Desperate Straights

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Desperate Straights
HenryCow AlbumCover DesperateStraights.jpg
Studio album by Slapp Happy with Henry Cow
Released February 1975 (1975-02)
Recorded November 1974
Studio The Manor, Oxfordshire, England
Genre Avant-rock, art pop, cabaret
Length 36:06
Label Virgin (UK)
Producer Slapp Happy, Henry Cow and Simon Heyworth
Slapp Happy chronology
Slapp Happy
Desperate Straights
In Praise of Learning
Henry Cow chronology
Desperate Straights
In Praise of Learning
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Pitchfork Media 8.2/10[2]

Desperate Straights is an album by British avant-rock groups Slapp Happy and Henry Cow, recorded at Virgin Records' Manor studios in November 1974. It was the first of two collaborative albums by the two groups and was released in February 1975.

Almost all of the album comprises Slapp Happy composed material and it is for this reason that it is generally regarded as a Slapp Happy album with backing by Henry Cow. The music is an unusual blend of avant-garde music and nostalgic pop, and the success of this collaboration led to the two bands merging. The lyrics of the song "A Worm Is at Work" refers to the song "War", which was recorded during the same sessions as this album, but was released later on In Praise of Learning, the second Henry Cow/Slapp Happy album.

CD reissues[edit]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Some Questions About Hats" Moore, Blegvad 1:49
2. "The Owl" Moore 2:14
3. "A Worm Is at Work" Moore, Blegvad 1:52
4. "Bad Alchemy" Greaves, Blegvad 3:06
5. "Europa" Moore, Blegvad 2:48
6. "Desperate Straights" Moore 4:14
7. "Riding Tigers" Blegvad 1:43
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
8. "Apes in Capes" Moore 2:14
9. "Strayed" Blegvad 1:53
10. "Giants" Moore, Blegvad 1:57
11. "Excerpt from The Messiah" Handel, arr. Blegvad 1:48
12. "In the Sickbay" Krause, Blegvad 2:08
13. "Caucasian Lullaby" Cutler, Moore 8:20


Slapp Happy
Henry Cow
Additional musicians

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mills, Ted. "Desperate Straights". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  2. ^ Leone, Dominique. "Desperate Straights". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2012-07-23. 

External links[edit]