Apollo made one of the earliest classic albums of Finnish progressive rock (along with The Charlies' Buttocks and Elonkorjuu's Harvest Time). Included was a curious mixure of crude heavy blues and sweeping ballads (some with arrangements for string quartet) in the late sixties tradition. The group had yet to decide whether to be a Procol Harum-like Eurovision participant or a raw-edged underground crew fronted by what sounded like a singing moose (really unusual vocal sounds for sure!). Despite these conflicts of style, I still find the album fascinating.
|1||APOLLO||1970||BLUE MASTER BLU-LP 118|
Blues Section was a predecessor to both Wigwam and Tasavallan Presidentti. The sound of both these groups, however divergent, can be traced back to the early efforts by Blues Section. This was also the springboard for Pembroke's later career as an unusually talented songwriter. The repertoire of Blues Section ranged through rhythm and blues, beat and psychedelia to embryonic progressive voyages (with a strong parallel to Traffic). Some of their longest and best tracks ("Football" and "Lucy Jane") are hidden away on sampler albums. Their guitar player Hasse Walli later travelled in very different directions in the ethno-jazz group Piirpauke. Eero Koivistoinen offered pure jazz on his solo album.
|1||BLUES SECTION||1967||LOVE LRLP 3|
|2||SOME OF LOVE||1968||LOVE LRLP 6|
|S1||PERSPECTIVES '68||1968||LOVE LRLP 4|
|S2||REUNION (2LP)||1970||LOVE LXRLP 502|
|S3||ONCE MORE FOR THE ROAD||1989||LOVE LOVER 2|
|A1||THE FRONT IS BREAKING||1977||LOVE LRLP 188|
Charlies were the earliest and most genuinely underground group from Finland! The group's name was a biting reference to the ongoing Vietnam war. Charlies formed in Lahti in 1968. Unlike the majority of artists emerging from Helsinki, their powerful music was strongly inspired by Cream, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin and Traffic. Their first album was supposed to be the soundtrack to a movie of the same name. Although it was completed, it was never shown to the public. Only 300 copies of the album were pressed, which makes it one of the most treasured artifacts from Finland. It included six crude blues-rock tracks (about half of them with Finnish lyrics) which were similar in style to Led Zeppelin at the time of "Dazed And Confused". Buttocks (1970) was released on Love Records and represented an enormous musical improvement. This is a real masterwork of heavy progressive rock with wah-wah guitars alternating with eager sax honks. The players jam with a touch of magic before the howling vocalist returns from a momentary trance. By this time all tracks had English lyrics. This album stands head and shoulders above the rest and is strongly recommended!
The original group split but Lehtinen and Sidorow retained the name for some 1972 sessions with Jouko Poutiainen (guitars), Pertti Ahlqvist (harmonica), Tony Nyholm (steel guitar, vocals), Martti Vaari (sax, vocals) and Vesa-Matti Lehtinen (drums, vocals). Two tracks were included on the sampler "Rock'n'Roll Juhlaa 2" in 1973, but these were disappointing.
|1||JULISTEIDEN LIIJAMAAT||1969||ANARCINEMA LP 1|
|2||BUTTOCKS||1970||LOVE LRLP 29|
No information available.
|.||SIRKUSTIREHTOORIN PIENI SYDAN||1973||TOP VOICE|
Edge's album was a limited release in a simple black-white cover. The music too is simple and primitive garage rock similar to German private pressings like Grave and Kaputter Hamster (which albums were both recorded under equally primitive conditions).
"Elonkorjuu" is the Finnish word for "harvest time", in case you wondered. This young group from Pori was among the most promising new groups of their era but sadly only left us with one album of excellent heavy rock influenced by Jethro Tull, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. Songs such as "Praise To Our Basement" indicates they were a garage band, but were far more subtle than that, often playing sentimental pieces with dynamic developments and good use of the Hammond organ and flute to counterbalance the guitars.
|1||HARVEST TIME||1971||PARLOPHONE 34675|
Fantasia played progressive rock with organ, eerie vocals and melodic compositions like mid-period Camel.
