Thursday, April 30, 2015

Culpeper's Orchard - 1972 - Second Sight

Culpeper's Orchard 
Second Sight

01. Julia (3:17)
02. Keyboard Waltz (4:24)
03. Classified Adds (4:14)
04. Late Night Woman Blues (6:38)
05. Mind Pollusion / Weather Report (9:34)
06. Autumn Of It All (4:06)
07. Satisfied Mind (6:07)

- Cy Nicklin / vocals, guitars, mandolin
- Neils Henriksen / guitars
- Michael Friis / bass, organ, piano, sitar, vocals, acoustic guitar
- Roger Barker / drums, percussion

Second Sight is the second studio album from Danish band Culpeper´s Orchard. The album was released in 1972. Frontman and guitarist Cy Nicklin ( who is english and not Danish by the way) started Culpeper´s Orchard after leaving another experimental rock/ progressive rock band which he started in 1968 called Day of Phoenix. Before his days in Day of Phoenix he enjoyed moderate success with the Danish folk trio Cy, Maia and Robert which also hosted another one of the most prolific characters on the experimental Danish rock scene of the late sixties and early seventies namely Robert Lelievre ( who was French by the way). Robert was the mainman behind one of the most rare and expensive Danish releases ever: The original LP with Pan. I´ve seen that album a couple of times in second hand stores and it cost from 300£ to 350£. Robert sadly took his own life on the 26th of August 1973.

Well that aside Cy Nicklin and his companions in Culpeper´s Orchard released their debut album in 1971. It´s a pretty good album which reminds me a bit about the early Jethro Tull albums. It´s a mildly progressive album and it is clear from the start when you listen to that album that Culpeper´s Orchard isn´t the most innovative band in the world. It´s still a good rock album though.

The music on Second Sight hasn´t gotten anymore progressive than it was on the debut, but the quality is still high. The music is generally more mellow and there are lots of beautiful acoustic guitar playing, great singing and memorable melody lines. Like on the debut there is a considerable amount of blues rock influences but this time the folk tendencies are more obvious than before. The last song Satisfied Mind is even in country mode. The only slightly progressive song on Second Sight is Mind Pollusion / Weather Report that starts with a beautiful acoustic section while the second part of the song showcases the most hard blues rocking moments on the album. Great track that one. The rest of the songs are also good and because of the many folky acoustic moments I´m reminded a bit of Led Zeppelin III ( and maybe a bit of Wishbone Ash).

I enjoy this generally mellow and beautiful album but it´s not the most challenging album in this world. If you like bluesy and folksy rock music with a slight progressive touch this might be an enjoyable album for you.

Culpeper's Orchard - 1971 - Culpeper's Orchard

Culpeper's Orchard 
Culpeper's Orchard

01. Banjocul (0:46)
02. Mountain Music Part 1 (6:26)
03. Hey You Paople (1:29)
04. Teaparty for an Orchard (6:09)
05. Ode to Resistance (5:53)
06. Your Song & Mine (5:34)
07. Gideon's Trap (5:44)
08. Blue Day's Morning (2:12)
09. Mountain Music Part 2 (7:33)

- Cy Nicklin / lead vocals, rhythm & acoustic guitars, percussion
- Neils Hendrikson / lead guitar, piano, lead vocals, harpsichord
- Michael Friss / bass, organ, flute, two finger piano, percussion
- Rodger Barker / drums, percussion

A Danish rock band fronted by Englishman Cy Nicklin, this foursome produced three albums in the early 70's, before disbanding but recorded another one under the shorter name CULPEPER in 77, but it does not sound much like their former albums. The debut was particularly successful both commercially and artistically, a very entertaining and professional effort, somewhere stuck between ZEPPELIN, TULL and BEATLES. The second album was more folky but saw two members leave after its release, leaving Nicklin alone at the helm and recording the third album, sometimes bordering country music.

This is arguably one of the top 10 70s European (non-British) albums in any sub-genre of rock music. I am personally amazed by al its virtues (solid songwriting, energy and power without ever being too heavy or pompous, excellent vocals in English) and it gives me a very euphoric feel whenever I listen to it (especially flowing, fresh tracks like the excellent "Teaparty for an Orchard"), despite the fact that it also contains a few great somber tracks like "Gideon's Trap". It culminates with the high-energy, amazingly climaxing "Mountain Music Part 2". The album is vaguely "prog", more reminiscent of 1969-71 Vertigo British albums. Elements of Procol Harum, Jethro Tull or even CSNY are present, but the sound is original and very very pleasant.

The Old Man And The Sea - 2005 - 1972-75

The Old Man And The Sea 

01. Setting back the time
02. Lady Nasty
03. Elvira (the night rider)
04. Sadness
05. Through your hair
06. The sea of green - part 1
07. The sea of green - part 2
08. Nasty backbone
09. Old man shing
10. Roll the dice
11. White collar worker
12. Down by the sea
13. Love 77
14. The jam
15. Money

- Ole Wedel / lead vocals
- Benny Stanley / electric guitar
- Tommy Hansen / organ, piano, vocals
- Knud Lindhard / bass, vocals
- John Lundvig / drums
- Lasse Laursen / Guitar
- Erik R. Halager / Bass, vocals
- Roar Eskesen / drums (14)

 1972-75 is a collection of songs that should have been the second album from Danish progressive rock act The Old Man & the Sea plus a few archive gems. Sadly in 1975 The Old Man & the Sea was dropped by CBS even before releasing anything on that label and it meant the end of the band as they couldn´t get another deal. When you listen to this album it´s hard to understand why though as the compositions are well written and the the musicianship is excellent. Some of the songs on 1972-75 also appear on the bootleg album called the white album together with some unreleased live songs from when the band re-united for a short period in the nineties.

The music lies somewhere between the early symphonic prog of Yes and the more hardrock prog of Kansas ( add a bit of Deep Purple to the mix and you´re just about there). The music is a bit more simple than the music of both Yes and Kansas though. There are many hardrock guitar riffs on the album as well as some very dominant organ playing. One of the biggest assets besides Tommy Hansen´s excellent organ playing is the vocals from Ole Wedel who is a very strong singer with a great voice. Tommy Hansen and Knud Lindhard´s backing vocals are also very strong. All lyrics are sung in English.

All songs are really good but I have to mention the instrumental synth dominated Love 77 as it´s a really great song that I very much enjoy. The Sea of Green part 1 and 2 are also pretty special as it´s actually a reworking af a track from 1972 where Tommy Hansen has only used the original drum tracks. It´s one of the more progressive songs on the album. Nasty backbone is another favorite of mine.

The musicianship is really strong and they have to have been one of the best playing bands in Denmark back then.

The Old Man And The Sea - 1972 - The Old Man And The Sea

The Old Man And The Sea
The Old Man And The Sea

01. Living Dead (7:51)
02. Princess (6:02)
03. Jingoism (6:54)
04. Prelude (1:12)
05. The Monk Song 1 (5:54)
06. The Monk Song 2 (3:36)
07. Going Blind (10:31)


08. Circulation
09. Lady Nasty
10. Nasty Backbone
11. Roll The Dice
12. The Jam (Live)

Recorded at Ivar Rosenberg Sound Technic Copenhagen.
Tracks 8 to 12 are bonus tracks.
Tracks 9 to 12 recorded at Trævarehuset.

- Ole Wedel / lead vocals
- Benny Stanley / electric guitar
- Tommy Hansen / organ, piano, vocals
- Knud Lindhard / bass, vocals
- John Lundvig / drums

The Old Man and the Sea, taking their name from the novel of the same name, is another one-and-done band, a curse that often befell numerous prog bands of the 70's! Originally pressed in small numbers, frequently boot-legged and eventually reissued on CD, it's much easier now to track down their self-titled album and finally appreciate this terrific band. Probably playing interesting and adventurous hard rock instead of full-fledged prog, their sound was accessible and melodic yet still providing extended instrumental passages between exquisite vocal melodies. Think bands like Tonton Macoute, Skin Alley and Maelstrom for a lazy instant comparison, and maybe a touch of Atomic Rooster with the constant presence of the Hammond organ. Despite being very talented musicians overall, the band had two secret weapons in the confident and powerful vocals of Ole Wedel, and the searing electric guitar playing of Benny Stanley.

