Snakehips Etcetera


First released on Vertigo in 1975, the distinctive rolling grooves, growling basslines, and blasting horns of Snakehips Etcetera combined to present Nucleus's most energetic record. Genius trumpeter and visionary composer Ian Carr was one of the most respected British musicians of his era. With all restraint out the window, 1975's pimped-up Snakehips Etcetera is the outrageous -- in both cover art and sound -- follow-up to the brooding Under The Sun from 1974 (BEWITH 104LP). It's perhaps not one for the jazz purists. It finds Nucleus pared down to a core group of six, with Carr, Bob Bertles (sax), Ken Shaw (guitar), Geoff Castle (keys), Roger Sutton (bass), and Roger Sellers (drums) comprising the collective. Snakehips Etcetera reflects a period where the compositions start to become a little more direct and less-cerebral in comparison to some of Nucleus's previous releases. This one rocks, swings, and funks with no little soul. And more than a little jazzy sleaze. The album has a real live, jamming feel to it, no surprise given the extent to which they were touring at the time. The band is tight and grooving throughout, none more so than on Bob Bertles's effervescent opener, "Rat's Bag". So darn funky it stings, it's an infectious gem full of punchy clean lines over a killer bassline from Sutton. The thick, driving jazz-rock of "Alive And Kicking" is exactly that. It has a very improvisational feel, but an inspired one at that and features a wailing guitar solo from Ken Shaw that simply slays. The funky "Rachel's Tune" is amazing, bringing you back to Canterbury days with its fuzzed-out organ solos to close out Side A. Opening up Side B, the cool psychedelic title track unfolds slowly and sensually over its ten-plus minutes. A stoned soul stew of sorts, each member of the crew gets their chance to shine over Sellers's steady drums. The melodic funk fusion of "Pussyfoot" pairs Carr with Bertles on ace solo flute for a bright, springy melody. This one really gleams over shuffling drums. Changing the pace to close out this memorable set, the particularly cool "Heyday" is a reflective, sober tune which reinforces the sumptuous Nucleus palette, the acoustic guitar and bass high in the mix to make the neck snap, the horns elegantly blasting to help you swoon. Remastered from the original Vertigo master tapes by Simon Francis. Cut by Cicely Balston at AIR Studios.