Personnel: Robert Wyatt (vocals, drums); Rab Spall (violin); Jimmy Hastings (flute, bass clarinet); Lyn Dobson (flute, soprano saxphone); Elton Dean (alto saxophone, saxello); Nick Evans (trombone); Mike Ratledge (piano, organ); Hugh Hopper (bass).
Includes bonus CD.
Personnel: Robert Wyatt (vocals, drums); Rab Spall (violin); Jimmy Hastings (flute, bass clarinet); Lyn Dobson (flute, soprano saxophone); Elton Dean (alto saxophone); Nick Evans (trombone); Mike Ratledge (piano, organ); Mike Hopper (bass guitar).
Audio Remasterer: Paschal Byrne.
Recording information: Fairfield Hall, Croydon, London, England (01/04/1970-08/13/1970); IBC Studios, London, England (01/04/1970-08/13/1970); Mother's Club, Birmingham, England (01/04/1970-08/13/1970); The Royal Albert Hall (01/04/1970-08/13/1970).
Photographers: Jurgen D. Ensthaler; Barry Plummer.
When Kevin Ayers left the band, Soft Machine moved into deep jazz/rock - so deep that they rarely rocked. The mercurial Robert Wyatt became occasional vocalist, although they were now effectively an instrumental unit of great originality. Third is generally regarded as their peak recording, a wandering foray using Elton Dean's soprano saxophone and Mike Ratledge's keyboards as the foundation to their sound. 'Moon In June' features Wyatt's frail, high-pitched voice, and is still talked about by cultists for the fact that he rarely sang the same words from one performance to another. Difficult music, but well worth the effort, especially after a vat of wine.
Rolling Stone (1/7/71, p.48) - "..This album is a godsend...they are fantastic...If you could imagine Traffic with classical training, having absorbed the concept of modal thinking as developed by the likes of John Coltrane.."
Uncut (p.102) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "There's a great demonstration of what Wyatt brought to the group. With him, they were an odder fish, straddling jazz, prog and pop."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.111) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "From jazz-rock cacophony to a mood song of almost unbearable tenderness, THIRD is the big daddy of post-psych Britain."
Mojo (Publisher) (3/01, p.55) - "...Marked their full transformation from pop-psych Pink Floyd understudies to po-faced purveyors of complex jazz-rock epics....Daringly ambitious, catching the progressive inclinations of a new decade..."