The title track of Ache's first album, "De Homine Urbano" was a 20 minute long instrumental ballet suite (the ballet itself was performed in Copenhagen and Moscow). The other side of the album had another track of equal length with some vocal parts. The ambitious music (all written by Mellin and F. Olafsson) wasn't entirely successful, as it relied too heavily on ideas similar to The Nice (the classically influenced keyboards), Vanilla Pudge (their melodramatic, long dynamic pieces), Pink Floyd (their atonal pieces), early Van Der Graaf Generator and the pastoral songs of Procol Harum. Even so, the album is excellent and recommended for those who enjoy the instrumental excesses so typical of the period.
Green Man (1971) was an improvement, displaying more personality and more discipline. Ache described their own performance as: "a dramatical art form based upon the coordination of heavy rock-music, psychedelic light, dancing and acting - the Ache Rock Theatre". A theatre performance to correspond with the music was indeed planned but cancelled due to lack of money. For the same reason, Ache disbanded in 1971.
Four years later Finn Olafsson and Peter Mellin decided to have another go with Stig Kreutzfeldt, Steen Toft Andersen (these earlier operated as the duo Stig & Steen) and Gert Smedegård (ex-Kashmir).
In true Ache tradition a rock opera (with Bo Lillesøe writing the libretto) named Pictures From Cyclus 7 was soon recorded and released. This is another interesting effort, although their final album Blå Som Altid wasn't up to the previous standards.
|1||DE HOMINE URBANO||1970||PHILIPS PY 841 906|
|2||GREEN MAN||1971||PHILIPS 6318 005|
|3||PICTURES OF CYKLUS 7||1976||CBS 81216|
|4||BLÅ SOM ALTID||1977||KMF ROLP 6570|
A little known jazz-rock group (even many Danish collectors don't know them). Their album was only released in Germany and had a sound similar to Nucleus.
A symphonic rock group from Roskilde who formed in 1979. Their leader and main composer was Jan Heidebo. The music of Agathorn might interest some readers - a powerful combination of influences from Deep Purple and Emerson, Lake & Palmer.
Alrune Rod (Mandrake Root) played highly ambitious progressive rock with some influences from Vanilla Fudge and Pink Floyd. They were a sub-cultural phenomenon heavily into the alternative lifestyle (and substances probably), showing little interest in commercial success. They were also one of the first rock groups to sing in Danish.
Alrune Rod (1969) had a dark and forbidding atmosphere with very long, pompous and peculiar tracks. The vocals range from soft whispering to furious screaming, in line with the dynamic music. This is a disjointed underground rock symphony which demands close attention from the listener.
Hej Du (1970) followed a similar path and included their most ambitious composition, a long suite named "Perlesøen" (The Pearl Sea). Alrune Rock (1972) marked a change toward more accessible, less ambitious, and therefore more conventional rock music. Their later albums, released on their own Mandragora-label, continued this trend. However, the final live album Tatuba Tapes (1975) was their best for many years.
|1||ALRUNE ROD||1969||SONET SLPS 1516|
|2||HEJ DU||1970||SONET SLPS 1524|
|3||ALRUNE ROCK||1972||SONET SLPS 1537|
|4||SPREDT FOR VINDEN||1973||MANDRAGORA 1|
|6||TATUBA TAPES||1975||MANDRAGORA 3|
|S1||DANSK BEAT||1975||SONET SLPS 2413|
They recorded an obscure album of decent folk-rock with competent female vocals. One of the tracks was a version of a song by Trees.
Very obscure Danish flower-power with a swingin' London feel comparable to Skip Bifferty and Rainbow Ffolly. Supposed to be a private release and definitely extremely rare.
|1||GA GO GU||1967||JACKS BEAT REC. BRLP 5005|
Seemingly, there are two albums by Barbarella, but in fact it is only one. The self-titled one was released at the beginning of 1975 with all lyrics in Danish. As the record was well received in Denmark, a second version with English vocals and some minor musical changes was issued, probably with a nod towards the UK and USA markets, though needless to say, it didn't have any impact at all. This was released the same year, boasting improved cover art. The music alternates between progressive rock with some guitar heroics and easily accessible pieces with a hint of pop appeal. Apart from an ill-advised rock'n'roll number, the music works quite well, though its main characteristic maybe its lack of aggression. The atmosphere is mostly quite breezy and on the English version the vocals sound a bit strained. Side two takes more risks and is better than side one. The conjectural washes of keyboards, combined with punctuating accompaniment on "The Sunbeam Song" are rather original and the guitar playing is better and more emphasized throughout the whole of side two. Fine melodies are scattered everywhere and if you're not expecting any violent outbursts from your progressive rock LP's, then this is a pleasant one to listen to, though I prefer the Danish version.
Terje Barnholdt had previously played in the heavy blues rock trio Terje, Jesper & Joachim.
|1A||BARBARELLA||1975||ARTIST ALP 512|
|1B||FIRST LOVE||1975||ARTIST ALP 515|
A precursor to this band was formed in Copenhagen in early 1964 but their strong orientation towards blues-rock began only with the arrival of Peter Thorup in 1966. In 1967, The Beefeaters played as support band for Jimi Hendrix, John Mayall and Pink Floyd during their concerts in Denmark. Both albums were top notch "real" blues-rock efforts to file along with albums by John Mayall, early Fleetwood Mac or even Cuby & The Blizzards. The first album was, along with Steppeulvene, the most important Danish album of 1967. The Beefeaters weren't entirely blues purists either but also displayed beat and soul influences. The sound (very well developed for 1967) was largely based on Thorup's two talents as vocalist and guitarist, but Kjærumsgård's Farfisa organ (sometimes replaced by piano) obviously augmented the group sound. Burnin' Red Ivanhoe was one of many groups who later copied this distinctive organ sound.
The second album contained some extended tracks, eg: "Serenade To A Cuckoo" (9:55) and "Stormy Monday" (9:54).
In 1969, Povl Dissing left the group, which continued for a while with Ole Fick (from Burnin' Red Ivanhoe) as their lead singer. The post-Dissing group made the soundtrack to "Smil Emil" but no further vinyl output emerged.
|1||BEEFEATERS||1967||SONET SLPS 1242|
|2||MEET YOU THERE||1969||SONET SLPS 1509|
|A1||DISSING||1969||SONET SLPS 1510|
Bifrost's albums contained melodic electric rock that merged influences from the American West Coast, Bob Dylan and The Band, with Scandinavian folklore. Nothing uncommon occurred on their albums, but they keep a fair standard throughout, particularly with regard to songwriting. The vocals of Tom Lundén (previously associated with Alrune Rod) and Ida Klemann had quite different characteristics and this created some distinction for the group. All lyrics were in Danish.
|2||TIL EN SIGØJNER (2LP)||1977||CBS 88264|
|3||LÆN DEM IKKE UT||1979||CBS 83241|
Blast Furnace belonged to a handful of Danish groups who recorded only one eponymous, classic album (others were Pan, Old Man & The Sea and Hurdy Gurdy). All of them mastered brilliant songwriting in the tradition of The Beatles, Traffic, Jethro Tull and Pretty Things (during their fertile period from 1968 to 1970), but none of them met with much commercial success. Blast Furnace never became a victim of excessive, long instrumental doodlings like some of their contemporaries. The album had 11 disciplined tracks with tough vocals and razor-sharp instrumental breaks balanced between electric guitar, Hammond organ and flute. This is one of the best Danish albums. Arne Würgler had played jazz in various formations since the late fifties and went on to work with Benny Holst when Blast Furnace disbanded in 1972. McEwan, Vangkilde and Backhausen all later joined Culpeper's Orchard.
|1||BLAST FURNACE||1971||POLYDOR 2380 013|
A hippie jazz-rock group who played in a style quite similar to Burnin' Red Ivanhoe, Rainbow Band and Midnight Sun. Many of their early tracks were very long, comprising commonly structured songs for three minutes, but finding an outlet in almost infinite solo improvisations by sax, guitar and keyboards. Not surprisingly, Peace Be Unto You (1970) contained only four tracks, recorded live on semi-professional equipment. Their next album was also partially recorded live, but had more variety and showcased more interesting ideas.
