Sunday, November 9, 2014

Frank Robson - 1974 - Robson

Frank Robson 

01. Sky Deep
02. What Did You Do About It
03. House Without A Name
04. Jenny
05. Fantasy Opens
06. I Bring You Spring
07. Ticket Train
08. After The Party

Bass – Markku Lievonen
Drums – Tapani Ikonen
Flute – Seppo Paakkunainen
Guitar – Sami Hurmerinta
Organ – Esa Kotilainen, Frank Robson
Piano – Frank Robson, Markku Lievonen
Saxophone – Seppo Paakkunainen
Synthesizer [Moog] – Esa Kotilainen
Trombone – Mircea Stan, Tom Bildo
Vocals – Frank Robson

British born Robson is most known as the original vocalist for Tasavallan Presidentti (and Blues Section prior to that), and he appeared on their first two albums. Not surprisingly, he brings the same blues rock styled vocals to his first solo album. The album itself could have been a Tasavallan Presidentti release, being an eclectic affair mixing horn rock, jazz, blues, progressive and plain old rock and roll. The prominent use of horns adds a unique dimension and raises the quality a couple of points. Other than a heavy reliance on a Mini-Moog, the album sounds older, more akin to a 1970 release.

Very inventive album by a one-time Tasavallan Presidentti member. There's some typically Finnish eccentricity on display here, amazingly technical instrumental passages that go along with goofy humorous bits, recalling Robson's parent band as well as Wigwam or Haikara. It's amazing how most of the accomplished Finnish musicians of the 1970s didn't turn all prog until the middle of the decade at least, remaining instead in a lightweight sorta proto-proggish mode. You don't have to be dead serious to play good music.

Tasavallan Presidentti - 2006 - Six Complete

Tasavallan Presidentti 
Six Complete

01. Take Six (5:01)
02. Last Night (6:05)
03. Chesterfield Blue (7:11)
04. Don't Ask Why (4:40)
05. Climb The Ladder (5:43)
06. The Maze (5:16)
07. Dance (7:24)
08. Five Leaves Left (5:50)
09. Blast From The Past (4:33)

- Jukka Tolonen /electric guitar
- Juhani Aaltonen / saxophones, flute
- Frank Robson / voice, keyboards
- Heikki Virtanen / electric bass
- Vesa Aaltonen / drums

I bought this CD last year but haven't listened to it more than three times. The problem, I guess, is in me rather than in the quality of the music, which is high, no doubt. TP has a strong reputation as the leading Finnish progressive band (founded already in the 60's), and while WIGWAM, its best known rival, took a pop-oriented path in mid-70's, TP has kept the course on jazz-oriented, blues-flavoured rock focusing on instrumental skills. For example guitarist Jukka Tolonen and flute/saxophone player Juhani Aaltonen are both among the most respected musicians of their fields here. Six Complete was long awaited new studio album of the legendary group, and it received quite fair welcome (though not very visibly as far as I see).

But do not expect very PROGRESSIVE sounding album. The British-born vocalist Frank Robson sounds even bluesier than almost 30 years ago, and also the compositions seem to be relatively straight-forward bluesy jazz-rock stuff. What I personally miss is the more emotional, delicate side to the music, as well as the clearer progressive structure to the songs. Funny, if the old TP reminds me of the bluesy side of PROCOL HARUM here and there (not only in the voices of Robson and Brooker), this album left me the similar disappointment as Harum's Wells on Fire, especially in the sense that the compositions don't make a big impression on me.

Tasavallan Presidentti - 2001 - Still Struggling For Freedom

Tasavallan Presidentti 
Still Struggling For Freedom

01. I Love You Teddy Bear (4:18)
02. Drinking (5:48)
03. Deep Thinker (5:16)
04. You'll Be Back For More (6:01)
05. Tis Me Tis You (6:05)
06. Tell Me More (5:22)
07. Driving Through (9:44)
08. Struggling For Freedom (5:27)

- Juhani Aaltonen / saxophones, flute
- Vesa Aaltonen / drums
- Måns Groundstroem / bass
- Frank Robson / vocal, keyboards
- Jukka Tolonen / guitar

TASAVALLAN PRESIDENTTI were one of legendary Finnish prog bands from early 70-s (disbanded in 1974 after few quite interesting albums). This album is not material from vaults, but newly recorded live one.

Band just recorded some material during concert ( 37 years after they were disbanded for the first time). It was interesting for me just to hear what their music is now.

To be honest, this album is mixed bag. Bad generally play jazz-rock with strong influence of Canterbury sound, some light psychedelic and spacey sounds. You can easy feel their blues- rock roots as well. No keyboards or other electronic devices/effects! Excellent guitar, very interesting flute ( often reminds Ian Anderson's techniques). Some nice sax as well. So - good music? Everything is not so simple.

First of all, their sound is quite authentic, but on the level of ... early 70-s. I believe their fans from old days will be happy to hear them again ,just as great nostalgia. But for today's music scene they sound more as dinosaurs. And then - vocals.... Album's opener sounds as Frank Sinatra's fame tribute. Later things go a bit better, but almost everywhere instrumental pieces are much more attractive.

In all, memories album for old fans or collectors. Hardly will attract even a single newcomer.

Tasavallan Presidentti - 1974 - Milky Way Moses

Tasavallan Presidentti 
Milky Way Moses

01. Milky Way Moses (8:08)
02. Caught from the Air (11:45)
03. Jelly (3:36)
04. Confusing the Issue (5:42)
05. How to start a Day (13:49)
06. Piece of Mind (3:30)

- Eero Raittinen / vocals
- Pekka Pöyry / saxophone, flute, piano
- Vesa Aaltonen / drums, percussion
- Jukka Tolonen / guitar, electric organ
- Heikki Virtanen / bass

 Last album from this second-most successful Finnish prog band after Wigwam, Milky Way Moses is more or less well in the line of its predecessors, but like everyone of them , has its own characteristics. Indeed, a further line-up change sees original bassist & organist Groundstroem leave (for crosstown buddies Wigwam) and be replaced by Heikki Virtanen, and leaving guitarist Tolonen and saxman Poyry to play keyboards. Graced with a bucolic forest artwork, MWM is a rockier and much more straightforward album than its predecessor. Surprisingly enough, Tolonen doesn't control the songwriting as much (Poyry does) and the lyrics were delegated to their crosstown rivals Wigwam's singer Jim Pembroke.

Opening on the up-beat title track, the musical mood is a hard-rocking one, where Raittinen's vocals are much more at ease (read don't shock or raise eyebrows) than on the previous Lambertland album. The following Caught In The Air track is penned by jazzman Koivistonnen (who released a few good JR/F albums during that era), and it is the MWM track that is most reminiscent of the LL album, because jazzier, but a tad repetitive. The album-shortest collectively-penned Jelly is a 100 MPH hard-jazz-rock track that will knock your socks off, despite being complex.

The flipside opens on the little-more-than-average rockier Confusing The Issue, but follows with the slow-starting electric piano driven almost 14-mins How To Start A Day, which slowly crescendos, but forgets to go places. As for the closing mid-paced Piece Of Mind, it opens on guitar arpeggios and a pedestrian bass, it's not exactly going out with a "bang".

I'm not exactly on how or why the band stopped, but the present ended up being their last, but guitarist Jukka Tolonen would carry on with his solo career (started during the TP tenure) Not nearly as successful as its predecessor, MWM might have a better chance to please the rockier progheads, but IMHO, I even prefer their still clumsy debut to this largely less-inspired but still worthy album.

Tasavallan Presidentti - 1972 -Lambertland

Tasavallan Presidentti

01. Lounge
02. Lambertland
03. Celebration Of The Saved Nine
04. The Bargain
05. Dance
06. Last Quarters

- Jukka Tolonen / guitar
- Eero Raittinen / vocals
- Pekka Pöyry / saxophone, flute
- Måns Groundstroem / bass
- Vesa Aaltonen / drums

Well, Lamberland is TP's third album, even if you'll probably never hear their second, which only received a local distribution and has never been reissued legitimately on CD. By the time of this album, the group's line-up had noticeably changed with singer Robson's replacement with a more local Eero Raittinen and wind-player Aaltonen's replacement with Pekka Poyry. As you can guess, the change of voice might have changed TP's general soundscape, but the winds also changed a bit their musical direction. Unlike on their debut album, you'd be hard-pressed to find TP being derivative of X or Y or pastiching Z. Indeed, with LL, TP seems to be closer to jazz-rock with a Canterbury twist, which is a direct consequence of Tolonen's taking over the lion's share of the compositions, and leaving the lyrics to outsider Swede Mats Hulden. Another twist that since Robson's departure and Groundstroem's increased bass presence, keyboards have seen their importance diminished, but they're still around.

Right from the first notes of the opening Lounge, it's quite obvious that TP has stepped well forward in their progression and Raittinen's vocals leave you no hope to return to the Robson days. In some ways, while rather different-sounding, TP's formula is still more or less the same, just majorly improved (partly based on Groundstroem's much improved and often brilliant bass playing) and increasingly personal; their brilliant jazz-rock taking a slight but original personality twist, but the classical moods are still around as well, as the early part of title track will show. In LL (the track), Raittinen's personal style of vocals are an acquired taste, and Poyry's sax will probably surprise a few progheads, but it's certainly nothing insurmountable. The sole Poyry-penned instrumental track Celebration is probably the hardest track of the album, with some funky rhythm and tricky time sigs.

Over the flipside, Bargain emerges from the naught, slowly rising to a maddening repetitive bass riff and Raittinen's manic vocals, taking the band's soundscape to a very unique/personal level. The instrumental Dance also features tricky time sigs and some extremely brilliant interplay at breakneck speed. The closing Last Quarters is a mid-tempo track that may just be the album's weaker track (being too wordy), but still remains amazingly good.

