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Softs [Import, Original recording remastered]

Soft MachineAudio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

Price: $16.79 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Amazon Price New from Used from
MP3 Music, 11 Songs, 2010 $8.99  
Audio CD, Import, Original recording remastered, 2010 $16.79  
Vinyl, 2011 $28.61  

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Aubade 1:52$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. The Tale of Taliesin 7:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Ban-Ban Caliban 9:23$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Song of Aeolus 4:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Out of Season 5:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Second Bundle 2:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Kayoo 3:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. The Camden Tandem 2:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Nexus0:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. One Over the Eight 5:28$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Etika 2:20$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Frequently Bought Together

Softs + Bundles
Price for both: $33.71

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  • Bundles $16.92

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 13, 2010)
  • Original Release Date: 1976
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import, Original recording remastered
  • Label: ESOTERIC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,605 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Esoteric Recordings are pleased to announce the long overdue release of the re-mastered edition of the classic 1976 album 'Softs' by the celebrated Jazz and Rock group Soft Machine. The album was the band s second for EMI s Harvest label and featured a line-up of Mike Ratledge (keyboards), Karl Jenkins (Oboe, Piano, Soprano Sax), John Marshall (Drums), Roy Babbington (Bass) and new member John Etheridge (Guitar), along with Saxophonist Alan Wakeman. An accessible collection featuring John Etheridge s considerable guitar playing talents and would also be the final album to feature founder member Mike Ratledge. Unavailable on CD for nearly 15 years, this reissue has been re-mastered from the original tapes and fully restores the original artwork.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Part Two of "Bundles", right? November 4, 2005
Format:Audio CD
There were primarily two albums from Soft Machine that really interested me: "Bundles" from 1975, and "Softs" from 1976. Despite the departure of Allan Holdsworth and Mike Ratledge after "Bundles", the quality of the compositions and playing on "Softs" continues to impress as much as its predecessor. Both albums are 4-1/2 stars.

Critics of this album often compare it to elevator music or light jazz. Listen up: forced to suffer through endless hours of listening to Muzak as a security guard during my summer job in my college days (the late 70's), I feel supremely qualified to quash that hideous "light jazz" accusation! (Don't get me humming the clarinet version of "Penny Lane" again! Aarrgh!!!)

To be sure, this is not the aggressive, "Look what I can do" jazz/rock fusion of Mahavishnu Orchestra, U.K., some Brand X, or other contemporaries of the band. There is a dreamier atmosphere that pervades "Bundles" and "Softs"; but that background is supplemented with catchy bass riffs, searing and soaring guitar solos, great drumming, and interesting melodies interspersed with some great jamming. Actually, if you combined the pre-Brand X "Marscape" album with Camel's "The Snow Goose", you'd have a pretty good idea of the sound of "Softs".

I realize I'm kind of reviewing both albums here, but "Bundles" and "Softs" really are kindred albums that bookend a unique phase of Soft Machine. They share a similar feel and scope between them, while still managing to differentiate themselves with new melodies and perspectives.

These are very good, interesting, entertaining and - dare I say - ESSENTIAL albums for the serious progressive rock/jazz fusion aficionado.

I value interesting music that is played and recorded well. This cd's rating was based on:
Music quality = 8.9/10; Performance = 9/10; Production = 8.5/10; CD length = 8/10.
Overall score weighted on my proprietary scale = 8.8 ("4-1/2 stars")
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Even though this album has been out for a while (and has been reviewed), it's worth bringing to people's attention who might've missed it the first time.

One disc 45 minutes in length approximately. The remastered sound is improved from earlier releases-clean, open, and crisp without sounding harsh. The 10 page booklet lists song titles, and band members (Roy Babbington-bass, John Etheridge-guitars, Karl Jenkins-keyboards, John Marshall-drums, Alan Wakeman-saxophones, and Mike Ratledge-synthesizer on "Ban-Ban Caliban" and "Song Of Aeolus". There's also a short synopsis of the band during the time surrounding this album, including insight from band members. There are color photos of the band members throughout the booklet.

This album, released in 1976, shows a band that had changed fairly radically from its earlier stage as a very progressive/sometimes tongue in cheek English group that used the talents of Robert Wyatt as drummer/vocalist, along with several musicians that defined the very sound of the band. From the first album through "Three", and maybe a bit beyond ("5TH" OR "6TH"), the band's sound was easily recognizable, yet not so easily defined.