It's All Money Johnny (1976) was recorded by another incarnation of the group, but this veered towards conventional rock and suffered from a lack of enthusiasm.
|1||PEACE BE UNTO YOU||1970||SPECTATOR SL 1013|
|2||BLUE SUN||1971||PARLOPHONE MOCK 1019|
|3||IT'S ALL MONEY JOHNNY||1976||GENLYD GENLP 103|
|A1||BLUE SUN 73||1992||DMA DK 1001|
Look no further if you're looking for garage rock that really cooks! This album reveals all the aesthetic charms of dirty blues-rock. Howling guitars and grumpy vocals are to the fore, driven by a rookie-but-so-committed rhythm section. Rory Gallagher sounds boring in comparison to this tour-de-force! Ivan Horn wrote most tracks himself and was a magnificent solo guitar player, having studied the work of Hendrix and Clapton for years. He later played with C. V. Jørgensen, Charlatan and Barbarella.
Spectator only pressed 500 copies of Blues Addicts, but the re-issue on Little Wing should be possible to locate.
|1||BLUES ADDICTS||1970||SPECTATOR SL 1015|
Their albums contained guitar and flute fronted jazz-rock.
|1||BUKI-YAMAZ||1975||HOOK FARM HLS 75-2|
Karsten Vogel formed the first version of the group (initially as M/S Mitte - The Burnin' Red Ivanhoe) in Copenhagen in April 1967 with Steen Lange, Steen Claësson and Bo Thrige Andersen. He had played jazz since 1961 in The Vogel Brothers Quartet (they later expanded to a sextet). The new group was aiming to play jazz-based music with the power and intensity of rock.
M 144 was the first double rock album to be released in Scandinavia and displayed Burnin' Red Ivanhoe's jazz influenced heavy rock in full bloom. It was a surprisingly well-developed album for 1969, as the group members used a wide array of instruments (multiple saxophones, violin, flute, organ, vibraphone, trombone, trumpet, electric guitar, double bass and drums). This foreshadowed the countless attempts to fuse jazz and rock in the early 70's. Comparisons might be drawn to Traffic, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd and Colosseum, but Karsten Vogel's versatile songwriting also gave a nod to The Beatles and Cream. In addition to jazz-rock they also incorporated contrasting styles such as pop, blues, soul and psychedelia. Niel Erik Wille wrote most of the lyrics, half of which were in Danish. Needless to say, this was a milestone in Danish rock and indispensable for any collector of Scandinavian rock.
Arguably, Burnin' Red Ivanhoe never again reached the heights of their debut album, although all their subsequent albums have their moments. Their second album was recorded in London with Tony Reeves (of Colosseum fame) as the producer. Included were several extended tracks, such as "Rotating Irons" (8:25) and "Secret Oyster Service" (9:45), both offering interesting interplay between Vogel, Menzer and Fick. Vogel had not forgotten how to write enchanting "pop" songs either - "Near The Sea" is a minor masterpiece of four minutes.
W.W.W. (1971) might be said to be their most progressive offering with even more extended instrumental segments than before. These veered towards almost meditational improvisations from Vogel, particularly on the title track. By coincidence, Vogel's music had similarities to the second album by the German group Out Of Focus! The album was arguably a commercial failure, selling considerably less than its predecessors. For this reason and being tired of demanding tours, BRI decided to disband in April 1972. Before this they recorded Miley Smile during an eight-hour session live in the studio. Apart from a short rendition of "Ivanhoe I Brøndbyerne", all the material was fresh, including the ironic "I Want The Rest Of My Life Surrounded By Money". The album showcased a more concise side of the group.
Karsten Vogel then formed Secret Oyster with, amongst others, Klaus Bøhling and Kenneth Knudsen. The group concentrated on jazz-rock influenced by Weather Report and the like. However, during the next couple of years, Vogel realised he had gathered quite a few "rock' songs more in line with the old BRI concept. For this reason, BRI quietly reformed (at this stage the artist name was more a formality, as BRI, Secret Oyster and Day Of The Phoenix had an almost identical line-up). Their new album Right On (1974) was excellent and contained some of Vogel's most energetic compositions for years. Burning' Red Ivanhoe were among the most important and influential Danish groups from the period. Their innovative and powerful mixture of jazz and rock even gained some recognition in Germany, Great Britain and the USA.
|1||M 144 (2LP)||1969||SONET SLPS 1512/13|
|2||BURNIN' RED IVANHOE||1970||SONET SLPS 1522|
|3||W.W.W||1971||SONET SLPS 1530|
|4||MILEY SMILE - STAGE RECALL||1972||SONET SLPS 1540|
|5||RIGHT ON||1974||SONET SLPS 1549|
|6||SHORTS||1980||PICK UP PULP 80304|
|A1||6 ELEFANTSKOVCIKADEVISER||1971 SONET SLPS 1528|
|7||BURNIN' LIVE (1971-72)||1991||DMA DK 1002|
|S1||STILL FRESH (1969-71)||1974||NOVA SDL 8007 (D)|
|B2||JOHN TCHICAI & CADENTIA NOVA DANICA||1970||POLYDOR 2343 015|
|B3||BIRDS OF BEAUTY||1976||CBS 81435|
|B4||JAZZ I FØROYUM||1977||HAVNAR HJF 2|
|B5||STRENGE TIDER||1979||SONET SLP 1567|
|B6||VINDEN FORTÆLLER OM VALDEMAR DAAE OG HANS DØTRE||1980||SONET SLP 1579|
Carsten Meinert was one of the Danish pioneers of jazz-rock fusion, influenced by John Coltrane and Miles Davis amongst others. The albums contained long instrumental tracks with a lot of improvisation and are closer to jazz than rock. Musictrain ultimately disbanded late in 1970.
Carsten Meinert produced many of Spectator's releases between 1970-1972. He later formed the group Tjaldur with Thor Backhausen. An album was almost completed but never released. A 1973 collaboration with Peter Nielsen (ex-Thor's Hammer) and Flemming Volkersen (ex-Beefeaters) in the group Ragnarok also failed to produce any vinyl output.
ALBUM AS C.M.'S QUARTET:
|1A||TO YOU||1969||M.S. RECORDS S1001|
|1B||TO YOU||1970||SPECTATOR S 1001|
|2||C. M. MUSICTRAIN||1970||SPECTATOR SL 1007|
A guitar-dominated power-trio, similar to Moses and Blues Addicts (but never reaching such a high standard). Only a single was released during their lifetime, although an album for Spectator was recorded. This was eventually released in 1990 in Germany on a counterfeited Spectator label.
|1||CINDERELLA||1970||SPECTATOR SL 1041-47|
The group was formed in 1971 by some ex-members of Ramasjang. Their first album Financial Tycoon contained freaky jazz-rock influenced by Frank Zappa (who was also credited on the cover) and Eastern music. Other suitable comparisons are Gong and Supersister. This is a good album for 1977 with powerful guitar and sax interplay and several off-the-wall verbal jokes. Coma continued to exist into the early eighties but only released some singles after Amoc.
|1||FINANCIAL TYCOON||1977||GENLYD GENLP-106|
Peter Friis Nilsen had played with Day Of The Phoenix, Claus Bøhling with Hurdy Gurdy. As Coronarias Dans, this piano-bass-drums trio played complex free-jazz improvisations on the first album Breathe (1971). As such, it will appeal to a limited number of readers of this book. In 1972, Kenneth Knudsen was for a short time a member of Burnin' Red Ivanhoe, before revamping Coronarias Dans with Nielsen along with Claus Bøhling (ex-Hurdy Gurdy) and Ole Streenberg (ex-Carsten Meinert's quartet). The new version of the group played more concise, non-improvised material (all of it written by Knudsen), even though improvisation within the song structures was still an important part of it. Visitor (1975) had a typical 70's liberal jazz sound. Claus Bøhling, Kenneth Knudsen and Ole Streenberg later joined Secret Oyster.
|1||BREATHE||1971||PARLOPHONE MOCK 1018|
|2||VISITOR||1975||STEEPLE CHASE SCS 1032|
The Englishman Cy Nicklin had previously been part of the folk-rock trio Cy, Maia & Robert (and also in Day Of Phoenix prior to their first album). The Frenchman Robert Lelievre later went on to another great group named Pan. It is generally agreed that the first Culpeper's Orchard album is among the finest from Scandinavia as a whole. A superb combination of heavy progressive and folk stylings, the album also has its very own identity and haunting songs. The English vocals are very good, often with harmony lines similar to Crosby, Stills & Nash. The powerful music might be compared to Jethro Tull, The Beatles and Led Zeppelin, but, as I said, with a strong personal touch.
