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In Praise Of Learning (Original Mix)

Rate It! Avg: 4.0 (31 ratings)
In Praise Of Learning (Original Mix) album cover
Living In The Heart Of The Beast
Beginning - The Long March
Beautiful As The Moon - Terrible As An Army With Banners
Morning Star
Album Information

Total Tracks: 5   Total Length: 21:35

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Wondering Sound

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David Stubbs


Henry Cow, In Praise Of Learning (Original Mix)
2002 | Label: RER Megacorp / The Orchard

Often regarded as a stern proposition thanks to their anarcho-syndicalist instrumental style, Henry Cow are, in fact, colourful and highly rewarding once you actually engage with them. 1975's In Praise of Learning saw the introduction of vocalist Dagmar Krause and leanings towards a neo-Brechtian cabaret style on tracks like “War” — a direction Krause, along with Chris Cutler and Fred Frith, would pursue further as Art Bears. However, their densely knit instrumentation,… read more »

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I meant 'Western Culture' , not Industry. Industry is a gorgeous piece of music on that record. Hey, what happened to the edit feature?

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worst record


Why is this the recommended Henry Cow record? This record is awful; Industry and Leg End are amazing. Strange.

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Living In The Heart Of The Beast


In Praise Of Learning (Original Mix)Henry Cow's "Living In The Heart Of The Beast" track_Emusic,Please upload this song if and when you find it.

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Where's the anarchism?


I cannot understand the 'anarchism' references that get made in reference to Henry Cow. The band's politics were broadly 'Eurocommunist' and you might argue that there was some parallel in the combination of the tightly organised composition, the attempts to compose new forms of popular song and free improvisation which tried to carve out a new niche at the edge of the commercial music biz. Talk of 'anarcho-syndicalist instrumental style' is both fatuous and erroneous. I'm no Eurocommunist, but if you're going to drag in politics, in praise or otherwise, get it straight. This nonsense helps obscure the band's very significant achievements.

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The very definition of 'acquired taste'...


...and that's no bad thing! This is a little strange and off-putting at first, but it's so intense and commited to it's Marxist musical vision that it makes a compelling listen. Anarcho-Prog is not a subgenre many bands have explored, but if it does exist, then Henry Cow are its champions. Actually, they headed up a movement in the 70s called 'Rock In Opposition', which was steafastedly against the commercialization of music. Well, there's no chance they'll play any of this on the radio! But The Fall did cover 'War', the albums sole memorable 'tune'. The rest is tightly wound garage-jazz that will either facinate you or leave you cold. Check it out. BTW: I've heard the 'other mix' and this is better. Also, you can buy track 2 on iTunes to complete the album, which is cool because they don't usually allow you to buy such long single tracks. The system works!

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Henry Cow and Slapp Happy, really


Unfortunately, the key song on this album, the Tim Hodgkinson penned Living In the Heart of the Beast, is currently not available for download from this site, meaning you'll have to find some other place to get this. However, it should be noted that this is a fantastic album and worth getting, even if you have to pay more than the cheap price offered here (though it usually does go for a fairly cheap price on Amazon). It's not as good as Western Culture, but it's still one of the greatest albums I've ever heard. War sees Dagmar Krause spitting out the pacifist lyrics with suitable venom, and then the monster Living... kicks in, showing just how awesome Henry Cow can be. On side two, we are given two improvisational pieces (tracks three and five), and the Cutler/Frith teamup of track 4. Again, I approach the word limit and am cut short, but I leave by giving this album my highest recommendation.

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flawed masterpiece


This has three masterpeieces; sadly, one ('Living in the Heart of the Beast') is not available at the moment. So, you'll need to buy the album.

They Say All Music Guide

A team-up with Slapp Happy may seem an obvious meeting of minds in 2000, but not at the time (1975) when all they really shared was a Marxist outlook and a record label (Virgin). The two bands had already recorded Desperate Straights, which focused more on songs and Dagmar Krause’s vocals. Here, Krause gets one good song, the terrific Kurt Weill-esque “War” (subsequently covered by the Fall many years later), which leads off the album. “Living in the Heart of the Beast” takes up the rest of side one, and in long form Kraus seems lost. There’s some free noise on side two, and it’s a bit of a waste seeing Mongezi Feza among others play on the album. The best thing to take away from this meeting is that it went on to produce Art Bears, News From Babel, and several other groups made up from this spectacular personnel. – Ted Mills

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