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Hatfield & the North

Hatfield and the North

Hatfield and the North was an experimental Canterbury scene rock band that lasted from October 1972 to June 1975, with some reunions thereafter.

Career

The band grew out of a line-up of Delivery in mid-1972 consisting of Phil Miller (guitar, from Matching Mole), Steve Miller(†) (keyboards; Phil's brother), Pip Pyle(†) (drums, from Gong) and Richard Sinclair (bass and vocals, from Caravan).

The band played a few live shows between July and September that year, but with Steve Miller being replaced by Dave Sinclair (from Matching Mole and Caravan), the band soon changed its name to Hatfield and the North. The Delivery line-up reunited for a BBC session in November 1972 with Steve Miller, Phil Miller, Lol Coxhill, Roy Babbington (bass), Pip Pyle, and Richard Sinclair on vocals. (Steve Miller went on to release a couple of duo albums with Coxhill in 1973/74.)

Dave Sinclair left in January 1973, shortly after the band's appearance (with Robert Wyatt on guest vocals) on the French TV programme "Rockenstock", and was quickly replaced by Dave Stewart (from Egg) before the band's first recordings were made.

The band recorded two albums, Hatfield and the North and The Rotters' Club. Backing vocals on the two albums were sung by The Northettes: Amanda Parsons, Barbara Gaskin and Ann Rosenthal. On the Autumn 1974 "Crisis Tour", which Hatfield co-headlined with Kevin Coyne, the opening act was a duo of Steve Miller and Lol Coxhill (also previously of Delivery) and Coxhill usually guested with Hatfield on the jamming sections of "Mumps".

After disbanding, Dave Stewart formed National Health with Alan Gowen from Gilgamesh; Miller was a member throughout the band's existence, and Pyle joined in 1977. (Richard Sinclair also sat in on a couple of gigs and a BBC radio session that year.) Hatfield and the North and Gilgamesh had played a couple of shows together in late 1973, including a joint "double quartet" set, in some ways the prototype for National Health. Miller, Stewart, Pyle and Sinclair also worked together in various combinations on other projects.

Reunions & archival releases

In March 1990, the group very briefly reformed to record a TV show with Phil Miller, Richard Sinclair and Pip Pyle joined by Sophia Domancich (keyboards, Pyle's then-girlfriend and band mate in Equip'Out).

In January 2005, the band reformed again with Alex Maguire (from Pip Pyle's Bash!) on keyboards and toured between 2005 and 2006 (notable appearances included a short Japanese tour in late 2005, and the BajaProg and NEARfest festivals in North America). On a small number of European dates in June 2005, Mark Fletcher (from Miller's In Cahoots band) reinforced the band while Pyle was recuperating from a back operation and only played on part of each gig. Pyle died in August 2006 after travelling back from a Hatfield show in Groningen. Following Pyle's death, Hatfield played two previously booked gigs with Mark Fletcher on drums, including the Canterbury Festival in October 2006.

In 2005/2006, the band released two archival collections, Hatwise Choice and Hattitude, featuring the classic Miller/Pyle/Sinclair/Stewart line-up and distributed by the UK label Burning Shed. Both releases contained a mixture of BBC radio sessions and live recordings, along with the odd demo.

In 2007, Cuneiform Records re-released two albums by Steve Miller and Lol Coxhill with bonus material including 20 minutes of material by the proto-Hatfield and the North line-up of Delivery playing "God Song", "Bossa Nochance/Big Jobs", and "Betty".

Jonathan Coe's novel The Rotters' Club takes its title from the band's second album. The novel also mentions them several times.

Discography

References

External links

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