Second Sight (1972) was a more relaxed affair, focusing on Cy Nicklin's rural folk ingredients. Here his warm voice characterises the long cuts. Nils Henriksen and Ken Gudman then left the group to play heavier, more blues-influenced music in Mo-I-Rana, but Nicklin and Friis remained and recruited three ex-members of Blast Furnace. Going For A Song (1972) strengthened their rural rock elements, and at times it even bordered on country rock. The album didn't sell too well, causing their record company to withdraw financial support for their albums. The group remained active, though further changes in personnel soon followed. Thomas Puggaard-Müller of Delta Blues Band and Pan played with Culpeper's Orchard from 1974 onwards (the group shortened their name in 1976 to Culpeper).
All Dressed Up And Nowhere To Go (1977) didn't sound much like their earlier efforts, being more modern and light weight - almost a pop-rock album. Still Nicklin's songwriting was of a high standard and the album was greatly underrated by people expecting another dose of progressive folk-rock.
|1||CULPEPER'S ORCHARD||1971||POLYOOR 2380 006|
|2||SECOND SIGHT||1972||POLYDOR 2380 019|
|3||GOING FOR A SONG||1972||POLYDOR 2380 020|
|S1||1971-1973||1975||POLYDOR 2444 032|
|4||ALL DRESSED UP AND NOWHERE TOGO||1977||SONET SLP 1558|
The Londoner Cy Nicklin met a rather shy and introverted Frenchman named Robert Lelievre in Belgium in 1964 and invited him to visit his home in Copenhagen. Lelievre had refused to join the French army and now was a refugee earning his living by giving guitar lessons and playing in various folk clubs (he had earlier lived in Spain for a while).
Back in Denmark, Cy Nicklin formed a duo with female folk singer Maia Aarskov and released a single in 1965. About one year after their first meeting, Robert joined Cy in Copenhagen and eventually the duo was expanded to a trio. On Scene With Cy, Maia & Robert (1966) was a classic pre-electric folk album (with multiple acoustic guitars and vocals) influenced by Pete Seeger, Peter Paul & Mary and Simon & Garfunkel. It's highly enjoyable with three crystal clear and passionate voices of this quality! Fragments of the Culpeper's Orchard sound can already be spotted in the songs where Cy sings lead vocals. Their second album Out Of Our Times (1967) was an enormous step forward, quite comparable to what happened between the first and second Incredible String Band albums. This is a pioneering work walking the tightrope between folk, pop and vocal jazz. Some tracks had string arrangments and /or electric guitar. Most of the innovative songs were written by Lelievre.
Cy Nicklin later founded Day Of The Phoenix and Culpeper's Orchard. Robert Lelievre later recorded an album with Iain Campbell before forming his own group named Pan. Maia collaborated with Finn and Torsten Olafsson (from Ache) for a while.
|1||ON SCENE WITH||1966||SONET SLPS 1220|
|2||OUT OF OUR TIMES||1967||SONET SLPS 1240|
The group was formed in 1968 by Cy Nicklin along with Prehn, Lyng, Jess Stæhr Nielsen (all three were ex-members of the beat group The Maniacs) and Hendrik Friis. During the early days they released one single and wrote the soundtrack for "Stine Og Drengene", before Nicklin left to join Culpeper's Orchard.
With new vocalist Hans Lauridsen, Day Of The Phoenix recorded their first album in Copenhagen with Rony Reeves (of Colosseum) as their producer. Their sound was an unusual (and highly ambitious) mixture of influences from the US West Coast (particularly Grateful Dead's Anthem For The Sun), rural folk-rock and the jazzy sound of Denmark's Burnin' Red Ivanhoe. This doesn't hang together too well (the two tracks beyond 10 minutes are partly disjointed free-rock) but the concept is so original that it's still well worth listening to it. After the first split of Burnin' Red Ivanhoe, Ole Fick, Stæhr and Andersen joined a re-organised Day Of Phoenix in June 1972. Their new album The Neighbour's Son was a disappointment with plain rock songs that lacked spark and energy.
Ole Prehn later formed Phantom Band with a couple of ex-members of Mo-I-Rana. They played rural rock in the Neil Young vein (including a cover version of "Cinnamon Girl").
|1||WIDE OPEN N-WAY||1970||SONET SLPS 1519|
|2||NEIGHBOUR'S SON||1972||SONET SLPS 1549|
|A1||O.P. & THE P.B.||1976||STUK (NL)|
Days were one of the better second division Danish groups. Their first album contained seven pastoral songs in a very common format for 1971 (plenty of organ and guitar), showing a wide array of influences (Procol Harum, Barclay James Harvest, Traffic, Cressida, Santana and The Beaties). The later albums are close to mainstream rock but still contained some decent songs.
|1||DAYS||1971||SPECTATOR SL 1021|
|2||BACCHUS IS BACK||1975||SONET SLPS 1501|
|3||DAYS '77||1977||SONET SLP 1721|
A Copenhagen group who made one of the first Danish multi-track recorded rock albums. This is a great progressive blues-rock effort with superb guitar work throughout! Delta Blues Band built their sound around the first Beefeaters album and couldn't be accused of being blues purists (their tracks incorporated equal amounts of beat and psychedelia). The Puggard-Müller's soon left the group to join Robert Lelievere's new group Pan. Other line-up changes followed, leaving Troels Jensen as the only original member in 1972. His later LPs contained more traditional blues-rock and cannot be compared to the 1969 album.
|1||DELTA BLUES BAND||1969||PARLOPHONE 6E062-37038|
|C1||OVERDUBS||1979||KONG PÆRE KPLP 4|
A large and loose combo playing jazz-rock merged with humourous pastiches on most musical styles imaginable. A quick look at the titles (from Fat Dogs & Danishmen) will give a good indication of the content: "Ode To Daddy Meatloaf", "Surfin' In Sahara", "The Rubber Waltz" and "Concerto For Solo Violin, Strings & Expanded Beat Orchestra". Their goofy rock cabaret has similarities to The Mothers Of Invention but is really idiosyncratic. Quite entertaining in my view, but not to everybody's taste. Vocalist Lars Bisgaard had previously played with Rainbow Band.
