** quoting bbc review 'Beautifully strange, and strangely beautiful'** Desperate Straights was the first result of the historical meeting between Slapp Happy, the German/English Avant-Pop band and the apparently incompatible Henry Cow. Recorded at Virgin Record's Manor Studios in 1974 and properly re-mastered by Bob Drake, Desperate Straights stands as a real piece of Art from another time. A full set of great songs, including gems like "Bad Alchemy" and "Apes in Capes", arranged and performed by an amazing collective featuring Dagmar Krause's unique voice, Peter Blegvad and Anthony Moore's eccentric Pop genius and the core quartet of Cow: Fred Frith, Tim Hodgkinson, John Greaves and Chris Cutler, plus a bunch of very special guests, among them Nick Evans and Mongezi Feza (Brotherhood of Breath), Mont Campbell (Egg), and Pierre Moerlen (Gong). Housed in a beautiful reproduction of the original jacket designed by Peter Blegvad, Desperate Straights can be recognized as one of the definitive Avant-Pop album of the Seventies.
"In 1974, Henry Cow took a sabbatical while it considered what to do next. SlappHappy meanwhile was planning its second record for Virgin. One night the trio showed up at the quartet's door and proposed that the two groups make the second Slapphappy LP together. So incompatible - Slapphappy was making eccentric pop songs and Henry Cow was composing complex epic instrumentals - so how could a merger fail? Henry Cow jumped at the chance and Desperate Straights -was the result. It's still a gem to my ears, and now at last it's possible to release it, properly re-mastered (by Bob Drake), its sound closer to the original tapes even than our earlier Nimbus vinyl pressing. Great songs, great arrangements, great performances and Dagmar on top of her form... real people in a room together, playing straight to tape. Those were the days.." Cris Curler