Plucking gems from 1971-2012 by late Hawkwind alum Huw Lloyd-Langton, this new two-disc release is highlighted by 11 early solo acoustic recordings, six new instrumental tracks, and a previously unreleased Hawkwind redo from 1999.
Rare and Unreleased Anthology, which arrives a matter of weeks after Lloyd-Langton’s untimely passing but was being put together well before that, also features a 1979 take on “Rocky Paths” — which was memorably recorded later on by Hawkwind, as well.
The set, due January 29, 2013 from Purple Pyramid, begins with those circa-1971 solo songs, recorded directly to a Fostex four-track machine. Included are two tunes that were eventually reworked by the Huw Lloyd-Langton Group, “Little Girl” and “Damn Shame” — for the first of two times. A trio of songs from an all-but-forgotten post-Hawkwind group called Magill (together briefly in 1973) follow — punctuated by an angular, cathartic version of the Animals’ timeless “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.”
In 1979, after stints with Leo Sayer and Windowmaker, Lloyd-Langton struck up a new band called Jawa with Simon King (a fellow alum of Hawkwind, though of a different era) and the also recently deceased Nic Potter, bassist with Van de Graaf Generator. “Rocky Paths” and the reconfigured “Damn Shame” are must-hears among the five included Jawa tracks.
The Lloyd-Langton instrumentals, meanwhile, date back to 1985 — as the collection plucks key moments from Night Air, Like an Arrow (Through the Heart), Elegy, River Run, Chain Reaction and Hard Graft, the Lloyd-Langton Group’s 2010 finale. The guitarist had, over a painstaking period, self-taught himself to play in a classical style, and the results (on tracks like 1985′s “Fur Kristy,” 1987′s “Can You Feel” and 1991′s “Elegy”) will amaze and maybe even confuse those who have always thrilled to Lloyd-Langton’s acid-soaked majesty on the electric. Never fear, though, there’s plenty of that too — just skip over to “Farewell,” “All Jigged Up” or “Dedicated” from later on in the 1990s.
The album’s trademark moment, however, comes with “Hurry on Sundown,” a raucous 1999 update of the folky old track by Hawkwind, with whom Lloyd-Langton appeared on albums at the turn of both the 1970s and 1980s. Anything but melancholic, instead the tune is a stamping re-statement of purpose — complete with a squalling harmonica and muscular, slashing riffs. In that way, it’s really the perfect valedictory for Lloyd-Langton, who lost a two-year battle with cancer last December: Unrepentantly loud, a little trippy, utterly unique.