The re-union album wasn't as challenging as earlier work, but still far from ordinary rock or jazz.
|1||ENTREE||1973||ZEBRA 2949 007|
|2||FAT DOGS & DANISHMEN||1974||ZEBRA 2949 012|
|3||CRUISIN' AT MIDNITE||1981||DOPO-DI-DOO 01|
A little known and musically unimpressive group featuring Ole Fick, an ex-member of Burnin' Red Ivanhoe.
|1||DÅRSKABENS HUS||1976||EXLIBRIS 20009|
A power trio who formed in 1971 but didn't release anything for more than ten years! This might explain why their albums, released in the early eighties, feature the good old-fashioned power trio sound with scorching guitars.
|1||FAR OUT||1982||ROSEN SPIRLP 301|
|2||WAR PIGS||1984||NUCLEAR NUC 01|
Feo was an acoustic band formed in an institution for blind people: all members are blind or visually impaired. They play a kind of progressive folk music, though never anything which comes close to traditional tunes. Clearly the flute of Andersen is the leading instrument, but all members play their parts well and the arranging skills of the band are considerable. Their material, all self-composed, is quite diverse, the singing excellent and overall this is an interesting record with an atmosphere of its own. For a Spectator release this is surprisingly focused, at times maybe vaguely similar to British folkies Forest, though of course without the all-pervading mystic feeling of that band. It's a fine example of how people with very limited means can achieve music that still stands after almost 30 years. A highlight is the experimentation on "Rundgang", where again much is accomplished with only minimum effort. A gentle, peaceful and even soothing record, this will appeal to all admirers of acoustic music.
Filtskolyd is supposed to be less interesting. The CBS album was a collection of tracks from both these albums.
|1||EG MEINI TEÐ||1971||SPECTATOR SL 1033|
|S1||BEDSTE OG ANDRE MADRESTER||1975||CBS 98009|
NOT a Danish group, but the album by this English hard rock power trio was only released in Denmark.
Something of a legend among hardcore collectors, the original pressing of their album is almost impossible to locate. It was released on the local Aalborg (in Northern Jutland) label Qualisound, which in the late sixties released singles by The Hunters and The Stamping Bricks. Facing Morning had a sound strongly inspired by the US West Coast sound, but with more progressive leanings. As usual with limited pressings (which were often made for demonstration purposes only), the sound quality is rather primitive. All in all the album leaves the impression of unfulfilled promise, although "Home Of Minds" (8:06) rises above the remaining 7 tracks. For completists and fans of Scandinavian underground hippie rock.
|1||FACING MORNING||1972||QUALISOUND 403|
Floor emerged from the beat group The Hitmakers in 1967. Their LP is an attempt to recreate the many-faceted English sounds of the day. This means short cuts which include "Penny Lane" trumpets, multi-tracked and treated vocals, backwards instruments, harpsichord, string arrangements, anecdotal lyrics, an r&b number, a stray hobo and other devices as well. The album is inconsistent but some of the tracks are on a par with anything from the era. When the box of tricks is unlocked as on "Trusting Mr. Jones", the results are impressive. Otherwise there are quite a few songs that sound dated and over-commercial, veering dangerously close to "Dear Mrs. Applebee" (a 1966 hit by David Garrick) and similar ditties. Unquestionably the LP conveys the sunny atmosphere of 1967, but the teeth of time have chewed away much of the charm, thirty-odd years on. One cut, "Mrs. O'Grady", was written by Björn Ulvaeus. (Marcel Koopman)
|1||1ST FLOOR||1967||PHILIPS XPY 855 701|
In English their name meant "the union for the defence of life"! Their album released on Spectator is mostly dominated by the eerie and mysterious whispering vocals of Susanne. The atmosphere is veiled and secretive, especially on the opening track "Elverkongen" (king of the elves), a freely improvised piece of spectral whining with eerie violin and very seductive vocals. This stunning level is not maintained throughout the whole LP, in particular not when the inexplicable tendency of Danish bands to suddenly veer off into countryish territory takes its toll, as on "Ulster" (sic!). In addition there is gentle folk, another astonishing improvised piece called "Loppecirkus" (flea-circus), crude instrumental blues ("Mågens Fortæling"), a spellbinding spoken word number "Rary" and two more improvised "songs", of which "Folketinget" sounds a bit like Red Krayola. Undoubtedly another interesting release on this shimmering label.
This hippie folk album has become very difficult to find. As the master tapes were lost in a fire, the prospects of a legal re-issue are poor.
|1||F.T.L.B.||1972||SPECTATOR SL 1043|
Their two albums contain amateur hippie folk with out of tune male/female voices, acoustic guitar, cello, whistles and rambling percussion. These were so awkward you'll hardly believe it! Pure counterculture artifacts with severely limited musical value. Acquire them only if your favourite albums are by Siloah (Säureadler), Kalacakra and Children Of One.
|1||PRINSESSEVÆRELSET||1970||SPECTATOR SL 1017|
|2||FUREKÅBEN||1971||RØDE ROSER RR-1|
Released under the sub-heading of the Danish Folklore Archives, the first LP by this stoned folk crew starts with a horrible country cut. Green Grass were one of many Danish bands to make this kind of mistake. The third track sounds much more promising, country fiddle notwithstanding. It is a heart-felt folk ballad called "November 1". To find something unusual, we have to wait for the next track, "Fiddling Around", an extremely stoned piece of doomy improvisation that wouldn't sound out of place on an ESP release. Unfortunately the rest of the album pays more dues to country music than to mind-expanding rock, although the beginning of the last track, "Aldrig For Sent" (Never Too Late) again shows some promise.
The second album, for which the band's name was changed to Hara Ghash, is completely different. The same elements are employed (some country too), but the ingestion of probably large doses of prohibited chemicals impregnated the LP with a strange, otherworldly feel.
Much like Furekåpen above, this was an incorrigible hippie outfit more devoted to green grass than music. They were also part of a large North-Jutland musical commune named Den Lille Prins (The Little Prince), who released an album on Odeon in 1972.
ALBUM AS GREEN GRASS:
|1||GREEN GRASS I AALBORG||1971||SPECTATOR SL 1029|
|2||VANDREUTSTILLING||1972||SPECTATOR SL 1045|
They were one of the Danish groups who showed the strongest affection for the San Franciscan rock scene, most notably Country Joe & The Fish and Big Brother & The Holding Company (although also influenced by Vanilla Fudge and The Beatles). Hair played long, dynamic songs with an overwhelming fuzztone guitar, semi-classical organ and good vocals. The album concluded with a long version of Take Another Piece Of My Heart". A couple of the shorter tracks are quite good, but the album fails to convince as a whole.
This trio formed in the late sixties in Copenhagen as Boom Boom Brothers, later abbreviated to B. B. Brothers (who made at least one single for Sonet). The group were based in London for a while around 1968-69, where they took up their new name Hurdy Gurdy. Among the musicians they befriended was Donovan, who wrote the song "Hurdy Gurdy Man" for them. The intention was that the Danish group should record the song, but Donovan turned out to enjoy the song so much that he recorded it himself and refused to let them to use it! Other Hurdy Gurdy recordings from this period are rumoured, but apart from an excellent single on Spectator ("Tick Tock Man" / "Lend Me Your Wings"), none of them has been released.
Their eponymous album for CBS was recorded with Freddy Hansson in the Rosenberg studio, a place where several legendary albums were conceived. This one ranks among the top 10 Danish albums and comprised blues and jazz influenced heavy progressive rock with strong melodies and competent vocals. The trio had obviously heard the first albums by Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Jethro Tull, but also added an Eastern track with tablas and sitar.
|1||HURDY GURDY||1971||CBS 64781|
This group was first known as Hyldemors Grønsaligheder and developed out of Furekåben in 1973. Their first LP didn't appear until 1978, by which time their music had changed to rural folk-rock vaguely comparable to Bifrost. The album lacks excitement and is a rather boring listening experience. All their lyrics were sung in Danish.