Since I've never heard their second album, it's rather difficult to say whether the change of musical horizon was abrupt, but the least we can say is that TP is a different beast by now from their debut album, but their shift towards JR/F was more or less coincidental to their rival Wigwam (well WW was a bit earlier on that ball), who had also taken the same JR/F turn with Pohjola and Gustafsson's increased shared of the songwriting at the cost of singer Jim Pembroke's with late 71's Fairyport. But unlike Wigwam's almost schizophrenic musical personality, TP's was a lot more focused and cohesive. Surely my fave of three of four albums I've heard.

Pekka Streng & Tasavallan Presidentti - 1970 - Magneettimiehen Kuolema

Pekka Streng & Tasavallan Presidentti
Magneettimiehen Kuolema

01. Gilgames
02. Kylmä Kaupunki
03. Olen Erilainen
04. Pitkä Kieli
05. Makea Sandra
06. Laulu Hyönteisestä Joka Nukahti Ruusun Vuoteeseen
07. Takaisinvirtaan
08. Olen Eläin
09. Ahnehtiva Kud
10. Olen Väsynyt
11. Sisältäni Portin Löysin

Bonus tracks on the remastered CD:
12. Gilgames - demo
13. Makea Sandra - YLE 1969
14. Laulu Hyönteisestä Joka Nukahti Ruusun Vuoteeseen - YLE 1969

Line-up / Musicians

- Pekka Streng / vocals, acoustic guitar

- Måns Groundstroem / bass, piano
- Jukka Tolonen / guitar, piano
- Pekka Pöyry / tenor saxophone, flute
- Vesa Aaltonen / drums, bongo

Additional musicians:
- Karoly Garam / cello
- Esko Rosnell / drums, bongo, tabla

PEKKA STRENG (26.4.1948 - 11.4.1975) was both a mystic and a tragic character, being a pioneer of the small scene of Finnish psychedelic folk music. At late 1960’s he participated in activities of The University Student Theatre, and he also did some radio plays which made so good impression to the staff at YLE (Finnish Radio Broadcast co.), that he was recommended to Otto Donner, who invited Pekka to do recordings for the famous Love Records label. On these albums along with the help famous Finnish musicians Pekka sings and plays acoustic guitar, and also all of the songs and lyrics on these records are written by him.
His first record “Magneettimiehen Kuolema” (”The Death of A Magnet Man”, 1970) was done with the famous prog band TASAVALLAN PRESIDENTTI. This album holds themes of oriental philosophies and religions, and the most famous track on it is the song “Sisältäni Portin Löysin” (“I Found a Gate Within Myself”), which describes poetically the process of consciousness expansion, and it has also been performed by many other famous Finnish artists. There are also other interesting tunes on it, like euphoric “Gilgamesh”, “Olen Erilainen” (“I’m Different”) and “Pitkä Kieli” (“Long Tongue”).
The second album “Kesämaa” (”Summerland”, 1970) was done with another league of famous Finnish musicians featuring Olli Ahvenlahti, Eero Koivistoinen, Hasse Walli and Pekka Pöyry. The overall feeling of the records is a bit more warm-hearted and clearer than it’s more psychedelic predecessor, but it too has fine artistic and surreal elements in it. Also along with Pekka’s poems there are also some texts of other authors there, like TOVE JANSSON.
Sadly during his military service at 1967 Pekka had got a cancer, and the awareness of his dangerous illness surely affected his artistic career. He died at the age of 26 leaving behind only two finished albums and plans for the third album, which never got recorded. There was a memorial concert held for both Pekka and Matti Kurkinen (member of band KALEVALA who died at same year) at Kulttuuritalo, with performers like Jukka Tolonen, Rock’n’Roll Band, Albert Järvinen and KALEVALA.
Though Pekka was never an extremely popular artist, he has a strong cult status, his records have been selling in a constant flow, and there are some neat remastered CD’s of his albums on the markets. Though he had fans during his lifetime, he was never interested of publicity, and he gave only one interview, which was published posthumously. His position is definitely among the other 1970’s Finnish progressive artists like WIGWAM and TASAVALLAN PRESIDENNTI, though his Finnish sung works may not be as accessible to non-Finnish speaking audiences than to Finns.

Tasavallan Presidentti - 1970 - Tasavallan Presidentti II

Tasavallan Presidentti
Tasavallan Presidentti II

01. Introduction
02. Deep Thinker
03. I Love You Teddy Bear
04. Struggling For Freedom
05. Tis Me Tis You
06. Weather Brightly
07. Sinking
08. I'm Going Home Once Again
09. Tell Me More

- Jukka Tolonen / guitar, piano
- Pekka Pöyry / saxophones, flute
- Frank Robson / vocals, organ
- Måns Groundstroem / electric bass, organ
- Vesa Aaltonen / drums, percussion

The rather rare second album of TP, the one that never got released in their homeland, but in the neighbouring Sweden, and only very recently received a legit (I think) reissue on Walhalla Records. Recorded in the summer of 70, TP2 is a mix of tracks from their debut album (the embarrassing Teddy Bear and Once Again) and tracks that are proper to this album, but already very reminiscent of the upcoming Lambertland. TP was by then in a transitory state with first singer Robson still in the fold, but not for much longer, but windman Poyry has already replaced Aaltonen.

While the album still features some of the embarrassing moments of their debut album (the afore-mentioned tracks) including the Beatles/Traffic semi-lift-off Weather Brightly. The album suffers from a very average quality (not to say amateurish) production, Tolonen's guitar is in full flight, as can be heard in Introduction, Thinker, Freedom or Tease Me. But you can see that the group still hadn't fully matured by then, as evidenced in the slightly Indian-inspired (tabla- like drumming, and sitar-like guitar strumming) 7-mins track of Sinking. The album's highlights are the near-excellent opening rapid-fire instrumental Introduction, the pleasant flute-drenched Deep Thinker, the slow Struggling For Freedom and the closing choppy descending Tell Me More, all hinting at the upcoming Lambertland album.

Tasavallan Presidentti - 1969 - Tasavallan Presidentti

Tasavallan Presidentti
Tasavallan Presidentti

01. Introduction / You'll Be Back For More
02. Obsolete Machine
03. Who's Free
04. I Love You Teddy Bear
05. Crazy Thing No: 1
06. Drinking
07. Crazy Thing No: 2
08. Driving Through
09. Ancient Mariner
10. Wutu-Banale
11. Woman Of The World
12. Roll Over Yourself
13. Thinking Back

CD bonus tracks:
14. Solitary
15. Deep Thinker

- Jukka Tolonen / guitar, piano
- Juhani Aaltonen / saxophone, flute
- Frank Robson / vocal, piano, organ
- Måns Groundstroem / bass, organ
- Vesa Aaltonen / drums

 TP is Finland's second-most important group of the 70's after Wigwam (both had English mother-tongued singers), but it was born out of the ashes of a previous band called Blues Section, when US singing-pianist Robson (whose voice can be reminiscent of Stevie Winwood) and bassist Goundstroem teamed up with brilliant guitarist Jukka Tolonen and the Aaltonen brothers (drums and winds). The debut album is strange and unfocused affair, where the blues crosses progressive rock, but there is also plenty of other musical references, from jazz to classical tidbits. Released in 69 on the inevitable (for Finland) Love Record label, the album sports a misleading Greek-mythical musician artwork on its sleeve, one that doesn't relater well to the music inside it.

The opening Robson-penned Back For More is a fairly good example of the mix of the album with a blues-derived voice and vocals over a prog riff, the whole thing not being that far from early Traffic, not only due to Robson's voice, but also Aaltonen's sax and flutes. The following Obsolete Machine and Who's Free are also like a bluesier and harder Traffic, but they lack the refinement of their inspiration. But the album takes a sudden dip with a crooner version (read involuntary pastiche) of Procol's Whiter Shade Of Pale with the near-atrocious Teddy Bear. The book-ending and amateurish-clumsy classical tidbits Crazy Things surround the prog-bluesy Drinking, where Aaltonen's flute and Tolonen's guitar solos take the spotlight.

Over the flipside, the hard-driving bluesy Driving Through track features some solid musical interplay, but it's not like we're in groundbreaking mood or anything. This could find space on a John Mayall's Bluesbreaker album, and this without the slightest disrespect. The album suffers another dramatic turn of ambiance with the cheesy narration over dissonant musical improvs during Ancient Mariner (check out David Bedford's version instead, but it came out much later), than another shift with the superb but heard-elsewhere (let you guess where, it won't be hard) Wutu-Banale, even if Steely Dan will sound a lot like this later. Woman Of The World is a hard-driving blues-rocker, where Robson sounds more like Gary Brooker than Winwood, but another untimely(and ill-advised) mood changes occurs with the rock-n-rolly Roll Over Yourself definitely ruins the album's cohesiveness. The closing Thinking Back is a fairly-dramatic (if a tad cheesy) piano-piece, oddly written by guitarist Tolonen, but played by him over bird noises.

Two non-album bonus tracks are included, most likely from a single released around the time (no details given), which are more or less in line with the album's overall mood and sound, especially the nice Solitary (again déjà-entendu), while the jazzy Traffic-like Deep thinker gives an enjoyable final touch to the CD reissue. A rather enjoyable but clumsy debut affort, it's a little unfortunate that most of the tracks on the album have a déjà-entendu or heard-elsewhere, but they are all attributed to the TP members. Certainly if they had not been Finnish and little heard-of, there might have been a few lawsuits thrown in. To be honest, it is limit-scandalous they got away with it. But this shouldn't take away the charm of this uneven and unfocused debut album that should spin once in a while in your deck.