The deeply funky `Living Dead', the tale of a heroin junkie, is filled with thick rollicking upfront bass, spiraling Hammond runs and scorching hard electric guitar soloing in the extended middle instrumental section. `Princess' is a sweet country rocker with classy group harmonies before an extended instrumental break in the middle with a long extended guitar solo that highlights the heartfelt lyric. `Jingoism' is a wild and delirious rocker with lots of call-and-response vocal passages with a jazzy run of piano and loose drumming in the middle.

After the short organ solo `Prelude', several sections of the first part of `Monksong' have such beautiful lilting Jon Anderson-like sighed harmonies, dreamy acoustic strumming and chunky bass that it could easily have come from that wonderful first Yes album. The darting flute and Hammond duel in the final minute really goes off, while `Part 02' turns into a grooving heavy stomping rocker with spiky electric guitar and super-thick melting Hammond. Very foot-tapping and addictive, it could have easily been on any of the first three Atomic Rooster albums, if only the lyrics were a little darker and more occult themed! The dirty and brooding finale `Going Blind' is a serious slow-burner that lets all the players unwind and go out on a high. Lots of bluesy guitar soloing, hellfire Hammond, punishing bass and aggressive drumming, an uplifting and joyous piano-driven middle before the band literally goes into raucous meltdown attack mode in the final minutes.

Ache - 1977 - Blå Som Altid

Blå Som Altid

01. Den Mellemungende Tid
02. Kilometerstenen
03. Pantomime
04. Evig Søndag
05. Perafinn
06. Se dig omkring
07. Ingen returbillet

- Finn Olafsson / guitars, vocal
- Per Wium / keyboards, vocal
- Steen Toft Andersen / keyboards, harmonica, vocal
- Torsten Olafsson / bass, vocal, vibraphone, shakuhachi
- Gert Smedegaard / drums

The DNA profile of Ache is still very much present on this album. Excellent Hammond organ passages is scattered around this album. The symphonic prog elements has been replaced with a more jazzy type of pop rock though. I think this is called going commercial. Which is fair enough. The jazz elements here is a good replacement for the symphonic prog elements. There are even some good guitar solos here.

Despite of this, the stuff is pretty good, but nothing more. There are some interesting melody lines scattered around the album, though. This inbetween the dull run-of-the-mill stuff. The Hammond organs and the jazz elements saves this album from being another pop rock album from 1977.

Ache - 1976 - Pictures From Cyclus 7

Pictures From Cyclus 7

01. Cyclus 7, Introduction (3:20)
02. Roses (Registering) (6:17)
03. Still hungry (Vampyre song) (7:03)
04. What Can We Do? (0:47)
05. Still registering (2:53)
06. Our Lives (5:53)
07. Last Part 1 (1:02)
08. Outtroduction (4:07)
09. Last Part 2 (1:45)
10. Expectation (6:48)

- Stig Kreutzfeldt / vocals, percussion
- Johnnie Gellett / vocals, percussion, acoustic guitar
- Finn Olafsson / guitars
- Peter Mellin / keyboards, harmony vocals
- Steen Toft Andersen / bass
- Gert Smedegaard / drums

Released in 1976 5 years after their second album Green Man and with a completely revised line up, Pictures From Cyclus 7 was not only Ache's best album, but the best Danish prog album period. I have heard quite a few bands from Denmark, Norway, et all and been hugely let down trying to find something along this album's lines of melodic disciplined progressive pop/rock with no self indulgence whatsoever. Ache had made two high quality if inconsistent psychedelic/progressive records in the form of De Homine Urbano and Green Man, but this line up of 6 musicians + lyricist Bo Lillesoe made what is the unbeatable album from the Nordic Realm. The music is best described as "cosmic" progressive pop/rock- a cross hybrid of late 60s pop influences (the vocals), dark psychedelia (the guitars, lyrics, some vocals, some keyboards), and symphonic prog (Procol Harum/Genesis influence- particularly Procol H.) The lyrics are really sinister while the music is fairly subdued, extremely melodic, and one could even say lushly symphonic with liberal use of synthesizer, organ, and mellotron. The group were not aiming for an "Anglo" sound, but instead for something uniquelly dark and as freezing as a Danish winter, with some UK influences much in the background. Sung entirely in English, the two vocalists have extremely appealing voices and the dreamy melodic vocals could lead to comparisons with England's Deep Feeling (why don't you guys put this album up here- it's THE BEST!!!) and Kayak, while the heavily phased and distorted guitar takes on psychedelic overtones which makes this symphonic/psychedelic hybrid a unique record. So what makes this album so good you might ask? There is a lot of heart and a lot of warmth in this music, it is as uplifting as it is ominous, and the careful attention paid to songs instead of solos is very refreshing. Things are at their murkiest on "(Still Hungry) Vampire Song" which is pretty harrowing, creepy, and really, really abrasive lyrically and the exact opposite musically. The chorus is pure Salty Dog/Shine On Brightly period Procol Harum while the vocals sound seriously drugged in a natural rather than chemical induced way- although it may have been both. There is no track I wouldn't say is an absolute killer on this album, and the diversity helps a great deal. Here you have uptempo melodic pop laced rock in the Introduction, complex prog in "Roses," and a marriage of pop, prog, and heavy psychedelia in the closing track. Everything any MUSIC fan could want is here- flawless musicianship, great vocals, a fab production, and most importantly great songs. The music is not aimless like on some of Ache's earlier works which are still good, and also there is no "experimental" or "free jazz" yammering like so much of these overrated Danish bands (Burnin Red Ivanhoe etc). If you are looking for the best Danish record for progressive rock this is the album to do it, and it blows hyper expensive doggerell like Old Man And The Sea out of the water! I would even go so far as to say that at this point in time Ache were a world class band who could stand up to anybody from anywhere. Unfortunately, the line up that recorded this album fell apart, leaving behind but one masterpiece much coveted by me and I hope a few others.

Ache - 1971 - Green Man

Green Man

01. Equatorial rain (6:59)
02. Sweet Jolly Joyce (3:47)
03. The Invasion (5:58)
04. Shadow Of A Gypsy (4:38)
05. Green Man (4:38)
06. Accheron (4:47)
07. We Can Work It Out (8:43)

- Torsten Olafsson / vocals, bass, spinet
- Peter Mellin / Hammond organ, grand piano, vibraphone, vocals
- Finn Olafsson / electric & acoustic guitars, vocals, percussion
- Glenn Fischer / drums, percussion
- Johnny Reimar / backing vocals

The lineup includes a bunch of unknowns: then seventeen-year old guitarist Finn Olafsson on a warm Rickenbacker as well as acoustic and 12-string; Peter Mellin on his fat Hammond and chortling out well-timed vocal harmonies, not to mention vibraphone and overlaid piano tracks throughout; percussionist Glenn Fischer; and bassist/vocalist Torsten Olafsson. There are also lots of “special effects”, mostly toward the first half of the album and mostly what appear to be pre-recorded sounds mixed back on tracks during the post-production process.

The album cover shows what appears to be a boogey man, or maybe just some creepy guy in a Halloween costume (do Danes recognize Halloween?). Anyway the lyrics for most of the tracks are typical late-sixties combination fantasy with vaguely social overtones, and partly psychedelic. The title track by the way kicks off sounding like some sort of early Manfred Mann ditty with a simple tempo, very little percussion beyond simple snare, and acoustic guitar. But the Rickenbacker kicks in shortly, and by the time the Hammond wades into the mix its clear this isn’t something from a 1965 playlist.

Back to the beginning though, “Equatorial Rain” starts off with some of those goofy sound effects, but these quickly give way to a Hammond/vocal dirge that could pass for Ray Manzarek and Jim Morrison in a b-side of the Doors 1967 classic “The End”. In fact Torsten Olafsson shows an uncanny ability to sound like Morrison at several points of this album. This stuff isn’t quite as powerful as what the Doors were doing at the same time, but from what I’ve read these guys were better showmen in that they didn’t no-show half the time or have their lead singer puke and expose himself when they did make it to the stage. So in those two ways they weren’t like the Doors at all. Selah.

The more I listen to “Sweet Jolly Joyce” the more it makes me picture David Bowie trying to do punk while on acid. Hey, I’m all about word pictures, and that one works for me.

You can tell this wasn’t recorded in a single session (and maybe not even at a single studio). “The Invasion” is much more muddled and flat-sounding than the rest of the album, and is basically a slow, hypnotic psych number with long Hammond passages that culminate in a nice guitar/drum finish. This is a multi-part and rather abstract story of some sort that probably made a lot more sense in 1970 than it does today.

