A short-lived group which was a continuation of Baltik. Ablution let more Latin influences into their music than Baltik, and almost became the Swedish version of Santana and Titanic. They also had strong bonds with contemporary instrumental jazz-rock (Return To Forever and Weather Report).
Schaffer and Lindh eventually became two of the most famous Swedish studio musicians (Schaffer even with Abba) and they also recorded solo albums.
This duo made a mind absorbing album of floating and pulsating electronic music, merging Klaus Schulze's Mirage with Älgarnas Trädgård. The strange bubbling and whispering on the album is also similar to Ralph Lundsten's Strömkarlen. AST is another example of 'krautrock' made in Sweden - and it is excellent!
|1||TUSSILAGO FANFARA||1977||SILENCE SRS 4646|
Roland Keijser came from a free jazz background in the mid-sixties. He formed a group in Uppsala in 1968 that eventually evolved into Arbete Och Fritid. Their first album contained the long track "Arbete Och Fritid" ("Work And Leisure"), based on a single chord, upon which Keijser and the others played jazzy improvisations. On this the Third Ear Band and Terry Riley meet free jazz and very old Scandinavian folklore (In addition to writing and playing their own compositions, they also played versions of traditional material).
The second album followed a similar path, adding Finnish marches and Greek folk dances to their musical menu. Both albums are highly original (a hallmark of all real progressive music), but are far removed from the usual rock format. Their third album marked a turn of style towards political rock with interspersed spoken and sung lyrics by Rolf Lundqvist. The result might be compared to The Fugs or Holy Modal Rounders- a strange, satirical and dadaistic mixture of traditional folk, waltz, tango, jazz and even rock (some fuzz guitar).
The innovative sound of their two Sonet albums was consolidated on "Ostpusten - Västpusten" (19:20), their part of a split album with Kustbandet. One of their best tracks, it started with Indian-styled meditation, progressed into a raga-like, frenzied zenith and then concluding with more secular Western brass jazz. Their fourth album focused on the arrangements of European folk music, ranging from Scandinavia to Turkey and Bulgaria. It also contained a few self-composed protest songs and avant-garde rock-jazz.
Ur Spår (1974) captured Arbete & Fritid's fanciful and engaging live performance. In 1975 founder members Roland Keijser and Torsten Eckerman left the group. Their last contribution with Arbete Och Fritid was on Margareta Söderberg's Käringtand (1975), a nice collection of traditional folk songs (some sung acapella, others dominated by fiddles, whistles and nyckelharpa (an old Swedish stringed instrument). Two ex-members of Träd, Gräs Och Stenar, Thomas "Mera" Gartz and Torbjörn Abelli, had already joined the group and soon helped transform Arbete Och Fritid into Sweden's last true hippie group of the 70's... In the Spring of 1976, the group spent three months in a house in the remote countryside of Dalarna. During this time they recorded 2½ hours of music for an exhibition named "Se Upp För Livet", an installation of picture and sound in eight rooms, dealing with the development of a man from birth to mid-life (with a strong focus on sex roles and social questions). The double album contained most of the music and a large booklet. The influence of Gartz and Abelli was strongly evident on the long hippie rock jams such as "Födelsesmusik" (16:40), "Spel I Solnedgangen" (8:15) and "Berget" (8:00). Other cuts ranged from traditional folk to pop-rock and even from Pink Fairies-like grunge to experimental avant-garde. Their next step was to make a live album with the well-known fiddle player Anders Rosén. Sedan Dansar Vi Ut (1977) contained a lot of traditional folk dance tunes and sounds almost like a Swedish equivalent of The Chieftains. Their final album Håll Andan (1979) was more in line with Se Upp För Livet, centered around rural folk-rock, improvised lunacy and a few aggressive statements.
In the final analysis, Arbete Och Fritid must be counted among the most important Swedish groups of the seventies. They played an incredibly wide range of musical styles
|1||ARBETE OCH FRITID||1970||SONET SLP 2513|
|2||ANDRA LP||1971||SONET SLP 2526|
|3||SLOTTSBERGETS HAMBO & ANDRA VALSER||1972||MNW 26P|
|4||ARBETE OCH FRITID||1973||MNW 39P|
|5||UR SPÅR||1974||MNW 5F|
|6||SE UPP FÖR LIVET (2LP)||1976||MNW 75P|
|7||SEDAN DANSAR VI UT (2LP)||1977||HURV KLP3|
|8||HÅLL ANDAN||1979||MNW 92P|
|A1||CLUB JAZZ 6||1972||SR RELP 1149|
|B1||SÅNGER||1976||SILENCE SRS 4635|
This large ensemble might be seen as a Swedish equivalent of the German group Embryo, as both were pioneers in the fusion of jazz-rock and ethnic music from all over the world. The music of Archimedes Badkar was lively and playful, often inspired by African music from both North and South of the Sahara desert. All four albums are in a similar vein, but most people regard their double second album as their best effort. Half of it was pre-planned, the rest based on improvisations done in the studio at night! Most tracks are very long and indicative of hippies on an Eastern trip. Bado Kidogo (1979) was a collaboration with the group Afro 70 from Tanzania. Bengt Berger and Kjell Westling had previously played with Arbete Och Fritid.
|1||BADROCK FÖR BARN I ALU ÅLDRAR||1975||MNW 53P|
|2||ARCHIMEDES BADKAR II (2LP)||1976||MNW 62/63P|
|4||BADO KIDOGO||1979||MNW 91P|
A homemade-looking minor label pressing with typical early 70's rough progressive rock. It contained nine tracks in all and was issued in a black-white single cover.
|1||HELLO & FAREWELL||1971||BUTTERCUP BLP 6|
Asoka from Malmö were formed by the remnants of the excellent Taste Of Blues. This background was just detectable, as Asoka headed in a hard rock direction with loud guitar riffs augmented by hammond organ and eager percussion. They also had a decent vocalist, offering hilarious lyrics (in Swedish). Some tracks contained a kind of 'Latin funk' similar to the early Santana and Kvartetten Som Sprängde. Critical listeners will spot a lack of originality but nonetheless acknowledge the musical prowess of the players. Claes Ericsson and Robban Larsson later made two albums with the jazz-rock group Lotus.
The group was formed in late 1967 after Greg Fitzpatrick had arrived in Sweden from Finland. The following year Atlantic Ocean went to England and were offered a contract with CBS. Only a single was released on this label, as CBS didn't want to release the politically-inclined Tranquility Bay (1970). Finally Love Records released it in Finland (and it was distributed by Silence in Sweden). The sleeve was notable for its novelty fold-open cover (dealing with the Vietnam war), in the style of Ash Ra Tempel's first album. Side one had six short songs, while side two contained a long suite named "Weather: Snow/Wind/Sun" (the highlight of the album). Greg Fitzpatrick was the most important writer and also produced the album. Musically it's not among the best but is now hunted by collectors due to its rarity. In 1970, Atlantic Ocean split into two parts which evolved into Fläsket Brinner and Jason's Fleece. Fitzpatrick himself was later involved in Handgjort, Tillsammans and Samla Mammas Manna.
|1||ATLANTIC OCEAN||1970||LOVE LRLP 18 (SF)|
Atlas was formed in Malmö in 1974. The group played pleasant instrumental symphonic rock with strong similarities to Genesis, Focus and Camel. Various keyboards predominate with occasional melodic guitar statements. This lacked originality but should please fans of the three above-mentioned groups.
|1||BLÅ VARDAG||1979||BELLATRIX BLP 705|
Autumn Breeze hailed from Arvika in Värmland. They played slow, melancholic symphonic rock and were good at creating cinematic images in long instrumental ventures. The vocals were in Swedish. One of the better Swedish albums of the late seventies.
|1||AUTUMN BREEZE (HÖSTBRIS)||1979 ÖRECORDS 26|
His album is little known even among Swedish collectors. It is supposed to contain psychedelic folk-rock with strong fuzz guitar.
The musicians in Baltik were among the most versatile in Sweden at the time. Baltik played energetic jazz-rock dominated by Schaffer's eminent guitar lines and Lindh's flute, sax and fender piano. These two later played in Ablution.
He played melancholic and thoughtful folk-rock with Swedish lyrics.
Their album, which contains four very long tracks, is closer to jazz than rock. It sounds vaguely similar to Miles Davis (circa 1970) and three fourths of Soft Machine's Third, but also recalls the alternative Swedish music of Arbete Och Fritid and Samla Mammas Manna. The album was recorded live in the studio on a two track tape recorder with no possibility for subsequent remixing. The instrumentalists are reasonably competent so fans of jazz-rock should check it out.
|1||BERITS HALSBAND||1975||PRIVATE PRESS FOLLP 1|
A very rare album, which doesn't mention the participating musicians on the sleeve. It comprises five tracks of organ-dominated, vintage progressive rock, which reach a peak on the 13-minute "Tears From A Black Angel".
|1||IT WASN'T MEANT TO HAPPEN||1970||TONITON LP101|
A short-lived group formed from the remnants of the pop heroes Tages and playing in exactly the same style as their last output. Their album contains high quality songs with intricate vocal arrangements and hints of psychedelia and harmony-pop, in the tradition of The Beatles.
A very obscure group.
|1||BLUE FIRE||1978||MISTLUR 1|
As indicated by their name, this trio played hard-rockin', gutsy blues-rock. Their album is among the rarest from Sweden along with the musically similar Nebulosa and Solid Ground.
A forgotten blues-rock group, much influenced by John Mayall. Bluesblocket took eight of his tunes and wrote Swedish lyrics to them (including a tribute to the Swedish blues performer Peps Persson). Some tracks had brass arrangements.
|1||BLUESBLOCKET||1980||TREDJE LAGET TTLP1|
|A1||ROLLING WITH THE BLUES||19??||KICK 002 (DK)|
They made a very obscure album of underground psychedelic folk.
|1||BLÅ SCHÄFER||1975||PRIVATE PRESS|
In the mid-seventies, some of the Scandinavian groups developed their own brand of poetic progressive rock, using their native tongue. Among these were Trettioåriga Kriget, Saga, Kaipa, Bättre Lyss, Høst (who were Norwegian) and Blåkulla, a group from the Gothenburg area. Their music had a very enthusiastic and heartfelt approach with loud guitars and organ, somewhere between Junipher Greene (1971) and early Deep Purple. Some of Blåkulla's lyrics were written by Swedish poets and sung in a high-pitched, earnest voice by Dennis Lindegren. The album was recorded in a semi-professional studio, resulting in a dense, compact and chiming sound, which adds even more charm to it. Tracks like "Idealet" (The Ideal), "I Solnedgången" (In Sunset), "Erinran" (Memories) and "Sirenernas Sång" (Song Of The Sirens) are among the most memorable from this period in Sweden, sounding almost like a heavy metal version of Kaipa. Powerful yet lyrical and firmly recommended!
|1||BLÅKULLA||1975||ANETTE ALP 218|
An obscure trio. If I'm not mistaken, they played folk-rock.
