Showing posts with label Charlies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Charlies. Show all posts

Monday, November 18, 2013

TDATS 94: It's Psychedelic Baby (with Klemen Breznikar)

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unzip password:  tdats
Welcome to TDATS 94! For this edition I have chosen to interview Klemen Breznikar. He lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia and he's the editor-in-chief of a psych rock webzine called "It's Psychedelic Baby" [IPB]. In a similar way to the book review/interview I did with Ra'anan Chelled for Volume 85, I've also taken this opportunity to compile an hour's worth of favourite tracks from acts that appear in articles I read on IPB, all of which included interviews with one or more of the original members.

Those of you who frequently use the net to search out obscure rock may well have come across IPB already, as it has covered a wide range of related subjects since it started three years ago. During this time IPB has attracted contributions from around thirty voluntary writers, including some of the old-school artists themselves like folk musician Dave Bixby and Djin Aquarian of Ya Ho Wha 13. Amongst many things, IPB contains regular columns from writers, many first-time scoop interviews with artists from the last fifty years that Klemen has tracked down, and coverage of new bands in the psychedelic arena, via interviews, record reviews and live reviews.

IPB has conducted interviews with countless bands that have appeared in TDATS before and for this comp, apart from Finland's 'Charlies', all the artists are new to TDATS so it's been a great learning experience for me. Over half of the tracks appearing are from the '60s, and the rest are from the early '70s. There's a bit of everything here, Bakerloo and Corpus's blues rock, Charlies and Pluto's hard rock, Harvey Mandel's experimental jazz guitar, the Strawb's folk prog, White Lightning and Wildwood's hard garage rock, and plenty of psych like The Outsiders of course. One more mention, Thanks to Mick Mullin (guitarist in Zodiak) for improving the sound quality on the BOA track, good work again!

Following the interview with Klemen is a summary of each band in the comp with a link to their IPB article...take it away Klemen...

Klemen Breznikar
Klemen Breznikar
Q01. To begin, can you tell us some of the major events and influences in your life that lead you to start "It's Psychedelic Baby"?

"When I was just a little kid I found my dad's vinyl collection. At the time we didn't have turntable so I was just looking at the cover artwork and wondered to myself about how they sound.

Later I got a turntable and also at the times, there was this big »music blog« culture, where you could find really rare albums. One of the first albums, that influenced me to become obsessed with psychedelic is »Electric Music For Mind and Body« by Country Joe & The Fish. This was the foundation for me. Out of this I'd found bands like Quicksilver Messenger Service, Grateful Dead, Ultimate Spinach and many others.

I think the main reason to start Psychedelic Baby was getting in contact with C.A. Quintet [vol85] and Ya Ho Wha 13 members, which led to an interview with them. After this I got an idea, that I should expand and do more interviews and articles."


Q02. Are you a musician yourself?

"I'm not in a band, but I like to play some acoustic guitar just for my soul. To relax and to have a little bit of fun."


Q03. You cover a wide range of styles in your webzine, TDATS is mainly about the heavier side of rock, but Psychedelic Baby equally features styles like symphonic prog, raga, folk and acoustic artists. Could you tell us about what your favourite styles are?

"People sometimes confuse, that It's Psychedelic Baby is only for psychedelic music, cos of the name, but that is not true. It all began mostly as a psychedelic-oriented mag, but we've covered like you said a lot of different music genres. I don't like putting music in framework. Anything, that is featured on the magazine is somehow interesting…

My favourite style? Uh, hard to say. I will tell you about what I listen the most, but I can't really say what's my favourite. I think, that my turntable get's a really high amount of late 60s psych and heavy psych and a lot of loner folk, but like I said I'm very open minded when it comes to music."


Q04. I think the transitional period between the mid/late '60s and early '70s was the most fascinating and fertile time in rock history. What are your opinions on why there was such a creative explosion during those times and what other periods interest you most up until the current day?

"The Period between the late 60s and early 70s was incredible, but sometimes we forget, that these days we also have a lot of great and interesting music, but the problem is, that back in the 70s you had amazing bands like Led Zeppelin on top of the charts, cos »Rock« music was the most popular one and you had thousands of bands, that never had the chance for exposure until now, I guess. These days the culture changed and »Rock« became kind of underground, which can produce quite a lot of amazing bands.

The main reason for such an explosion of sounds came from various of reasons. One of them were for sure Vietnam war and consequently all the protests and resistance by students also in France, Germany…

Then a lot of new music gear emerged and that gave an opportunity to produce new, interesting sounds…

People got tired and they wanted to start something new and in a way they managed to create something very unique.

Other periods? Maybe hardcore punk scene is interesting, cos of sociological background and these days I'm surprised how big the scene for psychedelic, doom and all kind of other alternative stuff has become, thanks to internet, which can connect people like never before."