The band’s one-hit claim to fame must have been “Shadow of a Gypsy” since it still features on their web site (both the lyrics and the music). This is a very Procol Harum-sounding tune, mysterious, Hammond heavy, mystical lyrics, and deep harmonic backing vocals from what sounds like the whole rest of the band. I can easily see this being a hit any time between 1968 and 1973.

“Acheron” is another tune whose keyboards and guitar remind me a lot of the late-sixties Doors, but maybe with a little more of a jazz texture than what those guys ever displayed.

Finally the album ends with the most unexpected and original version of the Beatles “We Can Work it Out” I’ve ever heard. Basically this is an organ and drum dirge that progresses into a highly rhythmic and very psychedelic extended instrumental/ chanting passages and vocals that sound more like a stoned Londoner than some Nordic dude. Hard to describe, but if you can find this it’s a very original rendition that most prog fans will probably enjoy. Best guitar work on the album as well.

According to the band’s web site these guys seem to still be making music in some fashion or another, although it doesn’t appear they put any albums out in about thirty years. This seems a bit obscure to me but the CD has only been out for about eight years so there must be many more well-informed proggers than I as the demand must have been there to reissue it on CD. A great find, one of those rare examples of excellent very early prog that didn’t end up on the overexposed, overplayed list like most of the huge prog bands of that day. Highly recommended to pretty much any prog music fan.

Ache - 1970 - De Homine Urbano

De Homine Urbano

01. De Homine Urbano (19:01)
  01) Overture
  02) Soldier theme
  03) Ballerina theme
  04) Pas de deux
  05) Ogre theme
  06) Awakening
  07) The dance of the demons
  08) Pas de trois
  09) The last attempt
  10) Finale
02. Little Things (18:37)

- Torsten Olafsson / bass, vocals, harpsichord
- Finn Olafsson / guitars, vocals
- Peter Mellin / Hammond organ, piano, vibraphone, vocals
- Glenn Fischer / drums, percussion

The seeds for ACHE were sown in the early 60's via the Danish beat group THE HARLOWS. When HARLOWS Torsten Olafsson (bass), Peter Mellin (organ) and Glenn Fischer (drums) were joined by former MCKENZIE SET guitarist Finn Olafsson in 1968, ACHE was born.

They spent the next two years working on an extended piece called "De Homine Urbano", which was released as programme music to an experimental "rock ballet" in 1970. Released on the Philips label the same year with an accompanying single of non-album tracks, it netted positive reviews in the Danish press. ACHE's "rock theater" created something of a sensation in the rock underground, and "Green Man" followed in 1971. The next major ACHE project, by a revised six-piece version of the band, was a conceptual work called "Pictures From Cyclus 7", written in collaboration with lyricist Bo Lillesöe in 1975 and released one year later.

Ache have remained active on and off, albeit sporadically, ever since. Their only other major work (i.e.: not counting singles and compilations) has been "Blå som altid", a folk-oriented album released in 1978.

 `De Homine Urbano' is the debut work from vintage progressive rock related band Ache, hailing from Denmark. Originally recorded as a soundtrack to an experimental rock-opera in 1970, it should come as no surprise that the music here has numerous lengthy flowing instrumental sections, as well as little in the way of vocals to distract from that. Split into two side long pieces, the band present a rough-around-the-edges take on symphonic prog, somewhat along the lines of early classical influenced bands such as The Nice, but never as fancy or sophisticated. Instead the band charges through a frequently heavy, wild and more reckless extended work, with just a slightly sloppier and dirtier edge to the sound, and it's all the more addictive for it. With plenty of fuzzy organ workouts, delicate piano moments and varied ragged percussion, it's a fascinating work that reveals its strengths over repeated plays.

Considered a ten-part suite, the eighteen plus minute title-track offers a colourful range of instrumental passages with just a few vocal moments thrown in as well. Spiralling organ that grows and retreats back and forth in urgency, delicate bass, snapping drumming and dirty distorted lead guitar introduces the piece. Admittedly the band let themselves down a little when one of their main repeated guitar/vocal melodies throughout this piece is ripped straight off the Beatles track `Every Little Thing', or more accurately the Yes cover take that appeared on their debut album, but it only shows up in one or two spots, with other brief nonsensical lyrics taking on a freeform rambling quality. Piano is gentle one second, jagged and psychedelic the next, the cascading electric guitar driving and bluesy one moment, jazzy guitar licks soon after. The Hammond organ is constantly deliciously scratchy, sometimes along the lines of the early Eloy and ELP albums, and the drumming is always sprightly and full of spontaneity. All of these are worked through a range of tempo changes back and forth, with an effective use of grandious reprises for dramatic build. Especially nice is the subdued finale with tinkling ambient chimes, droning organ and soft hand percussion with a victorious electric guitar solo (sounding very much along the lines of early Genesis!) is especially pretty.

The nineteen minute flip-side `Little Things' might just be even better! Full of confidence and tasteful playing, it constrasts beautiful passages with more intense and suspensful emotional moments. There's a darkness and creeping unease throughout the piece that makes for even more of a statement of intent and a display of the band's abilities. It opens with marching drums over prancing organ that brings some lovely fanfare pomp, with some lovely fleeting blissful acoustic guitar moments too. The piece suddenly heads in a darker direction, with unexpected nightmarish stalking piano and somber organ drones, the bass thicker and more menacing throughout. Fiery jazz fusion electric guitar runs spliced with hypnotic middle-eastern ambience burst forth, the entire band playing with rambuctious and thrashing power, but listen carefully to the expertly executed build with creeping piano, punching repetitive bass and chiming guitars over rising and falling Hammond crescendos in the final minutes. Powerful drumming drives the melodic and more upbeat finale home, the band breaking in and out of a tornado of swirling noise.

Initially somewhat underwhelming on first impression, the debut Ache album quickly wins over listeners with it's energetic playing and ambitious arrangements. Although a rarer LP, it can now be easily purchased on an affordable CD backed with the also superb second album `Green Man'. Fans of early Hammond heavy albums by bands like Eloy, Grobshcnitt and Jane, as well as those curious of a dirtier take on music similar to The Nice and Emerson, Lake and Palmer should investigate this one right away. It's an addictive album in need of a little more exposure and more listeners to enjoy it!
This Danish band was founded in '68 and featured Torsten Olafsson (bass and vocals), Finn Olafsson (guitar and vocals), Peter Mellin (organ and keyboards) and Glen Fisher (drums and pecussion). They made two albums: "De hombre urbano ('70) and "Green man" ('71). The music is similar to the Early British Progressive Rock Movement (JULIAN'S TREATMENT, RARE BIRD, BEGGAR'S OPERA, ATOMIC ROOSTER), the German Krautrock (early JANE, ELOY, RAMSES, TRIUMVIRAT) and Dutch masters EARTH & FIRE (their early, con-commercial era). In 2000 both albums were released on 1 CD entitled "Ache: De hombre urbano + Green man". The music is based upon splendid keyboardplay (many floods of Hammond organ) and some fiery electric guitar. The first album contains two 'side-long tracks', the atmosphere is typically end Sixties and early Seventies with lots of solos and long, exciting interplay between guitar and keyboards, like jams. The second album includes shorter songs but the climates are in the vein of the first LP. If you listen to this CD, it's incredible that the magnificent keyboardplay is delivered by an unknown Danish musician!

Blast Furnace - 1971 - Blast Furnace

Blast Furnace 
Blast Furnace

01. First and Last 4:06
02. Ginger Cake 5:30
03. Jaywalker 4:17
04. B-Major Blast 0:20
05. This Time of Year 4:15
06. Toytown 7:10
07. Man Bites Dog 2:07
08. Long Distance 4:00
09. Goodbye Mr. Bobo 2:40
10. Dr. Night 4:55
11. Bye Bye Bobo 1:27
12. Lister Du Omkring Hjorner - Bonus 4:24

Tom McEwan: drums, congas, percussion, lead vocals, piano, backing vocals
Arne Würgler: bass, cello, acoustic guitar, harmonica, lead vocals, backing vocals
Thor Backhausen: organ, piano, flute, backing vocals
Niels Vangkilde: acoustic guitar, electric guitar, backing vocals

A short-lived band from Copenhagen, Denmark, formed propably in 1971 by ex-Pan bassist Arne Wuergler (who also played the cello and sung), 18-years old guitarist Niels Vangkilde, keyboardist/flutist Thor Backhausen and British drummer and singer Tom McEwan, who had settled in the Danish capital.Blast Furnace recorded their only album at the Rosenberg Studios in October 1971 and the work was released by the Polydor management in Denmark.