Pekka Pohjola - 2001- Views

Pekka Pohjola 

01. Waves (6:56)
02. The Red Porsche (5:00)
03. Metropolitan (14:05)
04. Views (7:34)
05. Us (11:32)

- Pekka Pohjola / bass and keyboard
- Seppo Kantonen / piano, keyboards
- Markku Kanerva / guitar on 2
- Mika Kallio / drums on 3, 4, 5
- Reino Laine / drums on 3
- Anssi Nykänen / drums on 2, fills on 3,5
- Tapio "Mongo" Aaltonen / percussion
- Jukka Perko / alto sax on 3, 4, 5, solo on 3
- Pentti Lahti / alto and baritone sax on 3, 5
- Manuel Dunkel / tenor sax on 3, 5
- Tapani Rinne / soprano sax on 1
- Teemu Salminen / flutes on 2, 4
- Teemu Matsson / trumpet on 2, 3, 4, 5
- Verneri Pohjola / trumpet on 2, 3, 4, 5
- Markku Veijonsuo / trombone on 2, 3, 4, 5
- Ilmari Pohjola / trombone on 2, 3, 4, 5
- Jari Valo / first violin
- Jukka Pohjola / second violin
- Teemu Kupiainen / viola
- Timo Alanen / cello on 2, 3, 4, 5
- Tomas Djupsjöbacka / cello on 1
- Laura Hynninen / harp on 1, 2
- Sami Saari, Kim Lönnholm, Pemo Ojala / vocals on 2

Pekka Pohjola - 1997 - Pewit

Pekka Pohjola 

01. Rita (11:23)
02. Melkein (Almost *) (13:47)
03. Pewit (6:17)
04. Suuri kallion ritari (The Great Knight Of The Rock) intro (3:41)
05. Suuri kallion ritari (2:37)
06. Toy Rock intro (0:40)
07. Toy Rock (4:17)
08. Ordinary Music (19:20)

- Pekka Pohjola / bass, keyboards

+ Mongo Aaltonen / percussion
- Timo Alanen / cello
- Markku Kanerva / guitars
- Seppo Kantonen / piano, synthesizers
- Heikki Keskinen / tenor sax
- Olli Kilpio / viola
- Teemu Kupiainen / viola
- Anssi Nykänen / drums, percussion
- Seppo Paakkunainen / tenor sax
- Pepa Päivinen / alto, bass & tenor saxes
- Jukka Pohjola / violin
- Matti Pohjola / cello
- Jari Valo / violin

Pohjola's most schizophrenic moment. The starter "Rita" alreddy is a perfect example: beginning as a beutiful piano piece and gradually gro'ing in intensity, ending up into metal territory at its most intense; and it does this masterfully smoothly! … only to sharply breik down into a lullaby-like end section. "Melkein" ("Almost") takes a segué from this & continues with a more playful mood initially, alternating between jazzy, wistful and carnival-like, in a way reminescent of the Space Waltz album, except without with the 80s synths; yet after the midpoint, it settles into this awesome hypnotic, pulsating ambient-fusion thing. And this pattern of gold nuggets / needless if well-composed gimmicks keeps going. OK, the title track is belo-average typical Pohjola and can be pretty much glossed over, but then "Great Knight of the Rock": the Intro being meandering, textural piano melodies, only for the track proper to explode into a pompous fanfare & then die down in a swab of jazz-cheese. And the less said about the absolutely horrible "Toy Rock", the better. Anyone got the number for the Woodwind Society? I'd like to report a case of sax abuse.

Pekka Pohjola - 1995 - Live In Japan

Pekka Pohjola
Live In Japan

01. Heavy jazz (11:57)
02. Innocent questions (4:08)
03. Mathematician's air display (8:00)
04. Imppu's tango (14:11)
05. No way out (7:29)
06. Nykiv keskustelu tuntemattoman kanssa (Comfort with a stranger) (7:21)
07. Risto (12:11)
08. Albatross (8:03)

- Pekka Pohjola / bass

+ Seppo Kantonen / keyboards
- Markku Kanerva / guitar
- Anssi Nykanen / drums

Pekka Pohjola - 1995 - Heavy Jazz (Live In Helsinki And Tokyo)

Pekka Pohjola 
Heavy Jazz (Live In Helsinki And Tokyo)

101. Relief (2:47)
102. Pressure (9:29)
103. Imppu's Tango (14:11)
104. Nykivä keskustelu tuntemattoman kanssa (Comfort With A Stranger) (7:08)
105. Innocent Questions (4:08)
106. Fanatic Answers (10:33)

201. Benjamin (10:56)
202. No Way Out (7:45)
203. Albatross (9:00)
204. Risto (12:10)
205. Heavy Jazz (11:19)

- Pekka Pohjola / bass

+ Markku Kanerva / guitar
- Seppo Kantonen / keyboards
- Anssi Nykänen / drums

Pekka Pohjola possibly was one of most skilled Nordic bassist at 70-s, when he played with Finnish leading jazz-rock band Wigwam. Later he collaborated on Mike Oldfield albums and released all the line of solo jazz-rock albums.

This second and his last live (double) album contains recordings from his solo concerts in Helsinki and Japan in 1994. Quite long double set sounds fresh and not boring at all - Pekka plays mid tempo very melodic instrumentals with help of keyboard player,drummer and especially guitarist Markku Kanerva. Music there is slightly influenced by Mike Oldfield from early 80-s melodic instrumental rock jazz, not complex,but more soulful, atmospheric and ... beautiful. Not so mellow or cheesy as in many Oldfield's works, compositions there have trend to jazz more than pop. Guitarist plays excellent, sometimes jazzy, sometimes - almost shredding, but all album's long atmosphere is light as clear Nordic air.

Possibly, not the best release for fans of complex jazz rock, but really great one for those with love to less commercial Oldfield instrumental releases.

Pekka Pohjola - 1992 - Changing Waters

Pekka Pohjola
Changing Waters

01. Benjamin (Introduction) (7:48)
02. Waltz For Ilkka (Ilkan valssi) (4:38)
03. Innocent Questions (6:06)
04. Fanatic Answers (10:02)
05. Changing Waters (6:29)
06. Waltz For Outi (Outin valssi) (7:11)
07. Benjamin (9:16)

+ Susanne Helasvuo / second violin
- Markku Kanerva / acoustic & electric guitars
- Seppo Kantonen / keyboards
- Teemu Kupiainen / viola
- Anssi Nykänen / drums (4 to 7)
- Markku Ounaskari / drums (1-2)
- Jukka Pohjola / first violin, violin solo (6)
- Matti Pohjola / cello
- Teemu Salminen / clarinet (2-4), flute (4)

Pekka Pohjola - 1989 - Sinfonia No 1

Pekka Pohjola 
Sinfonia No 1

01. Part I and II (10:40)
02. Part III (17:00)

Total Time: 27:40

- Pekka Pohjola / composer
+ The Avanti Orchestra, conducted by Olli Pohjola.

Recorded at Laurentius Hall, Lohja, Finland, November 1989
Engineered by Jorma Hämäläinen & Harri Sutinen / MTV Studios
Mixed by Jorma Hämäläinen at MTV Studios/Helsinki

The classical education of his  sort of forced him to try his wings at this genre. The result is quite sophomoric at best. He handles the composition mostly like a fusion piece while really trying to conform to the classical tradition of symphonic structure. It takes time to learn the tricks of this trade, which he was not granted, alas.

Pekka Pohjola - 1986 - Flight Of The Angel

Pekka Pohjola 
Flight Of The Angel

01. How about today? (5:35)
02. Flight of the angel (6:25)
03. Il carillon (6:46)
04. Pressure (10:36)
05. Beauty and the beast (10:54)

- Pekka Pohjola / bass
+ Keimo Hirvonen / drums
- Jussi Liski / keyboards
- Seppo Tyni / guitar
- Timo Vesajoki / keyboards
- Heljä El-Herraoui / cello
- Jaakko Ilves / violin
- Pentti Lahti / alto saxophone
- Liisa Pohjola / piano (3)
- Mikko Pohjola / viola
- Simo Salminen / trumpet
- Jaakko Vuornos / violin

Flight of the Angel ended PEKKA POHJOLA's most productive era that had started in the seventies; his next album would be Symphony No. 1 (1990), an attempt to be a serious art music composer. Haven't listened to it, but I have heard quite unfavourable criticism from experts. Elements from the classical music have naturally always been present in his unique Fusion, also in this album that features some strings too (though not very notably). As a side note, my friend had a conversation with Verneri Pohjola (jazz trumpetist-composer) and asked about his favourites of his father's discography. If I remember correctly, this was the other of the two that Verneri named.

'How About Today?' is a tight, rollicking, up-tempo composition, very rock oriented in sound; Seppo Tyni's electric guitar is in the centre. I wouldn't place this one high in Pekka's scale, or in fact, in the scale of Jazz-Rock / Fusion in genera, newcomers included. The title track is a delicate and more thoughtful piece as its name would suggest. It's built on a simple melody (not unusual in his composing style) but the way the music grows grander before returning to gentler touch is really fine. One could think there's not enough substance for 6 ½ minutes, but there is. 'Il Carillon' is a solo piano composition (played by the respected pianist Liisa Pohjola from the same big musical family). It seems to have some Sibelius influence and Debussy-like impressionism. I believe it would be considered very convincing by the art music critics too.