This album and "Bundles" marked a real change in the bands direction. Gone were the organ/keyboard emphasis of earlier days-the guitar was becoming the dominant instrument. With the addition (he replaced Allan Holdsworth) of guitarist John Etheridge (on "Softs ") the band had a player who could step out front and solo until next Tuesday if needed. Along with Babbington's more rock orientated bass work (replacing the wonderful Hugh Hopper), and the intuitive drumming of John Marshall, the group took on a different sound-jazz rock.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First Division Instrumental Fusion From Master Musicians September 29, 2010
Format:Audio CD
"Groups exist for the use of musicians" so said drummer Bill Bruford. I think that this statement applies here. Much is made of Mike Ratledge literally fading away from the group during these sessions thus effectively leaving the Soft Machine to a whole bunch of non-original members. This has no trace of the wit and wisdom of the Robert Wyatt years, or the edgy experimentalism of the mid-period band with Hugh Hopper and Elton Dean alongside Ratledge's patent organ soloing.

It does however, continue the shift towards the first class compositional and instrumental intensity delivered on it's predecessor `Bundles'. Keyboard and Reeds man Karl Jenkins is now the driving force, and (Allan Holdsworth recommended) guitarist John Etheridge takes the music to a new intensity and ferocity ably supported by the stunning drumming prowess of John Marshall. There are contrasting slower melodic passages, and time shifts, making this a thoroughly well assembled and captivating suite of compositions.

This album is often seen as the beginning of the end for the Softs, but fresh listening to this beautifully recorded and newly remastered re-issue on Esoteric reveals much to admire and plenty to enjoy in terms of breathtaking musicianship.

In truth the album becomes a little fragmentary towards the end, but the first two thirds of its duration is a tour de force of energy and propulsive Mahavishnu style intensity, contrasted with Jenkins' strong compositional abilities on the softer passages. `The Tale Of Taliesin' and `Ban Ban Caliban' in particular represent British musicianship at it's finest, while `Song Of Aeolus' occupies the melodic territory of the likes of contemporaries Focus and Camel.

Forget the name and the associations of old, and enjoy the fact that the musicians gathered here were at the height of their creativity. Recorded at Abbey Road under the auspices of engineer John Leckie, instrumental music never sounded so good.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow
Never really paid any attention to this group and do not really care for the earlier soft machine which is keyboard driven and little guitar. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Davidramsey
5.0 out of 5 stars far from soft... again!
First of all, know what I really like about the Bundles album cover? That it's deceiving. It shows an old man in a field releasing a bird from a box and calmly watching it fly... Read more
Published on April 26, 2011 by B. E Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars Softs
Excellent! from start to finish a must for lovers of all good music ! this remastered version is certainly worth the money. Buy this now .
Published on December 9, 2010 by mark c
5.0 out of 5 stars another excellent cd
this is soft machine's ninth release. more personel changes with the adding of john etheridge (replacing allan holdsworth) and alan wakeman (rick's brother) on saxophones. Read more
Published on September 4, 2010 by Joseph L. Kolb
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Jazz Fusion
One of my favorite Soft Machine albums. If you enjoy Return to Forever, Weather Report, or Herbie Hancock's 70s material, add this to your collection. You'll be glad you did.
Published on September 4, 2010 by Mr.Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Soft Machine having fun.
This is probably the album including Bundles and Two were Soft Machine actally sounds like there doing this for jaming and grooving. Read more
Published on May 30, 2005 by R.Cittern
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, excellent release
i think this is a great cd. to compare this line-up with the original of 20 some years ago is foolish. soft machine has evolved over the years and made numerous flawless releases. Read more
Published on May 6, 2005 by Joseph L. Kolb
5.0 out of 5 stars too intelligent
too intelligent just superb performances by these musicians. jazz rock prog fusion or what on earth have they come up with this album.BRILLIANT!!!!
Published on March 19, 2004 by shadowmaster
5.0 out of 5 stars My first experience with Soft Machine
This is the first album that I listened to the Soft Machine on radio in my high school age in 1976. I recorded the radio program in a cassete tape and repeated listening it. Read more
Published on June 2, 2001 by KirK
5.0 out of 5 stars Great jazz!!
Although Mike Ratledge, the last original member of the Soft Machine, called it quits prior to the recording of this 1976 album, his departure did not hurt the bands sound. Read more
Published on June 13, 1999
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