Their album comprised bluesy progressive rock with electric guitar and organ to the fore. It was good but nowhere near a masterwork.
|1||FERRIS||1971||LOVE LRLP 34|
Their name evokes images of the dark Nordic wilderness but it's open to question whether the music in itself can do the same. Nevertheless, Finnforest played brilliant instrumental jazz-rock with some resemblance to Wigwam (Jukka Gustavson was once asked to become their keyboard player!), Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Focus. The tracks (varying from soft, pastoral and slow to furious and rapid) are strong on haunting themes and leave little room for improvisation. Some might feel that their approach was too academic. Tracks such as "Mikä Yö" and "Happea" from the first album are genuinely world class within the genre and displayed a wonderful combination of electric guitar and organ/ARP. The use of synthesizers created textures similar to the Norwegian group Ruphus on their Let Your Light Shine. The two-part "Lähtö Mätkalle (Starting A Voyage)" included string orchestra opening. This advanced composition reminds me of some instrumental albums by Frank Zappa and Zao. Demonnights (1979) brought them closer to rock again, focusing on the electric guitar and even featuring guest vocals from Ilkka Pettersson.
|1||FINNFOREST||1975||LOVE LRLP 136|
|2||LÄHTÖ MÄTKALLE||1976||LOVE LRLP 193|
|3||DEMONNIGHTS||1979||LOVE LRLP 306|
A mostly instrumental folk album with flute, accordion, bouzouki, etc.
Jukka Gustavson's albums after Wigwam focused on his skills as a composer and arranger, rather than his considerable keyboard skills (piano, organ and synthesizers). His first solo album was particularly impressive. It included just one long and highly accomplished track based on biblical themes. The music contains elements from both jazz and neo-classical music, sharing the sophistication of the French style of Laurent Thibault and others. The complex score includes arrangements for several sax players, flute, cor anglais, bass clarinet, bassoon, trombone and oboe. The result is awesome and certainly must be seen as the very pinnacle of progressive rock.
ALBUMS (UP TO 1980):
|1||JALOA YLPEYTTÄ YLETÄN||1978||LOVE LRLP 194|
Haikara is the Finnish word for a stork. The leader of the group was the talented multi-instrumentalist Vesa Lattunen. On Haikara's first album he wrote and arranged all their incredibly passionate, rich and subtle music. Lattunen is a rock composer with the ability of Tchaikovsky, giving us a "Pathetique" for the 20th Century. Tracks such as "Luoja Kutsuu" (The Creator's Invitation) are masterworks, combining melancholic arrangements for strings, brass and bells with rampant wah-wah guitars in sudden mood swings. Four tracks exceeded seven minutes in length. The music reaches a depth which few other artists even dream about. Vocalist Vesa Lehtinen wrote all the lyrics, but he left after this album.
Geafar (1973) was a worthwhile second effort, but, excluding the 14-minute title track, was not up to the extremely high standards of the debut. Their music now veered closer to Tasavallan Presidentti at the time of Milky Way Moses. A plea for revolution and power to the people, "Change" was the only tracks with English lyrics.
The group was dropped by RCA but still managed to release a third album. This is reputed to be heavier than their past efforts. Haikara were among the very best groups from the Northern Europe! A new version of the group has recently recorded another excellent album.
|1||HAIKARA||1972||RCA LSP 10392|
|2||GEAFAR||1973||RCA YFPL 1-809|
|3||ISO LINTU||1975||PRIVATE PRESS|
Rather mainstream jazz-rock but technically advanced and with several well-known players.
|1||HALONEN||1979||DELTA DELP 21|
Line-up on 2:
Information was an eccentric and mostly instrumental album featuring violin and guitars. The tracks had strong jazz elements, but also includes distorted sounds veering into the avant-garde. His next effort, Episode, was more disciplined, bringing him close to the instrumental sound on Tasavallan Presidentti's two last albums. Hauru later joined the progressive jazz-rock group Taurus.
|2||EPISODE||1974||LOVE LRLP 144|
This singer has created some interest among collectors recently. Liisa Pien contains a soft symphonic (and quite tasteful) version of King Crimson's "Epitaph" with Finnish lyrics. More albums are likely to exist.
|1||HENRA MIRANDOS||1973||TOP VOICE|
|2||LIISA PIEN||1975||LOVE LRLP 142|
|3||HOTELLI HANNIKAINEN||1977||LOVE LRLP 182|
Their album consists of instrumental progressive rock with both symphonic and folk elements. It's little known among collectors.