MC BY HYLDEMORS GRØNSALIGHEDER:
|1||GLEM DET HELE||1978||CBS 83243|
This group was in some ways a Danish version of the semi-classical, keyboard-oriented rock made famous by Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Ekseption. First Salvo contained the reasonably good "Rockin' Edward" (15:00), based on Grieg's "Peer Gynt". Gammel Dansk (1977) contained similar arrangements of old Danish folk songs and psalms. Not essential but more rewarding than the Dutch group Ekseption.
|1||FIRST SALVO||1974||POLYDOR 2380 026|
|2||GAMMEL DANSK||1977||SONET SLP 1596|
Unimaginative blues-rock released on the same label as Fleur De Lis.
|1||MARERIDT MED LYKKELIG UDGANG||1972||QUALISOUND|
Their inconsistent album ranges from lazy country-tinged rural rock to savage heavy fuzz guitar excursions (almost as wild as the German group Baumstamm). Overall, there was also an underlying Zappa-influence. All lyrics were in Danish. A curious album that will appeal to freaky ears.
|1||STALDFRÆS||1974||SCANFOLK FSLD 3|
A jazz-rock combo from Århus, instrumentally centered around keyboards and guitars.
|2||SVAJENDE SIV||1980||AMAR 18|
A group strongly influenced by the then contemporary American rock sound.
|1||JODLE-KNUD||1971||SONET SLPS 1527|
One of the few LPs recorded in 1977 to maintain the advanced level of melodic songwriting associated with Pan, Hurdy Gurdy and Culpeper's Orchard during their golden years between 1970-1972. The back sleeve contained an unlikely handwritten story (in Danish) about incidents leading to the realisation of these tapes (intended as demos) in Rio. By the time of their release on the minor Kong Pære label in 1979, Masala Dosa had long since ceased to be, with both Thor Mathisen and John Teglgaard having left to play in Hyldemor. The album contained six long tracks distinguished by some outstanding electric guitar interplay. It hasn't been re-issued yet!
|1||77||1979||KONG PÆRE KPLP 2|
Lunderskov, Werner and Bisgaard played in The Dragons from 1963 onwards, a group strongly influenced by rhythm and blues. They evolved into Maxwells in 1964, recording their first single "What Did She Do" in 1967. Maxwells also played as support group for The Mothers Of Invention that year in Copenhagen. Their album Maxwell Street (recorded in Villingen, Germany in 1969) contained an eclectic mixture of beat, psychedelia and jazz-rock. It's interesting to compare the album to the similarly styled debut of Burnin' Red Ivanhoe, which sold well and was soon hailed as a classic. Both albums represented something entirely new in Danish rock, but the Maxwells' album remained little known. One of the reasons for this might have been bad distribution - it was released on the German MPS label, which mainly dealt with progressive jazz (a highly collectable label if you're into such music) and wasn't distributed too well, either in Denmark or Germany. Today the Maxwells' album stands out as a forgotten gem, showcasing original, sometimes dadaistic, ideas clearly influenced by The Mothers Of Invention. Its five tracks contained rich instru-mentation and lots of wild solos. The longest track "Maxwell Street" sounded like a continuation of the strangest moments of Rolling Stones' Their Satanic Majesties Request. Sadly the Maxwells broke up at the beginning of 1970! Werner later played in Kashmir, Hesselmann in Rainbow Band and Enghoff in Thors Hammer and Pan.
|1||MAXWELL STREET||1969||MPS 15242|
Their first album contained rural rock a little similar to the English band Help Yourself. Later albums should be of little interest to most readers, as they contain pop-rock distinguished by frequent use of vocal harmonies, partly inspired by Queen and the Beach Boys.
|1||PICK UP PASSION||1973||PARLOPHONEMACK 1023|
|3||BALLROOM HEROES||1978||STUK 503|
|S1||NEW SHOES FOR THE OLD SUIT||1978||STUK 435|
|4||ROBIN HOOD||1980||STARBOX LX 96008|
The group is commented in the Rainbow Band entry!
|1||MIDNIGHT SUN||1971||SONET SLPS 1523 A|
|2||WALKING CIRCLES||1972||SONET SLPS 1536|
|3||MIDNIGHT DREAM||1974||SONET SLPS 1547|
This Danish "super-group" was the result of the combination of Ole Prehn and Hans Lauridsen from Day Of The Phoenix with Nils Henriksen and Ken Gudman from Culpeper's Orchard. Loners & Lovers is a beautiful mainstream folk-rock versus rock'n'roll album and is unusually sophisticated. Vibes and strings are used here and there, augmenting the three-part vocal harmonies and various guitars (acoustic, bottleneck or leads treated through a Leslie cabinet and /or other studio effects). Nils Henriksen wrote a great number of the songs. Comparisons might be The Band, Grateful Dead, Crosby, Stills & Nash and Neil Young, although the music is played with the perfectionist approach of Steely Dan.
|1||LONERS AND LOVERS||1974||POLYDOR 2380 023|
Another one-off on the alternative Spectator label. Moses is a power trio, somewhere between May Blitz, Gun and Blue Cheer. As with those bands, you'll probably not put this on your turntable for the sake of the subtle compositions, but rather to hear the guitar player scorch, rage, whisper and weep. Luckily Højberg knows his trade and roars along at full pace on almost all tracks, thereby delivering some decisive solos. The accompaniments are simple and efficient and in most cases only seem to be there to give Højberg the opportunity to shine. Undeniably this makes the record quite predictable and it's therefore only recommended for admirers of the genre. Of the six tracks, one is sung in Danish, the rest in English.
|1||CHANGES||1971||SPECTATOR SL 2037|
Another one-off, My Ship's only LP is a mild and mellow progressive album with a sometimes striking similarity to Germany's Abacus, with a clear orientation towards American music from the same period. Easy flowing melodies (all from the pen of Bent Sten) and extended arrangements make for a pleasant album, without any sharp corners or bends. Probably this is what many call "rural rock". Nice but a bit lightweight. (Marcel Koopman)
|1||MORNING SONG||1973||BASF 20 21197-5 (D)|
No more information available.
|1||SUITE TIL SOMMEREN||1976||HOOKFARM HLS 76-8|
Peter Ingemann had previously played in Young Flowers. No Name played rural peaceful rock, ranging from the archetypical Danish sax-fronted style (as made famous by Burnin' Red Ivanhoe) via Rolling Stones-like rock'n'roll to electric folk-rock with mandolin, violin and /or piano. The ten tracks floated down the 70's mainstream. All the lyrics were in Danish.
|1||FØDELANDSSANGE||1972||POLYDOR 2380 017|
Olafsson had previously played in Ache. His first album is very rare and contains symphonic rock (with soft guitars) inspired by Pink Floyd. He released another album in 1980.
Almost every collector of progressive rock familiar with their eponymous album acknowledges it as one of the real masterworks from the Northern countries. Old Man & The Sea's music radiated youthful happiness and enthusiasm, comparable to the high spirited double albums of Junipher Greene and Oddmen. None of them went on to move back the musical frontiers but are still widely regarded as key examples of progressive rock. Our Danish friends stuck to the formula of roaring Hammond organ and cleverly multi-tracked guitars most of the time. What always counts however is the ability to write good material and perform it well. "Living Dead" and "Princess" are among the most brilliant melodies from the era sung with passion by Ole Wedel, whose bright voice sounded much like Jon Anderson. The instrumental breaks are restricted to solos prior to the last verses. The remaining four tracks weren't far behind either! Although there are evident influences from The Beatles, Traffic, CSN, ELP, Atomic Rooster and Jethro Tull, Old Man & The Sea were second to none of these. A classic album from an era when rock musicians were allowed to be pretentious and some were even taken seriously. It didn't sell too well, though, causing a sadly premature disintegration of the group.
|1||OLD MAN & THE SEA||1972||SONET SLP 1539|
The Olsen Bros. played relaxed pop-folk-rock. Early albums admittedly had some distant connections to the light hippie rock of CSN, The Beatles and the like but Olsen's often orchestrated songs have not aged too well. Beware of some dealers selling Olsen albums as "rare acid folk albums", which is as honest as promoting Cliff Richard as "underground punk rock", on the basis of his "Living Doll" collaboration with The Young Ones'.
