Legend (Henry Cow album)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
HenryCow AlbumCover Legend.jpg
Studio album by Henry Cow
Released August 1973 (1973-08)
Recorded May–June 1973
Studio The Manor, Oxfordshire, England
Length 43:33
Label Virgin (UK)
Producer Henry Cow
Henry Cow chronology
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B[2]

The Henry Cow Legend (often referred to as Legend or Leg End [nb 1]) is the debut album of British avant-rock group Henry Cow. It was recorded at Virgin Records' Manor studios over three weeks in May and June 1973, mixed in July 1973, and released in August 1973.


With the exception of "Nine Funerals of the Citizen King", which the whole group sings, and background voices on "Nirvana for Mice" ("Sweet mystery of life I will remember"), "Teenbeat" and "The Tenth Chaffinch", this is an instrumental album. The jazzy Canterbury sound on some of the pieces shows Henry Cow's beginnings, although they quickly moved on to establish their own unique sound.[4]

With the Yellow Half-Moon and Blue Star is a Fred Frith composition that was commissioned by the Cambridge Contemporary Dance Group under Liebe Klug, and was named after a painting by Paul Klee ("Avec la demi-lune jaune et l'étoile bleue").[5] Only an extract appears on this album, but the full 16-minute version of the suite is included in The 40th Anniversary Henry Cow Box Set (2009). Parts of "Teenbeat" began in With the Yellow Half-Moon and Blue Star and parts of it were later incorporated into "Ruins" on Unrest (1974).[6] "Nine Funerals of the Citizen King" was Henry Cow's first overt political statement.

Cover art[edit]

The album cover art work was by artist Ray Smith and was the first of the three "paint socks" to feature on Henry Cow's albums. Smith was an old friend of the band from Cambridge who had worked with them on two dance projects and had often supported them in performance art at concerts. Smith came up with the idea of the woven sock and insisted that the band's name should not appear on the front cover. As Cutler later explained, in a 2011 interview, the idea was extended through the whole album series, with the sock changing "to suit the temper of the music".[7]

CD reissues[edit]

In 1991 East Side Digital Records issued a remixed version (by Tim Hodgkinson, May/August 1990) of Legend on CD. Fred Frith collaborated with Hodgkinson on the remixes of "Nirvana for Mice" and "Teenbeat." The CD included a bonus track, "Bellycan", which was an outtake from Henry Cow's Greasy Truckers Live at Dingwalls Dance Hall recording session in November 1973. On the remix of "Amygdala", Lindsay Cooper, who was not yet a member of the group at the time of the LP recording, played bassoon (recorded August 1990) and replaced Geoff Leigh's saxophone, which Hodgkinson felt was "too jazzy".[8] In addition to this, there were other radical mix changes (for instance, the closing vocals of "Nirvana for Mice" were mixed prominently in the original vinyl mix but are barely audible on the CD).

In 1998 Recommended Records and East Side Digital reissued Legend on CD with the original mixing restored and the bonus track omitted. With the original master tape having been lost, this CD edition was transferred from a mint condition Japanese vinyl copy.[9][better source needed]

Track listing[edit]

Original 1973 release[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Nirvana for Mice" Frith 4:53
2. "Amygdala" Hodgkinson 6:47
3. "Teenbeat Introduction" Henry Cow 4:32
4. "Teenbeat" Frith, Greaves 6:57
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
5. "Extract from 'With the Yellow Half-Moon and Blue Star'" Frith 3:37
6. "Teenbeat Reprise" Frith 5:07
7. "The Tenth Chaffinch" Henry Cow 6:06
8. "Nine Funerals of the Citizen King" Hodgkinson 5:34

1991 CD release[edit]


Henry Cow
  • Geoff Leigh – saxophones, flute, clarinet, recorder, voice
  • Tim Hodgkinson – organ, piano, alto saxophone, clarinet, little bells, voice
  • Fred Frith – guitars, violin, viola, piano, voice
  • John Greaves – bass guitar, piano, whistle, voice
  • Chris Cutler – drums, toys, piano, whistle, voice
Additional musicians
  • Jeremy Baines – pixiphone on "Yellow Half-Moon"
  • Sarah Greaves, Maggie Thomas and Cathy Williams – chorus on "Teenbeat"
  • Lindsay Cooper – bassoon on remixed version of "Amygdala" (1991 CD re-issue only)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The original LP release was entitled The Henry Cow Legend, with the name appearing only on the spine of the record sleeve. The 1991 CD edition was retitled Legend, and the 1998 original mix remastered CD edition was retitled Leg End.[3]
  2. ^ "Nirvana for Mice (Reprise)" is included in "Extract from 'With the Yellow Half-Moon and Blue Star'" on the LP and 1998 CD releases and not listed separately.
  3. ^ 1991 CD bonus track.
  4. ^ When Henry Cow arrived at The Manor for their first recording session, the recording engineer, Tom Newman was "under the table", and Mike Oldfield undertook the recording duties for the first session.[10]


  1. ^ DeGagne, Mike. "Leg End". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Henry Cow". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  3. ^ "Henry Cow - The Henry Cow Legend". Discogs. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  4. ^ Kelman, John. "Henry Cow: The 40th Anniversary Henry Cow Box Set". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 
  5. ^ Cutler 2009, vol. 1–5, p. 7.
  6. ^ Cutler 2009, vol. 1–5, p. 6.
  7. ^ "Chris Cutler interview about Henry Cow, Art Bears, Cassiber...". It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine. 22 December 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2015. 
  8. ^ Cutler 2009, vol. 1–5, p. 4.
  9. ^ Feigenbaum, Steve. "Henry Cow Discussion". Progressive Ears. Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  10. ^ Cutler 2009, vol. 1–5, p. 3.
Works cited

External links[edit]