They played progressive jazz-rock with guitar/violin interplay.
Kaamos played symphonic progressive rock in a characteristic mid-70's style, similar to Camel, Yes and their countrymen Nova.
|1||DEEDS AND TALKS||1977||M+T MTLP 7|
They made an obscure album on which rock'n'roll merged with straight rock.
ALBUM (BEFORE 1980):
Their album is reputed to contain psychedelic folk-rock.
|1||SUOMI POP||1970||FINNLEVY SFLP 9508|
As some might know, Kalevala (Kale's Land) is the name of a Finnish cultural treasure - a collection of written mythical legends about the hero Kale. People No Names (1972) is among the best of Nordic albums from the 70's. It included were several beautiful instrumentals evoking pictures of freshwater lakes and pine forests, such as "Where I'm From" (first and last part), "Waves" (a fantastic impersonation of a jazzy Frank Zappa adding Leslie-treated organ!) and "Escape From The Storm". Leslie effects are frequently used tastefully on the lead guitars. The vocal tracks are even more effective due to Harri Saksala's weird but magnificent vocal style. His illustrious past included time with the groups Topmost, Soulset and Apollo. After the first Kalevala line-up broke up, he initially joined Punaise Langa before moving on to another short-lived group named Manifest with guitar player Hasse Walli (ex-Blues Section and Piirpauke) and keyboard player Jukka Linkola (before he joined Finnforest). Almost three years later, Kurkinen and Salonen recorded a new Kalevala album with new recruits. Jim Pembroke wrote the lyrics to both Boogie Jungle and Abraham's Blue Refrain, but he also seemed to influence the new Kalevala's good-natured rural American rock sound. Matti Kurkinen sadly died in a car accident soon after. He had been a good friend of Pekka Pohjola from adolescence. The music on the last album, widely known by Continental collectors due to its French release on Crypto, was mainly written by Leppänen.
|1||PEOPLE NO NAMES||1972||FINNIEVY|
|3||ABRAHAM'S BLUE REFRAIN||1977||HI-HAT|
Acoustic and mostly traditional folk music is offered here from Finns belonging to the Swedish-speaking minority.
|2||PÅ BAR GÄRNING||1978||MNV|
Another little known group, who reputedly played rural rock fronted by strong electric guitars.
His solo album was a rare Finnish attempt to make electronic synthesizer music. Only three tracks were featured, one of which had certain similarities to the start of Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond". Kotilainen also collaborated with a lot of other artists and groups, including Jukka Tolonen, Wigwam and Sarcofagus.
|1||AJATUSLAPSI||1977||LOVE LRLP 196|
Their album is supposed to contain soft progressive rock in a style similar to Cressida and early Barclay James Harvest (dominated by organ and flute and sporting nice female vocals).
Little known progressive rock fronted by guitars and flute. Quite a good album according to my contacts.
The underground groups Charlies and Magyar were the first non-Helsinki groups to be signed to Love Records. The latter released their debut single "Elävien Hauta" in 1970.
|1||UUSIIN MAISEMIIN||1974||LOVE LRLP 96|
Released in 1980, this still has an early 70's feeling akin to Junipher Greene with complex musical structures and magnificent guitar playing. Pave had previously worked with jazz-rock keyboard player T. T. Oksala.
|1||PAVE'S MISTAKE||1980||HI HAT|
An obscure folk-rock album, primarily acoustic with some electric guitars.
|.||DESTINATION UNKNOWN||1975||HI HAT 103|
Their album is filled with mournful progressive rock derivative of Wigwam circa Fairyport (1971). The six tracks radiate sadness, best typified by "Pessimistinen Dialogi", which is self-explanatory. All the lyrics are in Finnish, adding even more to the "dark forest feel". The instrumentation is very subdued with organ, soft guitar and some violin.
|1||OBUS||1974||SATSANGA SATC 1013|
A symphonic rock group from Rovaniemi formed in 1974. Their main influences were Yes, Pink Floyd, Procol Harum and Wigwam. Atlantis (1976) contained only four tracks, fronted by Ortamo's organ and vocals. Their music wasn't very original but had strong melodic elements, sharing the melancholic beauty with the songs of Jukka Gustavson. All lyrics were in Finnish.