Not really a group but the name of a concept album made by unknown musicians. The music was vaguely interesting heavy rock (some tracks veering in the direction of loud electric blues-rock).
Tommy Broman recorded quite a good instrumental album veering in a jazz-rock direction. It includes an instrumental version of "Sailing" - the weakest track on the album! Broman had previously played in the hippie-rock outfit Levande Livet.
|1||EFTER MIDNATT||1976||YTF 50310|
Anders Nordh had previously recorded a superb album with his group Life, though he didn't contribute much to the songwriting in Bättre Lyss. Their album was full of very good short songs featuring intelligent social comment in the lyrics. Musically, this is a good mixture of electric folk-rock and progressive rock which was quite common in Sweden (try Vildkaktus and Trettioåriga Kriget to name but two). This tradition was still nurtured in Sweden twenty years later by groups such as Landberk.
|1||TIL DEN STRANG SOM BRAST||1974||MUSIKLAGET 6|
Contact achieved surprisingly little recognition for their innovative albums. Their first and rarest album Nobody Wants To Be 16 (1970) was produced by Kim Fowley, who also co-wrote a couple of the songs. This was an unique, cool and relaxed mixture of Anglo-American hippie-rock and Nordic folklore with frequent use of congas, flute and acoustic/electric guitars. Try to imagine a mixture of The Beatles, Tim Buckley, Pearls Before Swine and Tyrannosaurus Rex and it sounded similar.
Hun Kom Över Mon (1971) marked a transition of style, introducing Swedish lyrics and the extensive use of fiddles. Although Contact wrote their own songs, they also incorporated fragments of folk songs into their lyrics. Those who understand Swedish will find them highly entertaining (one track even has a reference to Frank Zappa). Their mood varied from sing-a-long jolliness t melancholic and sombre. This is a highly imaginative album and sometimes reminds me of another great Swedish group - Vildkaktus.
Utmarker (1971) benefited from better production but contains more variable (and also more political) songs. Among the highlights were the moody folk-rock track "Det Är Natt" (7:11).
|1||NOBODY WANTS TO BE 16||1970||MNW 3P|
|2||HON KOM ÖVER MON||1971||MNW 17P|
|3||UTMARKER||1971||POLYDOR 2379 023|
Only 200 copies of their album were issued, some of which were pressed on coloured vinyl. Half is sung in English and half in Swedish. Musically this is guitar-oriented rock with some West coast influences.
This group went unnoticed at home in Sweden, but almost ten years after their demise their music suddenly got a lot of recognition among symphonic rock freaks in Japan. Consequently their album was re-released on CD and sold a lot more copies than the original. Dice played advanced symphonic rock with a lot of twists and turns on the usual combination of electric guitar and various keyboards. Yes, King Crimson, Genesis and Focus might be good reference points. Countless groups played in this style and quality-wise, Dice is somewhere in the middle of the heap.
They made a mostly forgotten album of folk-rock (mostly folk) with female and male vocals, guitar, violin and whistle.
|1||IS GOOD FOR YOU||1969||SONET|
A group of minor importance, who played decent 70's rock with some influences from Camel and Genesis. The problem is that other parts of their albums contain mainstream rock and the resulting album is inevitably patchy.
|1||DIMMORNAS BRO||1977||SILENCE SRS 4643|
A political rock group from Gothenburg who played rock songs with influences from both progressive rock and aggressive new wave. Not bad but hardly relevant so many years later.
|1||VÅRDSJUK BLÅGUL FANBLUES||1977||MNV 77P|
|2||HOTEL CANCER||1979||NACKSVING 031-19|
A short-lived group whose sole album really deserves to be heard. Along with Panta Rei, this is among the progressive rock treasures released on Harvest in Sweden. Both contained five tracks, although Energy is closer to jazz, often favouring the interplay between electric guitar and electric piano on top of complex rhythms with Latin American influences. "Porta Marina" (10:26) is particularly tasteful, as the musicians prove their abilities in a rather understated and sophisticated manner rather than showing off. Intelligence defeats narcissism as this album demonstrates.
His album contains quiet instrumentals centered around acoustic guitar, much in the same vein as some of John Renbourn's solo albums. Janne Hellberg and Kjell Westling from Vargavinter also contributed to the recordings.
|1||DRAKVÄDER||1974||ALTERNATIV ALP 6|
Their albums have recently gained some interest among international collectors. The group played loud rock with slight new wave tendencies.
ALBUM (UP TO 1980):
|1||ENSAMMA HJARTAN||1979||NACKSVING 031-24|
They made one of the most obscure Swedish heavy rock albums, in a joyful style reminiscent of Fuzzy Duck and early Atomic Rooster.
When appraising the musical abilities of the early artists who recorded for Silence, Fläsket Brinner (Burning Pork Fat) rate highly. Their first album (mostly recorded live in 1970) contains long and short instrumentals that easily shifted from folk music to heavy progressive, from jazz to variety music and from pre-written music to disciplined improvisation. Arguably, many others have attempted the same, but few musicians had a more fluent dialogue than Fläsket Brinner. The best example of this is the 14-minute "Tysta Finskan". They gained so much attention during their many live engagements that Fläsket Brinner became the first Silence artists to be signed by another company - the short-lived Polydor subsidary Ljudspår. Fläsket (1972) was an even better effort with improved sound quality. A third album was recorded but never released.
|1||FLÄSKET BRINNER||1971||SILENCE SRS 4606|
|2||FLÄSKET (2LP)||1972||LJUDSPÅR EFS-DL-7202|
Carin Kjellman and Ulf Gruvberg met in 1970 at a folk festival. Over the following years they developed a strong interest in Swedish, British and other European folklore, studying archive material from books and old tapes. Their first album With Roots In The Middle Ages (1974) contained songs firmly based on the old traditions, centered around vocals, acoustic guitar and whistle (and augmented by fiddle, banjo, bass and drums).
The duo then met Jørn Jensen, previously of Folque and Kong Lavring, at a small club in Oslo and eventually decided to join forces (Jensen formally had the status as "guest" on their first album). A year later Jensen's old partner Trond Villa joined the group, making them an unique combination of two Norwegians and two Swedes. Folk & Rackare soon established themselves as the Swedish (they were based in Sweden and rarely played in the rather more conservative Norway) counterpart of Pentangle, Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span. All their albums contain beautiful melodies (adaptations of traditional tunes or their own tone settings of old verses), fronted by Carin Kjellman's superb vocals. This was a different branch of "folk-rock" than, say, Kebnekaise. Folk & Rackare focused on concise, melodious and often emotional songs, whereas Kebnekaise were more lively, often adding heavy rock rhythms and electric guitar to old folkdance tunes.
CARIN & ULF:
|A1||MED RÖTTER I MEDELTIDEN||1974 SONET|
|1||FOLK & RACKARE||1976||YTF|
A rural blues-rock album of limited interest even to fans of the genre.
|1||CORN STREET||1972||PEP 10003|
Hailing from the Northern part of Sweden, Tomas Forssell played a mixture of folk-rock and traditional local dance music (Hans Alatalo also played with Norrlåtar), A wide array of instruments were used on Ingenting Står Stilla (including guitars, dulcimer, dobro, flute, accordion, bassoon, spoons and pot drums). Turid made a guest appearance, singing on one track. An interesting album for those with a special interest in the combination of folk-rock and traditional folk music, although the political lyrics are quite dated.
|1||INGENTING STÅR STILLA||1977||MANIFEST MAN 10|
Gandalf's album contained symphonic rock typical of the late seventies (ie: inspired by Genesis and the like).
Thomas "Mera" Gartz was a key player in Swedish underground rock circles from the late sixties onwards. His solo album contains songs written during the period from 1968 to 1974. His helpers were mainly members of Träd, Gräs Och Stenar and Arbete Och Fritid, representing Gartz' past and future groups. The material is in the same style as these groups' music.
|1||SÅNGER||1976||SILENCE SRS 4635|
Claes played in the teenybopper outfit Ola & The Janglers in the sixties and provided some of their best tracks. Later on he became a record producer and also recorded a decent rock album typical of 1970.
|1||OUT OF MY HAIR||1970||SONET|
Swedish melancholic folk-rock with frequent use of violin from a future member of Kebnekaise.
The group played protest songs with strongly political lyrics, dealing with the usual topics of Vietnam, regional development, growing urbanism, corporate expansion and exploitation. Some of better songs were inspired by Swedish folk music and are similar to Contact (although inferior to them).
|1||ÄR DU LÖNSAM LILLA VÄN||1970||MNW 13P|
|2||HÄR SCHAKTAS UTAN PARDON||1971 MNW 22P|
His album is one to check out for those interested in experimental minimalist music. It contains electronic soundscapes reminiscent of Terry Riley, but occasionally more violent.
|1||SAND||1978||SHANDAR 83518 (F)|
This gang from Uppsala played hippie rock influenced by Träd, Gräss Och Stenar, but faster and with a little more rock'n'roll. Uti Vår Hage (1970) was the first release on Silence (the earlier catalogue number SRS 4600 by Bo Hansson was released after this album). Some tracks were recorded live.
|1||UTI VÅR HAGE||1970||SILENCE SRS 4601|
|2||GUDIBRALLAN||1972||SILENCE SRS 4612|
The group reputedly played complex heavy rock.
|1||MUSIKKTRUPPEN GURAN||1976||MNW 69P|
A protest folk singer inspired by Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell. His music is generally relaxing although the Swedish lyrics are harshly critical.