Their debut and sole effort was a typical Danish Rock album of the early-70's with major psychedelic influenes and some minor progressive parts, apparently coming from the diverse instrumentation, which included flute, cello, piano and organ behind the standard instruments.Their sound swirled around playful rhythms, decent melodies, nice rockin' tunes and some instrumental flexibility, which was headed by the loose jams on flute, organ and guitar and the ability of the band to combine heavier with more smooth parts.Of course tracks like ''Toytown'' are quite proggy, even if no particular complexity is present, with nice climate changes in a psychedelic vein, led by the alternation between light piano lines, powerful organ grooves and the discreet cello scratching.Vocals are great, very expressive and clean, the rhythm parts and the guitar leads are also very good and the tracks feature lots of isolated solos with a rockin' background, no matter if we talking about flutes, keyboards or guitars.On the other hand the progressive value is limited to this principles, structurally speaking most pieces are pretty song-oriented with the aforementioned jamming showing a mood for a more intricate sound, which never reached at its peak.

Low sales and musicians contributing in other groups led to the disbanding of Blast Furnace in 1972.McEwan and Vangkilde would later play with Culpeper's Orchard (McEwan became a comedy actor afterwards), Wuergler released no less than 5 solo albums within the next 25 years and Backhausen made also a solo attempt of his own in 1998 with ''Universe''.

Heavy/Psych Rock with low prog interest.The jamming parts, some good instrumental solos and the superb vocals are the best things this album has to offer. Enough for a warm recommendation.

Musikpatruljen - 1972 - Musikpatruljen


01. Den Fremmede 06:29
02. Du Kan Enten Vare Ligeglad 03:32
03. Stenlose 04:46
04. Far, Far Krigsmand 03:35
05. EEC 01:24
06. Bondens Klage 07:37
07. Jeg Tankte 01:54
08. Nar Livet Ta'r Afsted 04:52
09. Skoven 04:32
10. Motorvejen 02:34

Bjorn Uglebjerg – Drums
Knud Bjorno – Flute, Saxophone
Peter Ingemann – Vocals, Bass, Violin
Tomrer Claus – Vocals, Electric Guitar
Niels Skousen – Vocals, Guitar

Danish hippieband featuring Nils Skousen, Tömerclaus and Björn Ugleberg (orignal drummer of GASOLIN) with freaking rocking hippie musik ranging from more guitar dominated songs to more jazzy flower power tunes. Songs like "Stenlöse" just never dies..

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Alrune Rod - 2005 - Live Ragnarock 74

Alrune Rod 
Live Ragnarock 74

01. Om At
02. Ringene I Sandet
03. Flyv Fugi Fisk
04. De Vises Sten
05. Rock Soster

Leif Roden / bass, vocal
Karsten Høst / drums
Mikael Miller / guitar
Ole Poulsen / guitar.

This festival was an annual event in the Holmenkollen ski-jumping arena in the early 1970s. Other bands who also played was PRUDENCE and I believe THEM. The arena is perfect for rock concerts and I cannot understand why nobody has done it again.

Over to the record. The band goes on the full attack from the first note. The music is hard rock with some references to space rock and southern boogie. The music is mostly driven by solo guitars and saxophone. The result is hard & heavy.

Alrune Rod - 2003 - Live In Aalborg

Alrune Rod
Live In Aalborg

01. Natskyggevej
02. Ikke Forstyrre
03. Spredt For Vinden
04. Du Taler & SIR
05. Rejsende Hjem

Live recording from '02 by reunited ALRUNE ROD, Danish psychedelic jam-rock legends from the 70's. 5 long tracks , one of which over 18 minutes, we they jam like crazy as if time stood still, energetic as they used to be in the ealry 70's.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Alrune Rod - 1975 - Tatuba Tapes

Alrune Rod
Tatuba Tapes

01. Lad os sammen finde de andre (2:12)
02. Her i solen (8:40)
03. Nærmest blå (5:03)
04. Du må ændre hvad du vil (12:54)
05. Senere (3:13)

- Leif Roden / vocals, bass
- Ole Poulsen / guitar, vocals
- Mikael Miller / guitar, vocals
- Tom Lunden / keyboards, vocals
- Karsten Høst / drums

By Bodhi Heeren:

For sure seeing Alrune Rod's final concert, an 8(!!) hours musical feast, one of the (musical) highlights of this life. It was therefore a huge disappointment when the much anticipated album came out comprising of only just half an hour of the magic. And far from the best parts of the show.

Something may have gone wrong with the recording equipment or maybe the fact that the guitars are out of tune - a lot more noticeable on record as it was in real life - led to the decision to only release this small fragment. What we get is good enough though, best the opening track "Lad os sammen finde de andre" ("Let's go together and find the others" that showcases the deep connection between the band and it's fans, and I swear I can hear my self shouting/singing along!

I still hope there will be a release of more from this show, maybe on the bands fan club page that hosts some (legal and free) downloads of this the most fantastic live band. Till then do invest in this short but beautiful item.

Alrune Rod - 1974 - 4-Vejs

Alrune Rod 

01. En Morgen
02. Den Samme Mand
03. De Vises Sten
04. Ringene I Sandet
05. Forårsmorgen
06. Skinner
07. Alt Roder
08. Et Menneske

Leif Roden / bass, vocal
Karsten Høst / drums
Mikael Miller / guitar
Ole Poulsen / guitar

4-vejs ( Four-Ways) is the fifth studio album from legendary Danish psychadelic progressive rock band Alrune Rod ( translates into Mandrake Root in English). I haven´t yet heard Alrune Rod´s 1972 effort Spredt For Vinden ( Scattered by the Wind) which was the predecessor to 4- Vejs so I´m not sure which kind of development has happened between those two albums.
My history with Alrune Rod starts about fifteen years ago in my friends basement. Under heavy influence of mildy mind altering drugs we listened to a lot of sixties and seventies Danish music and at some point one of Alrune Rod´s first two albums would always be placed on the grammophone ( Yes that lucky bastard had the original vinyls) and we would get lost in the dark psychadelic music that graces those for Danish music essential albums. Those albums (Alrune Rod and Hej Du) have always had a special place in my prog heart.

A couple of years ago I bought the CD re-issue Sonet Årene 69-72 where Alrune Rod´s first three albums and their first single with non-album tracks are present on 2 CDs. It´s a highly recommendable compilation for anyone interested in Danish psychadelic progressive rock. I never went further in discovering the rest of Alrune Rod´s discography though until now where I have gotten a hold of 4-Vejs.

The music on 4-Vejs is very different from the dark organ driven psychadelic rock style Alrune Rod are mostly known for. There are eight songs with varying lengths from 2-6 minutes which means that there are non of the 10 minute psychadelic rock songs which was one of their trademarks on the early albums. Instead we´re treated with more ordinarely structured rock songs with very few psychadelic hints. This is not your ordinary rock band though. Alrune Rod is still a bit out of the ordinary and I actually enjoy this album much more than I would have thought possible. There are still some great instrumental parts here and there with both guitar, organ and sax solos albeit a bit more straight than in the early years. I really enjoyed songs like De Vises Sten ( Stones of the Wise) and Forårsmorgen ( Spring Morning).

The musicianship is tight and Leif Roden sings more straight on 4-Vejs than his usual out of tune wailing. All musicians play with great authority but I´ll have to give Karsten Høst on drums a special mention. He is very skilled and his playing is way above the average drummer in this genre. What a great addition to Alrune Rod.