'Pressure' is very easily recognized as a typical Pekka Pohjola composition with the heavily repeated leitmotif and its stretching to the limit. It may be a matter of taste are there enough ideas for 10 ½ minutes or not. Well, he's done similar things more succesfully too. The synths are central in the sound. The progressivity comes mostly as dynamic changes, not in the melodies. But the best is saved for last: 'Beauty and the Beast' (10:54) is a highly progressive track full of rich details; the arrangement is very many-sided, from the funkiness of brass to the exciting synth patterns and the strings in the final section.And above all is the gorgeous bass playing! This is the masterpiece that justifies the four-star rating, even if the album as a whole is more uneven than most of his earlier works.

Pekka Pohjola - 1985 - Space Waltz

Pekka Pohjola 
Space Waltz

01. American carousel (6:16)
02. Cat Boulevard (3:45)
03. Space Waltz (8:08)
04. Risto (13:42)
05. Changing waters (6:04)

- Pekka Pohjola / bass, keyboards
+ Keimo Hirvonen / drums
- Jussi Liski / keyboards
- Seppo Tyni / guitars
- Timo Vesajoki / keyboards

Following two albums with his new band, including the slightly awkward transitional album URBAN TANGO and the TV movie soundtrack EVERYMAN, Pohjola again sees a somewhat shifting cast of characters playing alongside him. Actually, it's more or less the same band, but this album sees the welcome return of the great Seppo Tyni on guitar.

This album was quite a bright spot in the dark 1980's. Nobody made synthesizers sound like an outer-space symphony orchestra like Pekka Pohjola does here. Everyone else was trying to make Fairlights and DX7's sound like real instruments, but here the synthesizers are used to make, well, synthesizer sounds! The result is something that is utterly unique, that doesn't sound married to the time it was made. So while other albums from 1985 have aged horribly, this one transcends its date.

The set of songs is one of my favourite. "Cat Boulevard" is actually a somber reworking of the old Wigwam track "P.K.'s Supermarket" (from FAIRYPORT). "American Carousel" is a shimmering and sparkly tune, perfect for opening the album. The title track is one of those fun "fast motion" Pohjola numbers, while the epic "Risto" gradually builds and builds to an enthusiastic climax. Tyni really comes into his own here, with some of his most emotionally affecting playing. It ends on a gentle note with the meditative "Changing Waters".

Of his 80's albums, this one is the strongest I've heard thus far. A simply excellent record that epitomizes all that is good about Pekka Pohjola.

Pekka Pohjola - 1984 - Everyman (Jokamies)

Pekka Pohjola 
Everyman (Jokamies)

01. Velka ~ Debt
02. Velkavanki ~ Gaol
03. Blues vernerille ~ Blues for Verneri
04. Kuolema? ~ Death?
05. Toivo ~ Hope
06. Koraali ~ Coral
07. Kuristus ~ Strangling
08. Umpikuja ~ No way out
09. Rakkaus-vapautus ~ Relief
10. Agnus Dei

- Pekka Pohjola / bass, synthesizers
+ Kassu Halonen / vocals (10)
- Keimo Hirvonen / drums
- Peter Lerche / all guitars
- Jussi Liski / piano, synthesizers
- T.T. Oksala / synthesizer programming
- Timo Vesajoki / synthesizers

The Chamber choir of Suomen Laulu directed by Ensti Pohjola (6-10).

Having heard Pekka Pohjola's first four solo albums before taking on this one, this one came across as something of a departure to me, dominated as it is by synthesisers. It comes across as an attempt to blend classical choral work with New Agey synthesiser meditations, and whilst there's nothing inherently silly about that idea at the same time I don't think it works particularly successfully here; rather than creating a whole which is greater than the sum of its parts, I feel that the album ends up adding subpar New Age music to subpar choral music and ends up with something mildly more irritating than either of its halves.

Those who come to Pekka's music specifically looking for his Zappa-esque hyperactive workouts or his more sedate fusion styles (as seen in albums such as Visitation) will find this album a disappointing oddity. Those who are particularly interested in fusions of electronic music and choral music might consider this a worthwhile attempt,

Pekka Pohjola - 1982 - Urban Tango

Pekka Pohjola 
Urban Tango

01. Imppu's tango (9:23)
02. New impressionist (15:21)
03. Heavy Jazz (10:47)
04. Urban caravan (11:47)

Bonus track on cd release:
05. Silent decade (4:13)

- Pekka Pohjola / bass, keyboards
+ Kassu Halonen / vocals (4)
- Esa Kaartamo / vocals (5)
- Leevi Leppänen / drums
- Peter Lerche / guitar, mandoline (3)
- Jussi Liski / keyboards
- T.T. Oksala / guitar synthesizer

 I maintain that Pekka Pohjola has never made a bad album, but this one is certainly one of the...shall we say, less essential PP albums.

For the first time, Pohjola is using synthesizers extensively (and exclusively) for orchestration. It's by no means the first appearance of a synthesizer on one of his albums (that would be KEESOJEN LEHTO), but it's the first time they would dominate the musical palette. In fact, the album features three synthesizer players (including Pohjola himself and guitar synthesist T. T. Oksala), making this by far the most electronic album he's produced.

The album starts off very strongly with "Imppu's Tango". In fact, "New Impressionist" is one of his artistic high points, a lengthy epic track with much to recommend it.

The big dent in the façade is "Urban Caravan". Not counting Sally Oldfield's wordless voice pictures on KEESOJEN LEHTO, this is the first appearance of vocals on a Pekka Pohjola tune. One Kassu Halonen fairly spoils the song with some highly inappropriate heavy-metal screaming. I can only wonder what anyone involved was thinking, letting that man in the recording studio!

The CD includes a second vocal track, "Silent Decade", but the vocals this time (by Esa Kaartamo), thankfully, are far more sympathetic. For all that this set a bad precedent, Pohjola seemed to learn from his mistake, and vocals never reappeared on a Pekka Pohjola album.

Listeners everywhere breathe a sigh of relief.

Pekka Pohjola - 1980 - Katkavaaran Lohikaarme

Pekka Pohjola 
Katkavaaran Lohikaarme

01. Kätkävaaran lohikäärme (14:33)
02. Tehdasmusiikkia (7:34)
03. Sampoliini (12:08)
04. Inke ja mä (9:53)

- Pekka Pohjola / bass
+ Ippe Kätkä / drums
- Pekka Tyni / keyboards
- Seppo Tyni / guitars

Part of the fun of listening to Pekka Pohjola is the "What's he going to do next?" factor. And after the grand, orchestrated epic that was VISITATION, he did an abrupt, 180° turn with its follow up.

Here we're presented with Pohjola at his most stripped-down. Bass, piano, guitar, drums and that's it! I think part of the impetus for this album was how well-received Seppo Tyni was on VISITATION. I imagine Pohjola wanted to specifically make an album that featured him. Definitely a wise decision; each of the tracks feature an infectious, intricate bassline from Pohjola and some tasty solos from Seppo. Pekka Tyni on pianos and Ippe Kätkä on drums round out the quartet.

As close as Pohjola has ever come to straight-on fusion, this is nonetheless undeniably everything one would expect from a Pekka Pohjola album. The melodies, chord progressions and, most of all, the bass parts are all unmistakably Pohjola. "Inke ja mä" is one of his finest compositions of all time, a real jewel in his crown.

So, would I recommend starting here? If you're coming from a jazz or jazz-fusion perspective, probably. Otherwise, probably not, as it's a rather atypical PP release. Which is not to say it's bad-quite the contrary, it's EXCELLENT!-but it's Pohjola trying something a little different. And, much to our delight, succeeding.

Pekka Pohjola - 1979 - Visitation

Pekka Pohjola 

01. Strange awakening (5:11)
02. Vapour trails (4:44)
03. Image of a passing smile (5:38)
04. Dancing in the dark (5:39)
05. The sighting (3:32)
06. Try to remember (7:10)

- Pekka Pohjola / bass, acoustic & electric pianos
+ Junnu Aaltonen / saxophone (1-3-5)
- Vesa Aaltonen / drums, percussion
- Olli Ahvenlahti / electric piano (2-6), bass (2)
- Tom Bildo / tuba (3), trombones (6)
- Markku Johansson / trumpets (4-6)
- Eero Koivistoinen / saxes (1-3-5)
- Aale Lindgren / oboe (5)
- Pekka Poyry / soprano sax (1 to 5)
- Esko Rosnell / percussion (2-3-4)
- Teemu Salminen / saxophone (1-3-5)
- Seppo Tyni / guitar (2 to 6)

At last, Pekka Pohjola had been allowed to give his imagination free-rein. This is Pohjola at his most creative and innovative. With no limits placed on what he could and couldn't do, this is an all-out production that totally achieves what it sets out to do.

Joined not only by a brass section this time, but also by the strings and woodwinds of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, he at last achieves the synthesis of symphonic orchestration and jazzy soloing. "Third-stream jazz", the old heads would call it. Also important players are keysman Olli Ahvenlahti and virtuoso guitarist Seppo Tyni, Pohjola's compatriots in his fusion-oriented side-project, The Group. Tyni's rather McLaughlin-esque guitar soloing is the icing on the cake here, adding a delectable timbre to an already delicious dish.

Choosing high points on such a fine album is hard to do, but album-closer "Try To Remember" is classic Pohjola, building gradually from gentle oboe and string caresses to a maelstrom of fury and excitement. It's the next step above "Elämä jatkuu". Shortcomings? I can't think of any! In fact, if the album has any disadvantage at all, it's that it's too damned short, at a paltry 32 minutes! One wishes it would go on forever.

In summation: an ambitious album that, for once, achieves its lofty goals, and in spectacular style to boot. It's albums like this that are the reason we listen to prog for in the first place. Absolute highest recommendation!