ALBUMS (UP TO 1981):
|1||BEFRIADE FRÅN SKOLAN||1971||SILENCE SRS 4610|
|2||NÄR BANDET SLUTAR SPELA||1973||SILENCE SRS 4619|
|3||LANDET JAG ÄR VAN VID||1976||SILENCE SRS 4634|
|4||ETT ROP SOM STIGAR||1980||SILENCE SRS 465?|
|5||KÄRLEK OCH SANG||1981||SILENCE SRS 4669|
|A1||I GÅR, I DAG, I MORGON||1976||SILENCE SRS 4638|
This is the rarest Silence album by far, released in separately handmade cover designs. The music smells of incense, as this is an exotic fusion of Indian and Western music with sitar, tablas, flute, sarod, tamboura and acoustic guitar. This mainly instrumental music has an open air, rural feel, which was ideally suitable for the hippie festivals of the time. The album is most memorable for two extended tracks.
|1||HANDGJORT||1970||SILENCE SRS 4602|
This organ and drums-based duo appeared two years before their English equivalent Hardin & York and jammed with Jimi Hendrix when he was in Sweden (check out the credits for "Tax Free" on War Heroes) in 1968. Bo Hansson's distinctive organ style is already recogniseable on Monument, despite some influences from Steve Winwood in his years with Spencer Davis Group. The three albums had outstanding technical quality for their time and are recommended for all with a liking for the sixties.
|1||MONUMENT||1967||POLYDOR LPHM 46260|
|2||REX||1968||POLYDOR LPHM 46264|
|3||MAN AT THE MOON||1969||POLYDOR LPHM 46265|
|S1||GOLD||1969||KARUSELL 2468 009 (D)|
Bo Hansson's musical interpretation of Tolkien's classical fantasy opus became for Silence exactly what Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells became for Virgin (albeit on a smaller scale). Firstly, it was an original instrumental work and secondly, it became an instant success, kickstarting a new and daring label. By using simple melodies and a kind of leitmotif technique, Hansson's music was able to communicate with a lot of people.
Arguably, it was a more easily accessible and melodic adaptation of Pink Floyd's more cinematic ideas around 1969. It created images in the listener's mind of a bewitching adventure world with a quest in a vast wilderness, a combat between black and white magic, and lots of strange creatures. Hansson played organ, electric guitar, bass and moog synthesizer on this album, which was eventually released in the UK on Charisma.
Magician's Hat (1972) was less naive with more up-beat themes (written in 1970-71) and one could feel the music had more presence. It's as if Hansson had just awakened from a dream about Middle Earth. The album also benefited from its' outside contributors, most notably Kenny Håkansson (of Kebnekaise) and Gunnar Bergsten. Attic Thoughts (1975) continued in the same direction, with contributions from more Kebnekaise-members: Thomas Netzler, Mats Glenngård, Rolf Scherer and Göran Lagerberg. Bo himself added mellotron and string ensemble to his arsenal of keyboards.
Håkansson's contributions were substantial on Watership Down (1977), almost making this into a Kebnekaise-album with his thrilling guitar runs.
Possibly this is best of the four albums but they all have a lovely naive-but-intelligent charm.
|1||SAGAN OM RINGEN||1970||SILENCE SRS 4600|
|1||LORD OF THE RINGS||1972||CHARISMA CAS 1059 (UK)|
|2||UR TROLLMANNENS HATT||1972||SILENCE SRS 4615|
|2||MAGICIANS HAT||1973||CHARISMA CAS 1073 (UK)|
|3||MELLANVÄSEN||1975||SILENCE SRS 4625|
|3||ATTIC THOUGHTS||1975||CHARISMA CAS 1113 (UK)|
|4||WATERSHIP DOWN||1977||CHARISMA CAS 1132 (UK)|
These two albums contain a soft mixture of Swedish folk music and pop. Relaxing and sometimes beautiful, but nothing really important and sometimes rather lightweight. A good substitute for soporifics.
HER MOST RELEVANT ALBUMS:
|2||TROLLSKOG||1972||COLUMBIA 4E 062-34604|
The Hot Line album contains jazzy rock sounding like a strange combination of Van Der Graaf Generator, Blood, Sweat & Tears and The Band. It works well on "You Shall Find Your Way" (8:18), but the album really is a mixed bag. Supershow consolidated the jazzy influences. This studio album was an attempt to parody glamourous large live shows, including announcements by a revivalist preacher. It seems as if the participants enjoyed themselves (unlike the majority of listeners).
|1||HETA LINJEN / HOT LINE||1971||ODEON 4E 062-34288|
|2||FETA HETA LINJENS SUPERSHOW||1971||POLYDOR 2379 029|
Horizont played archetypical late seventies symphonic progressive rock with the usual thick layers of keyboards and guitars (modelled on Kaipa, Camel and Genesis). Their album will appeal to fans of the genre but is a rather predictable affair. All the lyrics were sung in Swedish.
Plain rock on the heavy side of the scale. Unimaginative and ordinary.
The quintet played mediocre, jazzy rock (not really jazz-rock) with a touch of funk supplemented by Latin percussion.
|1||HYBRIS||1977||FOUR LEAF FLC 5024|
Bo Anders created a group he called Pärsson Sound in 1967 (some historical recordings from this outfit might be released in the future). In 1968 they re-named themselves International Harvester. Thomas Gartz had previously played in the first incarnation of underground rock pioneers Mecki Mark Men. International Harvester were one of the most exciting and innovative groups in the whole of Europe in 1969, releasing a milestone album named Sou Gott, Rose-Marie (Sleep Well, Rose-Marie). Side one is an experimental suite, ranging from the doomy "Dies Irae" fanfare to birdsongs from the Swedish forests, from heavy acid rock and demented chanting of agitated statements to mysterious folk music. Side two contains two long, repetitive and largely improvised tracks, which sound like members of Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd jamming together and inventing a new kind of psychedelic folk-rock. In one way, this is krautrock made in Sweden - International Harvester being the equivalent of Amon Düül and as a mother group later splitting into several fragments. They also played unique music that would eventually inspire many Swedish underground bands. Most important was the new attitude to their folk music heritage, not learning it from the book but playing it with rocking beats from their own hearts. A couple of later bands also developed this method: Älgarnas Trädgård, Arbete & Fritid and Kebnekaise.
Hemåt (1970) was recorded by an identical line-up but released under the shortened group name Harvester. Many tracks were recorded live on semi-professional equipment, including their favourites "Kuk-Polska", "Nepal Boogie" and "Och Solen Går Upp". It didn't have quite the same impact as their first album, but certainly paved the way for Träd, Gräs Och Stenar, the successor to Harvester.
ALBUM AS INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER:
|1||SOV GOTT ROSE-MARIE||1968||LOVE LRLP 1005 (SF)|
|2||HEMÅT||1970||DECIBEL DRS 3701|
A folk-rock outfit with male and female vocals, violin, mandolin and guitars. They played their own compositions.
Iskra made an album of radical free-jazz also influenced by ethnic music. It's similar to Third Ear Band's MacBeth, Limbus 4 and Annexus Quam.
|1||ALLEMANSRÄTT||1977||E.M.F.L. MILP 002|
|.||JAZZ I SVERIGE '75 (2LP)||1975||CAPRICE CAP 2006|
This Stockholm group was the first venture for Björn J:son Lindh and Jan Bandel, later to be known from countless other projects. Hugo Franzén had previously been in Lea Riders Group. Jason's Fleece was still rooted in the sixties tradition of concise songwriting - their album contained 14 tracks, often influenced by rhythm and blues and jazz. Their sound was vaguely similar to that of Traffic's second album.
|1||JASON'S FLEECE||1970||MERCURY 6363 002|
|A1||VISA FRÅN STORVIK||1970||MERCURY|
|A2||VISA FRÅN OCH TILL||1971||MERCURY|
|A3||VISA AV OCH MED HUGO||1972||VIKING|
Their very rare album contained symphonic rock, including a great 17-minute long title track.
|1||TIDEN LÄKER INGEN SÅR||1978||PRIVATE PRESS|
Kaipa were Sweden's best known symphonic rock band. They formed in Uppsala in 1973. Lundin had previously recorded an album with San Michaels. Originally a keyboard-fronted trio, Kaipa added the young guitar player Roine Stolt in 1974. Kaipa (1975) showcased a technically very competent group, fronted by Lundin's impressive range of keyboards, often favouring lush string ensembles, organ and electric piano. His lyrics were in Swedish and sung with a bright tenor voice. The album is beautiful and introspective, recalling images of a chilly Scandinavian late Summer evening, coincidentally similar to the softer sides of Host's På Sterke Vinger. Inget Nytt Under Solen (1976) was a more complex and pompous album, including possibly their finest moment "Skenet Bedrar" - a large scale suite lasting for 22 minutes, although I prefer the poetic quality of their first album. Roine Stolt co-wrote the tracks with Lundin and was given more room for his guitar flights. Their style was now closer to what Genesis, Camel, Greenslade and Yes had done in recent years, building melodic themes and songs into larger structures ("rock symphonies"). On Solo (1978), Roine Stolt had become Kaipa's leading creative force. The album was lighter in texture, less pompous and had more emphasis on guitars and vocals than their previous efforts. As many as 11 tracks were included, making for a running time of more than 50 minutes totally.
Roine Stolt left the group in 1979 to form his own group Fantasia Hans Lundin kept Kaipa in business for a few more years, but Händer and Nattdjustid were disappointing pop-rock oriented albums that contained little of interest.
|1||KAIPA||1975||DECCA SKL 5221|
|2||INGET NYTT UNDER SOLEN||1976||DECCA SKL 5260|
|3||SOLO||1978||DECCA SKL 5293|
|4||HÄNDER||1980||POUR POSL 311|
When the final line-up of Meck Mark Men split up, Håkansson and Ekman soon formed the new group Kebnekaise. Resa Mot Okänd Mål (1971) presented guitar-based, rural loud rock, influenced by the spur-of-the-moment attitude of Träd, Gräs & Stenar and later their interest in Swedish folklore. The seven tracks were a mix of guitar instrumentals and light-hearted hippie songs.