|1||OLSEN||1972||PHILIPS 6318 011|
|2||FOR WHAT WE ARE||1973||PHILIPS 6318 015|
|3||FOR THE CHILDREN OF THE WORLD||1973||PHILIPS 6318 020|
|4||BACK ON THE TRACK||1976||POLYDOR 2380 047|
|5||YOU'RE THE ONE||1977||POLYDOR 2380 056|
|6||SAN FRANCISCO||1978||POLYDOR 2380 062|
|7||DANS DANS DANS||1979||POLYDOR 2380 073|
Robert Lelievre had previously played folk music in the trio Cy, Maia & Robert, while the Puggaard-Müller brothers came from the blues-rock group Delta Blues Band. Their pasts gave no indication of the sophisticated sound of Pan. Their eponymous album is one of those tightly arranged and strictly produced efforts, polished to make Lelievre's songs shine. Most of the tracks blend various styles of rock, folk, jazz and small drops of classical and gospel into a strong and potent brew - it strikes me each time I hear it how homogenous and forceful it is. Knowing the entertainment business, it will come as no surprise that such an intelligent and emotional album met little commercial success. Disenchanted, the group broke up within months. Robert Lelievre attempted to establish a solo career but Sonet left a completed 1971 album unreleased. It was scheduled for release in 1980 on Sonet's series of double album re-issues (coupled with the Pan album), but this re-issue programme was terminated due to low sales and it didn't make it onto vinyl this time either. This is symptomatic for a man who'd had plenty more bad luck in the past. After his 1968 album with Iain Campbell, he had completed an album (helped by Brian Auger and John McLaughlin, amongst others) for Giorgio Gomelsky's Marmalade label. For unknown reasons it was never released. Lelievre commited suicide in Copenhagen 26 August 1974. An ignorant world lost one of the most talented songwriters of his generation.
|1||PAN||1970||SONET SLP 1518|
Rainbow Band was formed in late 1969 as a supergroup consisting of Peer Frost (ex-Young Flowers), Lars Bisgaard (ex-Maxwells), Carsten Smedegaard (ex-Beefeaters), Bent Hasselmann and the former jazz players Niels Brønsted and Bo Stief (they had backed American jazz musicans at Copenhagen's Café Montmartre). The idea was to play jazz-influenced progressive rock in the style of Burnin' Red Ivanhoe and Traffic's second album. These influences were strongly evident on their 1970 album. It's a very good effort, still very indicative of the hippie era. The rhythm section still produced the powerful 60's beat, forcing Peer Frost to squeeze out some of his best guitar solos.
Lars Bisgaard was replaced by Allan Mortensen (ex-Tears) at the end of 1970. A Canadian group was already using the name Rainbow Band, which forced the Danish group to change their name into Midnight Sun in July 1971. Surprisingly enough, they decided to remake their first album instead of moving on with new material.
The following changes were made: 1) "King Of The Sun", "Where Are You Going To Be" and "Living On The Hill" were re-recorded. 2) "Where Do You Live" acquired new lyrics by Allan Mortensen and was re-recorded as "Talking". Mortensen also wrote the only NEW track "Sippin' Wine". 3) "Nobody" and "B.M." were re-mixed and, for inexplicable reasons, split from each other. The old vocal tracks were also replaced. "Rainbow Song" was re-mixed with minor changes.
The second version of the album is less powerful and stylistically creeping towards Blood, Sweat & Tears, mostly due to the vocals and supplementary, dull electric piano. Only the second version of "Living On The Hill" was on a par with the previous recording. With another new vocalist, Frank Lauridsen, Midnight Sun made two more albums of jazzy progressive rock. These are reasonably good, but lack excitement.
ALBUM AS RAINBOW BAND:
|1A||RAINBOW BAND||1970||SONET SLPS 1523|
|1B||MIDNIGHT SUN||1971||SONET SLPS 1523 A|
|2||WALKING CIRCLES||1972||SONET SLPS 1536|
|3||MIDNIGHT DREAM||1974||SONET SLPS 1547|
|S1||DANSK BEAT||1975||SONET SLP 2411|
Ramasjang recorded a rare private pressing with a none-too-impressive musical content - rural, country-influenced rock featuring guitars, organ and violin.
These were English citizens (from Boston in Lincolnshire), although based in Denmark from 1966 to 1969. They soon became hugely successful with their harmony beat-pop, influenced by the Beach Boys, Hollies and Four Seasons. Their albums frequently appear on secondhand lists, so this entry was included to let you know the musical content!
Some line-up changes occurred in 1969, bringing in the Norwegian Jahn Teigen (best known among collectors as the vocalist in Popol Vuh) for a tour in Israel. Garriock moved to Sweden in 1971, attempting to conquer another audience, but he was not as lucky this time.
|?||IT'S HAPPENING||1967||KSX 6|
A little known album containing quite folk music. The Scotsman Ian Campbell made several albums (released on Transatlantic) in the sixties with his Folk Group. The Frenchman Robert Lelievre is most known for his merits in various Danish groups.
|1||ALLIANCE||1968||METRONOME BP 7707|
Left-wing political rock activism was a typical phenomenon of the seventies all over Europe. In contrast to Sweden, few such albums were released in Denmark. Røde Mor Rock Circus (with Troels Trier) filled their first album with anti-imperialist, anti-EEC and anti-Vietnam war slogans and agitated rantings. Typically, their music, which undoubtedly had only secondary priority, varied from rock to traditional music, featuring anything from tango and Spanish guitar music to local Danish folk dance.
ALBUM AS RØDE MOR ROK ORKESTER:
|1||ROK ORK||1971||DEMOS 6|
|1||BETONHJERTET (2LP)||1975||DUTCH DEMOS|
Thomas and Anders Koppel were the sons of Dr. Herman Koppel, a respected composer and musicologist who had emigrated from Poland to Copenhagen at the beginning of the century. From an early age the brothers were involved with music. The same goes for Annisette Hansen, whose artistic family had an interest in music and literature. Her first record was the single "River Deep Mountain High" with The Dandy Swingers in 1967.
Savage Rose was formed in 1967 by the Koppels, Anisette and two other members of The Dandy Swingers, Flemming Ostermann and Jens Rugstedt, along with the jazz drummer Alex Riel and the wife of Thomas on harpsichord. Their first album contained typical late sixties conventional rock, distinguished by Anisette's overwhelmingly powerful voice (combining Shirley Bassey, Aretha Franklin and Grace Slick into one). The tracks had undercurrents of popular jazz and r&b. The album made Savage Rose an instant success in Denmark, selling more than any other domestic group to this date.
In The Plain (1969) was also released in Germany, the Netherlands, the USA and in England, but didn't have much impact abroad. The new guitar player Nils Tuxen was overshadowed by three eager keyboard players, the combination of piano, organ and harpsichord which had now become the trade mark of their instrumental sound.
Later that year, Savage Rose recorded some ill-fated sessions with Giorgio Gomelsky in London. Only three songs were completed and the group recorded Travelin' (1969) in New York, after their first US performance at the Newport Jazz Festival.
Maria Koppel was divorced, both from the group and her husband in 1970. Savage Rose's next album Your Daily Gift (1971) was recorded in Rome. Their influences now also comprised soul, gospel and country, and their songs became melodramatic quasi-Spector affairs with Anisette on both lead and multiple backing vocals. Refugee (1972) was recorded in London with Jimmy Miller and brought Savage Rose closer to their roots in r&b and straight rock'n'roll. In September 1971 the Koppels and Anisette decided to continue as a trio with shifting collaborators, aiming for a more "sociopolitical" content in their music and lyrics. Dødens Triumf (1972) was a departure from rock, containing instrumental mood music to a ballet which was performed on Danish TV. In sharp contrast, Babylon (1973) was based on jazz, gospel and r&b with the predominant keyboards augemented by sax, trombone and choir. In 1973 the trio engaged a new backing group (with the veterans Peer Frost, Rudolf Hansen and Ken Gudman) and reverted to their previous rock-based sound on Wild Child (1974), which is generally agreed to be one their best efforts. In spite of this, Savage Rose in-advisedly fell out with their recording company and a long period of inactivity followed with no new tracks seeing the light of day until 1977 (when they were featured on a compilation in support of Christiania, the counterculture's bastion in Copenhagen). The comeback LP was recorded without a bass player, creating a bare sound with Anisette and Thomas in the limelight.