Alrune Rod - 1972 - Spredt For Vinden

Alrune Rod 
Spredt For Vinden

01. Kom Nu
02. Her I Solen
03. En Snehvid Fugl
04. Sammensang
05. Xn
06. Flyv Fugl Fisk
07. Spredt For Vinden
08. Gåseøjne
09. Gåseøjne Fortsat

- Leif Roden / bass, vocal
- Karsten Høst / drums
- Mikael Miller / guitar
- Ole Poulsen / guitar

Spredt for Vinden ( scattered by the wind) is the fourth studio album from Danish psychadelic rock band Alrune Rod ( Mandrake Root). Alrune Rod was together with bands like Young Flowers and Steppeulvene some of the most famous Danish bands from the late sixties and early seventies. Alrune Rod is in fact one of the most psychadelic bands I have ever heard but that´s only on their two first albums. Spredt for Vinden was, in spite of what is said here on PA, recorded in March and April of 1973 and released later that year. Their previous album called Alrune Rock was released in 1971 which means that the band had had a pretty ( in those days) lenghty break from recording. The only remaining member from Alrune Rock is singer and bassist Leif Roden and it was probably because of these lineup changes that it took two years before Alrune Rod released Spredt for Vinden.
The music on Spredt for Vinden is rock with a psychadelic touch. Some songs are more psychadelic than others. Songs like Kom Nu ( come now) and Gåseøjne ( Goose eyes) are very cool psychadelic rock songs but the rest of the songs are also very good even if they are a bit more straight. The biggest change in Alrune Rod´s sound is the lack of a dominant organ. Even though there are both piano and sax and violin on this album Alrune Rod has aimed for a much more stripped down approach compared to the early psychadelic days. There´s also a folky feeling that creeps in on some of the tracks. The title track is a great example of this feature. The only song I dislike is Sammensang ( translated directly it would say Togethersong but the meaning is probably singing together). Here Alrune Rod shows their hippie genes and I cringe with embarresment. Sometimes there´s a bit too much love hippie ideals on their albums for my taste.

The musicianship is really good. In fact I think that this incarnation of Alrune Rod is a much more well playing unit than the old one ( which had their charm in other features). Like on the next album called 4-Vejs Leif Roden has much better control of his voice on Spredt for Vinden than he had in the early days when his out of tune wailing could sometimes test my patience. New drummer Karsten Høst is an excellent and tight drummer while the two guitarists compliment each other well. Great slide guitars and bluesy soloing.

The production is very good and suits the sharper musical approach that Alrune Rod had chosen at this time.

Alrune Rod - 1971 - Alrune Rock

Alrune Rod
Alrune Rock 

01. Om At (7:39)
02. Kender Du Det (6:07)
03. Jeg Tænker Så Tit pt 1&2 (7:08)
04. Rock Søster (7:32)
05. Ikke Forstyrre (8:00)
06. I Din Nabos Lys (2:00)

Giese / guitar & vocals
Kurt Ziegler ‘Pastor’ / organ, piano
Claus From / drums
Leif Roden / vocals, bass

With their third album AR made some concessions to commercial issues, even releasing an English-sung variant of the album, but shorter writing songs (no longer than 8 mins) where vocals take on a much more important and upfront role. With a comparatively bland (but wiser commercially) artwork featuring a bucolic landscape with a farmhouse, there still only six tracks on the album, but the mood is definitely set on more concise songs, allowing much less interplay than on the two previous albums. The group will again have line-up changes with Ziegler leaving, not really being replaced by another keyboardist, but by a second (rhythm) guitarist Ole Poulsen (who will co-write on all tracks) and a bunch of guest musicians to fill Ziegler’s shoes!

Starting on fairly strong Om At, sounding a bit like an average Spirit track, partly because of Giese’s guitar tone resembling Randy California’s, the album is a bit of a pot-pourri, as the next track, a rather dumb-sounding ballad overstaying its welcome. The two- part JegTaenker is definitely more reminiscent of the group’s previous two albums, but much more in its intro than in the latter parts, which can sound symphonic with the addition of a flute on a piano background, but ends in a fishtail fade-out.

On the flipside, Rock Sister features some sax parts, but the songwriting is weak and uninspired, not being helped much by some awful vocals that most amateur bands would avoid. Easily the group’s first three album’s weakest track! Fortunately the follow-up track Ikke Forstyrre is much more promising, sounding like Quicksilver Messenger Service’s debut album, Giese’s guitars is sounding a bit like Cipollina’s superb twangy wahwah guitar throughout much of the album. This track and Om At are the two highlights and just about save the album from sinking. Closing the album is a short and insignificant track, not bringing much more to the album.

On the whole, the album is a much livelier, happier collection of songs, (some of which are fairly good), but it is clear that AR lost a good deal of its soul in this metamorphosis. Significantly, electric and acoustic guitar are more upfront on this album at the expense of the keyboards, and Roden’s vocals are simply too weak to endure a whole album, especially for the sake of the listener’s ear.

This would prove to be their last album for the Sonet label as the group would create its own label Mandragora (but distributed by Sonet, if memory serves) and release three more albums in so many years. In the meantime, their third album is much less essential affair, but most progheads will not escape it, since early AZR works are on the Sonet Arene compilation, which seems to be the handiest and most easily available AR record around.

Alrune Rod - 1971 - Hej Du

Alrune Rod
Hej Du

01. Du Taler Og Sir’ (7.51)
02. Hej Du (15.11)
03. Perlesøen (21.51)

Giese / guitar & vocals
Kurt Ziegler ‘Pastor’ / organ, piano
Claus From / drums
Leif Roden / vocals, bass

If AR’s debut was a dark and un-commercial album, wait ‘til you get a load of Hej Du with its three tracks only (we are in ‘70, well before CTTE or other landmarks), and multi-movement pieces. Sporting a naïve childlike artwork, fans usually regard this album as the group’s definitive statement, and I must say that it does make quite an impression on me, still more than 10 years after discovering it. Actually the group will experience their first line-up change during the recording of this album, with original drummer From leaving the stool to Karsten Host.

Starting with the distorted guitars of Du Taler Sumthinalongthisline (You Talk And Say), the album gives a shot in the anthill of your certainties, but the track is actually fairly weak as the over-powering vocals are not exactly well thought out. The following 15-min+ title track is quite an improvement, as it is reminiscent of the dynamics of the closer Hjem of the debut album. Indeed, the organ and guitar are clashing wildly while Host’s drumming is at times breathtaking.

The sidelong 8-movement almost-22min suite Perlesoen is clearly the album’s centerpiece (even if it stands as its last track ;o), with its interesting mixture of dark organ-based progressive (ala Uriah Heep), psychedelic music (early Pink Floyd), and space rock (early Hawkwind) and bits of soul music (reworked ala Vanilla Fudge), with loads of riffing guitars and wild drumming. Even having some flute parts in one movement, this epic is truly progressive with each chapter developing its own mood, but adding to the whole structure. One of the assets of this track is that a second drummer Klaus From helps out, giving more depth to it. Just past the halfway mark, as the track stops for umpteenth time, the bass picks up with the searing guitar, soon joined by the drums and organs to build a lengthy crescendo, then suddenly, bass and guitar break away some more, before eventually dying out. As soon as gone, an organ line is to be heard lazily followed by another, then almost whispering vocals (at first anyway) with Appice-like drums, the whole thing ending in chaos!

Although marginally better than their eponymous debut album, Hej Du is one of Denmark’s most definitive albums in its genre (if you except the vocally ambitious but ultimately poor opening track), and only topped progressively (but in a very different genre) by Secret Oyster’s outstanding jazz-rock of Sea Son. Highly recommended piece of somber hippie rock especially to most of those symphonic progheads claiming psych rock is not part of “prog”.

Alrune Rod - 1969 - Alrune Rod

Alrune Rod 
Alrune Rod

01. Alrune Rod (10:00)
02. Natskyggevej (9:55)
03. Hvor Skal Jeg Se Solen Stå Op (3:12)
04. Bjergsangen (11:57)
   Fase1: Kom Og Tag Min Hånd
   Fase2: Du Er Så Sød
   Fase3: Når Yderst Er Inderst
05. Rejsen Hjem (13:23)

Giese / guitar & vocals
Kurt Ziegler ‘Pastor’ / organ, piano
Claus From / drums
Leif Roden / vocals, bass

Alrune Rod is probably one of the most important Danish rock bands from the psychedelic era, and along with STEPPEULVENE, generally considered the epitome of Danish psychedelic rock and the Danish counterculture movement of the1960s and 1970s in general.

Alrune Rod, colloquially referred to as 'Alrunen', were formed in 1968 by Leif Roden and are considered to be the pioneers in Danish psychedelic and artistically oriented rock music, along with acts like BURNIN' RED IVANHOE , STEPPEULVENE, CULPEPPER'S ORCHARD, BLUE SUN and ACHE. Alrune Rod debuted with the single 'Tæl Aldrig I Morgen Med' in 1968 and the full length studio album 'Alrunes Rod' in 1969, followed by the highly acclaimed 'Hej Du' in 1970 and 'Alrune Rock' in 1971, which was released in a Danish language version and an English language version. The remaining three albums 'Spredt For Vinden' from 1972, '4-vejs' from 1974, and 'Tatuba Tapes' from 1975 are generally considered sub par compared to their earlier releases. Nonetheless, 'Tatuba Tapes' is notable for being recorded live in the studio.