In 1972, Kenny Håkansson formed a completely new group with some previous members of Homo Sapiens (Netzler, Glenngård and Andersson, all of whom were actually guests on the first album) and several others. Kebnekaise (1973) was a clear change of direction towards a new kind of Swedish folk-rock with fiddle and electric guitar to the fore, but it also added the hot African percussion of Bah Hassan and jazzy experimentation. The jewel in the crown was the 16-minute "Comanche Spring" (all the other four tracks were adaptations of traditional tunes). Kebnekaise's music ignored traditional musical boundaries (which must be a hallmark of the term 'progressive music'). Kebnekaise III continued very much in the same vein. Light From Africa (1976) marked a substantial change, incorporating a lot more African rhythms, tunes and singing. This and Elefanten (1977) are great examples of earthbound and lively world music before it became fashionable. Håkansson wanted to work with more influences from Swedish folk music and left before Vi Drar Vidare (1978). This represented a complete change of direction towards symphonic rock comparable to Kaipa.
|1||RESA HOT UKÄNT MÅL||1971||SILENCE SRS 4605|
|2||KEBNEKAISE||1973||SILENCE SRS 4618|
|3||KEBNEKAISE III||1974||SILENCE SRS 4629|
|4||LJUS FRÅN AFRIKA||1976||SILENCE SRS 4636|
|5||ELEFANTEN||1977||SILENCE SRS 4642|
|6||VI DRAR VIDARE||1978||MERCURY 6363 015|
|A1||SPRINGLEKAR OCH GÅNGLÅTAR||1979||SILENCE SRS 3620|
Future Life members Nordh and Sundlin were still only teenagers but had already released singles with Trolls before this, their first album. King George was a black American soul and blues singer. The album is a mixed bag of Hendrix-influenced heavy blues-rock (works quite well!) and soul-pop ballads (which do not!).
|1||KING GEORGE DISCOVERY||1969||HAPARANDA (D)|
A little known folk-rock group fronted by a fiddle player.
|1||SUDDEN TWISTS AND TURNS||1978||OPUS 3 78-01|
Some of the members had previously played in Panta Rei. The album had a limited pressing of only 300 copies.
|1||KONTINUERLIG DRIFT||1977||TRIXIE REC. 01|
A jazz-rock group who sounded similar to the late-period Soft Machine (1973-75).
|2||FRITT FALL||1977||MANIFEST 11|
Their album was certainly an interesting concoction,, blending elements of Canterbury jazz-rock, "zeuhl" rock, psychedelic rock, Samla Mammas Manna (their more serious instrumental work at the time of Klossa Knapitalet) and Swedish folk music. No one else has done that! Check out this group from Linköping, they were brave to ignore the trends of 1980 (when the album was recorded).
|1||BARNDOMENS STIGAR||1981||BAUTA BAR 001|
Originally a quartet, their group name roughly translates into "The Spoilt Quartet"! Kattvals (1973) was one of the best albums released on Gump. It's completely instrumental, with a tremendous interplay between electric guitar and Hammond organ. Somebody has referred to them as "the Swedish" Santana, but KSS were more related to their domestic colleagues Fläsket Brinner, (early) Kebnekaise and Ablution, interweaving Nordic folk tunes into their powerful rock music.
A legendary group among the Swedes, Lea Riders Group were among the best rhythm and blues performers in the country. They were just as good as The Outsiders in The Netherlands. Owners of Pebbles Volume 3 will surely remember their outstanding, heavily psychedelic "They Call Us Misfits", a track made for the social documentary movie "Dom Källar Os Mods" (dealing with drug problems in Stockholm's youth culture in 1968).
Lea Riders Group's five singles and seven additional live tracks are now available as volume two in a CD series dealing with Swedish Rock History (Volume one was by the mid-sixties garage rock group Friends). If none of the other tracks surpassed the madness of "They Call Us Misfits", they still represented excellent, albeit more sober rhythm and blues, mostly written by burgeoning songwriter Hugo Franzén. Lea Riders Group disbanded in 1968 after Häggström and Borgudd had left to form Made In Sweden. Franzén then formed Jason's Fleece.
ARCHIVE MATERIAL RELEASED ON CD:
|S1||THE FORGOTTEN GENERATION||1999||GARAGELAND GRCD032|
A jazzy hippie folk-rock rock outfit co-formed by Johnny Mowinckel and Einar Heckscher, two ex-member of Sogmusobil.
|1||STRÖMMENS PÄRLA||1973||SILENCE SRS 4622|
As teenagers, Anders Nordh and Paul Sundlin had recorded an album with King George Discovery. In June 1970 they formed the trio Life with Thomas Rydberg. It's almost unbelievable that the group came up with such a mature first album; it's as if The Beatles had started with Abbey Road. It ranged from harsh heavy rock ("Many Years Ago" analogue to "I Want You") to pastoral art pop with jazz chords and sweeping strings ("Nobody Was There To Love Me"). The strength of the 14 tracks will be discovered afresh on repeated listening. In addition to the late-sixties style classy songwriting, Anders Nordh was a very talented guitar player who didn't attempt to imitate others. Both a Swedish and English version of the album were released, although the instrumental backing tracks are identical.
|1A||LIFE (SWEDISH)||1970||COLUMBIA 062-34263|
|1B||LIFE (ENGLISH)||1971||ODEON 062-34366|
Lindh is one of the best Swedish jazz-rock musicians, whose technical ability on the flute is second to none. He has contributed as a musician to (or scored orchestras for) countless Swedish albums, particularly in the seventies. He first became known as a member of Jason's Fleece and for his contributions to albums by Cornelis Vreeswijk (a Dutch-Swedish folk singer), Bernt Staf and Hugo Franzén. His own solo albums are closer to jazz than rock and incorporated folk elements (some would say "ethnic music") from Sweden and the rest of the world. These albums are usually completely instrumental with large helpings of electric piano and guitar in addition to the flute. His old friend Jan Schaffer is usually the featured guitar player.
A good place to start for newcomers would be his 1972 album Cous Cous. Från Storstad Till Grodspad gathered, amongst others, almost the complete Jason's Fleece line-up to contribute. Later albums (from 1975 onwards) sound more like the musical backdrop to some kind of TV feature and serve well as relaxing background muzak.
|1||RAMADAN||1971||METRONOME MLP 15414|
|2||FRÅN STORSTAD TILL GRODSPAD||1971||SR RELP 1135|
|3||COUS COUS||1972||METRONOME MLP 15450|
|4||SISSEL||1973||METRONOME MLP 15508|
|5||BOOGIE WOOGIE||1974||METRONOME MLP 15547|
|6||RAGGIE||1976||METRONOME MLP 15597|
|7||BIKE VOYAGE II||1978||SONET SLP 2619|
|8||VÅTA VINGAR||1980||SONET SLP 2649|
They made a little known album containing folk-rock.
|1||OST BITTEN||1976||PRIVATE PRESS|
Claes Ericsson had previously been a member of Asoka, but Lotus were a completely different group, who played an energetic, instrumental jazz-rock fusion highlighting synthesizer, piano and electric guitar. In fact their sound was quite similar to the Danish group Secret Oyster.
|2||VERA O'FLERA||1975||SMA 3016|
A do-it-yourself amateur group from Gothenburg with limited technical ability but a lot of enthusiasm. Typically enough, they played at the Gärdet festivals in Stockholm. The lyrics are very funny, but don't buy the album unless you understand Swedish (or enjoy out of tune vocals and instruments)!
|1||BÄSTA LÅTAR||1971||MNW 21P|
A singer-songwriter offering mainstream folk-rock with a little help from Janne Schaffer.
|1||ÖGA FOR ÖGA||1973||HARVEST|
Lundsten was one of the pioneers of Swedish electronic music, developing his personal electro-acoustic style in his own Andromeda studio. He first became interested in the "musique concrete" (which dealt with electronically treated tapes of natural sounds) in Paris in the early fifties, but soon also learned of the contrasting new experiments going on in Cologne (which dealt with electronically created sounds).
His first composition was "Nattens Visioner" in 1959 and he was very productive over the next decade, making environmental music with Leo Nilson (years before Brian Eno learned to the concept from the German group Cluster). Lundsten also made film music, sometimes to his own experimental short movies. His works usually reflect his interest in natural environment and wildlife, but sometimes also topics derived from astronomy and science fiction.
Early works were released on vinyl by Swedish radio's own label. Among the earlier material released on HMV, Strömkarlen (1971), his first "Nordic Nature Symphony", is an outstanding and original work, taking the listener on a mysterious adventure in an imagined world . of trolls and other mythical creatures. Lundsten's associative sound sculptures were frequently used as ballet music.
On the later albums for Harvest he played a less serious and sometimes satirical mixture of electronics and current trends in pop music.
ALBUMS (UP TO 1980):
|1||ELEKTRONISK MUSIK||1968||HMV CSDS1085|
|2||ERIC XIV OCH RISTNINGAR||1969||HMV 061-34048|
|4||GUSTAV III - NATTMARA||1971||HMV 061-34362|
|8||SVIT FÖR ELEKTRONISKT DRAGSPEL - GUNNAR PÅ LIDARÄNDE||1973||HMV 061-34873|
|10||JOHANNES OCH HULDRAN||1975||ODEON 061-35200|
|11||COSMIC LOVE||1976||HARVEST 062-35290|
|12||LUNDSTEN'S UNIVERSE FEATURING THE ANDROMEDA ALL STARS||1976||HARVEST 062-35350|
|14||ALPHA RALPHA BOULEVARD||1979||HARVEST 062-35666|
Häggström and Borgudd had previously been in Lee Kings (aka Lea Riders Group) while Wadenius came from Grapes of Wrath. Made In Sweden were probably the first exponents of progressive rock in Sweden, showcasing the jazzy guitar style of George Wadenius (sometimes reminiscent of Alvin Lee in his jazzier moments, although the actual influence was Wes Montgomery). The first album has several nice instrumentals, including an excellent, relaxed interpretation of Lennon & McCartney's "A Day In The Life". Two other tracks were written by Charles Lloyd. Snakes In A Hole (1969) featured a slightly stronger elements of blues and longer tracks.
Made In England (1970) was arguably their best effort, veering in a more aggressive direction. Their use of bending mellotron notes was quite inventive. Borgudd and Wadenius later played in Solar Plexus, although the latter was replaced by Häggström in 1972, when Wadenius was offered and accepted a place in Blood, Sweat & Tears. Three years later he formed a new version of Made In Sweden and recorded a disappointing and rather lifeless jazz-rock album. Two members of the line-up were from Finland: Pekka Pohjola (ex-Wigwam) and Vesa Aaltonen (ex-Tasavallan Presidentti).
|1||MADE IN SWEDEN (WITH LOVE)||1968 SONET SLP-71|
|2||SNAKES IN A HOLE||1969||SONET SLP 2504|
|3||LIVE AT THE GOLDEN CIRCLE||1970||SONET SLP 2506|
|4||MADE IN ENGLAND||1970||SONET SLP 2512|
|5||WHERE DO WE BEGIN||1976||POLYDOR 2480 358|
A little known group from the Northern part of Sweden. Their album is a worthwhile effort similar to the later albums of Trettioåriga Kriget - melodious rock with Swedish lyrics and influenced by the fashions of both the early and late seventies.
|1||MÅNS MOSSA||1979||GMP GLP 7918|
Their first album was completely sensational when it came out late in 1967. Not only was it the first album of Swedish underground psychedelia, it was also miles ahead of its time with a strikingly original sound, much based on Mecki Bodemark's manipulated organ sounds. His singing was clearly influenced by that of Jimi Hendrix (whose Swedish concerts had been supported by the Mecki Mark Men). The almost neurotic over-the-top atmosphere predated that of Secondhand's frightening first album Reality and The Beatles's "Helter Skelter". The oriental, sitar strumming moments were probably the first of their kind from Scandinavia.
