PC 32716 Seven
Produced by Soft Machine
Released on 1974
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
PC 32716 cover  

I ’m downgrading this to deep space red because it nearly stole my appetite for Soft Machine. At first I think I was plain intimidated by the hairy intellectualism of it all, dwarfed by the shadow of the Softies legend and my own dim appreciation for jazz. But there are plenty of jazz albums I like, fusion or otherwise, and Seven has never been among them. I often find the medium liberating, but Soft Machine chooses to confine their arrangements to patterns or riffs with a reed or keyboard solo on top. It’s the same formula for every song, and the effect is soporific. I can see where someone drifting between the conscious and subconscious might wish to linger in a “Snodland/Penny Hitch,” but there’s much more waiting for them in the music of Camel, Frank Zappa or Jean-Luc Ponty. Seven is a case of remarkably talented musicians (Karl Jenkins, John Marshall) making unremarkable fusion music. Not that you won’t draw something from here of interest, but netting a “Down The Road” or “Tarabos” is slim pickings compared to the bounty that awaits on The Grand Wazoo or Black Market. I had a similar reaction to Six, though I’d been primed for the music by then. Seven was the first Soft Machine album I owned, and after reading all the wonderful things about the first phase of their career, I didn’t feel so lucky to start here. It was only with a hard swallow of resolve that I ate from eight and after, and found the music of Bundles and Softs more to my liking. So I gather that Five through Seven represent a parched stretch between the fertile early days and the cool breeze of their closing.

PC 32716 back cover
PC 32716 back cover


  1. NETTLE BED    (Karl Jenkins)    4:47
  2. CAROL ANN    (Karl Jenkins)    3:48
  3. DAY'S EYE    (Mike Ratledge)    5:05
  4. BONE FIRE    (Mike Ratledge)    0:32
  5. TARABOS    (Mike Ratledge)    4:32
  6. D.I.S.    (John Marshall)    3:02
  7. SNODLAND    (Karl Jenkins)    1:50
  8. PENNY HITCH    (Karl Jenkins)    6:40
  9. BLOCK    (Karl Jenkins)    4:17
  10. DOWN THE ROAD    (Karl Jenkins)    5:48
  11. THE GERMAN LESSON    (Mike Ratledge)    1:53
  12. THE FRENCH LESSON    (Karl Jenkins)    1:01


ROY BABBINGTON -- bass guitar and acoustic bass
KARL JENKINS -- oboe, baritone and soprano saxophones, recorder and electric piano
JOHN MARSHALL -- drums and percussion
MIKE RATLEDGE -- organ, synthesizer and electric piano
Sean Murphy - executive producer
Gary Martin -- engineer
Chris Michie, Steve Taylor -- tape operators
Tim Fulford-Brown -- photography

return to SOFT MACHINE discography

UK 1974 CBS LP 65799 gatefold cover
US May 1974 Columbia LP KC 37216  
US   Columbia LP PC 37216  
US January 23, 1996 One Way CD 26256 different cover
JPN   Epic CD ESCA-5419  
  March 22, 2004 Edsel CD   repackaged w. SIX


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