria Amrhein dominated the first LP, her partner Thomas Milkner is in the driving seat here. His sensibilities are somewhat different, and the result is a much more varied and creative LP, with some political folk edges, traditional references and progressive elements, sometimes hinting towards an unplugged Ougenweide. That said, I don’t find it as consistent or as charming as their lovely debut. GRADE: C+.
Carolyn Hester Coalition (USA): The Carolyn Hester Coalition (Metromedia MD 1001, 1969)
Carolyn Hester (lead vocals, guitar)
The first of Hester’s two ventures into underground rock is rather good, blending melodic, slightly mystical folk/rock and harder-edged psychedelic tracks. Jefferson Airplane it isn’t, but this consistently enjoyable album can easily hold its own among the plethora of second-division acid-rock wannabes. GRADE: C+.
Carolyn Hester Coalition (USA): Magazine (Metromedia MD 1022, 1970)
Carolyn Hester (lead vocals, guitar)
The boogie-woogie piano that opens the album isn’t promising, but thankfully it’s not the portent of disaster it could have been. Softer and folkier than the first album (notwithstanding some fierce fuzz guitar on a couple of cuts), this is an excellent set of songs and to my ears the better of their two releases. GRADE: C+.