Mecki Mark Men toured in the USA along with Blue Cheer and Canned Heat to promote their albums which were released over there by Limelight. The first version of the band sadly disintegrated with Thomas Gartz soon joining another legend - International Harvester.
Running In The Summer Night (1969) was recorded by a totally revamped group, featuring Pelle Ekman, Bella Fehrlin and the burgeoning guitar player Kenny Håkansson. All of them had previously played in the excellent psychedelic outfit Baby Grandmothers. A fantastic track of theirs, "Somebody Keeps Calling My Name" (9:32), was recently included on the "Love Proge" double CD released in 1996. (this was the full length version of a single released by GN5 in 1968) Due to the low sales of Mecki Mark Men's first album, their second wasn't released in Sweden. Their music now became less experimental, more based on a very heavy guitar and organ sound typical of some American groups (Moving Sidewalks, Iron Butterfly, SRC, etc.). However, Mecki's vocals were still a mighty good impersonation of Jimi at the time of Are You Experienced? Among the highlights of this album were "Sweet Swede Girls", the three-part "Life Cycle" and the title track.
Marathon (the sleeve says 1971 but it must have been recorded the previous year) continued in much the same style, but was not as heavy as their previous works.
|1||MECKI MARK MEN||1967||PHILIPS 842 560|
|3||MARATHON||1971||SONET SLP 2521|
|1||MECKI MARK MEN||1968||LIMELIGHT 86054|
|2||RUNNING IN THE SUMMER NIGHT||1969||LIMELIGHT 86068|
Mendoza played powerful and slightly jazzy progressive rock. The album was quite variable with some chorus and string arrangements. (It's similar to Kvartetten Som Sprängde, Solar Plexus and Ablution).
|1||MENDOZA||1972||CBS S 64874|
Midsommar were among the earliest rock bands to use Swedish lyrics. On their first album there was a strong focus on political subjects and the music seemingly took second place to the lyrics. A decent album, although overshadowed by their next effort.
Belsebub Är Lös... was a minor classic with omnipresent lead guitar and sax riffing backed by a wild Hammond organ. Their style had similarities to Traffic's second album (1968), Burnin' Red Ivanhoe's debut and Mr. Albert Show, but the strong Swedish vocals made Midsommar distinctive.
|1||MIDSOMMAR||1971?||MOONDISC ARD 1633|
|2||BELSEBUB ÄR LÖS||1972?||GAZELL 1224|
They made an album of soft symphonic rock similar to Genesis and Kaipa. The pressing was limited to an edition of 1,500 copies.
This is reputed to be progressive jazz-rock. The album was housed in a triple fold-out cover.
|1||MODERN MUSIC BAND||1972||SPARK|
They came from Gävle and released several home-made albums with enclosed booklets. Plays Bach (1975) had little to do with J. S. Bach - apart from a bad version of "Air" it contained plain guitar-based rock, just like their other albums. Mostly these albums are a waste of time, I'm afraid.
Motvind, from Gothenburg, played plain song-based rock with heavy guitars and left-wing lyrical tendencies.
|1||KÄNN DEJ BLÅST||1976||NACKSVING 031-5|
|2||JO JO JA JA||1977||NACKSVING 031-12|
A legendary album among the hardcore fans of symphonic rock! The group had a lush sound strongly influenced by Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here, comprising various keyboards, guitars and mandolin. Comparable to Camel, Kaipa and Genesis.
|1||MELLAN TRE ÖGON||1977||FLY KHAN 0177|
A group from the Swedish outskirts of Jemtland, strongly inspired by the humour and do-it-yourself spirit of Samla Mammas Manna. Great fun of you understand Swedish, others will presumably remain unimpressed.
|1||MYRORNAS KRIG||1981||PRIVATE PRESS|
A group from Northern Sweden playing agreeable melodic rock with political lyrics and a tendency towards progressive rock.
|1||MÅNS MOSSA||1979||GMP 7918|
Nature evolved out of Peps & Blues Quality, the only difference being the new vocalist and harp player Mats Ronander. Their first album was produced by Pugh Rogefeldt, who also provided the Swedish lyrics to a couple of tracks. Nature's music was strongly blues-tinged, melodic and powerful rock with a rural edge. One of the tracks was a joke version of "Rock Around The Clock." The vocals were clearly influenced by Jimi Hendrix, although Wellander's guitar style was closer to southern rock or Wishbone Ash. A good, though not excellent, album.
Earthmover (1974) was a similar effort, this time produced by Claes af Geijerstam and featuring contributions from guest musicians. One track was a quite imaginative revision of Lovin' Spoonful's hit "Slimmer In The City".
ALBUM AS BLUES QUALITY (WITH PEPS PERSSON):
|A1||SWEET MARY JANE||1969||SONET SLP 2601|
|2||EARTHMOVER||1974||SONET SLP 2554|
They released an album with a limited pressing of 1,000 copies. It consisted of long symphonic rock tracks with frequent rhythm changes. Large portions of the album were completely instrumental. Thomas Kacso was from Hungary and the album referred to the situation in his home country at the time.
Neon Rose were quite well-known in Sweden, with their melodic heavy rock derived from Deep Purple (Machine Head) and Alex Harvey Band. Their instrumental sound was entirely based on guitars and they weren't exactly the most imaginative band around...! Only recommended for people into plain heavy rock.
|1||A DREAM OF GLORY AND PRIDE||1974||VERTIGO 6316 250|
|2||TWO||1974||VERTIGO 6316 251|
|3||RELOAD||1975||VERTIGO 6316 252|
The concept behind their album was to give a new twist to traditional Nordic folk songs from Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Finland. All 11 tracks are tastefully arranged instrumentals (with acoustic and electric guitars to the fore) with strong jazz influences, almost like Björn J:son Lindh's records stripped of the flute (which really is inconceivable). Not really progressive music, nevertheless displaying hummable melodies and supreme instrumental competence.
|1||NORDVISION||1975||ARTIST ALP 3001|
A marginal case for inclusion, as their material mainly consisted of traditional folk music from Northern Sweden and Finland with accordion and fiddles to the fore.
ALBUMS (UP TO 1980):
|1||FOLKMUSIK FRÅN NORRBOTTEN||1974||MAN 2|
|3||URMINNES HÄVD||1978||MAN 13|
This power trio came together in the suburbs of Stockholm in the late sixties (Snowy White had been an early member for some months). The group adopted their name after a very successful concert as support act for Fleetwood Mac in Gothenburg on 1 November 1969.
En Ny Tid Är Här (1970) is a heavy blues-rock album with loads of guitar work inspired by Cream, Led Zeppelin and the like. November were among the first bands to use Swedish lyrics, sung in a very characteristic, moaning way by Stålbrandt, possibly influenced by Jack Bruce.
2:a November (1971) was produced by Georg Wadenius (of Made In Sweden) and showed a greater range - the music is heavier when Rolf is let loose, but also softer in parts with piano and melancholic vocals. Their last album continued this trend and is arguably their finest effort. Christer Stålbrandt later started a new group named Saga. Meanwhile Inge became a member of heavy jazz-rockers Energy.
|1||EN NY TID ÄR HÄR||1970||SONET SLP 2509|
|2||2:A NOVEMBER||1971||SONET SLP 2520|
|3||6:E NOVEMBER||1972||SONET SLP 2530|
|S1||LIVE (1970-71)||1993||MELLOTRONEN 005|
NQB were four girls playing loud rock'n'roll (more influenced by Chuck Berry than by Jimi Hendrix)! The album was recorded with a little help from Janne Schaffer, Alain Leroux, Anders Lindskog and Juan Carlos Bareta.
|1||TWO SIDES OF||1972||HENDRIX M.P. NSLP50|
Political rock with strong left-wing tendencies, make Nynningen almost the Swedish equivalent to Floh de Cologne. Many of the musicans later continued in the similarly minded larger group Nationalteatern.
|1||MAN MOGNAR MED ÅREN||1972||MNW 29P|
|2||FÖR FULL HALS||1973||MNW 38P|
|4||ÄNTLIGEN EN NY DAG!||1976||NACKSVING 031-4|
An early group of the famous guitar player Jan Schaffer. The line-up featured the brother of Roine Stolt (Kaipa) and Ola Brunkert.
|1||OPUS 3 & FRIENDS||1970||SONET SLP 2508|
Palm recorded an album of experimental electronic music which is sometimes likened to Cluster/Kluster, but at other times to tribal rhythms more like O Yuki Conjugate.
Reputedly jazz-rock, although I haven't heard their album.
|1||MEASURES OF TIME||1974||SMA 3002|
Their album sported probably THE most ugly front cover of any progressive rock album! I can assure you that this is in sharp contrast to the music, which is truly excellent. On offer are five tracks which showcase the best quality melodious, guitar-driven progressive rock Sweden produced. Panta Rei never over-estimated their abilities, but played poised and relaxed music. A good example of this is "White Bells", a rural rocker with good vocals, guitars and flute. "Five O'clock Freak" (9:55) was closer to jazz-rock, while "The Turk" (both tracks were instrumentals) was a burlesque encounter with mock Turkish traditional music.
|1||PANTA REI||1973||HARVEST 7C062-34828|
(No line-up information provided on sleeve) Underground folk comparable to a few albums released on the Gump label.
|1||TRO, HOPP & KAFFE||1974||MUGGSVAMP 1LPM|
Denmark had Peter Thorup and Sweden had Peps Persson. Both were Scandinavian bluesmen who recorded some of their material with British and American blues legends. Blues Quality was formed in Örebro in the mid-sixties, although they soon relocated to Stockholm. Peps Persson came into the group in 1969 and strongly influenced their sole album. His gutsy blues voice was close to Tony McPhee and even the legends of Chicago blues. Two tracks were cover versions (of songs by Little Walter Jacobs and Lightnin' Hopkins), the remaining five were written by Persson. Skoglund and Tingberg had their background in jazz, allowing the group to go beyond the A4 blues format. The result is really good instrumental music with growling harp, sharp electric guitar statements, fat hammond organ chords, jazz'n'soul influenced sax and trumpet blasts, some tingling piano and a swinging rhythm section. This is of similar quality level to early Fleetwood Mac. The first issue of the album, with the members smoking a chillum in a weed field, was soon withdrawn but a later re-issue is quite easy to find. In 1970 Persson became seriously ill and was unable to play with the group. When he rejoined, both parties discovered that they had developed in different musical directions. Persson then travelled to Chicago and made an album with black blues players such as Sunnyland Slim and Jimmy Dawkins. This is recommended to blues-rock fans. Later albums continued in the blues direction but were less interesting.