Savage Rose have survived well into the nineties and are the longest running Danish "rock" band. Readers of this book are recommended to try out their first three albums.
ALBUMS (UP TO 1975):
|1||SAVAGE ROSE||1968||POLYDOR 181 144|
|2||IN THE PLAIN||1969||POLYDOR SLPHM 46292|
|3||TRAVELLIN'||1969||POLYDOR 184 316|
|4||YOUR DAILY GIFT||1970||POLYDOR 2380 004|
|5||REFUGEE||1971||POLYDOR 2380 014|
|6||DØDENS TRIUMF||1972||POLYDOR 2380 016|
|7||BABYLON||1973||POLYDOR 2380 019|
|8||WILD CHILD||1974||POLYDOR 2380 021|
|S1||THE BEST OF||1976||POLYDOR 2444 054|
|9||SOLEN VAR OGSÅ DIN||1978||SONET|
A singer-songwriter of some interest. His early albums were influenced by the leading English and American songwriters of the late sixties (Bob Dylan and Donovan, in particular), although Sebastian used the Danish language. He recorded relaxed songs, some with only acoustic guitar and vocals, others with a full electric backing. Some record dealers have attempted to sell these albums as "acid folk", but the "acid" in question is vinegar in the red wine. The later albums on CBS veered between folk, rock, pop and jazz. These were commercially successful in Denmark.
ALBUMS (UP TO 1980):
|1||THE GODDESS||1971||TRIOLA CLPS 101|
|2||DEN STORE FLUGT||1972||HARVEST 6C064 38088|
|3||OVER HAVET UNDER HIMMELEN||1973||HARVEST 6C064 38098|
|4||BLØD LYKKE||1974||HARVEST 6C064 38109|
|5||GØGLEREN, ANTON OG DE ANDRE||1975||CBS 81002|
|6||MÅSKE KU' VI||1976||CBS 98104|
|9||IKKE ALENE DANMARK||1978||CBS 82663|
|10||I MONTMARTRE||1978||CBS 83205|
|11||TIDERNE SKIFTER||1979||EXLIBRIS EXL3006|
|12||CIRKUS FANTASTICA||1979||CBS 83955|
|S1||NÅR LYSET BRYDER FREM||1976||EMI 6C054 38120|
Secret Oyster was really a continuation of Burnin' Red Ivanhoe, who split (for the first time) in 1972 following several disputes over the future direction of the band between Karsten Vogel and the other members. With Secret Oyster's excellent musicians (including Bøhling from Hurdy Gurdy and Knudsen from Coronarias Dans), Vogel had a perfect vehicle to explore new directions in instrumental fusion, partly inspired by Weather Report, but also adding Bøhling's magnificent lead guitar! Secret Oyster's first album became an artistic and commercial success in Denmark. It also sold well in the rest of Scandinavia and gained some recognition in Germany, Great Britain and the USA. In spite of this, Vinding and Andersen left the group. The appearance of Ole Stæhr caused Burnin' Red Ivanhoe to rise again, now with the same line-up as Secret Oyster (but with a different musical style).
Sea Son consolidated their popularity, but couldn't match the first album in terms of quality (it was still quite good jazz-rock, though). In 1975 Secret Oyster went on a European tour as support act to Captain Beefheart, but later the same year CBS International opted not to continue to invest in Secret Oyster. Vidunderlige Kælling (1975) was the music to a ballet by Flemming Flint. The compositions (in contrast to those on the previous albums) were more concise and almost free of any improvisation. Secret Oyster handled this task quite well. However, their last album was an ill-fated attempt to make more easily accessible music.
Secret Oyster was one of the few Danish groups mentioned here that gained healthy record sales. Their first album remains an important album in the general history of Danish rock.
|1||SECRET OYSTER||1973||CBS 65769|
|2||SEA SON||1974||CBS 80489|
|3||VIDUNDERLIGE KÆLLING||1975||CBS 81044|
|4||STRAIGHT TO THE KRANKENHAUS||1976||CBS 81434|
Their first album was partly recorded at Studio Maschen (just outside Hamburg) with the involvement of Achim Reichel. Sensory System played hard rock reminding me of the Alex Harvey Band and James Gang (and countless other "rock" groups, really). Massive amounts of electric guitar, creaky vocals and half-decent songs but never anything outstanding.
|1||SENSORY SYSTEM||1974||HØREKIKS 10|
|2||WHAT WE ARE||1975||EMI 6C064 38118|
Niels Skousen used Danish lyrics on all his albums. Herfra Hvor Vi Står (1971) was recorded as a duo with Peter Ingemann, previously the bass player in Young Flowers (Skousen had a guest appearance on their last album). Skousen's music was usually tough rock with good guitar parts. Useful references could include anything from Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton to the Rolling Stones of the early seventies.
|1||HERFRA HVOR VI STÅR||1971||POLYDOR 2380 008|
|2||MUSIKPATRULJEN||1972||POLYDOR 2380 015|
|3||JEG VENDER MIG I SENGEN||1973||POLYDOR 2380 022|
|S1||...MED VENNER||1975||MELODY 2453 035|
|4||PALADS AF GLAS||1975||AMAR 14|
|7||LANDET RUNDT, DEL 1||1980||SONET SLP 1578|
Some Scandinavian groups attempted to play new, powerful and non-traditional folk-rock in the early seventies, among them Prudence from Norway, Contact from Sweden and Spillemændene from Denmark. Rilleræset (1972) will be their most interesting effort to most readers, as they later departed from rock music.
|1||RILLERÆSET||1972||ODEON MOCK 1022|
|2||BALROK||1974||ODEON MOCK 1030|
|4||HVA' SÅ!||1980||BETTER DAY BD 705|
This short-lived group (named after Herman Hesse's famous book "Steppenwolf") was formed by Eik Skaløe and Stig Møller in February 1967. Within months the group recorded one of the first Danish rock albums, Hip, which was more precisely a beatnik album, strongly influenced by the electric Bob Dylan and John Sebastian. What made the album special was the confident use of Danish lyrics (none predated them!) which inspired Danish musicians (such as Alrune Rod) for years to come. It's easy to understand the legendary status, although the music has less appeal to foreigners (their lyrics were arguably more important than their music). In Autumn 1967 Eik Skaløe returned to India, where he had been for months on an earlier occasion. No one heard from him again - he disappeared and presumably died under mysterious circumstances in 1968. Meanwhile, a new incarnation of Steppeulvene released a "flipped out" single but folded again before the end of 1967. Søren Seirup, a founder member of Beefeaters (who existed from 1964 to March 1966 after releasing their first single "Big City"), then formed another legendary group named Hey Joe's Ballonrute. This and countless other formations from 1968 to 1972 had great ambitions but no LPs were left for posterity. A new Steppeulvene formation this year included Seirup, Møller, Levy and Skotte Olden in the ranks, but proved as short-lived as the previous incarnations.