Their musical style is often described as a hybrid between THE GRATEFUL DEAD and early PINK FLOYD. They initially composed fairly long songs, typically of 10 to 13 minutes of length which blended the heaviness of the blues rock with the complexity of art rock, some of their compositions bordering on bein symphonic. 'Hej Du' is considered their masterpiece with compositions like hard rocking 'Du Taler Og Siger' and the almost twenty-two minutes long 'Perlesøen'. While their early efforts are characterized by a relatively dark atmosphere, their post-'Hej Du' albums contain shorter, livelier and more accessible tunes, which nonetheless retain several progressive elements. Lyrically, Alrune Rod dealt with complex topics like the human psyche as well as society and politics but were not above addressing more trivial topics like love and rock 'n' roll rebellion.

Eponymous debut album from this quintessential Danish group Alrune Rod (Mandrake Root), which was highly touted in the underground scene for their disregard to commercial aspects of the music business. Indeed their heavy psych-prog, sung in Danish (apparently a first), sounds like a darker Vanilla Fudge or Floyd (between Saucerful and Atom Heart) was full of lengthy tracks with elongated solos, dark brooding vocals and multi-movement tracks. Graced with a very sexy psychedelic gatefold artwork, the album has gained a cult status in its homeland and the vinyl is fetching considerable price.
From the very first notes of the opening eponymous track (10-mins long), it is clear that this album is not wedding dancing party music, and should you find a woman willing to make out to it, get a grip on her and marry her! ;o)p) And if the AR track was not enough, wait till you get a load of the following 10-min Natskyggevej (yeah, bless you too! ;o), which is definitely even deeper and sombre with the ever-present organ. Even if sombre, the ambiances are actually often beautiful and sometimes solemn, but also menacing and spellbinding. Closing the A-side is the short and unusual Hvor Skalwhatchymacallit with some acoustic guitars and congas. Bassist Roden's voice can be an acquired taste, especially on tracks were vocals take a more upfront role.

The flipside only contains two more epics, starting with the 12-min 3-phase Bjergsangen which sounds much like its cousins, searing guitar lines, good base work and enthralling drum playing, but the middle section is a bit awkward and add to the feeling that the music also has an anaemic side to it. Ziegler's organ sounds like a cross of Banton meeting Jon Lord through Kaye or Wright, but fails to take the lead from Giese's fuzzed-out guitar lines. Closing the album is the 13-min+ Rejsen Hejm (Pardon my Danish) is the most dramatic of the album, and its dynamics are adding a bit of a third dimension to the album.

AR's debut album is not a really easy listen, especially given that the album is rather long, (approaching the 50 minutes), but should ravish organ-driven hard rock with a psych edge! Although likely to please most progheads, I'd warn those liking very complex symphonic rock (ala Yes or ELP), that they might not find what they're looking usually for in this group.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Skousen & Ingemann - 1971 - Herfra hvor vi står

Skousen & Ingemann 
Herfra hvor vi står

01. Isabel   
02. Svært At Nå Frem   
03. Fodbold   
04. Kaptajnen   
05. Knud Lavard   
06. Herfra Hvor Vi Står   

Bass, Violin, Organ, Vocals, Percussion – Peter Ingemann
Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals – Bjørn Uglebjerg
Flute, Saxophone, Backing Vocals – Knud Bjørnø
Guitar – Tømmer Claus
Guitar, Congas, Backing Vocals – Stig Møller
Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica – Niels Skousen

Danish folk-inspired duo working with a loose constellation of backing musicians throughout the 1970's. After the breakup of Young Flowers in early 1970 bass player Peter Ingemann started collaborating with folk singer Niels Skousen as a duo before establishing a full band. The folkish debut album, 1971's Herfra Hvor Vi Står is considered a milestone in Danish rock music history with it's unique Danish expression and became a catalysator to Danish rock mucicians writing lyrics in their own language. Early 1972 the recording and touring line-up evolved into Musikpatruljen, and then disbanded within a year. By summer 1975 Skousen and Ingemann played in the band of singer-songwriter Stig Møller, and the year after the threesome recorded Lykkehjulet, released in November. For their last album Forbryderalbum, released in October 1978, the duo assembled a whole new group of musicians. During the 1980's and 1990's they worked on and off playing live, as a duo or with backing musicians. In 1984 Ingemann and Møller participated to "concert of the year" in Denmark, organised by the Danish committee against the European Community, and contributed the 1971 single "EEC Blues" to the resulting live album (Årets Koncert). In May 2011 Skousen and Ingemann reunited to perform the entire album Herfra Hvor Vi Står at a live concert to commemorate its 40 years anniversary. Even thou I do not understand a word of what they say, I have always liked this album. Can't have enough of it!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Burnin Red Ivanhoe - 1980 - Shorts

Burnin Red Ivanhoe

01. Duen
02. With Love
03. Neonblomsten
04. Latterens Slot
05. Skumringsfalk
06. Lystige Lise
07. Tavse Thormod
08. Zebra Danza
09. Den Hvide Manege
10. Jeg Tar Dig Som Du Er

- Karsten Vogel / saxophone, organ, Mellotron
- Ole Fick / guitar, vocals
- Jess Stæhr / bass, vocals
- Kim Menzer / saxophone, flute, harmonica, violin
- Bo Thrige Andersen / drums

The music is far from the experimental Jazz/ Rock style Burnin´ Red Ivanhoe is generally known for and I´m sure that fans of the first three and most famous albums would cringe with embarrasment if they heard Shorts because this is bad eighties AOR if I´m being nice and really bad AOR if I´m not. You can still hear Karsten Vogel´s saxophone playing here and there but it´s about the only thing that links this album to Burnin´ Red Ivanhoe of the seventies. What a shame. This is such a cheesy album full of simple pop tunes with trivial arranged instrumentation.

The musicianship is good, but it´s no surprise if you´ve heard their albums from the seventies.

Burnin Red Ivanhoe - 1974 - Right On

Burnin Red Ivanhoe 
Right On

01. August suicidal
02. When I look into your eyes
03. La bearte du buste
04. Make me look away
05. Rockin`rambler
06. Tell me
07. Accident, After the carcrash

- Karsten Vogel / saxophone, organ, Mellotron
- Ole Fick / guitar, vocals
- Jess Stæhr / bass, vocals
- Kim Menzer / saxophone, flute, harmonica, violin
- Bo Thrige Andersen / drums

The group split in 1972 but before it happened they recorded one more album - it was "live in studio" Miley Smile/Stage Recall. Surprisingly, it contains only three old compositions: Ivanhoe I Brøndbyerne, Rotating Irons and Indre Landskab (however in different versions). The rest presents fresh material like rousing The Monster Song, funny cover version of the old standard Red River Rock or the longest and the most typical for the group, jazzy Bareback Rider. The album ends with R&B Goodbye, which is the musicians' farewell. All in all, Miley Smile/Stage Recall is another excellent position in group discography.

In fact, two years later one more album appeared signed as Burnin' Red Ivanhoe. Its story is pretty interesting. Vogel was a member of Secret Oyster at that time. He found (Ref. 2) that he collected some compositions that were not appropriate for experimental style of this group and decided to release the new album under old band name. Right On appeared in 1974 and is another "mandatory" item for BRI fans (unfortunately, this album is extremely difficult to find and very expensive). As for the members, there were former musicians of BRI: Vogel, Andersen, Fick, Secret Oyster: Knudsen and Day Of Phoenix: Karsten Lyng (vocal), so the band name on the album was used rather for formality. This record has rare moments when you hear the echoes of Burnin' Red Ivanhoe (mainly instrumental parts with sax solos) but more often of Day Of Phoenix' first album. The opening track reminds of Uriah Heep very much! In 1980 the group in old good line-up released Shorts, containing pop-rock compositions, quite enjoyable but it is a different story. Burning Red Ivanhoe was one of the most important and typical Danish rock representatives of that time. Fortunately, its rich discography is the evidence of wonderful musicians' output.