ALBUM BY PEPS AND BLUES QUALITY:
|1||SWEET MARY JANE||1969||SONET SLPS 2501|
|2||THE WEEK PEPS CAME TO CHICAGO (2LP)||1972||SONET SLPD 2532|
|3||PEPS BLODSBAND||1974||SONET SLP 2552|
|4||BLUES PÅ SVENSKA||1975||SONET SLP 2564|
|5||HÖG STANDARD||1976||SONET SLP 2572|
|6||DROPPEN URHOLKAR STENEN||1976||SONET SLP 2575|
|?||SPÅR||197?||SONET SLP 2625|
|?||ROTROCK||197?||SONET SLP 2645|
Under this moniker, two youngsters from the Southern part of Sweden released their home-made reel to reel tape recordings. Mostly you'll hear out of tune acoustic guitar and vocals, catching the spur of the moment.
|1||PHILEMON ARTHUR & THE DUNG||1971||SILENCE SRS 4607|
A rare album of hard rock in the same style as Rävjunk and Solid Ground.
|1||YES IT ISN'T||1979||PRIVATE PRESS|
Radiomöbel played quite good heavy progressive rock with powerful vocals and a basement feel, due to the primitive conditions it was recorded in.
|2||GUDANG GARAM||1978||CHOCKSKIVOR 2|
Ragnarök belong to the rich Swedish tradition of moody instrumental theme writers (ranging from Bo Hansson to Björn J:son Lindh). Their first album was a revelation of soft, jazzy instrumental rock based on twin guitars, keyboards and sometimes flute. Tracks such as "Dagarnas Skum" perfectly depicted calm Nordic summer evenings - beautiful, yet cold.
Between the two first listed albums, Wiegert and Bryngelsson played in the heavier rock oriented group Kung Tung. Some of these influences were brought back to Ragnarök and expanded the musical range of Fjärilar I Magan (1979), another highly accomplished work (even better than their first effort) written for a theatre play. Their later efforts never surpassed this, but maintained a good standard throughout.
|1||RAGNARÖK||1976||SILENCE SRS 4633|
|2||FJÄRILAR I MAGAN||1979||SILENCE SRS 4655|
|3||THREE SIGNS||1981||SILENCE SRS 4683|
|4||FATA MORGANA||1983||SILENCE SRS 4666|
Mikael Ramel's albums are little known outside of Sweden but are worth investigation. Till Dej (1972) was his strongest effort, featuring many of Ramel's friends from the Silence label, Fläsket Brinner and Life. This contains hippie-rock which veered off in a lot of different directions supplemented by witty Swedish lyrics and wacky studio effects (vari-speeding is used frequently)! It's much like an eclectic, stranger version of Pugh Rogefeldt's first album. Extravaganza (1974) was a similar album, basically made by the same bunch of musicians. Some tracks are similar to those on the studio part of Fläsket Brinner's second album. Others are better described as hippie-folk, featuring backwards guitar and other tape manipulations. It's another recommended album.
3:e Skivan (1977) showed strong signs of the demise of the hippie era, even in Sweden! Ramel's material now became more mainstream singer-songwriter stuff, a trend continued on his later albums in the 80's.
|1||TILL DEJ||1972||LJUDSPÅR EF 7205|
|3||3:E SKIVAN||1977||YTF 50320|
A kind of leisure time project of Zamla Mammas Manna members Lasse Hollmer and Coste Apetrea. Here they played relaxed dance music inspired by folk dance from Sweden, Russia, Southern Africa and elsewhere. Their approach was also jazzy in places with improvisations and gradually changing rhythms. The music was recorded live in Stockholm, Uppsala and Emmaboda and caught the spur of the moment. Parts of the album are like Archimedes Badkar.
|1||RAMLÖSA KVÄLLAR||1978||SILENCE SRS 4648|
Ultra-rare low-budget early seventies guitar-based rock, but with some sax interventions adding a touch of soul. Their style was quite close to Traffic's 1968/1969 albums and they recorded a version of "Medicated Goo" in the same style as the original. Certainly not a classic and similar to countless other rock albums from the era. It was released in a black-white cover on the same label as San Michael's.
Unknown line-up (including ex-members of Life) This album was probably inspired by the original idea of SF Sorrow - to make a pop opera with all tracks related to each other and telling a complete story. Resan is about human life, not a subjective, chronologic summary from life to death but more a travel through thoughts, events and impressions. Some artists took the wrong approach to pop opera, thinking they were Wagner reborn (or Napoleon), making a quasi-classical stew with opera voices and a large orchestra. This is not one of those. Instead many of the best ingredients of complex rock were used in a nice concoction of instrumental and vocal tracks with wide reference points. This album really works most of the time. Trading heavy electric guitars and flutes for vocal harmonies, maybe this was the concept Brian Wilson searched for in 1967?
Rhapsody played quite unspectacular heavy rock, strongly inspired by Uriah Heep (the vocals are as close as you can get to High And Mighty) and Deep Purple (the forward drive of Machine Head). Fans of the heavy metal genre will obviously enjoy it, though. The group came from from Vara, Lidköping.
Political rock with some great guitars.
He was one of the first pioneers in the use of the Swedish language in rock. Ja, Dä Ä Dä ("yes, sure it is!") is his classic album that set the standard for aspiring Swedish rockers even twenty years later. His style was rather unique and playful, using childlike verses containing some hilarious naive humour! The music was a cross between folk and blues, on the first album with some loud garage rock tendencies (and some wacky lead guitars). Members of Made In Sweden provided really excellent backing for him.
A Swedish rock classic showcasing a new attitude towards Swedish lyrics! On Pughish (1970) he experimented with an imaginary, self-made language and extended instrumental structures. This wasn't entirely convincing, and he returned to the short song format on Hollywood, his last good album. Later albums were pop-rock oriented, including one album of rock classics with newly written Swedish lyrics.
|1||JA, DÄ Ä DÄ!||1969||METRONOME MLP 15336|
|3||HOLLYWOOD||1971||METRONOME MLP 15439|
It is rumoured that they played decent symphonic rock, despite the fact their album was released on Abba's Polar label.
Quite a few Swedish albums of the second half of the seventies managed to combine old hippie ideals with a renewed, punkish energy. One of the best examples is Rävjunk, whose aggressive album should be investigated by those who like un-sophisticated loud electric guitars.
|1||UPPSALA STADSHOTELL BRINNER||1977||RAVJUNK JJ 27|
A crew of nine women who made two variable albums of political rock! Their name translates into red beans, indicating their leftish political views.
|1||RÖDA BÖNOR||1976||MNW 74P|
|2||SKÖNA SKRÖNOR||1978||MNW 89P|
Jazzy rock with keyboards and trumpet released on a short-lived label best known for the excellent second Flasket Brinner album.
An album of superb heavy progressive music sounding more like it was recorded in 1971 than 1975. The fuzz guitars go for the throat all the time, using one of the most amazing fuzztones I've ever heard from Sweden! In some places there is also tasteful use of monophonic synthesizer and flute. Four tracks have Swedish lyrics while the remaining three are in English. Råg I Ryggen might be compared to their contemporaries Blåkulla. They share the same enthusiasm and energy!
|1||RÅG I RYGGEN||1975||RONDO 114|
Stålbrandt had been the leader of November and Saga represented a further development of their melancholic style, indeed recalling late Autumn and frost. Saga had an expanded range of instruments (including mournful cellos, piano and soprano sax) and more accomplished compositions. The result is one of the finest Swedish albums in the poetic rock style with menacing, thoughtful songs such as "Djävulens Läppar" (the devil's lips) and "Önskebrunn" (wishing well).
|1||SAGA||1974||SONET SLP 2550|
This curiously named group came together in keeping with the do-it-yourself spirit prevailing in Sweden at the beginning of the seventies.
Samla Mammas Manna (1971) was an album full of silly voices, circus music, lunacy and jazzy progressive rock driven by Hollmer's electric piano and organ. From the start, their highly original music (using Zappa's playful style but their own ideas) gained them a cult following, both in Sweden and (eventually) abroad. Several tracks were home recordings made in Hollmer's chicken-house in 1970 (the rear cover says: "printed in 1971").
Måltid (1973) saw the arrival of guitar player Coste Apetrea and a steady development of their style. Hasse Bruniusson had a growing interest in various curious percussive sounds played in complex patterns, just like Art Tripp (of The Mothers) and Jamie Muir (of King Crimson). Lasse Hollmer had bought a mellotron which was used on the lengthy opening track "Dundrets Fröjder". Indeed this was their classic album, dedicated to both the joy of playing (including random fragments of waltz, jazz and various folk music) and the joy of life. This is why this music appeals to a surprisingly large number of people (including many with no love of the avant-garde).
Klossa Knapitalet (1974) was similar in style with another outstanding track named "Liten Dialektik" approaching more serious progressive music (if this expression relates to SMM at all!). Another track, "Ramlösa Kvällar", was used as the name of a future Hollmer project.
Gregory Allan Fitzpatrick had played his symphony in four movements since 1973 with various musicians. At last he recorded it in June 1976 with SMM augmented by trumpet and sax. The result was an instrumental work with some similarities to Zappa's serious fusion albums.
