In Praise of Music that Stands the Test of Time!
obladioblada | Plantation, Florida | 05/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If there is one song that has haunted me doggedly for 25 years now it's Henry Cow's "War" with Dagmar's opening plea: "Tell of the birth, tell how War appeared on earth". It's dark mythology of abattoirs and stacked bones clocks in as short as a pop song, and is so tightly structured that it plays like a Top 40 hit from Hell. "They gut huts with gusto, pillage villages with verve, War does what she has to, people get what they deserve". It just rolls around the mind and off the tongue so nicely! The rest of the CD is equally powerful. Slapp Happy integrated into Henry Cow for this lp, and it is the marriage of the catchy tune and the funereal dirge. Dagmar's voice, the intricate playing (piano, organ, clarinet, Frith's guitar and Cutler's drums, bassoon, oboe, xylophone, clarinet, piano, sax, trumpet, and assorted electronics, etc.) and the lyrics all form an experience guaranteed like no other. "Violence completes the partial mind." Dungeon muzak, baby. Lick your fingers when your done.In Praise of Learning is one of those gems you really owe it to yourself to experience. Right up there with Court of the Crimson King for groundbreaking and unique prog rock that won't let you go. If your idea of a chick singer with desperate & deranged vocals and a moody band is Portishead, wise up. Henry Cow/Slapp Happy w/ Dagmar at the helm make Portishead sound like a panty-waist garage band that can't muster inspiration nor cull up an urge. In Praise of Learning is as Beautiful as the Moon, as Terrible as an Army with Banners. Indeed. Buy it while this edition is still available."
IN LIGHT OF RECENT EVENTS
Kerry Leimer | Makawao, Hawaii United States | 08/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"That any music by Henry Cow is out of stock is understandable, but unforgivable. Enough to know about the sacrifice these artists made for their art, and enough to know that in an industry increasingly obsessed with predictable product there is less and less and soon even less room for music that actually says something. In this case, something important.
Amid the complexities of the early 1970s, when some musicians took on some very thorny issues, none proved more dangerous than Henry Cow. With Slapp Happy on board -- for this album at least -- a curiously refined social commentary emerged. If there ever was a proletarian art, this was it. And, as we've been told, art is not a mirror, it is a hammer. Few records can hit as hard as "In praise of learning".
Get your hands on a copy. Listen to it, learn it. Then consider the social and political climate of the Vietnam era, and consider the world today."