Robert Calvert: Lucky Leif And The Longships

Newly-remastered second solo album by the late Hawkwind frontman.

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There’s plenty of Hawkwind-related music in this month’s pages. The band themselves, Hawklords and Nik Turner all have albums out at the moment, and here’s the remastered 1975 piece from yet another alumnus of the band. Calvert had opened his solo account the year before with Captain Lockheed And The Starfighters and, never being one for the obvious, followed a concept album about supersonic aircraft with a similarly mischievous postulation on what might have happened if the Vikings had colonised the Americas.

Turner and fellow Hawkwinders Simon House and Paul Rudolph contributed, and the record was the first to carry a production credit for Brian Eno (“The best producer I could possibly have had,” said Calvert). Lockheed had been a vehicle not just for his, ahem, flights of fancy, but satirical comedic interludes; Lucky Leif travelled further still from Hawkwind’s cosmic rock landing strip with a broad musical palette.

No two tracks inhabit the same plot of land, swinging from side to side as wildly as, reportedly, the artist’s moods did. There’s the Beach Boys spoof The Lay Of The Surfers, the cod-country tale of injuns and squaws in Moonshine In The Mountains and many a waggish Viking image.

Calvert himself called it a magpie attitude. He was one rakish and eccentric magpie.

Prog Magazine contributor Paul Sexton is a London-based journalist, broadcaster and author who started writing for the national UK music press while still at school in 1977. He has written for all of the British quality press, most regularly for The Times and Sunday Times, as well as for Radio Times, Billboard, Music Week and many others. Sexton has made countless documentaries and shows for BBC Radio 2 and inflight programming for such airlines as Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific. He contributes to Universal's uDiscoverMusic site and has compiled numerous sleeve notes for the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and other major artists. He is the author of Prince: A Portrait of the Artist in Memories & Memorabilia and, in rare moments away from music, supports his local Sutton United FC and, inexplicably, Crewe Alexandra FC.