When Apetrea was replaced by Eino Haapala, the group changed their spelling from 's' to 'z'. In 1978, they released a curious twin album - För Äldre Nybegynnare included noisy live improvisations in the style of Henry Cow, whereas Schlagerns Mystik offered strange songs (with even stranger Swedish lyrics) and the 17-minute instrumental "Ödet" in a style more similar to earlier albums, but adding synthesizers and accordion. Zamla Mammas Manna continued into the eighties as Von Zamla. They were the Swedish ingredient of the international Rock In Opposition movement.
|1||SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA||1971||SILENCE SRS 4604|
|2||MÅLTID||1973||SILENCE SRS 4621|
|3||KLOSSA KNAPITATET||1974||SILENCE SRS 4627|
|4||SNORUNGARNAS SYMFONI||1976||MNW 70|
|5||SCHLAGERNS MYSTIK / FÖR ÄLDRE NYBEGYNNARE||1978||SILENCE SRS 4640|
|6||FAMILIESPRICKOR||1980||SILENCE SRS 3612|
|7||ZAMLARANAMMA||1982||URSPÅR URS 10|
|8||VON ZAMLA||1984||URSPÅR KRAX 3|
|A1||RAMLÖSA KVÄLLAR||1978||SILENCE SRS 4648|
A keyboard trio fronted by future Kaipa member Hans Lundin. Their album was recorded in Uppsala in April 1971 and released on a label that soon folded. The content is immature progressive rock with slight pop-psych influences.
|1||SAN MICHAELS||1971||CALIFORNIA 33505|
Schaffer is one of the most well-known Swedish session guitarists, and has literally played on hundreds of Swedish records (including very familiar names, such as Abba and Cornells Vreeswijk). In addition he has been active in groups such as Opus III, Baltik, Marsfolket and Hörselmat. He also studied music in Stockholm. His solo albums are archetypical for jazz-rock guitarists, full of technical brilliance, but arguably also hindered by a lack of true creativity. However, all of them work well as background listening.
|1||JANNE SCHAFFER||1973||FOUR LEAF|
|A1||POP WORKSHOP 1||1973||EFG 7350|
|A2||POP WORKSHOP 2||197?||EFG 5101|
Scorpion played Swedish underground rock which was like the American hard psychedelic records of the late sixties. This is no surprise, as their producer was none other than Kim Fowley. On tracks such as "Hey Girl I'm Ugly" they get close to the heavy garage rock sound of The Stooges, Blue Cheer and MC5. Ted Ström later played in Contact and with Tomas Forssell.
|1||I AM THE SCORPION||1970||MNW 9P|
Many Swedish groups of the mid-seventies seemed to have had a strong affection for Deep Purple (Mark II) and Shaggy from Gothenburg were definitely one of those. Their music was energetic and reasonably intelligent hard rock with electric guitar, organ and competent vocals. The title track gave the music of Grieg and Brahms a heavy instrumental treatment with a lot of phasing effects. Quite a good album if you like Råg I Ryggen, Rhapsody or Blåkulla.
|1||LESSONS FOR BEGINNERS||1975||ROYAL|
This "group of bearded men" (a rough translation of their name) were descendants of folk fiddle players and aimed to bring traditional music back to the people (and particularly the younger generation). Their albums consisted of traditional tunes performed by three fiddle players and a handful of guest musicians (including Marie Selander). Mostly they kept close to the traditional arrangements but a few tracks were more improvisational. These albums might be useful for those interested in the Scandinavian national character.
|1||PJÅL, GNÄLL & ÄMMEL||1970||SONET SLP 2510|
|2||SNUS, MUS OCH BRÄNNVIN||1971||SONET SLP 2522|
|3||KNIVIGA LÅTAR TILÄGNADE LÄNSMAN I DELSBO||1973||SONET SLP 2541|
A good power trio whose album is reminiscent of the "old days" of 1969-71 when every aspiring guitar player thought he was Jimi Hendrix or Jeff Beck. Their made further albums in the 80's.
ALBUM (UP TO 1980):
|1||SKY HIGH||1980||GOOD VIBES 001|
|A1||SPÄNN BÅGEN||1975||PRIVATE PRESS|
Per "Stockholm Slim" Notini had been a blues fanatic since he heard Memphis Slim and Champion Jack Dupree on the radio as a teenager. His blues band made blues similar to the Chicago style with electric guitar, piano and a solid brass sound. Rank this alongside Peps Persson. Several members of the Blues Gang were (or became) famous studio musicians in the Stockholm area.
|1||BLUES AIN'T STRANGE||1971||SONET SLP 2523|
Mowinckel had previously played in Atlantic Ocean and Fläsket Brinner (prior to their first album). Sogmusobil's album is completely wacky and a spellbinding trip all the way through. Mowinckel's manipulated piano (treated with various studio effects) and brain damaged rantings (probably treated with various chemicals) are totally unbelievable. Some have compared Sogmusobil to Träd, Gräs och Stenar, but in my opinion this only applies to a shared hippie ideology.
Hardly like anything else at all, their sound could be said to reflect Captain Beefheart, Bob Dylan, Can, Lea Riders Group's "Dom Källar Oss Mods!" and Their Satanic Majesties Request. This is a classic piece of Swedish psychedelia. The tracks had either Swedish or English lyrics, all completely hilarious!. Mowinckel and Heckscher later played in Levande Livet.
Solar Plexus formed when Carl-Axel and Monica Dominique joined forces with Georg Wadenius and Tommy Borgudd. The latter two had previously played in the well-known group Made In Sweden. Solar Plexus' first album not surprisingly emphasised Wadenius' instrumental abilities, juxtaposed by the two Dominique's electric piano and organ. A substantial two record set of Swedish jazz-rock, it also included additional ventures into beat (incorporating other types of late sixities popular music) and classical music as well as Swedish folk music. The album has a nice, understated atmosphere and several memorable compositions, such as "Sköna Låtan" (showcasing their instrumental brilliance) and "Wallenberg" (sporting critical lyrics about a famous Swedish millionaire). The 24-minute "Concerto Grosso För Popgrupp Og Symfoniorkester" was the low-point, an attempt to unify classical music, rock and jazz on a large scale, as usual showcasing high ambitions and musical worlds poles apart. Still this is a serious attempt with good intentions (and close to Bernstein in spirit), as opposed to the shallow muzak of Ekseption. All in all an important album no collector of Swedish rock should be without.
The future of Solar Plexus was endangered when Georg Wadenius was offered the guitarist spot in Blood, Sweat & Tears, accepted the offer and departed to the USA. Solar Plexus recruited vocalist Tommy Körberg (who had guested on one track on the previous album) and bass player Bosse Häggström (who occasionally also played lead guitar). However, none of their three subsequent albums could match their debut.
Solar Plexus E (1973) sounded like a desparate attempt to keep the band afloat, relying too much on cover material (the worst being a 9-minute jazz-gospel version of Joe Zawinul's "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy") and below-par original compositions ("Don't Believe" being the only exception).
Det Är Inte Båten Som Gungar (1974) restablished some confidence. The partially successful 17-minute "Jorden Är Ett Underbart Ställe" (The World Is A Place Of Wonder) at least contained a very uncommon solo on wah-wah treated clavinet.
|1A||SOUR PLEXUS (2LP)||1972||ODEON 4E 154 34573/4|
|1B||CONCERTO GROSSO (2LP)||1972||ODEON 4E 154-34684/5|
|2||SOUR PLEXUS 2||1973||ODEON 4E 062-34797|
|3||DET ÄR INTE BÅTEN SOM GUNGAR - DET ER HAVET SOM RÖR SlG||1974||HARVEST 4E 062-34975|
|4||HELLRE GYCKURE ENN HYCKLARE||1975||HARVEST 35166|
A short-lived hard-rock group. Only 200 copies of their album (featuring nine tracks) were originally pressed and now it is, needless to say, impossible to locate. This is hardly a disaster, as Solid Ground hadn't anything unusual to offer - the content was guitar-based, simple hard rock played by non-professional musicians. Crank up the volume for 40 minutes of 70's heavy rock'n'roll and forget all about intellectual discussions regarding the musical content. Recent re-issues have made it easier to track down.
|1||MADE IN ROCK||1976||SCAM LPS-L 007|
They made a rare and little known album of organ-based progressive rock vaguely resembling Hansson & Karlsson.
Splash were among the better heavy jazz-rock outfits from Sweden. Ut På Vischen (1972) is similar to the first albums by Heta Linjen, Midsommar and Solar Plexus, highlighting electric guitar, organ, a brass section (sax, trumpet, trombone) and relaxed vocals in Swedish (with lyrics full of social comment in common with most other Swedish groups of the era). A couple of tracks have a sixties feel with a nod to "Penny Lane"! In my view this is by far the best album by Splash. The three tracks on Splash (1974) contained complex arrangements for brass, keyboards and electric guitar (mainly), but maintained a touch of humour (including some "Presley-vocals"). An album that in its various stages sounds like King Crimson, Chicago, Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, (Grand Wazoo) and Soft Machine (Third) interspersed with Swedish fiddle music might be too eclectic for many listeners, though!
|1||UT PÅ VISCHEN||1972||POLYDOR 2379 036|
Their album (which is virtually impossible to locate) was recorded in mono. An insert with lyrics and credits was included.
|1||SVART MJÖLK||1975||PRIVATE PRESS|
A folk singer similar to Jan Hammarlund and Thomas Wiehe. Staf's first album was awarded a prize from the Swedish record industry (a "grammis").
|1||NÄR DIMMAN LÄTTAR||1971||METRONOME MLP 15.385|
|2||VALHALL||1973||SILENCE SRS 4623|
Their album has recently been offered on the collector's market as "psychedelic folk". All songs (with Swedish lyrics) were written by Helene Boman, a female hippie protest singer clearly influenced by Buffy Saint Marie at the time of "Soldier Blue". Most tracks are centered around acoustic guitar and percussion. The contributions by Thomas Gartz on gimbri (Indian violin) have a strong Eastern touch. Side two (with three long tracks including the highlight "Christiania") is mildly interesting for anyone investigating the Scandinavian hippie phenomenon.
|1||ALU TRÄD HAR SAMMA ROT||1973||SILENCE SRS 4620|
Storm were one of the better Swedish "post-progressive" groups. Their albums contained short rock songs with influences ranging from rock'n'roll and The Beatles to heavy-rock and glitter- rock, much like the latter phase of The Move or their successor Wizzard (omitting the cello, though!). This mixture works surprisingly well at times, due to the above average songwriting.
|2||AT THE TOP||1975||HARVEST 062-35179|
|3||CASANOVA FRÅN MJÖLBY||1976||HARVEST 062-35324|
Tages were the Swedish answer to The Beatles with numerous hits in the national charts from 1964 to 1968. In 1967, they even went to record in the legendary Abbey Road studio in London, strongly inspired by Sgt. Pepper and the classic single predating it. For this reason Studio (1967) is a revelation for all who enjoy British pop-psychedelia at its most consistent. You will be surprised by the high level of songwriting and the George Martin-like production with scores for strings and horns.
|1||TAGES||1965||PLATINA PALP 3001|
|2||TAGES 2||1966||PLATINA PALP 3002|
|S1||TAGES 1964-68! (2LP)||1983||PARLOPHONE 7C 13835954/5|
Their album belongs to the pure underground psychedelic sixties cult classics of Sweden, along with (International) Harvester and Mecki Mark Men. The title track on their album Schizofrenia was one whole side of repetitive voodoo rhythms (resembling the early style of Can) with eerie Farfisa organ tones (a la Richard Wright's early style circa 1967-68), flute, violin, sax and guitar playing successive solos, both pre-planned and improvised. A spellbinding example of Swedish krautrock! The remaining tracks were more conventional and blues-based, including a version of John Mayall's "Another Kinda Love". The black American Don Washington provided the vocals. Ericsson later played in Asoka.