|1||ATLANTIS||1976||LOVE LRLP 169|
Experimental free-rock comparable to the French albums on the Futura label. This features trumpet, electronics, flute, double bass, percussion and organ.
|1||ODE TO MARILYIN||1974||SCANDIA|
Only 300 copies of his album (produced by Harri Saksala of Kalevala fame) were pressed. It contained great quality instrumental jazz-rock. Oksala also collaborated with Pekka Pohjola and Pave Majanen at the time.
|1||RADIO STORM||1978||LOBO 1|
His album has fetched incredible prices among record collectors lately. Judging by the well respected musicians taking part, this might be well worth listening to.
|1||PLASTIC MAAILMA||197?||SCANDIA SLP 559|
The Englishman Jim Pembroke is known for his witty but thoughtful contributions to Wigwam. Most of them were in a rural folk-rock style inspired by The Band and Procol Harum.
His first solo album is a hilarous affair with Pembroke acting as the master of ceremonies in a small pub environment, speaking in a broad Southern accent and introducing different acts, which all happen to be himself. The idea is similar to The Turtles' Battle Of The Bands, but a lot more fun and absurd. The fine melodic ingredients coupled with this humour make this a classic album. Later albums were more sane and disciplined but contain their share of great melodies as well. These are similar to the sound of Wigwam's later albums.
ALBUMS (UP TO 1980):
|1||HOT THUMBS O'RILEY||1972||LOVE LRLP 52|
|2||PIGWORM||1974||LOVE LRLP 103|
|3||CORPORAL CAULIFLOWERS' MENTAL FUNCTIONS||1977||LOVE LRLP 214|
Perth "Pepe" Willberg was an experienced singer from the sixties group Jormas. Prior to Pepe & Paradise he had also released a few solo singles, some of which featured the complete Wigwam line-up. If such a thing as "progressive cabaret music" exists, then Niin Vähän On Aikaa (1972) must be one example. Pepe's vocals are backed by brass and strings (arranged by Otto Donner) and a remote rhythm section. You might be surprised to learn that the album is excellent - full of superb, quiet songs with the strong, dreamy nostalgic feel of the late 60's, old jazz records and of even more distant times. It's an ideal album for late night listening (it even ends with a lullaby). Heikki Hietanen was the man who replaced Jukka Gustavson in Wigwam. Several of the woodwind players also guested on Wigwam's Being.
|1||NIIN VÄHÄN ON AIKAA||1972||LOVE LRLP 69|
A folk group who played quiet songs full of mandolins and whistles. Their first album was named after "Rocky Road To Dublin" and largely based on traditional songs from the green island. Later albums had original tunes (sometimes setting traditional verses to music) in much the same spirit, with gorgeous vocals (solo female, male and mixed).
|1||KIVINEN TIE DUBLINIIN||1972||LOVE LRLP 51|
|2||HATTUKAUPPIAAN AAMU||1973||LOVE LRLP 77|
|3||KONTANTEN KOTIA||1975||LOVE LRLP 131|
Along with Archimedes Badkar and Arbete Och Fritid, Piirpauke were in the forefront of Scandinavian groups exploring the boundaries between jazz, ethnic music and rock.
|1||PIIRPAUKE||1975||LOVE LRLP 148|
|2||PIIRPAUKE 2||1976||LOVE LRLP 192|
|3||LIVE||1978||LOVE LRLP 251|
Pohjola is one of the most important Finnish jazz musicians. He started his professional career in Wigwam. His first album evoked the "pine-smelling" atmosphere of Wigwam's Fairyport, due to the extensive use of clarinet, flute and sax (and even some violin played by Pohjola). Piano and organ provided the chords, but also offered some solos. The four tracks have both arranged and competent improvised parts (apart from a too long bass- and drums-only section in the opening track). This music is mid-way between introverted jazz-rock and European chamber rock. His later albums stuck closely to this formula, but moved away from any remnants of the Wigwam sound. Visitation (1979) represented his closest brush with neo-classical music, while Katkavaaran Lohikarme (Dragon of Lohikarme) contains hard-edged, straight jazz-rock.
Pekka Pohjola has also played with Jim Pembroke (on his solo albums), Jukka Tolonen, Made In Sweden, Mike Oldfield and Halonen.
