Saturday, May 2, 2015

Gasolin' - 1971 - Gasolin'


01. Langebro 3:20
02. Hey Christoffer 4:13
03. Fra dag til dag 4:26
04. Lille Henry 2:28
05. Tremastet beton 5:29
06. Solfangen 3:14
07. Laphophora Williamsii 3:23
08. Jeg kan høre dig kalde 3:15
09. Strengt fortroligt 4:31
10. Lilli-Lilli 5:02

Wili Jönsson: bass, piano, vocal, lyrics, writer
Kim Larsen: vocal, acoustic guitar, lyrics, writer, music
Franz Beckerlee: electric guitar, alto saxophone, harmonica, vocal, lyrics, writer
Søren Berlev: drums, vocal, acoustic guitar, writer
Damekor: backing vocals

review by RDTEN1

Formed in 1969, the initial Gasolin' line-up featured the talents of by lead guitarist Franz Beckerlee, singer Kim Larsen, bassist Wili Jønsso, and drummer Bjørn Uglebjerg. In 1970 the band scored a contract with the small Spectator label, releasing their debut single:

- 1970's 'Silky Sally' b/w 'I've Got to Find The Loser (Spectator catalog number MS-112)

Switching to the larger Sonet label saw a second, equally obscure three track EP:

- 1970's 'Child of Institution' b/w 'The Escape' and 'W.J' (Sonet catalog number T 7259)

Following a personnel change that saw original drummer Uglebjerg replaced by Søren Berlev, the group returned with a third single:

- 1971's 'Johnny The Jackpot' b/w 'Get in Touch with Tomorrow' (CBS catalog number 7183)

Like the earlier singles, this one did little commercially, but rather than dropping the band CBS management elected to finance an album - 1971's self-produced "Gasolin'" (also referred to as "Gas 1").. Unlike their earlier singles the debut album found the band writing and performing in Danish. It may have done wonders for domestic sales, but essentially ensured the album never had a chance of breaking through in the States. Shame since the performances were quite impressive.   Larsen certainly had an impressive voice; raw and rock and roll ready.  While he may not have been the most original guitarist you've every encountered, Beckerlee was more than capable of churning out excellent lead guitar moves (check out his performance on 'Fra Dag Til Dag'.   The big problem remained the Danish lyrics.   Say what you will about the language, but it lacked the fluidity of French, or Spanish which meant, no matter how strong his vocals, Larsen's performances came off as harsh and gutteral - check out 'Laphophora Williamsii'.  I've sometimes found myself making up my own English words to the songs.  By the way, I've always loved the Hergé designed cover art.

(side 1)
1.) Langebro (traditional - Kim Larsen - Wili Jønsson - Franz Beckerlee)- 3:20
Their version of the traditional ballad 'Geordie' sounded like it was heavily inspired by Baez' cover (which had been renamed 'London Bridge'). They also transplanted the location from London to Copenhagen, though they kept the song's original dark and somber tone. Larsen clearly had an impressive voice, though the Danish lyrics were completely lost to my ears.  Nice harmony vocals throughout.  The track was tapped as a Danish single.   For anyone interested, YouTube has what appears to be a 1990's Danish television  performance of the tune by a solo Larsen:   rating: *** stars
2.) Hej Christoffer (Kim Larsen - Franz Beckerlee) - 4:13
Powered by some tasty Beckerlee lead guitar 'Hej Christoffer' was a surprisingly commercial and radio-friendly pop-rock tune.  Surprisingly this one was tapped as a single.   rating: **** stars  
3.) Fra Dag Til Dag (Wili Jønsson - Franz Beckerlee) - 4:26
Nice hard rock tune carried by more first-rate Beckerlee lead guitar.  In terms of overall quality this one could have given most English bands a run for their money.     rating: **** stars
4.) Lille Henry (Kim Larsen)- 2:28
Pretty, largely acoustic ballad.   rating: *** stars
5.) Tremastet Beton  (Will Jønsson - Mogens Mogensen)- 5:29
'Tremastet Beton' sported a pretty melody (perhaps the album's best), but wasn't so much a song as an opportunity for Danish poet and sometimes musical collaborator Mogens Mogensen to recite some of his work.  No idea what it was about, though Mogensen seemed to get kind of riled up towards the end ...   rating: ** stars

(side 2)
1.) Solfangen Dag (Wili Jønsson - Franz Beckerlee) - 3:14
Another hard rock--ish number built on Jønsson's nice bass work and showcasing one of Beckerlee's better lead solo efforts.   rating: **** stars
2.) Laphophora Williamsii - (Kim Larsen - Wili Jønsson - Franz Beckerlee)- 3:23
Kind of a nice Lou Reed-meets-John Mellencamp vibe going on the breezy rocker 'Laphophora Williamsii'.   rating: *** stars
3.) Jeg Kan Høre Dig Kalde (Kim Larsen - Soren Berley) - 3:15
Maybe it was the harmonica, but 'Jeg Kan Høre Dig Kalde' exhibited a bit of Dylan flavor ...   Nice tune.   rating: **** stars
4.) Strengt Fortroligt (Kim Larsen - Wili Jønsson - Franz Beckerlee) - 4:31
Blues-rock ballad that demonstrated the band's nice harmony vocals and some of Beckerlee's Hendrix influences.   rating: *** stars
5.) Lilli-Lilli (Kim Larsen - Wili Jønsson)- 5:02
Catchy, commercial rocker that served as a 'B' side to the 'Langebro' single.   Based on this one, Beckerlee should probably stick to lead guitar, rather than atonal sax (I think he started out play free form jazz and it showed).  rating: *** stars

The album's Dutch single was:

- 1971's 'Langebro' b/w 'Lilli-Lilli' (CBS catalog number 7183)



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    I think all gasolin's albums are like this :/