The Group - 1978 - The Group

The Group 
The Group

01. Thai (5:19)
02. Ripple Marks (10:07)
03. Berenice's Hair (5:24)
04. Gado-Gado (6:53)
05. Annapurna (11:41)

- Olli Ahvenlahti / keyboards
- Pekka Pohjola / bass
- Seppo Tyni / guitars
- Vesa Aaltonen / drums

After Made In Sweden decided to call it quits in summer 1977, Pekka Pohjola was essentially left with two choices; either form a new band for himself or start a new career doing studio gigs. Eventually, Pohjola chose the former and with the help of Olli Ahvenlahti (keyboards), Seppo Tyni (guitars) and Vesa Aaltonen (drums), a new group was born - aptly named "The Group".

Pohjola and Ahvenlahti already knew each other quite well - after all, they were both hugely respected studio musicians in Finland and had played together in several studio sessions. Drummer Vesa Aaltonen (ex-Tasavallan Presidentti) was Pohjola's bandmate during their Made In Sweden days, so his place in the band was quite natural. Surprisingly enough, the newcomer Seppo Tyni (formerly of Elonkorjuu) would eventually become an essential part of Pohjola's solo albums, bringing his trademark guitar sound to most of Pohjola's 80's studio efforts.

Progressive rock/fusion music was hardly having its heyday in 1977 - the media had turned their back on prog, and most bands had either gone underground or disappeared completely. This didn't seem to bother the band at all though - instead, they intentionally aimed at filling the void in the media. They took influence from various Fusion supergroups such as Return To Forever and Weather Report. The Group's only album, released in 1978, is somewhat of an anomaly in Pohjola's discography, as it bears little resemblance to his other works. Pohjola's trademark sound is nowhere to be found and musically it possibly pays too much tribute to their "idols". However, this was indeed a group effort instead of one of Pohjola's solo offerings (Pohjola and Ahvenlahti were credited as the main composers), which might partially explain it.

In 1979, The Group went on a tour that consisted of several gigs in the Nordic countries, but at the same time they suffered from financial difficulties. Olli Ahvenlahti was forced to leave the band pretty soon after, due to work commitments. The rest of the group continued under the name of Pekka Pohjola Group.

Pekka Pohjola -1974 - Harakka Bialoipokku

Pekka Pohjola 
Harakka Bialoipokku

01. Alku ~ The beginning (2:10)
02. Ensimmäinen aamu ~ The first morning (5:35)
03. Huono sää / Se tanssii... ~ Bad weather / Bialoipokku dances (6:55)
04. ...ja näkee unta ~ Bialoipokku's war dream (4:35)
05. Hereilläkin uni jatkuu ~ Bialoipokku's war (4:42)
06. Sekoilu seestyy ~ The madness subsides (4:18)
07. Elämä jatkuu ~ Life goes on (6:42)

- Pekka Pohjola / bass, piano
+ Coste Apetrea / guitar (6)
- Eero Koivistoinen / soprano, tenor & sopranino saxes
- Bertil Löfgren / trumpet (2-5)
- Paroni Paakkunainen / Alto & baritone saxes, piccolo
- Tomi Parkkonen / drums, percussion (1 to 4)
- Pekka Pöyry / alto & soprano saxes

 I'm completely stunned at how good this is. I really didn't think it would be as good as his excellent debut, but in my opinion he surpassed it. Pekka of course was the great WIGWAM bassist from Finland, and this is his second solo album which was released in 1974 after WIGWAM's "Being" record. Fairly similar in style to the debut but he's added more horns and the piano has a greater role.This is a concept album although there are no lyrics. The story is in the liner notes, and it's a charming and well told tale about a magpie named Bialoipokku.

"The Beginning" features piano melodies throughout, as we can picture the magpie breaking out of his shell and being born into this world. "The First Morning" opens with more piano but a much fuller sound. Horns before a minute and some nice bass too. This sounds so good, very uplifting. "Bad Weather" opens with piano then the bass takes over followed by violin. This is dark. Piano and bass still create this sombre mood unti it kicks in before 5 minutes and brightens up. I like the way the horns pulsate over and over. "Bialoipokka's War Dream" is catchy with piano out in front early. Horns take the lead before a minute. This contrast continues for a while then it's horns leading the way to the end.

"Bialoipokka's War" is relaxed to start until the tempo picks up a minute in. Horns, bass and drums all stand out. The piano becomes prominant. Amazing sound 4 1/2 minutes in, I really like the bass. "The Madness Subsides" is a beautiful mellow track with piano to start. Guitar follows and it's fantastic ! So intricate. A bass solo 3 minutes in to the end. "Life Goes On" features horns, light drums and bass. Piano before a minute as the tempo picks up. The sax is great after 2 minutes as it plays over top.

This is so melodic and well thought out. The arrangements and overall playing are a delight.

Pekka Pohjola -1972 - Pihkasilma kaarnakorva

Pekka Pohjola
Pihkasilma kaarnakorva

01. Metsonpeliä ~ Capercaillie games (10:33)
02. Virtojen kiharat ~ Curls of streams (5:28)
03. Armoton idylli ~ Merciless idyll (3:47)
04. Nipistys ~ Pinch (3:32)
05. Valittaja ~ Complainer (10:22)

- Pekka Pohjola / bass, violins, piano, final organ (5)
+ Jukka Gustavson / organ, piano (4)
- Reino Laine / drums
- Risto Pensola / clarinet
- Pekka Pöyry / soprano sax, flute

Pekka Pohjola born 1952) is without doubt one of the greatest bassist/multi-instrumentalist in Europe. He knows how to handle several other instruments too... violin, piano, organ, keyboards, synthesizers, and trumpet as well. His style could be described with words as progressive rock filled with invention & Scandinavian folky/jazzy delights. In 1970 Pekka joined WIGWAM, a Finnish group around the English singer and pianist Jim PEMBROKE, staying four glorious years. In 1977, he formed The GROUP and in 1979, he toured with Mike OLDFIELD, who is an admirer of this bass-player. In 1980, The GROUP changed its name to PEKKA POHJOLA GROUP, but along the way the word "GROUP" is dropped, so the band played on as Pekka POHJOLA.

In addition to working with The GROUP, Pekka has released a number of solo albums over the years. Meanwhile, his music has reached new generations of music lovers. During his WIGWAM days, he recorded his first solo-album, the delicious "Pihkasilmä Kaarnakorva". This album has symphonic/classical references and is very ZAPPA-influenced with lots of woodwinds and some fine bass soloing. "Visitation" is a real masterpiece of melodic jazz-rock elements on which Pekka shows his talents as a bass-player and composer. This is probably the best place to start getting familiar. "Urban Tango" (1982) and "Space Waltz" are probably more accessible combining classical tendencies, fusion, folk and more. "New Impressionnist" is an excellent compilation CD that contains tracks from "Everyman", "Urban Tango", "Visitation" and "Katkavaaran"... and is probably as good start.

Late September 1997, "Pewit" POHJOLA's new studio album is finally released after five years since "Changing Waters". The musicians are the same as on "Changing Waters". In May 2001, Pekka released "Views", his first solo album in quite some time.

On 27 November 2008, Pohjola died at the age of 56.

CONCLUSION: "You do not have to be a fan of progressive rock, fusion or jazz rock to appreciate his majestic melody lines."

Sometimes art appreciation takes awhile. It requires time for that strange and mysterious process of intake, digestion and impact to occur when something new, especially music, demands attention from our senses. If we're lucky, the result is worth the mental and physical investment. Other times we remain unimpressed or, at best, respectful. But what happens in that period? What transformation takes place that allows a renewed perception and even appreciation of fresh ideas? The music is still the same, so it must be some shift in us.

Multi-instrumentalist Pekka Pohjola's first album reflects this phenomenon well. An extraordinary combination of modern chamber music, hot jazz, distinctive European prog rock and a bold spirit that, for 1972, approaches avant-garde. The Finn and a hearty bunch of players on winds, drums and keys make a music that may seem scattered or 'jammy' on the surface but if sat with, Pihkasilma kaarnakorva reveals itself to be a powerful and refined prog treasure house. Intricate and thoughtful angles, driving pulses, unforeseen mutations, all with Pohjola's firm but sensitive direction move this set forward starting with 10-minute 'Metsonpelia' and Pekka's hot walking, hard-bopping bass lines. Twisting metrics between his piano, Risto Pensola's clarinet and Jukka Gustavson's organ-grind followed by a longwinded drums/bass exchange, the piece finishing as strongly as it began. 'Virtojen Kiharat' jazzrocks big time, filled with beautiful, haunting organ scurls and melodic changelings. The playful 'Armoton Idylli' swings, clangs, dances and Klezmers the house down. And 'Nipistys/Valittaja' is a glorious twelve-minute gargantuan that rivals almost anything Gentle Giant ever did as it gradually builds into a tumbling prog snowball of great moments closed by a nifty little organ epilogue.

Made In Sweden - 1976 - Where Do We Begin

Made In Sweden 
Where Do We Begin

01. Where Do We Begin (4:27)
02. Manhattan Vibes (7:05)
03. Pop-Poem (3:38)
04. Our Man (5:02)
05. We Must Be Crucified (4:02)
06. Lady G (4:13)
07. Sometimes (1:49)
08. 43 Sec. Of Arc Per Century (10:02)

- Pekka Pohjola \ bass
- Vesa Aaltonen \ drums
- Georg Wadenius \ guitar, piano, organ, vocals
- Wlodek Gulgowski \ keyboards
- Tommy Körberg \ vocals

I actually enjoy this album, even though it's partly cheesy and commercially flirtatious. The band at this time was composed of highly regarded musicians; Georg "Jojje" Wadenius on guitar, Pekka Pohjola on bass and Tommy Körberg on vocals, just to mention some of them, so I guess they wanted to make this album a big seller. Wadenius's short song "Sometimes", the dramatic "Our Man", and Pohjola's experimental suite are the highlights of the album.