This duo played poetic and relaxed progressive rock with elements of folk-rock. Stig and Steen later joined a revamped version of Ache in 1975 and recorded Pictures From Cyclus 7. Kreutzfeldt soon left Ache again and enjoyed considerable commercial success in the late seventies, playing pop-rock with his new partner Jens Rugsted (ex-Savage Rose).
|1||DA SOLEN KOM||1972||SONET SLPS 1532|
|2||FORCHROMEDE DAGE||1973||SONET SLPS 1543|
Their album was manufactured in Germany (and distributed there in addition to Denmark). Tommy Petersen was the leader of the group - he wrote the songs, provided the soul and blues flavoured vocals and played the lead instrument. Several tracks sound like a curious (and not very tasteful) cross between Atomic Rooster, Hansson & Karlsson and Tom Jones. It's generally considered not to rank among the best Danish albums!
|1||T. P. SMOKE||1970||TELEFUNKEN PT 12033 (D)|
Holger Laumann had in 1961-62 played in Safari Jazz, whose drummer was none other than later Rolling Stone Charlie Watts (who worked in Copenhagen at the time)! Laumann played jazz, rhythm and blues and soul throughout the sixties, forming the first version of Tears in 1967. Their first album, containing the above-mentioned styles, appeared in 1970. At the end of 1970 Allan Mortensen quit to join Midnight Sun and was eventually replaced by the female singer Anne Linnet. Their subsequent albums consisted of mainstream jazz-rock similar to The Crusaders.
|1||TEARS||1970||SPECTATOR SL 1011|
|2||SWEET THING||1973||ARTIST ALP 509|
|3||TEARS IN MY EARS||1974||ARTIST ALP 511|
|4||ANNE LINNET||1974||ABRA CADABRA ABC 2002|
|5||KVINDESIND||1978||EXLIBRIS EXL 20.025|
They made one of the finest, filthiest and most dexterous heavy garage blues rock albums from Europe, competing with the very best Dutch bands (or label mates Blues Addicts, for that matter). They wrote their own songs, except for a surprising version of George Harrison's "If I Needed Someone" and borrowing the lead motif of "In The Court Of The Crimson King" in "Like My Sister". "Free" had some soaring guitar interplay, the result of clever overdubbing. The vocals were perhaps unsteady but quite effective. 40 minutes of great fun, but not for the more sensitive ears!
|1||TERJE, JESPER & JOACHIM||1970||SPECTATOR SL 1023|
They were one of those groups that promised much, but never went further than an eponymous debut album.
Stylistically their music was close to Burnin' Red Ivanhoe, Blast Furnace and the jazzy Traffic-style. Neehammer's sax riffing is predominant on the album's five tracks, also frequently augmented by organ and electric guitar. "Mexico" (6:21) is the most effective track (paraphrasing the well-known sax riff from Traffic's "Freedom Rider"), while the longest tracks are less purposeful (due to the slightly repetitive solo sections).
|1||THORS HAMMER||1971||METRONOME 15412|
A well-known Danish blues-rock musician who played with countless other musicans during the 60's and 70 's (he was still active in the 90's). His first album Wake Up Your Mind (1970) wasn't restricted to just blues-rock and consequently this release has a much wider appeal than the rest. Thorup was helped by some old friends from famous Danish groups: Bent Hesselman (from The Maxwells), Ken Gudmann (from Young Flowers and later Culpeper's Orchard), Morten Kjærumgård, Niels Red Ivanhoe) and Steen Munte Jepsen (from The Blackpools). The album reflects the musicians' good reputation! Peter Thorup lived in England for some years and teamed up with Alexis Korner in New Church, CCS and Snape. He returned to Denmark in 1973 where he worked as a studio musician for some years. His later albums are less interesting, being influenced by country and rhythm and blues.
ALBUMS (UP TO 1980):
|1||WAKE UP YOUR MIND||1970||PHILIPS 6305 077|
|2||REJSEN TIL KINA||1977||EXL 20.024|
|3||THIN SLICES||1978||METRONOME MLP15635|
|4||NOGET OM||1980||SONET SLPS 1585|
An obscure synthesizer-player whose style was influenced by Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream. This sounds quite dated nowadays and is only recommended for those heavily into electronic music.
|1||SOUND-PAINTED PICTURES OF COSMIC LOVE||1977||STUK 4|
A group formed by ex-members of Carsten Meinert's Quartet. Peace (1970) contained instrumental jazz-rock with emphasis on the jazz elements and it's a good album of this genre. Jesper Nehammer later became a member of the legendary Thors Hammer.
|1||PEACE||1970||SPECTATOR SL 1019|
Claus Clement Pedersen, aka Tømrerclaus, decided to do something different to the usual rock guitarist routine and moved to Christiania (in Copenhagen) in 1975. This was a largely self-governed area that, since the late sixties, has been a refuge for hippies, artists and various freaks. The result was a privately recorded and released album and two cassettes, Snydt (1977) and Hepar (1978). All of them contained hilarious tracks based on demented fuzz guitar and even some on fuzz cello (the album contained the best material, though)! The only comparisons might be Oliver's album Standing Stone, a British private release, or a brain damaged, one-man-band Jimi Hendrix. All lyrics were in Danish. Great fun and completely unpretentious!
|1||TØMRERCLAUS||1978||KARMA MUSIC KMLP1|
|.||LARSBJØRNSTRÆDES URTEKRÆMMER||197?||PRIVATE PRESSING|
One of the politically active Danishmen (previously a member of Røde Mor Rock). His albums combine the usual political messages of the 70's with jazzy folk-rock and should only be of interest to those with a good understanding of Danish.
ALBUMS (UP TO 1980):
|1||ROSA||1974||METRONOME MELP 603|
|2||LARSBJØRNSSTRÆDES VINDUER||1975||METRONOME MELP 609|
|3||KYS FRØEN||1977||SONET SLP 1552|
|4||DUKKEHUSET||1978||SONET SLP 1566|
|5||FANTASTISK TID||1980||SONET SLP 1575|
Their album was manufactured in Germany. No more information available.
|1||AFTER THE WAR||1970||TELEFUNKEN (D)|
Largely unknown among collectors, their album contained some reasonably good progressive folk-rock, peaking on the track "Det" (12:45). People understanding Danish might be put off by some hopelessly stupid and naive lyrics.
|1||GUMMIMASKER||1971||POLYDOR 2380 011|
The only pure hippie group to come from Copenhagen during the late sixties was Young Flowers. The aspiring guitar player Peer Frost had previously been in Peter Belli & Les Rivals. Blomsterpistolen (1968 - the title means "the flower pistol") was a milestone in Danish rock. The music was made for their own surrealistic TV movie of the same name (which also featured their "rivals" The Beefeaters). Young Flowers were strongly influenced by Cream, Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles (typified by their classics "Strange Brew", "Axis: Bold As Love" and "Taxman", respectively). A couple of the tracks had Danish lyrics, including "25 Øre" (7:53), a never ending boogie blues derived from Canned Heat's "On The Road Again". More effective was the psychedelic jam "April '68" (8:56) and the shorter songs with strong lead guitars, studio effects (lots of flanging) and a really strong rhythm section. The group lacked a really capable vocalist, though.
The second album contained more of the same, ranging from the exceedingly flanged "And Who But I Should Be" to the "Calypso" in "Obladi-Oblada" style. The trio are joined by Niels Skousen on many tracks and by The Maxwells on the freakout track "Kragerne Vender" (10:31). In. my view, this album was their most powerful and best effort. Young Flowers undoubtedly inspired a flood of young aspiring power trios, including Blues Addicts, Terje, Jesper & Joachim and Moses (although these had a rawer garage sound). The three young flowers themselves would later resurface in several important groups: Peer Frost in Midnight Sun, Rainbow Band and Savage Rose, Peter Ingemann in No Name and as a session musician for hippie folk-rocker Sebastian, and Ken Goodman in Culpeper's Orchard.
|1||BLOMSTERPISTOLEN||1968||SONET SLPS 1258|
|2||YOUNG FLOWERS VOL. 2||1969||SONET SLPS 1511|
|A1||QUIET DAYS IN CLICHY||1969||VANGUARD VSD 79303|
AS FAR AS I KNOW, THESE WERE THE COMPLETE OUTPUT OF LPS FROM THIS LEGENDARY LABEL. SOME OF THEM (IE. THOSE WHO DO NOT HAVE AN ENTRY IN THIS BOOK) CONTAINED JAZZ, FOLK AND ETHNIC MUSIC: