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Godbluff (Van der Graaf Generator album - cover art).jpg
Studio album by Van der Graaf Generator
Released October 1975
Recorded 9–29 June 1975
Studio Rockfield Studios, Monmouthshire
Genre Progressive rock
Length 37:29
Label UK Charisma Records
USA Mercury Records
Producer Van der Graaf Generator
Van der Graaf Generator chronology
Pawn Hearts
Still Life
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]

Godbluff is the fifth album released by English progressive rock band Van der Graaf Generator. It was the first disc after the band reformed in 1975 and was recorded after a European tour.[2]

As the first self-produced album by the band, it featured a tighter, more pared-down sound than the band's earlier recordings with John Anthony. Hammill said "we did not want to make 'Son of Pawn Hearts' with a big long side two and lots of studio experiments".[3] Van der Graaf Generator would never work with an outside producer from this point forward. Hammill made extensive use of the Hohner Clavinet D6 keyboard, which he had first using on his previous solo album, Nadir's Big Chance.

The first release of the record in the United States was on Mercury Records. The 2005 reissue added live performances by the band of two songs from Peter Hammill's album The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage (1974), recorded at a concert at L'Altro Mondo, Rimini, Italy.


Godbluff's album cover was minimal, consisting of a band logo and "stamped" red album title on an otherwise black sleeve. The band logo that first appeared here was designed by John Pasche;[4] it would also be used on the next two albums, Still Life and World Record. Godbluff's sleeve design was later parodied on the cover of Fall Heads Roll by The Fall.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Peter Hammill, except where indicated.

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Undercover Man"   7:32
2. "Scorched Earth" Hammill, David Jackson 9:43
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "Arrow" 9:48
2. "The Sleepwalkers" 10:41

Bonus tracks on CD reissue[edit]

  1. "Forsaken Gardens" – 7:58
  2. "A Louse Is Not a Home" – 12:47
    • Both recorded live at L'altro Mondo, Rimini, Italy on 9 August 1975


Initial reception was very positive. In Melody Maker, the reviewer said that "in a very real sense, [Godbluff] is the sound of the mid-seventies: uncomfortable, coherent, unremitting, courageous."[5] Geoff Barton of Sounds deemed Godbluff "simply, an essential buy."[6]

A negative review appeared in the Lancashire Evening Post, in which Bob Papworth wrote that "Godbluff is a lengthy exhibition of the type of studiously avant-garde rock which so many other groups play infinitely better." Papworth added that "Guy Evans couldn't drum his way out of a paper bag and David Jackson's saxes and flutes are a little too simplistic to be credible."[7]

In his AllMusic review, Steve McDonald wrote: ".. the album opened with daring quietness, with David Jackson's flute echoing across the stereo space, joined by Hammill's voice as he whispered the opening lines. There was sturm und drang to come, but the music had been opened up and the lyrics had developed more focus, often abandoning metaphor in favor of statement. Godbluff was a bravura comeback - only four cuts, but all were classics."[1]

Julian Cope has said Godbluff was "every inch a classic", and that Van der Graaf Generator "[had] the best reformation ever".[3]


Van der Graaf Generator
  • Produced by Van der Graaf Generator
  • Engineered by Pat Moran
  • Cut by George Peckham at The Master Room


  1. ^ a b McDonald, Steven (2011). "Godbluff - Van der Graaf Generator | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  2. ^ "Europe in May/June 1975". Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Run For Your Lives! Van Der Graaf Generator". Mojo. May 2002. Retrieved 23 November 2013. 
  4. ^ "Godbluff (2005 Charisma release) notes". Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "Van der Graaf Generator: Godbluff (Charisma)". Melody Maker. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Barton, Geoff. "Graaf's bluff is just enough". Sounds. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  7. ^ Papworth, Bob (17 November 1975). "Van too many". Lancashire Evening Post.