This bootleg recording from National Health’s 1979 North American tour has special significance for me. Not only is it one of the best sounding of the available ones, and a great performance to boot, but it’s also the first NH bootleg I ever laid my hands on, in the very early 1990s. I had come across an ad from a US-based collector whose list of prized possessions included this, and although he insisted that he was only interested in trading, not selling, I had nothing to trade it against, so wrote to him with enough dollar bills in the envelope to cover the cost of tapes and postage. I did receive the tapes back, albeit with a letter explaining that he was pissed off with me for disregarding the rule he’d set, but despite a modicum of guilt I was very happy with myself – and with the tape, which turned out to be a revelation. This gig has since became legendary for a relatively minor event that happens at one point – when a group of audience members unexpectedly launch into a rendition of Pip’s “vocal drum solo” from “Of Queues and Cures”. This, the only known live performance (by anyone) of “Phlakaton”, rightfully earned its place on the archive collection “Missing Pieces”, although who the performers were and what the back story of them learning this fiendishly complex bit of “vocal drumming” remains unknown (if you know more, please use the comments section below). Other than that, this is the usual setlist for this tour, but an outstanding performance and, we hope, listen!
Phil Miller – guitar
Alan Gowen – electric piano, synth
John Greaves – bass, crooning
Pip Pyle – drums