Missing Pieces


National Health


"This album consists of a number of compositions which, through no lack of musical merit but more as a result of unfortunate timing, failed to make it onto either of National Health's albums - hence missing pieces. All were played live in front of the bearded and great-coated audiences of the day (and that was just the women), but hitherto none have been officially released. The exceptions are trach 9 [Phlakaton], a popular miniaturist vocal masterpiece by Pip Pyle which first appeared on the 'Of Queues and Cures' LP, and track 12 [Walking the Dog], included for hysterical, if not historical reasons.

Six of the tunes are the work of bassist/composer Dirk (aka 'Mont') Campbell, who quit the band before we got the chance to record them, and the remaining four, written by Alan Gowen and myself [Dave Stewart], received a good thrashing live, but had been superseded by new material by the time we recorded our much-delayed debut album in 1977."

From the sleeve-notes of 'Missing Pieces'


1. Bouree (Campbell)

Personnel:

Mont Campbell (French Horns)


2. Bouree (Reprise) / Paracelsus (Campbell)

Bouree: "A deliberately stupid piece which sets out to ridicule the rules of classical harmony, the performers and the audience. The 'mistakes' and eventual musical collapse . . . are all written, along with some stage directions about looking first confused, then accusingly at the other player."

Paracelsus: "The front of Paracelsus is a metric obstacle course which we used, sadistically, as an audition piece for drummers. A great number of the poor buggers failed to get beyond the first three bars."

Personnel:

Dave Stewart (Keyboards)

Alan Gowen (Keyboards)
Phil Miller (Guitar)
Steve Hillage (Guitar)
Mont Campbell (Bass)
Bill Bruford (Drums)

First gigging line-up. From radio sessions, Feb - Sept, 1976


3. Clocks & Clouds (Stewart)

"Inspired by a title and lyrical imagery about weather clocks suggested by Amanda, I managed to produce a 'proper' song in the Canterbury style."

Personnel:

Dave Stewart (Keyboards)

Alan Gowen (Keyboards)
Phil Miller (Guitar)
Steve Hillage (Guitar)
Mont Campbell (Bass)
Bill Bruford (Drums)
Amanda Parsons (Vocals)

Lyrics:
Past the Northern Lights
And flying on through polar nights
The pressure's growing overhead
In a month of Sundays
You won't find a sunbeam,
Clocks and Clouds say
Rainy times ahead

From the northern shores
And down the starlit corridors
The clouds are gathering again
I can feel the weather-clocks
Humming in their cases
Soon we'll have to shelter from the rain

Grey skies, magnetised
My, how time flies!
Seeing stars ionised
My, how time slips away

Now then, sun
What's your problem?
Rise and shine,
There are butterflies to chase,
On a day like this
There's no point in starting late,
You've got atmospheres to warm,
Equators to equate.
Come on, then, hurry up,
You're obviously bright enough to know
You're only wasting time

From the northern shores
And down the starlit corridors
The clouds are gathering again
So in stormy times
I'll open my umbrella,
Clocks and Clouds
Make raining times again

First gigging line-up. From radio sessions, Feb - Sept, 1976


4. Agrippa (Campbell)

"Beautifully composed, with great understated power."

Personnel:

Dave Stewart (Keyboards)

Alan Gowen (Keyboards)
Phil Miller (Guitar)
Steve Hillage (Guitar)
Mont Campbell (Bass)
Bill Bruford (Drums)

First gigging line-up. From radio sessions, Feb - Sept, 1976


5. The Lethargy Shuffle and The Mind-Your-Backs Tango (Stewart)

"The Lethargy Shuffle is a 'dance' Pip Pyle and I invented one evening after a weird Hatfield & the North gig in a Belgian disco. The Mind-Your-Backs Tango is a much more sedate (though still srenuous affair, invented by myself [Dave Stewart], Mont Campbell, Clive Brooks and Alf Gascoine (Egg's drummer and roadie, respectively) as a desperate avoiding tactic when attempting to carry a Hammond organ, post-gig, out of countless halls packed with swaying crowds of inebriated students."

Personnel:

Dave Stewart (Keyboards)

Alan Gowen (Keyboards)
Phil Miller (Guitar)
Phil Lee (Guitar)
Mont Campbell (Bass)
Bill Bruford (Drums)

Demo, recorded at Pathway Studios, Oct, 1975


6. Zabaglione (Campbell)

"I think by this stage we were competing to see who could write the most complicate stuff. With 'Zabaglione', Mont won hands down."

Personnel:

Dave Stewart (Keyboards)

Alan Gowen (Keyboards)
Phil Miller (Guitar)
Phil Lee (Guitar)
Mont Campbell (Bass)
Bill Bruford (Drums)
Amanda Parsons (Vocals)

Demo, recorded at Pathway Studios, Oct, 1975


7. Lethargy Shuffle, Part 2 (Stewart)

"As Part 1, with more of a 'Tom & Jerry feel."

Personnel:

Dave Stewart (Keyboards)

Alan Gowen (Keyboards)
Phil Miller (Guitar)
Phil Lee (Guitar)
Mont Campbell (Bass)
Bill Bruford (Drums)

Demo, recorded at Pathway Studios, Oct, 1975

8. Croquette for Electronic Beating Group (Campbell)

"Mont's first composition for the group, and our first ever recording."

Personnel:

Dave Stewart (Keyboards)

Alan Gowen (Keyboards)
Phil Miller (Guitar)
Phil Lee (Guitar)
Mont Campbell (Bass)
Pip Pyle (Drums)

Demo, recorded autumn, 1975 (Experimental line-up for this demo only)


9. Phlakaton (Pyle)

"Here performed by a jovial contingent of Canadian clubgoers who had obviously been doing some serious rehearsing."

Personnel:

Members of the audience at Toronto's 'The Edge' club

Recorded live, winter, 1979


10. The Towplane and the Glider (Gowen)

"Not really written as a separate tune, but the concluding section of a long, improvisational piece we referred to as 'Alan's Boogie' and played at early gigs."

Personnel:

Dave Stewart (Keyboards)

Alan Gowen (Keyboards)
Phil Miller (Guitar)
Phil Lee (Guitar)
Mont Campbell (Bass)
Bill Bruford (Drums)

Demo, recorded at Pathway Studios, Oct, 1975


11. Starlight on Seaweed (Campbell)

"One of Mont's artier pieces, rarely performed and hitherto recorded only once, at a French outdoor gig with audience chat five times louder on tape than the group. Rather than inflict this on our already long-suffering listeners, Barbara and I made a new recording so you could at least hear the piece clearly."

Personnel:

Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin (Keyboards and Vocals )

Recorded Sept, 1995

12. Walking the Dog (extract) (Thomas)

"John Greaves, aided by Peter Blegvad, flings his tonsils to the wind in this encore, recorded at trouser-flapping volume one steamy night at New York's Squat Theater."

Personnel:

Alan Gowen (Keyboards)

Phil Miller (Guitar)
John Greaves (Bass & Intense Vocal Characterisation)
Pip Pyle (Drums)

Guest R & B Howling by Peter Blegvad

Recorded Live, winter, 1979


Transcription and HTML by Andy Murkin


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