ALBUMS (UP TO 1980):
|1||PIHKASILMA KAARNAKORVA||1972||LOVE LRLP 71|
|2||HARAKKA BIALOIPOKKU||1974||LOVE LRLP 118|
|3||KEESOJEN LEHTO||1977||LOVE LRLP 219|
|4||THE GROUP||1978||DIG IT LP1|
|5||VISITATION||1979||DIG IT LP4|
|6||KATKAVAARAN LOHIKAARME||1980 DIG IT LP12|
|2||B THE MAGPIE||1975||VIRGIN V2036|
|3||MATHEMATICIANS AIR DISPLAY||1977 VIRGIN V2084|
Maijanen had previously played in Pepe & Paradise, and Kätkä in Suikkis and Woodoo. Spring '76 contains lively hard rock, bordering on pure good time rock'n'roll. Half the album consisted of revamped versions of old standards such as "Badge" and "Hoochie Coochie Man". Out (1978) was an album of melodic rock, bridging the old hard rock elements with more poetic influences from Jim Pembroke.
|1||SPRING 76||LOVE||LRLP 159|
|2||OUT||1978||LOVE LRLP 225|
This group played tough heavy rock strongly inspired by Black Sabbath and with the lyrics dealing mostiy with death mythology. Aggressive guitars and matching vocals (Hannu Keiden being the superior) prevail. A couple of long tracks with added sound effects are effective, but the rest will only interest fans of plain heavy rock. Esa Kotilainen (who made an album of electronic music in the mid-seventies) produced both albums.
|1||ENVOY OF DEATH||1980||JP MUSIKKI|
|2||CYCLE OF LIFE||1980||JP MUSIKKI|
The only album by Scapa Flow is a highlight of Nordic progressive rock. The beautiful and effortless vocals by Noponen and Järvinen, combined with a knack for slightly uncommon, yet easily accessible melodies, and the impeccable ensemble playing, make for appealing listening throughout. There is a tendency towards symphonic textures without ever yielding to pomposity, a rare accomplishment indeed! Most of the melodies have a gently melancholic character and the sparsely employed solos are always tasteful. The climax of the album must be the last cut on side 2, "Askel Ylöspäin" (Steps Upward), one of the peaks of world-wide progressive music, with its arching and serene melody and superbly elegant arrangement. Truly recommended.
Record dealers label the album as "underground folk-rock" and sell it for outrageous prices (more than 250 Euro). The title translates into "New Times'.
|1||UUTEEN AIKAAN||1980||KOMPASS KOLP 22|
The listed album varies from loud fuzz guitar to dreamy keyboard passages, sometimes sounding like Island-period Jade Warrior.
|1||RANNAN USVASSA||1979||HELP 703|
Their album contains loud heavy progressive rock centered around Heijjilä's excellent guitar work. The sound was more typical of 1970 than 1974.
|1||UNIKAVA||1974||ODEON 5E 062-35032|
This album is fluent 70's jazz-rock with electric guitar in the limelight.
|1||NONO SÖDERBERG||1976||HI HAT|
This obscure split album is of historical interest mainly due to Soul Set, which featured Harri Saksala, later the vocalist in Apollo and Kalevala. Seppo Paakkunainen played the wind instruments and the music is much closer to raw blues and jazz than to soul. The Edvard Vesala Jazz Band on the other side played unrestricted jazz, similar to early John McLaughlin and Min Bul.
SPLIT ALBUM WITH EDVARD VESALA JAZZ BAND:
This is spontaneous experimental music almost predating Nurse With Wound with an abundance of wild sax and percussion. File this along with the French Futura label!
Appropriately for a Finnish folk singer, his albums had a melancholic and reflective mood, only interrupted by a silly country song on Kesämaa! Tasavallan Presidentti provided the backing on the first album.
|1||MAGNEETTIMIEHEN KUOLEMA||1970 LOVE LRLP 28|
|2||KESÄMAA||1972||LOVE LRLP 67|
Their album is reputed to contain good quality jazz-rock.
|1||VESI JA LINTUMISIKKIA||1979||LOVE|
He made a powerful hard-rock album in a style similar to Jimi Hendrix and Dirk Steffens.