"Tillsammans" means "all together" and certainly most of the Silence label artists (until then) appeared on the album. The leader of this project was Greg Fitzpatrick, who had previously been a member of Atlantic Ocean and Handgjort. The idea of Tillsammans grew out of the penultimate live performance of Handgjort at the Gärdet festival 1971, when more than twenty people appeared on stage! The' musicians enjoyed the experience of people coming together to play simple songs. The material on Tillsammans was mostly songs that Handgjort had played live in 1971. Most were recorded in the Silence studio that year, although with further overdubs done in 1972 and 1973. Silence was uncertain whether the material should be released but eventually agreed it should be. Hearing the album you might disagree with this decision.
|1||TlLSAMMANS||1973||SILENCE SRS 4617|
This is the last part in a story that started with Mecki Mark Men and (International) Harvester. Their new name meant Trees, Grass & Stones (symbolising their earthbound music), in case you didn't know.
Much the same way that Grateful Dead would eventually return to their country roots, these Swedes did the same, discovering the value of their ancestor's folk music and Swedish landscapes. TGS combined this with a do-it-yourself attitude, that anyone could start playing in a rock group which inspired a whole new generation of Swedish groups. Their music in itself wasn't fantastic when analysed in a scientific way. It was played from the heart: "false notes doesn't matter, it's the spirit and joy of performing that counts!". TGS took part in the planning of the Swedish version of Woodstock, the Gärdet festivals (situated in a green area in the outskirts of Stockholm). The first of these was arranged from 12-14 June 1970 (where TGS was the opening act), and was the first public appearance of many groups from the underground movement and also giving birth to the independent label Silence. Later festivals were held from 20-23 August in 1970 and 1971. TGS's first album included cover versions of "Satisfaction" and "All Along The Watchtower" coupled with Swedish folk music and even a couple of reasonably coherent original tracks: "The Silver River Of Truth" and "The Black Pearl", musically these represented the band at their best.
Rock För Kropp Och Själ included one of their signature songs, "In Kommer Gösta" (written by Philemon Arthur & The Dung).
The title track (rock for body and soul) lasted for 25 minutes, but mainly repeated the same groove all the time, much like a mantra. Generally, this album was less effective than their first. Thomas Gartz later became a member of Arbete & Fritid.
|1||TRÄD, GRÄS & STENAR||1970||DECIBEL DRS 3702|
|2||DJUNGLENS LAG||1971||PRIVATE PRESS|
|3||ROCK FÖR KROPP OCH SJÄL||1972||SILENCE SRS 4608|
|4||GÄRDET 12.6.1970||1996||SUBLIMINAL TIL 01|
Thirty Years War formed in the outskirts of Stockholm in 1970 and recorded their first compositions during rehearsals two years later. Their vocalist Robert Zima was in fact an Austrian singing Swedish lyrics! Their first album was an immensely powerful statement, almost a cross between Uriah Heep and King Crimson at their most furious. This war-like inferno of scorching guitars and howling vocals started with a 3-minute manic guitar overture at the beginning of "Kaledoniska Orogenesen". All six tracks had intricate, complex arrangements similar to many Italian rock bands (which had similar influences). Krigssång (1976) was a more subtle effort focusing more on their poetical qualities, as examplified by "Jag Och Jag Och 'Jag' " with acoustic guitar and vocals. Other tracks made more use of mellotron and almost jazzy progression, really heavy, such as the mighty opus, "Krigssång II" (17:32). This was to be their classic album, one that has stood the test of time well.
Despite artistic success, Trettioåriga Kriget were fired by their recording company and eventually formed their own Mistlur Records. Hej På Er (1978) showed they had lost some of their momentum, not being up to the standard of their two first albums. Mot Alla Odds (1979) was even worse, but their final album Kriget (1980) saw some improvements again. The CD compilation War Memories contains many unreleased early tracks and is recommended.
|1||TRETTIOÅRIGA KRIGET||1974||EPIC EPC 80220|
|3||HEJ PÅ ER!||1978||MISTLUR MLR 4|
|4||MOT ALU ODDS||1979||MISTLUR MLR 9|
|5||KRIGET||1980||MISTLUR MLR 16|
|6||WAR MEMORIES (1972-81)||1992||MELLOTRONEN 003|
This female folk singer made some fine albums that should interest fans of this genre. Vittras Visor (1971) contains quiet, atmospheric songs with elf-like vocals, softly bowed double bass, distant acoustic guitars and occasional flute. Bilder (1973) was similar in style (at times even more beautiful!), although all the tracks had Swedish lyrics this time. Unfortunately, Turid's inspiration seemed to run dry far too soon. Tredje Dagen (1975) relied more heavily on borrowed material and seemed closer to countless albums derived from Joni Mitchell (with guitar chords outlined on the inner sleeve).
|1||VITTRAS VISOR||1971||SILENCE SRS 4609|
|2||BILDER||1973||SILENCE SRS 4616|
|3||TREDJE DAGEN||1975||SILENCE SRS 2628|
I can't provide much information on this group, as my LP copy lacks the insert with credits. Nevertheless, this is a real underground album with electric and acoustic guitars, bass and percussion, but no drums. The influences from US artists are strong, particularly from Bob Dylan, Tom Rapp and Velvet Underground. The majority of the 12 tracks are in the psychedelic-folk tradition but some have screaming fuzz guitars, much like the British Oliver album. More unusual are "Green Ocelot" with a spoken text (inspired by John Cale) and "Boil On My Mind", a hilarious example of Swedish bluegrass!
|1||UNDERGROUND FAILURE||1970||BUCK LIGHT GS 1002|
This outfit picked (mainly proletarian) folk music from various places in the (first, second and third) world and performed it with conviction. Remotely related to Archimedes Badkar they are less inventive with none of their playful improvisations.
|1||VARGAVINTER||1976||SILENCE SRS 4637|
|2||RÖSTER FRÅN ALLA LAND||1980||MNW|
Their first album contained blues-influenced heavy progressive rock similar to November. All lyrics were sung in Swedish.
|1||TUNGT VATTEN||1975||PROPHONE 7756|
Vildkaktus were pioneers in the use of the Swedish language in rock. They played carefully constructed, song-oriented progressive rock with influences from jazz and folk. This approach is close to Traffic on their classic second alburn (with sax and flute carrying a large share of the melodies, augmented by jazzy piano chords). In addition, Vilkaktus often made use of refined vocal harmonies. A melancholic mood prevails, only letting go when the enjoyment of instrumental interplay takes over. All three albums are classy with Vindarnas Vägar (Where The Winds Blow) marginally the superior one.
|2||VINDARNAS VÄGAR||1971||POLYDOR 2379 024|
|3||NATTEN||1972||LJUDSPÅR EFG 7218|
An excellent guitarist whose album contains bluesy rock instrumentals incorporating some Swedish folk tunes. An interesting album to compare with Kenny Håkansson's first solo album!
|1||ELECTROCUTED||1976||SONET SLP 2574|
A folk singer influenced by Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell. He should only be of interest to folk enthusiasts who understand Swedish.
|1||I RUMMET INTILL||1973||SILENCE SRS 4614|
|2||DRÖMSKUGGA||1974||SILENCE SRS 4635|
|3||MÖGEL||1975||SILENCE SRS 4632|
|4||TÅRTA OCH RAKETER||1977||SILENCE SRS 4644|
Plain hard rock with two guitar players.
|1||OCH NU PÅ SJUTTIOTALET||1977||EMI|
The Garden Of The Elks (as their name translates) made some captivating music, similar to International Harvester and Handgjort but with an unique artistic vision. Side one of their album contained just two long tracks (with far longer titles) where bits and pieces of Swedish folk music were wrapped in psychedelic wallpaper and countless studio effects, recalling Pink Floyd's Ummagumma - except that. Sisyphus is rolling a massive snowball up a pinewood hillside inhabitated by Scandinavian trolls. Side two had a few contributions from Margareta Söderberg singing in an old traditional folk style, but with the most unlikely accompaniment imaginable. The album is a masterpiece rivalling the best in Europe. Älgarnas Trädgård recorded a much weaker second album which remains unreleased at present.
|1||FRAMTIDEN ÄR ETT SVÄVANDE SKEPP, FÖRANKRAT I FORNTIDEN||1972||SILENCE SRS 4611|
A duo responsible for a little known and very rare album of poetic electric folk-rock with Swedish lyrics. The twelve songs were centered around male vocals and acoustic and electric guitars. The closing track was a version of The Moody Blues' "Nights In White Satin" with freshly written Swedish lyrics. Justin Hayward's soft, slightly melancholic songs were clearly something Dan and Sven (aged 20 and 22 at the time) had studied. The album also recalled the folk-rock style of Swedish groups like Contact and Vildkaktus.
Please bear in mind that this project wasn't exactly an "underground" album. The duo had strong support from their parents (who wrote the short biographies about them printed on the sleeve) and even put some of Dan's old Grandma's unpublished poems to music.
|1||ÄNGLABARN||1973||PLUMP PLP 1000|
|.||BYGG EN EGET MUSIKFORUM||1973||PRIVATE PRESS|
|.||HOPKÖK||1975||PARTILLE MUSIK FÖRENING|
|.||FESTEN PÅ GÄRDET (2LP)||1971||SILENCE SRS 4603|
|.||LEVANDE MUSIK||1977||PRIVATE PRESS|
|.||RAILROAD - BLUES, ROCK & JAZZ FROM NÄSJÖ||1978||MUSIKFOLKET 001|
|.||TAPPAD (2LP)||19??||ÄRILAR I MAGAN (S) PRIVATE PRESS|