Fittingly, sci-fi provides the best analogy for the experience of reading Days of the Underground, Joe Banks’ rollicking and magisterial history of the mighty Hawkwind…. the indelible scene of the crashed space-ship, lights humming to life, and, as jarring seismic shocks begin to emanate, the firmament splitting and cracking, water boiling and thrashing, after a shudder, an epic enormity slowly begins to rise, its true span and heft finally revealed, as hunks of earth tumble and pour down its surface, until finally rips free of its tethers and blazes off into the starry void of space. Legitimately like that! It’s a joy. If you think you adore Hawkwind now, wait ’til you read this book.
Also, along the way the book provides a scrupulous accounting of their sprawling and unwieldy discography. As I read along, the descriptions seemed to form a weird shadow discography…. these songs weren’t out-takes or otherwise surplus to requirements, rather they cumulatively felt a bit like the outlines in 3D comics – the main studio albums are the blue outline and this run of songs is the pink. And they vibrate. Dunno – Something like that. Weird. But compelling. So as soon as I finished the bookI put together a comp of the alternate tracks scattered amongst the major releases. Together they makes for an absolutely killer listen. Download the comp here.