They were (along with Finnforest) one of the best acts to appear on Love Records in the mid-seventies, undeniably inspired by Wigwam but they used more folky melodies. Their first album is by far the best, containing melancholic sad and lonely tracks such as "Tuho (Destruction)'' and "Lähtö (Departure)". The riffs are often on the flute, much like early Jethro Tull or the Norwegian group Prudence, although the vocals of Jukka Leppilampi are quite unique. The second album was surprisingly uninspired by comparison. It sounds more inspired by English progressive rock.
|1||TABULA RASA||1975||LOVE LRLP 135|
|2||EKKEDIEN TANSSI||1976||LOVE LRLP 170|
This important group formed when Blues Section split in 1968. Robson and Groundstroem then teamed up with talented guitar player Jukka Tolonen and the Aaltonen brothers. Their 1969 debut presented an ambitious but still immature group inspired by early Traffic and Spooky Tooth, but also with jazz aspirations on the instrumental "Driving Through". Juhani Aaltonen was soon replaced by Pekka Pöyry. Juhani (and his brother Vesa as well) later played with Jim Pembroke, Made In Sweden, Halonen and others.
The second album was recorded in Stockholm in August 1970 and only released in Sweden. For reasons unknown it has never been reprinted. According to Jukka Tolonen himself, this is the album he is most satisfied with. It is hard to disagree, as it was an enormous step forward for the group. Tolonen, Pöyry and Robson proved to be one of the strongest combinations of instrumental and vocal talent in Finland. This should be regarded as archetypical progressive rock combining inspired song structures with extended solo performances (electric guitar, flute, sax).
Lambertland (1972) is a very underrated album containing even more guitar and sax/flute passages. It moved their musical focus a bit closer to jazz. The exhilarating instrumental "Dance" sounds much like a Finnish Focus, with Tolonen's dancing guitar lines augmented by Pöyry's flute. In contrast, the title track was a contemplative effort with subdued electric piano and distant guitars, gradually building towards a final climax. Vocalist Eero Raittinen had a very distinctive style, perhaps a little similar to Tim Buckley. "Lounge" represented their most jazzy edge with plenty of vigorous sax soloing. This particular direction, similar to the energetic rock jazz of Colosseum and King Crimson, was dominant on most of Milky Way Moses (1973).
|1||TASAVALLAN PRESIDENTTI||1969||LOVE LRLP 7|
|2||TASAVALLAN PRESIDENTTI II||1970||COLUMBIA 4E 062-34214|
|3||LAMBERTLAND||1972||LOVE LRLP 60|
|4||MILKY WAY MOSES||1973||LOVE LRLP 102|
|A1||ETIQUETTE||19??||LOVE LRLP 119|
|A2||STRINGS||19??||LOVE LRLP 160|
Jukka Tolonen is known as one of the best guitar players from Finland. His early albums sound, naturally, very much like an instrumental Tasavallan Presidentti with the distinctive guitar style of Tolonen to the fore. Friends from Wigwam also help out. Newcomers should try Tolonen!, his most powerful statement, where you can also hear him on piano and spinnet on five long and entertaining tracks. Subsequent albums are all worthwhile with The Hook marginally the best of them.
ALBUMS (UP TO 1980):
|1||TOLONEN!||1971||LOVE LRLP 47|
|2||SUMMER GAMES||1973||LOVE LRLP 91|
|3||THE HOOK||1974||LOVE LRLP 113|
|4||HYSTERICA||1975||LOVE LRLP 149|
|5||CROSSECTION||1975||SONET SNTF 699 (UK)|
|7||AFTER THREE DAYS||1977||MECCA ML101 (S)|
|8||A PASSENGER TO PARAMARIBO||1978||LOVE LRLP 231|
|9||MONTREUX BOOGIE||1979||LOVE LRLP 278|
A beat album which sounds similar to the British 1966/67 sound. Their vocalist was Harri Saksala. He was later in Apollo and Kalevala (among others).
Progressive jazz-rock with several well-known players. Their album featured long tracks and is reputed to be excellent.
|1||UNI SONO||1975||HI HAT|
The most famous Finnish group of the 70's was formed in Helsinki in 1969 by Jukka Gustavson and the Londoner Jim Pembroke. The latter had lived in Finland since 1965 and previously played beat music with Österberg in Blues Section.
