Hall of the Mountain Grill

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Hall of the Mountain Grill
Studio album by Hawkwind
Released 6 September 1974
Recorded Edmonton Sundown (January), Olympic Studios (May–June), London 1974
Genre Space rock, progressive rock
Length 41:24
Label United Artists
Producer Roy Thomas Baker, Doug Bennett, Hawkwind
Hawkwind chronology
Space Ritual
(1973)
Hall of the Mountain Grill
(1974)
Warrior on the Edge of Time
(1975)

Hall of the Mountain Grill is the fourth studio album by space rock band Hawkwind, released in 1974. It is regarded by many critics as a career highlight.

Overview[edit]

The group's fourth studio album, it was the first by a new line-up that included Simon House on synthesizer, Mellotron and electric violin; absent were Robert Calvert, who had previously contributed lyrics, vocals and spoken word interludes, and Dik Mik, who provided electronic effects.

The album's title was a nod to Edvard Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King" and to a Portobello Road cafe called The Mountain Grill (now closed), frequented by the band in the early 1970s. The cover of a derelict spaceship in the mists of an alien lagoon was painted by the band's regular artistic collaborator, Barney Bubbles. The rear cover was by space artist David Hardy.

The record featured hard rockers like "The Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear in Smoke)" and "Lost Johnny" (subsequently recorded by bassist Lemmy's post-Hawkwind band Motörhead and also by co-writer Mick Farren with his band the The Deviants), psychedelia such as the heavily-phased "D-Rider" and "Web Weaver", as well as quieter atmospheric numbers like the instrumentals "Goat Willow", "Wind of Change" and the title track. Side two of the original vinyl LP was bookended by "You'd Better Believe It" and "Paradox", live tracks recorded at the Edmonton Sundown in January 1974, that recalled the 'space jams' of earlier releases.

In the wake of Robert Calvert's departure, lead vocals for the album were performed by Dave Brock, along with Lemmy on "Lost Johnny" and Nik Turner on "D-Rider". The band's line-up would continue to shift during the year. Del Dettmar left prior to the release of Hall of the Mountain Grill to live in Canada, and Alan Powell joined as an additional drummer. Science fiction author and friend of the group, Michael Moorcock, stepped in to read poetry at their concerts.[citation needed]

Jonathan Smeeton (Liquid Len) has stated that Brock specifically wrote "Wind of Change" for a particular slide sequence he had on the Space Ritual tour (a tree being engulfed by a city, then the city collapsing with the tree remaining).[citation needed]

At the time of the album's release, Simon King stated "The Doremi album lacked production. I wasn't really happy with the Space Ritual either. But the new one – I'm quite pleased with it. I like side one because I think it's something we haven't done before. Yeah – I'm pleased with half of the new album."[1] Lemmy later commented that "For me, this was when the band were at their height. Oh, and I was in the band at the time." (Classic Rock, April 2006), listing it as No. 3 in "My Top British Rock Albums".

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[2]
Head Heritage (Mixed)[3]

Hall of the Mountain Grill reached number 16 on the UK album charts and number 110 in the US. Its release was preceded by an edited single of "The Psychedelic Warlords" b/w "It's So Easy" in August. "Paradox" b/w "You'd Better Believe It" was issued as a single in Europe, both sides also being edits. All four of these tracks appeared on EMI’s 2001 CD re-issue of the album. An EP featuring "The Psychedelic Warlords", "Hall of the Mountain Grill", "D-Rider" and "Wind of Change" was released as a promo in the US in 1974.

Retrospective reviews have been generally positive. Though they were critical of the title track, Allmusic called Hall of the Mountain Grill "The band's best studio album" and "the quintessential guitar-oriented space rock record".[2] Head Heritage were far less impressed, contending that the departures of Robert Calvert and Dikmik were losses that Hawkwind could not remotely compensate for, and that the entire album "has the undeniable feel of a stop-gap album released half-desperately to keep the machinery of Hawkwind's constant touring well-greased". They admitted that the album's two live tracks are highlights of the Hawkwind catalogue, however.[3]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Dave Brock except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "The Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear in Smoke)"   6:50
2. "Wind of Change"   5:08
3. "D-Rider" (Nik Turner) 6:14
4. "Web Weaver"   3:15
Side two
No. Title Length
5. "You'd Better Believe It"   7:13
6. "Hall of the Mountain Grill" (Simon House) 2:24
7. "Lost Johnny" (Ian Kilmister/Mick Farren) 3:30
8. "Goat Willow" (Del Dettmar) 1:37
9. "Paradox"   5:35
Remasters CD bonus tracks
No. Title Length
10. "You'd Better Believe It (Single Version Edit)"   3:22
11. "The Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear in Smoke) (Single Version)"   3:57
12. "Paradox (Remix Single Edit)"   4:04
13. "It's So Easy"   5:20

Personnel[edit]

Release history[edit]

  • Sep 1974: United Artists Records, UAG 29672, UK vinyl – original issues came in single sleeve with inner sleeve
  • Jan 1981: Liberty Records, LBG29672, UK vinyl
  • Oct 1985: EMI Fame, FA413133-1, UK vinyl
  • May 1989: EMI Fame, CDFA3133, UK CD
  • Oct 1992: One Way Records, S2147660, USA CD
  • Mar 1996: EMI Remasters, HAWKS5, UK CD – initial copies in digipak
  • 11 October 2010: Rock Classics, RCV012LP, UK, 2x12" yellow vinyl 1000 copies

References[edit]

  • Carol Clerk (2004). The Saga of Hawkwind.
  • Martin C. Strong (2004). The Great Rock Discography (7th Edition).

External links[edit]