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The 2nd album pairing UK avant-pop band Slapp Happy with avant-rockers Henry Cow, an overtly political record that uses voice, music, and experimental sound to make powerful statements about the world we live in.

Henry Cow
In Praise of Learning [VINYL]

Henry Cow: In Praise of Learning [VINYL] (Recommended Records)
Label: Recommended Records    
Released in: Great Britain    

"In Praise of Learning was Henry Cow's most overtly political album. Printed on the back of the album cover is filmmaker John Grierson's quote "Art is not a mirror - it is a hammer", and the Tim Hodgkinson 16-minute composition, "Living in the Heart of the Beast" made explicit Henry Cow's left wing political leanings, with Dagmar Krause's powerful voice adding a new dimension to their music. The album opener, "War" (Moore/Blegvad) had been recorded the previous year during the making of the first Slapp Happy/Henry Cow collaborative album, Desperate Straights (1975). "War" was covered by The Fall in 1993 for a BBC radio session and on Middle Class Revolt.

"Living in the Heart of the Beast" began as an unfinished instrumental that Hodgkinson presented to the group, which was cut up and performed live in 1974 with improvisational sections added. One such performance, Halsteren was recorded in Halsteren in September 1974, and appears in Volume 2: 1974-5 of The 40th Anniversary Henry Cow Box Set (2009). After the merger with Slapp Happy, Hodgkinson commissioned Blegvad to write lyrics for the piece for Krause to sing. But after several attempts, Blegvad admitted that he was "out of [his] depth", and Hodgkinson wrote the lyrics himself.

Chris Cutler's lyrics on "Beautiful as the Moon - Terrible as an Army with Banners" were the first song texts he had written, and the song was the first writing collaboration between Cutler and Fred Frith that later grew into Art Bears. The song also became the longest lasting "building block" the band used in subsequent live performances."-Wikipedia

"Lindsay Cooper (3 March 1951 Š 18 September 2013) was an English bassoon and oboe player, composer and political activist. Best known for her work with the band Henry Cow, she was also a member of Comus, National Health, News from Babel and David Thomas and the Pedestrians. She collaborated with a number of musicians, including Chris Cutler and Sally Potter, and co-founded the Feminist Improvising Group. She wrote scores for film and TV and a song cycle Oh Moscow which was performed live around the world in 1987. She also recorded a number of solo albums, including Rags (1980), The Gold Diggers (1983) and Music For Other Occasions (1986).

Cooper was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the late 1970s, but did not disclose it to the musical community until the late 1990s when her illness prevented her from performing live. In September 2013, Cooper died from the illness at the age of 62, 15 years after her retirement."

-Wikipedia (

Reissue in audiophile edition of 1000. 180 gram virgin vinyl.

See all items in the Vinyl Recordings category

Related Categories of Interest:

Vinyl Recordings
Rock and Related
Progressive Rock
RIO (Rock in Opposition)
Improvised Rock
Improvised Music
Song Based Music
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Product Information:

Reissue in audiophile edition of 1000. 180 gram virgin vinyl.

Label: Recommended Records
Catalog ID: ReR HC3
Squidco Product Code: 15748

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2011
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Vinyl LP
Recorded by Phil Becque at the Manor, February - March, 1975.


Tom Hodgkinson-organ, clarinet, piano

Fred Frith-guitar, violin, xylophone, piano

John Greaves-bass, piano

Chris Cutler-drums, radio


Peter Blegvad-guitar, voice, clarinet

Anthony Moore-piano, electronics, tapes

Lindsay Cooper-bassoon, oboe

Geoff Leigh-soprano saxophone

Mongezi Feza-trumpet

Phil Becque-oscillator

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Track Listing:

Side A:

I. War 2:25

II. Living in the Heart of the Beast 15:30

III. Beginning: The Long March 6:26

IV. Beautiful as the Moon; Terrible as an Army with Banners 7:02

V. Morning Star 6:05

Side B:

I. Lovers of Gold 6:28