Hard'n'Horny (1969) instantly established a strong contrast between the compositions of Gustavson and Pembroke (much like the chasm between Winwood and Mason in Traffic). They even appeared on separate sides of the album. Gustavson was strongly influenced by the rhythm & blues, jazz and soul meanderings of Steve Winwood (1966-68), utilising similar vocals and Hammond organ. Jim Pembroke, on the other hand, wrote thoughtful songs with more weight on the lyrics (often showcasing his absurd humour and fertile images). His songs form a well-written suite about the imaginary character Henry.
Tombstone Valentine (1970), produced by Kim Fowley, saw the important addition of Pekka Pohjola, who co-wrote one of the highlights, "Frederick & Bill" and even occasionally played country violin on Pembroke's more rural contributions (which were strongly influenced by Music From The Big Pink by The Band). The electric guitar parts were provided by Jukka Tolonen. The separate tracks are good, but they are too divergent and don't work together as a whole.
Wigwam's masterwork was the ambitious Fairyport (1971), on which Pohjola's jazz influences were more evident. Gustavson's compostions had matured and several of them featured graceful woodwind arrangements. "Loosing Hold", "Hot Mice", "Every Fold" and "Fairyport" are among the best melodic compositions from this era. Only the badly recorded live jam covering the whole of side four seemed out of place (but it did document their more powerful live sound, often augmented by Jukka Tolonen).
Being (1973) revealed an even wider distance between the songs of Gustavson and Pembroke. Almost all the tracks were written by Gustavson, who attempted to unify the group sound. Pembroke saved most of his songs for Wicked Ivory, a "solo" album featuring the complete Wigwam.
At the beginning of 1974, the guitar player Pekka Rechardt joined the group. Gustavson and Pohjola had for other reasons decided to leave. Live recordings from June 1974 were released on Live Music From The Twilight Zone. This caught the group in good shape, playing versions of "The Moon Struck One" (by Robbie Robertson), "Imagine" and "Let It Be" in addition to material by Rechardt, Pembroke and Pohjola. Gustavson then delved into active Christianity and musical studies, while Pohjola recorded his complex jazz-rock (with strong classical overtones) and became known as the leading Finnish bass player.
Wigwam now became a vehicle for Jim Pembroke, who employed his old friend Måns Groundstroem (from the Blues Section days) as new bass player (originally he quit Tasavallan Presidentti to become Wigwam's producer). Nuclear Nightclub (1975) moved in a melodic folk-rock direction already hinted at on Tombstone Valentine. Rechardt also contributed to the writing, but for the first time Wigwam had a unified sound. The album brought them their first commercial success at home and some cult status in the UK (due to their new agreement with Virgin). This and later albums were much closer to mainstream rock than their earlier efforts, though they still make for pleasant listening due to the strength of the songs.
|1||HARD'N'HORNY||1969||LOVE LRLP 9|
|2||TOMBSTONE VALENTINE||1970||LOVE LRLP 19|
|3||FAIRYPORT (2LP)||1971||LOVE LRLP 44/45|
|4||BEING||1973||LOVE LRLP 92|
|5||LIVE FROM THE TWILIGHT ZONE (2LP)||1975||LOVE LRLP 517/18|
|6||NUCLEAR NIGHTCLUB||1975||LOVE LRLP 129|
|7||LUCKY GOLDEN STRIPES||1976||LOVE LRLP 186|
|8||DARK ALBUM||1978||LOVE LRLP 227|
|6||NUCLEAR NIGHTCLUB||1975||VIRGIN V2035|
|7||LUCKY GOLDEN STRIPES||1976||VIRGIN V2051|
|S1||RUMOURS ON THE REBOUND||1979||VIRGIN VD3503|
An album of avant-garde experimental music similar to the music released in France on the Futura label, but with more emphasis on studio effects than free jazz.
Yellow's album comprised melodic progressive rock. I haven't heard it but it is not reputed to be among Finland's best.
|1||KELTAKUUME||1975||FINNLEVY SFLP 9561|
|.||PERSPECTIVES - MUSIC IN FINLAND||1968||LOVE LRLP 4|
|.||POP MESTARIT||1970||RYTMI RILP 7082|