Made In Sweden - 1970 - Live! at the Golden Circle

Made In Sweden 
Live! at the Golden Circle

01. Mercy, Mercy
02. Peter Gunn
03. Sombrero Sam
04. A Day In The Life
05. Kristallen Den Grymma

- Bo Häggström \ bass
- Tommy Borgudd \ drums
- Georg Wadenius \ guitar

Killer live album recorded live at the legendary Swedish club in 1970. Previously unreleased material with Georg Wadenius (later joined Blood Sweat & Tears) in the line up. Strong, tight jazzy hard edged progressive rock with some superb guitar, bass and drums interplay... Well worth invesigating

Made In Sweden - 1970 - Made In England

Made In Sweden 
Made In England

01. Winter's A Bummer (5:30)
02. You Can't Go Home (3:39)
03. Mad River (5:08)
04. Roundabout (5:04)
05. Chicago, Mon Amour (5:08)
06. Love Samba (7:24)
07. Blind Willie (3:30)
08. Little Cloud (3:34)

- Bo Häggström \ bass, mellotron, vocals
- Tommy Borgudd \ drums, percussion
- Georg Wadenius \ guitar, organ, piano, vocals

 This was MADE IN SWEDEN's third studio album released in 1970 and they had also released a live album before this too. Some call this Swedish Proto-Prog but certainly this is Jazzy, Psychedelic and at times Bluesy. They were a trio who caught a break on their first tour of the UK when they opened for COLOSSEUM. Actually Tony Reeves from COLOSSEUM would produce this album after his band broke up. He releated how that he and his band members arrived at this little club outside of London and MADE IN SWEDEN were already on stage playing and so this was their first time hearing them. "...everybody in our band was really surprised and excited by the music that we heard MADE IN SWEDEN play. We got talking during the interval, met again on a couple of gigs during their tour of England, and arranged that I would record this album with them in England soon after I left COLOSSEUM". I should note that Tony prior to this had already decided to leave COLOSSEUM to be a Producer.

They recorded this at Olympic Studios in London and Tony enlisted the services of noted Jazz musician and arranger Neil Ardley who had already worked with Tony and COLOSSEUM on their "Valentine Suite" record. Neil took care of the arrangements on "Mad River" and "Blind Willie" and was helped by Tony on "Chicago, Mon Amour". Sadly this band broke up in the early months of 1971. Georg the guitarist / organist / pianist and Tommy the drummer would go on to form a band called SOLAR PLEXUS which would last one album then Georg would go on to join American band BLOOD SWEAT & TEARS. Tommy would pursue his dream of becoming a Formula One driver, eventually he switched to trucks becoming the European truck racing champion four times. Georg would bring MADE IN SWEDEN back to life for one more album bringing in the great Pekka Pohjola formerly of WIGWAM to play bass and also drummer Vesa Aaltonen formerly of TASAVALLAN PRESINDENTTI.

"Winter's A Bummer" is the only track with mellotron on it played by Bo the bass player. This is catchy and Jazzy with vocals. Nice prominant bass and I like the guitar outbursts. After 1 1/2 minutes it settles down to a Bluesy style with those pitch bending mellotron parts. Great section ! It kicks back in at 3 1/2 minutes. Excellent song. "You Can't Go Home" is an uptempo vocal track with energetic drumming. Great track ! "Mad River" is actually the name they called this album when they released it in England, while in Scandanavia they called it "Made In England". Love this song. They slow the pace down and it's simply a beautiful track with floating organ, intricate guitar and vocals. "Roundabout" opens with these Chinese sounding notes which were actually made from a custom Les Paul with a piece of cardboard stuck to the strings. It kicks in with vocals and this is such a feel good song for me. Relaxed and easy going. Beautiful stuff.

"Chicago, Mon Amour" opens with Spanish sounding guitar melodies as the vocals come in singing about San Francisco and flowers in your hair. Sound familiar ? Different of course but this is a folky track. "Love Samba" is the longest track at 7 1/2 minutes and it opens with some killer bass and percussion as the vocal melodies join in. So good ! A change after a minute as it slows down. Great Fusion sounds here. A drum solo after 3 minutes that lasts before 5 minutes where it turns Jazzy again with those vocal melodies like earlier. Killer track ! "Blind Willie" is a Jazzy / Bluesy tune with horns and vocals. "Little Cloud" is fantastic with the bass player offering up a solo with his eight string bass done through a Leaslie speaker. Love the vocals and guitar here too. Another amazing tune.

Yeah this is a must-have for you Jazz & related fans out there

Made In Sweden - 1969 - Snakes in a Hole

Made In Sweden 
Snakes in a Hole

01. Snakes In A Hole
02. Lay Lady Lay
03. Discotheque People
04. Give Me Whisky
05. Kristallen Den Grymma
06. Little Cloud
07. Big Cloud

Bonus Track:
08.Roundabout (Live)
09.Ramses the 3rd (Live)
10.Worlds of Mushroom Gardens

- Svend Asmussen \ violin (tracks 1,2)
- Bo Häggström \ bass
- Tommy Borgudd \ drums
- Georg Wadenius \ guitar, piano, vocals

atmospheric, dreamy take on Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay." Everything else on this album is competent, but not particularly memorable. "Discotheque People" is an attempt at a Frank Zappa/Mothers of Invention type tune, but misses the mark a bit.

Made In Sweden - 1969 - Made In Sweden With Love

Made In Sweden 
Made In Sweden With Love

01. I Don't Care
02. Peter Gunn
03. Sombrero Sam
04. Little Dame
05. Saucery
06. A Day In The Life
07. Harry Lime Theme
08. Little Charlie

- Bo Häggström / bass, guitar
- Tommy Borgudd / drums
- George Wadenius / guitar, vocals

Originally a trio, MADE IN SWEDEN was founded by guitarist George WADENIUS, bassist Bo HAGGSTROM and drummer Tommy BORGUDD. This first incarnation of the band released 3 studio albums and a live album, and won Grammis for Best Band in 1969 and 1970. The trio would split up later on and over time the original members would join a band called SOLAR PLEXUS. Their reformation in the mid 70's made them something of a supergroup with musicians from Finland joining the band; namely Pekka POHJOLA from WIGWAM and drummer Vesa AALTONEN from TASAVALLAN PRESIDENTTI. This new line-up featured only WADENIUS from the original trio, and other additions to the band were Wlodek GULGOWSKI on keyboards and singer Tommy KORBERG who was also involved with SOLAR PLEXUS. This second incarnation would release one more album in 1976.

Not a bad album and very similar to what Brian Auger was doing during this period, but guitar based rather than organ. Very jazz oriented and Georg Waldenius' guitar style is very similar in style to later albums by Wes Montgomery. This album should appeal as interesting to those who like jazz-rock of this period as a good album,

Jukka Tolonen - 1978 - Montreux Boogie

Jukka Tolonen
Montreux Boogie

01. Montreux Boogie
02. Lama
03. Carnival
04. This One's For William
05. Can I Have A Slice
06. Hänryckning

- Jukka Tolonen / guitars
- Coste Apetrea / guitars
- Christer Eklund / sax
- Bill Carson / drums,percussion
- Ilkkka Hanski / bass

Jukka Tolonen - 1977 - A Passenger to Paramaribo

Jukka Tolonen
A Passenger to Paramaribo

01. A Passenger to Paramaribo (5:38)
02. Punks! (6:30)
03. Tanja (3:02)
04. Phantastes (4:39)
05. Air Rock (5:56)
06. Dimitri (6:18)
07. What Went Wrong? (8:18)

- Jukka Tolonen / guitars
- Coste Apetrea / guitars
- Christer Eklund / bass
- Harri Merilahti / drums
- Bill Carson / drums,percussion
- Joachim Kuhn / keyboards, piano

Jukka Tolonen is one of Finland's best known Prog musicians. His solo works are generally instrumental, but this release finds Bill Carson sing on the closing track. Surprisingly, it comes off quite well as a laid back winding down after a generally high intensity "tour the force" of the preceding tracks. This release is perhaps more dynamic and less subtle than Tolonen's previous two albums, but still strongly in the Jazz-Rock vein, this time coupled with some unmistakable Funk. Nothing really wrong with that and the funky approach seem to dominate Tolonen's future releases for the corresponding time period.A versatile artist who in 2004 eventually arrives at dedicating a whole album to John Coltrane with a title "Cool Train" (yet to be added to his rather incomplete discography on PA).
"A Passenger To Paramaribo" represents excellent musicianship bursting with energy. The odd, lyrical piece "Tanja" (dedicated to his partner) is a welcome interlude. .../...
Special mention is due to legendary Finnish record label "Love Records" that were instrumental in supporting Finnish Prog till they went out of business. Their logo is charmingly cheeky, but you'll have to Google on that to see it for yourself.
This album is   an excellent addition bordering on a Prog masterpiece

Jukka Tolonen - 1975 - Hysterica

Jukka Tolonen 

01. Jimi (9:30)
02. Django (2:34)
03. Hysterica (6:33)
04. Tiger (7:02)
05. Silva The Cat (4:50)
06. Windermere Avenue (7:15)

- Jukka Tolonen/ Guitars, Piano
- Heikki Virtanen/ Bass
- Esko Rosnell/ Drums, Percussion
- Esa Kotilainen/ Moog, Clavinet, Accordian, Organ, Synthesizers
- Pekka Poyry/ Alto Sax, Soprano Sax, Flute
- Seppo Paakkunainen/ Baritone Sax
- Jan Kling/ Tenor Sax
- Bertil Lofgren/ Trumpet
- Torgny Nilsson/ Trombone
- Sakari Kukko/ Soprano Sax, Flute
- Pekka Pohjola/ Bass

 The founder of legendary finish Tasavallan Presidentti and also appear on two Wigwam albums, Jukka Tolonen is one of the most respected and well known guitarist ever came from Finland, and why not from Europe. Under his name he release some more then respectable albums in jazz rock/progressive rock field , one of them is Hysterica from 1975. Hysterica like previous two albums is an acclaimed release both by fans as for crititcs aswell. To me is a very worthy jazz rock album, with a touch of his distinct tone not far from bluesy atmosphere. Some killer musicinship here, is obvious because we have here on bass Pekka Pohjola and on drums Esko Rosnell, while on keyboards appear Esa Kotilainen+ lots of other instrunets, trumpet, trombone, sax. The music is quite challenging with blistering guitar chops and fairly intelligent keyboards, the opening track, the most bluesy of the album , a tribute to Jimi Hendrix, is a worthy one but what is to come is most consistent and intresting, the title track, Hysterica, Tiger or Silva the cat are excellent jazz rock/progressive rock pieces that stands among the best of the genre, really high calibre musicianship and interludes between musicians. An almost essential album bith in his catalogue and in this musical field, definetly woth to be discovered.

