Hawkwind – ‘Roadhawks’ reissued & reviewed

An essential primer of the band who set the template for space rock.

Roadhawks is the latest release from Esoteric’s mammoth remastering and definitive edition releases of the Hawkwind back catalogue, tidying up what was often a murky world of half-licensed, endlessly recycled and poor-quality reissues, into one coherent and accessible back catalogue.

Remastered from the original master tapes, Roadhawks is the first CD release for this 1976 United Artists compilation which takes in singles, rarities and outtakes from their first five albums, which made worth its value to Hawkwind fans in the mid ‘70s. Available on both CD and 180g vinyl, the vinyl repress is the first time this has been on vinyl since 1984.

Programmed chronologically and including the singles Silver Machine and Urban Guerrilla (the latter released at the same time as an IRA mainland UK bombing campaign, and subsequently banned by the BBC) this was one of those ‘Best-of’s that fitted nicely onto fans shelves alongside the original albums, without too much duplication. However, when you consider that all this material has been released before, how vital is this compilation as a remaster?

There’s no denying the musical prowess of early Hawkwind; and that those first five studio albums set the template for space rock, and indeed built the foundations for Hawkwind’s continued existence and longevity, and the music on here is exemplary. How can you not like an album that gathers together the earliest sound of Hawkwind on the wonderful Hurry on Sundown, with its mix of blues and psych rock, to the closing trio of Space is Deep, Wind of Change and The Golden Void, all mixed together nicely to create a closing trio of classic Hawkwind.

Whilst it’s a great collection of superb tracks, I suspect that this is far more aimed at the vinyl collectors rather than CD buyers, as for completists it’s great to have this out officially on CD, and I am sure the vinyl fans will be happy to get hold of this for their collection.

Hawkwind – ‘Roadhawks’ (QATOMCD1045) is  released on May 22, 2020 by Esoteric/Atomhenge, RRP £17.99Click here to pre-order the CD directly from Cherry Red Records. Click here to order the 180g Remastered Vinyl Edition, RRP £17.99

Cherry Red Records have been releasing and reissuing the most innovative and independent thinking music since 1978. Follow them on Twitter or visit their site.

James R. Turner is a music and media journalist. Over the last 25 years he has contributed to the Classic Rock Society magazine, BBC online, Albion Online, The Digital Fix, DPRP, Progarchy, ProgRadar and more. James’ debut book is out in September and he is head of PR for Bad Elephant Music. He lives in North Somerset with his fiancee Charlotte, their Westie Dilys & Ridgeback Freja, three cats and too many CDs, records & Blu-Rays.

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