This excellent soundboard recording (a bit dry and with the sax perhaps a little too high in the mix, but fine nonetheless) documents the first In Cahoots tour with Steve Franklin on keyboards, but still with Hugh Hopper on bass – a line-up that remains undocumented on any official release. This isn’t quite the entire performance – the “Green & Purple” intro is missing at the front, and “Green & Purple” proper was likely played at the end, plus “Above & Below” would normally have been part of the setlist too.
This gig was a natural choice after fan Mick Sharp recently wrote to the Hatfield and the North Facebook group asking for more information about this gig which he chanced upon by pure serendipity. “I was just back from a holiday in Barcelona and had to walk past the Old Fire Station on the way home. I didn’t know In Cahoots were playing there so it was a nice surprise when I saw the poster outside the venue. I marched in with my suitcase and had a great night. I even exchanged words with Phil a bit later!”
Of most interest here is Steve Franklin’s piece “Small Creatures”, including a long solo keyboards intro, which was never properly recorded, unlike Elton Dean’s “Small Strides”, which survives as “Petit Pantalon” on “Up!” by Pip Pyle’s Equip’Out. There is also one of the earliest recorded examples of “And Thus Far”, the future epic opening track to Phil’s second album “Split Seconds”. The version of “Truly Yours” is also interesting – the familiar ballad section still bookended by faster sections, but much pruned down from the 1986 renditions. The band are in fine form, particularly Pip, who is sprawling as ever, and Franklin, although some of his very 1980s sounds have dated (or is that Phil’s guitar synth?) is an eloquent and very individual soloist, certainly no mere clone of Peter Lemer’s. It’s interesting to hear that material with Hugh (who contributes his own “Wanglo Saxon”) on bass – certainly very different to what Fred Baker subsequently did with it.
Phil Miller – guitar, guitar synth
Elton Dean – saxello, alto sax
Steve Franklin – keyboards
Hugh Hopper – bass
Pip Pyle – drums