Sunday, May 3, 2015

Gasolin' - 1975 - Gas' 5

Gas' 5

01. Rabalderstræde 5:00
02. Fatherless Hill 4:15
03. Lonesome Avenue 3:25
04. Sjagge 3:14
05. Masser af succes 3:33
06. Refrainet er frit 4:15
07. Kvinde min 2:48
08. 1975 3:35
09. Sct. Emetri 4:44
10. Good Time Charlie 4:00

Franz Beckerlee: guitar, Moog
Kim Larsen: vocals, rhythm guitar, music, lyrics
Søren Berlev: drums, percussion
Wili Jönsson: bass, keyboards, vocals, music
Roy Thomas Baker: producer

review by RDTEN1

So be forewarned, produced by Roy Thomas Baker, most 1975's "Gasolin' 5" was sung in Danish which was likely to be a major turnoff to the rank and file American audience.  That said, if you could get over the language issue (remember for most rock fans, English is a second language), the collection was quite impressive.  You could also try to track down a copy of the US version of the album - 1976's 'Gasolin'"  or the UK version entitled "What a Lemon" both which featured the bulk of the album translated and performed in English.

Recorded at Copenhagen's Rosenberg Studio on a 24 track mixing board (the mixing board was featured on the album cover). Thomas-Baker and engineer Freddy Hansson gave the album an incredibly dense sound (try listening to the collection on a good pair of headphones).  I've always been a big fan of Larsen's ragged, powerful  voice; though to my ears he's actually sounded far better when singing in Danish.  Kudos for trying a couple of tracks in English ('Fatherless Hill' and ''Lonesome Avenue'), but the strain of trying to sing English detracted from the overall performances. Featuring an all-original collection, this was prime form Gasolin''.  Thought the ten tracks offered up a mixture of genres including detours into country ('Lonesome Road'), the emphasis was on pop and rock numbers that retained a distinctive commercial sound ('Rabalderstræde' and 'Sjagge').

- 'Rabalderstræde' opened the album with a pounding rocker.  Great tune with some tasty effects laden guitar from Franz Beckerlee.  The song also showcased the band's knack for crafting catchy melodies.   rating: **** stars
- One of the album's few English performances, 'Fatherless Hill' (I'm guessing something got lost in the translation), found the band shifting gears.  A mid-tempo pop number with a killer hook, the track featured some wonderful Beckerlee jangle guitar/sitar.   rating: **** stars  
- Another English performance, 'Lonesome Avenue' found the band taking a stab at a country ballad.  Not exactly my favorite track, but you had to give Larsen credit for turning in a surprisingly good performance (try to imagine an American artist singing in Danish).   rating: ** stars
- Built on an insidiously catchy Berkerlee guitar riff and sporting a slinky, slightly ominous edge, the rocker 'Sjagge' has always reminded me of something Golden Earring might have recorded.  Great rocker.   rating: **** stars  
- 'Masser af Success' (traslated as 'Lots of Success'), was a pretty acoustic ballad, though due in part to the fact the song was slow, you had a tendency to focus more attention on the vocal.  On the positive side, Berkerlee use the song to turn in one of his prettiest solos.   rating: *** stars  
- Side two opened up with another crunching rocker.  Musically it wasn't anything particularly original, but it sure did crank out some energy.  It was tapped as a Danish single.   rating: *** stars  
- 'Kvinde Min' was a pretty acoustic ballad with one of Larsen's most impressive vocals.  Picture something a ,mid-9170s British band like Smokey might have recorded, but with a much tougher vocal.   rating: **** stars  
- '1975' returned to straight-ahead rock with a great rhythm track and one of their more commercial structures.  The song featured Larsen's best sneering vocal.   rating: *** stars  
- No idea what it was about, but the ballad 'Sct. Emitri' was probably the album's most commercial and radio-friendly composition.  It sounded perfect for top-40 radio and I've always been a sucker for Wili Jonsson's harpischord.   rating: **** stars  
- A slow, blues-rock number, 'Good Time Charlie' was the album's third English language performance.  Kind of plodding and predictable, all told it was one of the album's less distinguished performances.   rating: ** stars 

A pair of Danish singles were released off the LP:

- 1975's 'Rabalderstræde' b/w 'Kvinde Min' (CBS catalog number CBS 3555)
- 1975's 'Refrainet er Frit' b/w 'Good Time Charlie' (CBS catalog number CBS 3826)

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