I arrived at Hawkwind, obviously, by working back from my love for Motorhead. I never loved Hawkwind in the same way, maybe it was the (very misplaced) hippies mess they got tangled up in, or maybe it was becuase the new albums they were releasing around then, Sonic Attack, Church of Hawkwind, Choose Your Masques, were all actually pretty poor. I saw them at the Guildford Civic Hall three or four times duing the early 80s and the shows were a strange mix of thrilling and tedious. The last time, on the Choose Your Masques tour, my enduring memory of the show was the Silver Surfer animation projected behind them, and the dancers - the music itself is long-forgotten.
Despite all of that in Space Ritual they produced an album that was better than any Motorhead managed. I had a double vinyl copy and I suspect that the Calvert bits diminished my appreciation of it. With vinyl you didn't have the luxury of programming out the weird arty-farty nonsense and get on with the psychedelic rock music, so I suspect that the album never got the full appreciation then than it deserved. Most likely I'd get frustrated and dig out Overkill instead; no distracting weirdness on that album. Listening now for the first time in more than 20 years, those bits no longer bother me and I can understand their importance to the album as a whole. I was able to enjoy this as the piece of art it was, rather than a collection of rock tracks. I'd forgotten, and still barely notice, that Space Ritual was a live album which is why I never chuck it out as one of my favourite live albums - it may well be the best live album ever.
To be honest I'm more than a little surprised at just how much I love Space Ritual - maybe it's a quirk of timing and that at some undetermined point in the future I'll read this back and have a what-was-I-thinking moment.