Burnin Red Ivanhoe - 1972 - Miley Smile / Stage Recall

Burnin Red Ivanhoe
Miley Smile / Stage Recall

01. Ivanhoe I Brondbyrene (1:50)
02. I Want The Rest Of My Life Surrounded With Money (5:30)
03. Indre Landskab (5:43)
04. A Monster Song (4:47)
05. Red River Rock (1:55)
06. Bareback Rider (8:50)
07. Rotating Irons (6:17)
08. Goodbye (3:30)

- Karsten Vogel / saxophone, organ, mellotron
- Ole Fick / guitar, vocals
- Jess Stæhr / bass, vocals
- Kim Menzer / saxophone, flute, harmonica, violin
- Bo Thrige Andersen / drums

Before they disbanded in 1972 Burnin Red Ivanhoe recorded some new tracks live in studio and released them on this album here as a farewell present for their fans together with three old songs ("Ivanhoe I Brondbyerne", "Indre Landskab" and "Rotating Irons"). Thus this record is certainly interesting for any fan of this band. Due to the live production the music here sounds less professional and complex than on their studio outputs. What we've been offered here is jazz-tinged bluesrock played on Hammond, guitar, bass and drums with various solos on flute, sax or harmonica. Actually quite nice and entertaining but on the other hand not that much exciting and stirring. Most outstanding track is the instrumental "Bareback Rider" , a driving jammin' piece with awesome dual sax playing. The cover version of stupid "Red River Rock" is quite redundant I've to say.
As a conclusion this record offers a quite nice opportunity to hear how Burnin Red Ivanhoe could have sounded live though being most probably only interesting as an additional purchase if one owns already their previous studio albums. Despite inferior recording quality still a good one.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Burnin Red Ivanhoe & Povl Dissing - 1971 - 6 Elefantskovcikadeviser

Burnin Red Ivanhoe & Povl Dissing 
6 Elefantskovcikadeviser

01. Introduction sigvaldi
02. Wallifanten
03. Narrevise
04. Snehvidekys
05. Kometen v sigvaldi
06. Ta fri ta fri
07. Et Samfund
08. Tingel-tangelmanden
09. Introduction til Medardus

- Karsten Vogel / Alto & Soprano saxophone, keyboard
- Ole Fick / electric guitars, guitars, vocal
- Kim Menzer / flute, trombone, harmonica, didjeridoo, vocal
- Thomas Menzer / drums & percussion
- Louis Vinding / electric bass

6 Elefantskovcikadeviser is the fourth studio album from Danish progressive jazz/ rock act Burnin´ Red Ivanhoe. Or rather it´s a collaboration between Burnin´ Red Ivanhoe and Danish folk singer Povl Dissing. Poul Dissing was and still is one of the most prolific musicians on the Danish music scene. Ask any Dane and they will know who Povl Dissing is. His most famous work is called Svantes Viser and it´s an album he did in collaboration with prolific Danish poet and author Benny Andersen.
Burnin´ Red Ivanhoe´s normal progressive jazz/ rock approach has been left in the background on 6 Elefantskovcikadeviser which is basically a folk rock album with Danish sung lyrics. Burnin´ Red Ivanhoe is known for their elaborate intrumental sections, but on this album the instrumentation is a bit more stripped down.

The album consists of nine tracks, but there are really only six real songs on the album as Introduction sigvaldi, Kometen v sigvaldi and Introduction til Medardus are basically only some live talking. Wallifanten is the first real song and it´s great. One of the best songs on the album. It´s also the first song where we´re introduced to Povl Dissing´s characteristic voice. Narrevise is the next song. Again it´s a great folky track but it´s the next song Snehvidekys ( Snowwhite Kiss) which takes the price as the best song on the album for me. It ´s an extremely beautiful and emotionally sung love song that really moves me. Ta fri ta fri us another great bluesy folk rock song and the same can be said about Et Samfund which is the only song on the album where Povl Dissing doesn´t sing. Ole Fick handles the vocals on this song as he usually does on Burnin´ Red Ivanhoe´s albums. Tingel-Tangelmanden is a reworking of the original track from the debut and it has extensive soloing during it´s 10:27 minutes and some great vocals from Povl Dissing. This is probably the song that will be most enjoyable for fans of the first three classic albums from the band ( M144, Burnin´ Red Ivanhoe and W.W.W.).

The musicianship is as always excellent even though this music is much more basic than the more challenging playing which takes place on the first three albums from the band. Povl Dissing will be an aquired taste, first of all because he sings in Danish but also because of his distinct vocal style which will probably scare some people away( he is very famous in Denmark because of his vocal style and his poetic lyrics). Despite of the lineup info here on PA, the sleeve notes on the original album says that it´s the same lineup who recorded W.W.W. who also recorded this album just with the addition of Povl Dissing on the latter.

The production is excellent. Nothing to complain about there.

Burnin Red Ivanhoe - 1971 - W.W.W

Burnin Red Ivanhoe

01. Second Floor, Croydon (8:37)
02. W.W.W. (6:07)
03. Avez-Vous Kaskelainen (4:47)
04. Kaske-Vous Karse Mose (3:49)
05. All About All (4:08)
06. Oblong Serenade (6:25)
07. Cucumber-Porcupine (5:21)

- Kim Menzer / flute, trombone, harmonica, Tenor saxophone, percussion
- Ole Fick / guitars, vocals
- Karsten Vogel / Alto & Soprano saxophone, organ, piano
- Jess Staer / bass, acoustic guitar
- Bo Thrige Andersen / drums, percussion

Burnin’ Red Ivanhoe was formed back in 1967 in Denmark. Their style is an interesting blend of early scandinavian jazz/art-rock and R&B. The band’s approach to music is quite refreshing and original, the album has an uplifting and very energetic (almost naive) mood. The music has a certain scandinavian touch, difficult to explain.

Lots of instruments (flute, sax, trombone, piano, organ, acoustic & electric guitars etc.), which is always nice, and there’s a lot of variation in the mix, as the guys are not afraid to use some of the more exotic instruments..

Obviously the band was having time to tour England and they wrote this excellent track about their hotel in Croydon after a gig in Fairfield Hall where Menzer’s flute resembles that of Traffic’s Chris Wood. Some of the other sonic similarities that can be heard are reminiscent of the excellent German group Out Of Focus. The title track starts out dreamily as an oriental-desert psyched-out trip: you could almost see the early 70's hippies crossing Iran on their way to Kathmandu in their Combi VW while listening to this. Close to the best German groups such as Embryo, this track is a pure delight. With almost no transition we veer into Kaskelain, which is definitely more dynamic and brilliantly played and ends up in motif that is exactly the one that the next track uses to pick up the pieces. Karsemore, this tracks starts almost basic but soon veers into a demented jazz-psyched out rock. Cool stuff and the band is on top of their game in this lengthy three-piece suite. After another stand out track “Oblong Serenade” is a phenomenal succession of blistering solos over a great rhythm and a fitting outro for the album.

Traffic, Out Of Focus, Colosseum… Does it not make your mouth salivate?

Burnin Red Ivanhoe - 1970 - Burnin Red Ivanhoe

Burnin Red Ivanhoe 
Burnin Red Ivanhoe

01. Across The Windowsill (7:40)
02. Canaltrip (5:21)
03. Rotating Irons (8:19)
04. Gong-Gong, The Elephant Song (5:40)
05. Near The Sea (3:58)
06. Secret Oyster Service (9:48)

- Ole Fick / vocals, guitars
- Kim Menzer / saxophone, flute, trombone, harmonica, vocals
- Karsten Vogel / saxophone, organ, percussion
- Jess Stæhr / bass
- Bo Thrige Andersen / drums, percussion

 With their second album (this time a single), BRI maintains the impressive standard that they had managed on the double debut, but the line-up was reduced by a pair and was left a quintet. And in terms of musical adventures, there are a few progressions, but the eponymous album is proud successor of M144. Still with Colosseum as one of the most evident influence, BRI pulls a much more consistent second album with many excellent jazz rock tracks pulling more towards the brass rock of Chicago Transit Authority rather than the future fusion-like Miles Davis or Tony Williams.
Recorded in London and produced by Tony Reeves (of.. Colosseum, small world uh?), this album presents many longer tracks (only the final track of M144 was above the 5:30 min mark) giving effectively more interplay time to Vogel, Menzer and new guitarist Fick. There is less of the downright blues influences of their debut as they have given way to a much more satisfying psychey-jazz feel. Great tracks like Windowsill, Gong Gong Elephant Song (what where these guys smoking?), and the closing slow-developping Secret Oyster Bar

Great acoustic Canaltrip, the still-bluesy lengthy jam-like Rotating Irons and the poppy (still have to sell albums, right?) Near The Sea, all round up the album in a very pleasant manner.