Jukka Tolonen - 1975 - Crossection

Jukka Tolonen 

01. Northern Lights
02. Witch Drum
03. Last Quarters
04. Windemere Avenue
05. Sliva The Cat
06. Wedding Song

- Jukka Tolonen / electric and acoustic guitars, piano
- Paroni Paakkunainen / sax, flute
- Pekka Pöyry / sax, flute
- Esa Kotilainen / moog
- Heikki Virtanen / bass, string bass
- Måns Grounstroem / bass
- Esko Rosnell / drums, percussion
- Vesa Aaltonen / drums
- Jussi Aalto / trombone (6)
- Eero Raittinen / vocals (3)

Jukka Tolonen - 1974 - The Hook

Jukka Tolonen
The Hook

01. Aurora Borealis (12:56)
02. Starfish (6:17)
03. The Sea (8:22)
04. The Hook (8:36)
05. Together (3:15)

-Jukka Tolonen/ Guitar, Piano
-Pekka Pöyry/ Alto Sax, Soprano Sax, Flute
-Heikki Virtanen/ Bass
-Esko Rosnell/ Drums, Percussion
-Esa Kotilainen/ Moog, Clavinet, Accordion
-Jan Kling/ Tenor Sax
-Torgny Nilsson/ Trombone
-Bertil Löfgren/ Trumpet

This is the third solo album by the most legendary guitar hero in the Finnish prog history (in addition to a large and respected solo career - mainly in Fusion - he was a key member of TASAVALLAN PRESIDENTTI). Already the list of musicians is very promising: Esa Kotilainen (moog, clavinet, accordion), Pekka Pöyry (saxes, flute), four other blowers, and the rhythm section of Heikki Virtanen and Esko Rosnell. Tolonen himself plays also piano. The music was recorded in Stockholm's Marcus Music AB and produced by Måns Groundstroem.

The nearly 13-minute 'Aurora Borealis' is a gorgeous celebration of excellent musicianship, and it gives a lot of attention to various instruments - both in combo playing and in soli - in the slightly funky environment. Wow! What a moog solo and drum work! Perhaps the groove continues a bit too long occasionally.

'Starfish' is equally energetic Fusion, loaded with reeds and brass. Full of musical joy that makes you feel happy. The band is just fantastic. All of them. 'The Sea' slows the pace graciously. Nice laid-back groove starring piano, accompanied by the rest of the group in perfect balance. The flute solo... lovely, lovely! The title track starts in a very funky manner and gives the main attention to Tolonen's technical excellence on guitar. This is my least favourite track but still quite interesting as it proceeds.

The relatively brief (3:15) closing track 'Together' is mellow, emotional ballad focusing on piano but containing also nice guitar sounds. I think this album has deserved full rating. In a word, Top Class Fusion in an international scale!

Jukka Tolonen - 1973 - Summer Games

Jukka Tolonen 
Summer Games

01. Wedding Song (4:50)
02. A Warm Trip With Taija (8:45)
03. Impressions of India (5:27)
04. Thinking Of You In The Moonshine (6:28)
05. Summer Games (5:25)
06. See You (Missing My Crazy Baby) (3:36)

-Jukka Tolonen/ Guitar, Piano
-Pekka Pöyry/ Alto Sax,[Tr.5] Soprano Sax,[Tr.1,4,5,6] Flute [Tr.2,3,4]
-Heikki Virtanen/ String Bass [Tr.1] bass [Tr.2-5]
-Esko Rosnell/ Drums, Percussion [Tr.1,3,4,5]
-Jussi Aalto/ trombone [Tr.1,4,5,6]
-Erik Danholm/ Flute [Tr.2]
-Paroni Paakkunainen/ Flute [Tr.1,5,6]
-Erkki Koskimo / Trombone [Tr.2,3]
-Raino Laine/ Drums [Tr.2]

 Probably the debut Tolonen! (1971) is his best remembered work, but in my opinion he matured as a composer especially in these early years. Georgie-award (that's a Finnish yearly award for jazz) winning Summer Games is again produced by Måns Groundstroem. At this time Tolonen was influenced by Chick Corea's Return To Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra (and also Bo Hansson's Lord of the Rings!), but his music remains distinctively Finnish in nature, and is very much at home in the famous Love Records discography of the time.

This album is mellower and more romantic than the ones before and after it. 'Wedding Song' is a serene, relaxed tune that reminds of JADE WARRIOR at their most romantic. Acoustic guitar is accompanied by reeds (flute, soprano sax, trombone) and the rhythm section that stays in the background. A prog listener may get associations also to the soft side of the earliest KING CRIMSON. 'A Warm Trip With Taija' - Taija being his wife - is livelier and jazzier, and twice the length, thus allowing the various instruments have solistic space. Tolonen plays also Mini-Moog and tabla on this beautiful track.

'Impressions of India' starts with a lonely acoustic guitar; the percusions, flute and trombone enter later. A joyful, rather fast number with an Oriental flavour, but not among the best. 'Thinking of You in the Moonshine' slows down the tempo and offers a dreamy, nocturnal piece of music that is hard to pigeonhole into any specific genre. It's a deeply progressive composition that gets more energetic towards the end. The title track is lighthearted and playful like the second track, and the only one to feature Tolonen's piano. I can imagine it being played on an old TV film about people enjoying sunny summer (they often used to have jazz music in them). The final track 'See You (Missing My Baby)' is, as you guess, romantic and mellow, featuring just reeds and acoustic guitar. A nice ending to this beautiful album, which is all too short.

Jukka Tolonen - 1971 - Tolonen

Jukka Tolonen

01. Elements - Earth/Fire/Water/Air (8:06)
02. Ramblin (9:02)
03. Mountains (6:35)
04. Wanderland (5:02)
05. Last Night (3:26)

- Jukka Tolonen / guitars, keyboards
- Pekka Pohjola / bass
- Reino Laine / percussion
- Pekka Poyry / saxophone
- Heikki Virtanen / bass
- Ronnie Osterberg / drums
- Jukka Gustavson / Lowrey organ

Born in Helsinki in 1952 Jukka Tolonen co founded in 1969 the rock/jazz fusion band Tasavallan Presidentti, who recorded four critically acclaimed albums from 1969 to 1974. During this time, Tolonen also recorded two albums with the Finnish Prog band Wigwam.
In 1971 Tolonen recorded his self titled debut recording presenting a mixture of jazz-rock and folk, followed by "Summer Games"(1972), "The Hook"(1972), "Hysterica"(1974) all in the same musical direction. Thanks to his solo records as well as his participations with Tasavallan Presidentti and Wigwam, Tolonen became very popular in Finland and to a lesser extent in Europe and the USA.
In the mid seventies Tolonen formed the Jukka Tolonen Band, featuring Swedish guitarist Coste Apetrea (ex Samla/Zamla) and presenting a more polished jazz-funk. The JTP released a couple of excellent records among them the live album "Montreux Boogie". In 1978 he released the solo acoustic album "Mountain Stream".
Throughout the 80's Tolonen touched other musical styles, recorded a classic acoustic guitar duet with Coste Apetrea and in 1982 a reggae album. He continued to be active on stage, in several line-ups including Bill's Boogie Band with Swedish vocalist/percussionist Bill Öhrström and participated in Jim Pembroke's short lived project, Filthy Rich and recorded with Finnish world fusion band Piirpauke.
During the nineties, Jukka has been working in a "mainstream" rock format with the Jukka Tolonen Trio and recorded again with Piirpauke. In 1999 Tolonen joined the reformed Tasavallan Presidentti who released a live record, "Still Struggling For Freedom" in 2001, followed by a new studio record "Six Complete" in 2006.

This is the first album by guitar wizard Jukka Tolonen. Having already played in both Wigwam and Tasavallan Presidentti, Jukka suddenly decided to make a solo album where he could stretch out on the guitar, which should come as little surprise when one hears his involvement in the aforementioned groups, where he mostly added warmth and depth to the proceedings - only seldomly breaking away from the melodic storyline.

On Tolonen! he showcases his skills as musician rather than a lead guitarist, and he does so in a pretty unique way. Instead of using all of his studio time lying on top of some heavy blues based riffing - ornamenting the music with high soaring fiery guitar solos, which he also does on occasion, he decides to weave a series of intricate melodic string plays, creating a magical world that wouldn't be out of place in the sort of movie, where unicorns and phoenixes roam. Sure the man showboats a little during the album, reaching for that ever so wobbly and fleeting groove of the great Jimi Hendrix, but most of the time he is there massaging acoustic guitars and what sounds like harps and other such delicate string instruments.

What I like most about this venture is the cosy atmosphere. It feels like you're sitting in his living room with a fire going - drinking warm tea with rum - smoking space tobacco and relaxing like a regular polar bear rug stretched out on the wooden floor. A lot of this is down to the other instruments involved - such as the omnipresent clay-pot drums which sound so passionate and real, that you start wondering whether this album is becoming a little bit too realistic and in fact is playing from the insides of your bedroom - hiding suspiciously under the bed like a Finnish fusion ninja on the prowl. Other such things that take you into Jukka's personal quarters on that most comfortable of rugs, is the sound of the piano. It's simple and in the background, but it sure does feel like a friendly musical hug - surrounding the music in a safe and secure layering of sound. These cosy and magical sections are spread throughout the album, but especially the first cut Elements shows these delicate blossoming beauties in their full floral presence. Indeed sounds like opening ice blossoms.

The fire and raging Hendrix dominated segments that tear through a track like Last Night seem strangely uncalled for in the midst of all this frail and magical beauty. Also the convoluted nature of the free-spirited and rather meandering jazz rock that Ramblin' wields only works for this listener the first time he heard it. The haphazard feel of the reeds should be something I adore, but on this record it feels a tad out of place - like a big red sausage in the queen's hair-dew. Again, that should be right up my alley...

So all in all a mixed bag of nuts with intimate deeply moving bursts of blooming genius, but also the odd unmemorable tune that all but too well mix in with the dirt brown wallpaper of your old tool shed. Still, when this album flexes its beauty and keeps to its floral emanations, it just takes your breath away.

Jim Pembroke - 1977 - Corporal Cauliflower's Mental Function

Jim Pembroke 
Corporal Cauliflower's Mental Function

01. Corporal Punishment (2:32)
02. Bertha Come Back (2:42)
03. Island Town (3:48)
04. Masquerade At The White Palace (3:47)
05. Skobiit Party Civilised Session (4:09)
06. Knockknockknock (The Revolution Of Love) (4:57)
07. All Over Too Soon (2:49)
08. Earring Is Believing (3:58)
09. A Better Hold (And A Little View) (3:01)
10. Goddammadog (The Horse) (5:18)

Songs and lyrics by Jim Pembroke

Jim Pembroke, piano, vocals
Ronnie Österberg, drums
Rekku Rechardt, guitars
Coste Apetrea, guitars
Paavo Maijanen, bass, harmonies
Eero Koivistoinen, sax & horn arrangements
Hessu Hietanen, accordion

Produced by Måns Groundstroem & Ronnie Österberg
Engineered by Christer Berg
Recorded at Marcus Music (SWE) October/November 1976
Cover by Timo Kelaranta/SAFTRA
Jim Pembroke on Corporal Cauliflowers' Mental Function:

"On that I consciously tried to mix all the words around. When I realised there was a Finnish language, which was like an impossible language reminding me of blocks of wood, it was dunk, dunk, dunk like this. I can speak ok now, but that Corporal Cauliflower's had a certain picture of how I could try and make English look like blocks of wood or something. I don't know if I'm explaining myself right. I was trying to make English sound and look like what Finnish sounded and looked to me. In a way mix up all the words and use like opposite words of what I really sort of originally wrote down. I wrote down a lot of stuff and sort of transposed it all in order to make it sound like something you've never heard before, cause I'd never heard anything like Finnish before so I thought I try and make English sound like nothing you'd ever heard before. It was heavy in a way to do, I only did about two or three songs I think. The rest of the LP I did sort of like pretty straight songs, yeah language wise that is."

(To Hans Beck at Otto Donner's flat, Helsinki 28.07.1981.)

Back in Finland, Virgin, which wanted a Wigwam album refused to release Pembroke's solo+Wigwam Corporal Cauliflower's Mental Function in the UK. The music press advertised the new Wigwam single, "Wardance", but neither it nor the excellent Dark Album were released in the UK, Virgin rejecting the album at the demo stage. "Wardance had an almost funky guitar riff and a massive bass line and, had it been released, could have broken the band in the UK big time. Instead it was the final nail in the Wigwam coffin. Love was facing bankruptcy and, unable to support their artists further, Wigwam were forced to find proper jobs or starve. They broke up in the Summer of 1978.

This is Jim Pembroke's third solo album or it really a Wigwam album when all the musicians from Wigwam
is participation on this album, yeah Måns is only producing and Paavo Maijanen is playing the bass instead,
they have even a guest guitar player in Coste Apetrea on this album, Coste had played with Samla Mammas Manna in the past, and was playing with Ramlösa Kvällar and Jukka Tolonen when this sessions were made,
if you like the Wigwam after Jukka Gustavson and Pekka Pohjola had left, you gonna love this album too.

Jim Pembroke - 1974 - Pigworm

Jim Pembroke 

01. Do The Pigworm (4:33)
02. Just My Situation (4:06)
03. Sweet Marie (5:06)
04. Time To Make A Stand (3:28)
05. No New Games To Play (2:52)
06. Another Telephone Call (2:13)
07. Resigned To Surrender (3:33)
08. Sweet Revelation (3:21)
09. That's The Way It Goes (3:46)
10. No More Terra Firma (4:14)

Jim Pembroke, piano, songs, singing
Jukka Gustavson, organ
Pekka Pohjola, bass
Rekku Rechardt, guitar
Ronnie Österberg, drums
Otto Donner, horn arrangements
Juhani Aaltonen, tenor saxophone
Jörgen Petersen, trumpet
Pentti Lasanen, clarinet
Jussi Aalto, trombone
Mircia Stan, trombone
Mosse Groundstroem, mini-moog
Chrisse Schwindt, marracas
Vesa Aaltonen, cowbell

Produced by Måns Groundstroem & Ronnie Österberg
Engineered by Erkki Hyvönen
Recorded at Finnvox studios
Cover design by Jim Pembroke
Cover photo by Mårten Huldén

 Don’t be upset to discover that even we don’t like this as much as Jim’s first solo LP. Still, Pigworm is a good album, too, albeit very different from Hot Thumbs O’Riley. This one doesn’t hit you immediately, as the first one did, but it is nevertheless a nice and listenable album. Well, what I’m trying to say is that Jim has made a damn good record, which I am listening to with great pleasure. And that is the main criteria – is the record worth listening to.

Jim Pembroke isn’t the most extroverted person, we know that. But we also know that living inside him is another kind of creature who, occasionally, can be very noisy. Only not as noisy as I would like it to be, but still ...

So this album is quite laid back and subdued, but still with some raving mad moments. We would have to take Pembroke through psychoanalysis if we were to know what makes this album the way it is. So why don’t we just view it as it is – a nice record.

On the whole, it is very interesting, though not a masterpiece. It is the small details that make this record. Jukka Gustavson plays some very dynamic riffs here and there. Pekka Pohjola is astounding, putting in excellent, precisely shaped bass lines. The new guy, Pekka Rechardt, plays a few fine, melodic guitar solos. At times, Otto Donner’s brass arrangements are simply divine, and so on. Jim himself plays the piano and sings brilliantly throughout – perhaps a bit more expression would have been needed, but even now Jim’s singing carries a lot of expression.

Jim’s songwriting isn’t always a huge celebration of the musical arts, but the important thing is how it is performed, and Jim always puts in great performances. In my opinion, the best songs here are ‘Time To Make A Stand’, ‘No New Games To Play’ and ‘No More Terra Firma’.

Hot Thumbs O'Riley - 1973 - Wicked Ivory

Hot Thumbs O'Riley 
Wicked Ivory

01. Warm Rumours
02. Currently Cheesing
03. No Flies On Auntie
04. Dust My Shovel
05. Harmless Vibration
06. Cosmic Rot
07. Wicked Ivory
08. Tiptoe Through The Graveyard
09. Sunday In Gopher Gulch
10. Grass For Blades
11. The Decline Of The House Of Lords

Hot Thumbs O'Riley (Jim Pembroke), pianos, harmonium, guitar, harmonica, vocals
Ronnie Österberg, drums
Mats Huldén, bass
Pekka Pohjola, bass
Måns Groundstroem, bass
Jukka Gustavson, organ

Soila Ahlgren, Erkki Inkinen, Martti Pajanne, Ahti Pilvi, Rauno Salminen, Jaakko Santasalo, strings

Songs and lyrics by Jim Pembroke
Produced by Måns Groundstroem, Ronnie Österberg
Engineered by Erkki Hyvönen
Recorded at Finnvox Studios, Helsinki, March 1972
Cover painting by Hot Thumbs O'Riley

Definitely one of the weirdest albums in my collection. I am in fact quite sure that this would be one of the weirdest officially-released albums in any collection! This could never have been made by anyone other than the great British eccentric Jim Pembroke, vocalist and one of the songwriters in the classic Finnish prog rock band Wigwam. This is his first solo album, and he is backed by all of Wigwam, plus even some ex-members.

The album is made like it was recorded on some smoky nightclub, with different artists being introduced by the "kind of friend of the owner of the club". All of these bizarre artists are very different - taking the stage in turns, to play blues, humour, prog, pop, cheese, just plain weird stuff, and so on. At some point of the night something goes wrong, and… Well, you'll have to listen to it for yourself.

This is not an easy listen, as most of the songs are performed in a very weird manner. The obvious highlight is "Grass for Blades", that later became a classic staple in Wigwam's live set. There are some other "real" songs as well. The rest might be a bit too much to stomach forsome people, but it's always fun