Much an improvement over their debut album, BRI's second album is certainly the album you should start with along with its successor W.W.W. Although BRI is not absolutely essential to a proghead's collection, I find it still quite enjoyable and should you only have 5 albums from Denmark, BRI or W.W.W. are sure to take one of those spots.

Burnin Red Ivanhoe - 1969 - M 144

Burnin Red Ivanhoe 
M 144

101. Ivanhoe I Brøndbyerne
102. Ridder Rød
103. Saxophone Piece 1
104. Marsfesten
105. Antique Peppermint
106. Indre Landskab
107. Jiizlou
108. Kaj
109. Tingel-Tangelmanden
110. Læg Dig Kun Ned
111. Saxophone Piece 2
112. Medardus
113. Purple Hearts
114. Larsen
115. Oyizl

201. Ivanhoe In The Woods
202. Ida Verlaine
203. Sensitive Plant
204. Inside
205. Ksilioy

206. Opera (Live)
207. Omegnens Poesi
208. Fødelandssoldatersang
209. Why Don't You Trust (Live I Studie)
210. Purple Hearts (Live I Studie)
211. Kaj (1997)

206: Originally released on EP "De Danske Hjertevarmere"
207 to 208: Recorded live in Germany - never released before
209 to 210: Recorded live in the studio - never released before
211: Recorded in Soundtrack Studio April 1997

- Kim Menzer / Mouthharp, trombone, saxophone, flute, piano, vocals
- Karsten Vogel / saxophone, organ, vibraphone
- Ole Fick / guitars, vocals
- Steen Claesson / guitar, vocals, violin, bass
- Bo Thrige Andersen / drums
- Steffen Andersen / bass
- Arne Würgler / bass
- Mads Vinding / bass

Guest musicians:
- Hugh Steinmetz / trumpet
- John Tchicai / saxophone
- Niels Harrit / saxophone

Burnin' Red Ivanhoe was formed back in 1967, and that makes them one of the first scandinavian prog bands. Their style was quite original from the start, blending jazz-rock with R&B, blues, psychedelia etc.. their debut from 1969 (double album) "M 144" sounds somewhat like THE WHO with jazz influences. Most of Burnin' Red Ivanhoe's albums have that certain scandinavian touch to it, similar to early 70's prog groups such as WIGWAM, CULPEPER'S ORCHARD and TASAVALLAN PRESIDENTTI. In 1971, the band released the album "WWW", which is probably a good place to start (for proggers), as it contains some of their most progressive and interesting work. The self-titled album they released in 1970 (another gem!), also contains the track "Secret Oyster Service", and quite soon after that, a new, even more jazz-orientated group was formed, called SECRET OYSTER. Burnin' Red Ivanhoe was disbanded in 1972 (although they released one more album in 1974), and as a result, most members moved over to SECRET OYSTER. Burnin' Red Ivanhoe is recommended for fans of early scandinavian prog rock.

M144 is the debut album from experimental Danish Jazz/ rock act Burnin´ Red Ivanhoe. Heavily rooted in the Danish jazz scene in the sixties Burnin´ Red Ivanhoe began to incorporate more rock influences into their music and soon had a good following in their native Denmark. M144 was released in 1969 and was one of the few Danish rock albums from that time with an international sound. The band enjoyed quite a success internationally especially in the UK where the album actually charted as one of the first foreign albums ever. Germany and the rest of Scandinavia were also markets for Burnin´ Red Ivanhoe.
M144 is a double album which was also something that was very unusual for Danish artists in 1969. The first LP has Danish sung lyrics while the second has English sung lyrics. About half of the songs are instrumental though. The lyrics are generally pretty fragmented and weird. I´m not sure but Ridder Rød ( Red Knight) does sound like there are some socialist thoughts put into it ( which was a very common thing in Danish lyrics from this time). Kaj is a pretty hilarious song about the lonely guy named Kaj who is only interested in girls on pictures. He lives with his aunt who is very interested in him ( censorship bip bip).

The album is full of great bluesy jazz/ rock tunes, very much in the vein of bands like Colosseum and Audience. Lots of brass and catchy hooks. Songs like Antique Peppermint, Medardus ( with vocals that remind me of Magma) and Saxophonepiece 1 and 2 are all excellent mostly instrumental jazz/ rock songs. Songs like Ivanhoe i Brøndbyerne, Ridder Rød, Marsfesten, Kaj and Purple Hearts also showcase Burnin´ Red Ivanhoe´s high level of compositional and technical skill. Ksilioy ends the album and I must admit that it´s a bit too much for me with the repetitive midsection even though the musicianship is outstanding in this song.

The CD version is a double CD with six added extra songs where Why Don't You Trust is the most exciting one. Kaj is there again in a version recorded in 1997.

The musicianship is excellent and all involved are higly skilled musicians. Especially the brass playing is of an extremely high standard.

The production is excellent. Great organic mix.

What I enjoy so much about the album is that it never gets too jazzy. It´s always more rock music than jazz ditto and that´s how I like it. M144 is without a doubt one of the most groundbreaking releases in Danish music history and it´s a great progressive rock album as well.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Young Flowers - 1969 - No.2

Young Flowers 

01. You Upset My Baby 3:46
02. And Who But I Should Be 5:38
03. Calypso 2:46
04. Won't You Take My Place in the Queue 5:16
05. Slow Down Driver 5:24
06. The Daybreak 6:05
07. Kragerne Vender*

*Free form jam session med 1000 tak for hjælpen til The Maxwells og Steen fra Burning Red Ivanhoe 10:31

Wow, this is an example of good Cream emulation. This is also a huge improvement over the first album. The only weak track is the opener, "You Upset Me Baby". It's relatively bland blues rock. Don't be fooled into thinking that this represents the rest of the album. The second track, "And Who But I Should Be", has a very experimental sound, with changing tempos, alternating moods, lots of phasing, a whole bunch of sound effects. It's very interesting to say the least, and, overall, it's pulled off quite well. The third track was originally an upbeat folk track called "Calypso" (from what I've read), but the reissues replaced it with the heavy-blues "Party Beat", which has a very strong Cream vibe.
The next two tracks, "Won't You Take My Place in the Queue" and "Slow Down Driver", are quite simply some of the finest examples of heavy blues you'll ever hear, with an extra emphasis on "heavy". Very heavy for 1969. With extra loud fuzz.
Incredible as these two tracks may be, the track immediately after, "The Daybreak", continues the heavy tone of the previous tracks. It also happens to be the best track of the album. It's hard to describe how good it is. The slow blues rhythm (which is catchy as hell) grabs your attention immediately, and the amazing solo compliments it perfectly. Pure sonic bliss for 6 minutes straight.
And finally, the album ends with the 10 minute "Kragerne Vender". I used to hate this song, but it really grew on me. Unlike the rest of the album, this track is jazzy (after the bluesy first half), and not just because of the saxophone. The bass-line is easily recognisable as a jazz-rhythm, and the guitar even sounds exactly like the solo from the opening track of the Catapilla debut from 1970 (perhaps they heard this album?).
Anyway, this is highly recommended to anybody that enjoys heavy rock and doesn't mind the blues.

Young Flowers - 1968 - Blomsterpistolen

Young Flowers 
1968 -

01. Ouverture / Take Warning, Stk.1 4:22
02. The Moment Life Appeared, Stk.2 2:25
03. 25 Øre 7:53
04. Oppe I Træet, Stk.3 3:26
05. To You, Stk.4 2:02
06. Down Along the Cove, Stk.5 3:59
07. April '68 8:56

Jens Dahl (guitar)
Peter Ingemann (bass, vocals)
Ken Gudman (drums)

First pressing on red labels with white trumpet logo at 12 o'clock. Stereo/mono SLPS 1258 is printed on the right side of label.
Released in a ''flipback'' cover.
Extra credit on label side B: (Stk. 1, 2, 3, 4, Og 5 = Niels' fødselsdag - frit efter Peters fødselsdag: forf. og komp. Niels Harriet)

The debut album Blomsterpistolen by the Danish psychedelic rock band Young Flowers is a bit overrated package in my opinion. It's definitely not a bad album but there are so many better albums and bands with a similar sound than this group and this album. They released two albums on the Sonet label back in the late 60's and Blomsterpistolen is usually called as the better of the two. I have to disagree because I prefer their second LP No. 2 over this first album.

Blomsterpistolen includes some very fine psych rock with blues elements but as a totality this is weaker than their next LP. It has a lot stronger songs to offer. Blomsterpistolen has it's moments as well but if you ask me which one is the better Young Flowers album I will definitely answer No. 2.