Q05. How are the featured artists chosen for your magazine? Are they voluntary submissions from your writers or do you delegate the writing jobs after deciding what you would like to appear?

"I trust my writers' taste in music. If they found something interesting, they will start working on it, but most of the time we get submissions from labels and bands, that would like us to hear their music and out of that we decide what we will cover. Sometimes it can be really hard, cos of so many artists…

For instance there is a section called »Underground of the day«, which is made by Roman Rathert who is doing interviews with less known bands of today and there you can find tons of new stuff…

The other way around is a search for really obscure bands. We found members and then we do an article about their music and in that way we managed to add a small piece of the puzzle to underground rock music."


Q06. Could you comment on any Psychedelic Baby articles that are particular favourites of yours?

"Huh, that's a hard one. Nicholas Davis wrote a nice article about psychedelia which captured the essence of the word and there is another one called »Music as Medicine«, which is also highly interesting read, then Martin Okun made a series of interesting articles; especially an article called »Hippie Punk Fusion«!, which captures the details how the two genres shed together. Then there are columns by Djin Aquarian of Ya Ho Wha 13 and columns by Rich Haupt, who started Rockadelic label, which released tons of unreleased heavy psych material etc. So it's really hard to say what's my favourite. These days we have so many articles, interviews and columns. I think everyone can find something interesting while browsing through the magazine."


Q07. Do you have any interesting stories regarding how you got in contact with any of the artists for your exclusive interviews?

"Yes, tons of them, but to expose one or two. There was a band back in the early 70s called »Earthen Vessel« and they recorded an amazing Xian heavy psych LP. There was almost no information about them, but I somehow managed to get in contact with the guy who knew the guitarist. Later I managed to get the whole band together to answer questions about the album making. They are living in different parts of the world and to know, that you are the first that is interviewing them for the very first time is something special. There are many similar stories, that happened…

Matija and Klemen with Jura Havidič of Fire
My favourite is perhaps an interview with Jura Havidič of Fire, which was a band from Croatia, but didn't make any noise around here. They were recording an LP in Holland and they did a mini tour of Germany. Kraftwerk once opened for them, which was kind of funny. Me and my dear friend Matija Štumberger somehow located Jura and we went to Zagreb and did this long interview. Jura played some of his old songs for us in his little studio and gave a nice interview. So really great time doing this one."
[I used the fire song 'Could You Understand Me' back on Vol7]


Q08. What is the future for "It's Psychedelic Baby"? Do you have any further plans regarding your love of rock music; any other magazines/books or other types of project in mind?

"Yes, there is a plan to release a physical edition of Psychedelic Baby Magazine. It will be huge issue with 120 A4 pages and various of chapters dedicated to specific themes. But I'll let you know more in the following weeks. Those interested should stay in contact through Facebook fanpage. I think the physical issue will be something special, cos it will include interviews from specific genres but the complete issue will work as a whole.

Other plans? Well, we would like to organize some concerts or even a festival for this kind of music. We are in search of some sponsors, that can back us up. There is so many things in my mind right know and lot's of ideas and hopefully at least some of them will come true."


Q09. Can you tell us something about being a psychedelic rock fan in Slovenia? Do you get much opportunity to watch old bands live?

"Slovenia is a very small country, but we are lucky enough, that we have a very special place called Metelkova, which is alternative place for all kind of arts, but especially for alternative music. Here you can see tons of bands from the States or any other places in the world playing. From pretty well known bands to less known bands. I think it's great to have something like this in homeplace. Hopefully Metelkova will manage to work also in the near future.

You mean bands from the late 60s and 70s? [Yes] Well, there aren't a lot of that coming in our country."


Q10. Are there any other bars, venues or record shops etc that would be good to check out for anyone who finds themselves in Ljubljana or wider Slovenia?

Like I said, Metelkova is a special place for alternative culture, then you have Factory Rog, which is another underground place, that held some cool concerts. For instance Embryo were here about a year ago. If you go to the centre of Ljubljana, which is a capital city you'll find some cool places like Bikofe and also a record store, super cool book store for mysticism and esoterica called Behemot."


Q11. Can you recommend and comment on any artists/bands from Slovenia or surrounding countries, old or new?

"Since Slovenia was part of Yugoslavia in the past there was quite a rock scene. You had bands from Slovenia like Buldožer (very Zappa influenced), Izvir (jazz rock), then there was a lot of good folkies including Tomaž Pengov and folk bands like Sedmina and "Kladivo, Konj in Voda".

Croatia and Serbia produced some amazing bands including Time, Igra Staklenih Perli, Pop Mašina and my favourite of them all - Fire!

These days there aren't a lot of bands from Slovenia, that I like that much. I like Crazed Farmers, which are Beefheart inspired avant-rock and maybe I missed a few bands, but I really can't remember anything else that would stand out at the moment."


Q12. Could you tell us about some of your favourite current or new artists from around the world?

"Oh yeah sure. Well lately just a couple of weeks ago I fall in love with two albums. First one is by Psicomagia, which are in my opinion the most amazing bands out there and the second one is the new one by Aqua Nebula Oscillator.

You should also check Montibus Communitas if you wish to travel across amazonian rainforrest in your mind."


Q13. What have you learnt from your experiences of editing/writing "It's Psychedelic Baby"? Do you have any useful advice for rock fanatics who are considering starting a blog or similar project themselves?

"It's an amazing feeling when you know people are grateful for your work and to help many artists to get exposed is really something special too. Sometimes it is really hard to find and select everything, that is interesting, but we are trying our best.

My advice is just to be open to various of music. Listen closely, spin it often and maybe you'll find something special, that you'll thought you'd never find."


Q14. Finally, on behalf of "It's Psychedelic Baby", do you have anything further to say to readers out there?

"Thank you Rich for your interest in It's Psychedelic Baby and thanks to all you guys for the support. Oh, and remember like Nik Turner of Hawkwind once said in my interview: »Keep taking the tablets, (LSD) and all the natural psychedelics, communicate with the Gods, help each other to get high in a positive way, help each other generally, raise your consciousness, don’t harm yourself or others, love one another, have funnnnnn!!?!"

Thanks Klemen!


Track list

01. Bakerloo [UK] - Once Upon a Time (1969)
       from album 'bakerloo'
02. Charlies [Finland] - Feeling That Feeling (1970)
       from album 'buttocks'
03. Wildwood [US] - Plastic People (1968)
       from album 'plastic people'
04. Corpus [US] - Cruising (1971)
       from album 'creation a child'
05. Wild Turkey [UK] - Twelve Streets of Cobbled Black (1971)
       from album 'battle hymn'
06. Axe [UK] - Peace of Mind (1969)
       from album 'axe'
07. Farm [US] - Jungle Song (1969)
       from album 'farm'
08. Devil's Kitchen [US] - (You've Got Your) Head On Right (1968)
       from album 'devil's kitchen'
09. Harvey Mandel [US] - Snake (1968)
       from album 'cristo redentor'
10. Trilogy [US] - I'm Beginning To Feel It (1970)
       from album 'i'm beginning to feel it'
11. The Outsiders [Nertherlands] - Doctor (1968)
       from album 'CQ (complete polydor tapes)'
12. Pluto [UK] - Down and Out (1971)
       from album 'pluto'
13. Strawbs [UK] - Tomorrow (1972)
       from album 'grave new world'
14. White Lightning [US] - Bogged Down (1968)
       from album 'strikes twice 1968-1969'
15. BOA [US] - A Restful Sleep (1971)
       from album 'wrong road'.

Bakerloo
The original line up of Bakerloo included John Hinch on drums who went on to form Judas Priest. Bill Ward of Black Sabbath also drummed for them briefly. They played with Earth (pre-Black Sabbath) on a UK tour called 'Big Bear Ffolly' and they were the support act for Led Zeppelin's début show at London's Marquee Club on 18th October 1968. Various Bakerloo members went on play in Colosseum, Humble Pie, May Blitz, Graham Bond, Vinegar Joe and Uriah Heep. The track I have chosen here, 'Once Upon a Time', was not originally on their s/t 1969 album, it was a b-side to their 'Driving Backwards' single. It starts the comp in an awesome way with that warm, welcoming steel-string acoustic sound that Zep often used. Bakerloo interview with bassist Terry Poole

Charlies
Charlies were from Lahti southern Finland. The members were Wellu Lehtine (vocals, harmonica, Moroccan clay drums, cowbell), Eero Ravi (guitar), Pitkä Lehtine (bass, tambourine), Kusti Ahlgren (drums, Moroccan clay drums, kettles) and Igor Sidorow (flute, saxophone, piano). There are a couple of re-issues available, of two albums, and 'Feeling That Feeling' is from their second and final album called 'Buttocks' (1970). Charlies interview with guitarist Eero Ravi

Wildwood
Stockton, CA's Wildwood struck me very hard when I first heard the 2012 archival release 'Plastic People' on Frantic Records, I immediately thought "now here's a band with a unique, intense sound that really should have been successful". They worked hard, laying on and promoting gigs for bigger names and acting as their support. They were billed with Grateful Dead, Steve Miller, Elvin Bishop, The Doobie Brothers, Ike & Tina Turner and Cold Blood amoungst others. Rather tragically I think, label disinterest more or less killed them and they only released two singles in their lifespan. I found a review of Plastic People here, which some members of the band have added comments to. Wildwood interview with Mark Stephen Ross & Frank John Colli

Corpus
Corpus, from Corpus Christi, Texas, made one privately-pressed album of 1001 copies. They played around Texas; Austin, San Antonio, and in the lower south. Achieving local success, according to the IPB interview they disbanded due to difficult circumstances like heavy drug use, which was a shame as their LP is solid and amazingly professional-sounding for a private press, as 'Cruising' will attest. Corpus interview with Gilbert Pena & Rick De Leon


Wild Turkey
Wild Turkey was formed by bassist Glen Cornick after his dismissal from Jethro Tull. The first of their two albums, 'Battle Hymns' (1971), is of main interest to TDATS, as it has a few great heavy prog cuts like Butterfly. In it's life the band toured the UK and US with Black Sabbath, and included members past and present of Babe Ruth, Eyes of Blue, Man, Ancient Grease, Gentle Giant and Cozy Powell's Hammer, amoungst many others. The second album was far less exciting, and I see them as something of a wasted opportunity as LP # 1 had some great proto-metallic prog which was very ahead of it's time, they could have been at the forefront of metal with Sabbath, Judas Priest et al with a bit more development, had they so desired... Glenn Cornick interview about Jethro Tull, Wild Turkey

Axe
Guerssen Records issued the acetate 'Axe Music' by Northampton, UK's 'Axe' (aka 'Crystalline') in 2012. A fascinating listen it is too, with a clear line from dreamy, heavy psych into heavy metal, all embellished with the ethereal and delicate vocals of Vivienne Jones. Axe supported the likes of Free, Wishbone Ash & The Who. The vocals were one of the things that John Peel didn't like, so he rejected their demo for radio exposure. Things could have been very different if that had not been the case, they had an unusual sound, similar to that which is popular now with female-fronted 'occult' acts like Purson and Blood Ceremony. Axe/Crystalline interview with Tony Barford

Gary Gordon - Farm
'Farm' was from Southern Illinois. It's Psychedelic Baby comments that they sounded similar to The Allman Brothers. They made only one privately-pressed LP in 1971, which Shadoks issued on CD this year, most of the members were just out of high school which makes this a very impressive effort! There is some great rural US rock on here, including another awesome track 'Cottonfield Woman' which I hope to use later. The Jungle Song, which I used here, is a cool instrumental indeed. Farm interview with Gary Gordon & George Leemon. Farm website here: http://www.farmforever.com/

Devil's Kitchen
Halfway now and out of the farm, into the 'The Devil's Kitchen'. They were from Illinois but moved to San Francisco and the archival album that had a 2011 release on Lysergic Sound Distributors (LSD) was taken from master tapes that laid forgotten for over 40 years. "They played all the major venues in The Bay Area and Los Angeles during this time period, opening for many very well-known bands, including The Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, Santana, Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Allman Brothers, Big Brother And The Holding Company with Janis, The Charlatans and others".  '(You've Got Your) Head On Right' is a funky, groovy slice of fuzz. Devil's Kitchen interview with Robbie Stokes

Harvey Mandel (with Eric Clapton)
Harvey Mandel was briefly in Canned Heat in the late '60s, and is again now. He's a had a long and involved career working with many notable names including Bob Dylan, and has also made many solo albums. 'Snake' is taken from his 1968 debut, 'Cristo Redentor'. He displays a unique mixture of jazz, blues and psych here which sounds so fresh it could have been recorded yesterday. Harvey "The Snake" Mandel interview


Trilogy LP (1970)
Trilogy has connection with another band here, as they both included drummer Bernie Pershey. Trilogy was a spin-off from White Lightning that didn't last long but recorded one LP, on which the title track 'I'm Beginning To Feel It' is by far the stand out track. Bernie Pershey interview (White Lightning, Trilogy)

The Outsiders
The Outsiders were a great garage psych band from Amsterdam, Netherlands. They made many singles and two albums before splitting in 1969. The albums were going into uncharted territory, especially for a band in the conservative pop habitat of 1960s Holland, and fans were no longer interested as they left the pop music way behind. You can see where they were going with the dark track I used here, 'Doctor'. The Outsiders interview with Ronnie Splinter

Pluto
Pluto was formed in early 1970. Guitarist Alan Warner had been in The Foundations, quite a successful soul / rock band from London that toured internationally for four years, supporting the likes of The Byrds, Tim Buckley, and had some chart hits. He also once auditioned for Thin Lizzy when they were still called The Black Eagles. Pluto supported Lindisfarne at the Marquee Club, and tour partners included Genesis, Caravan and Fairport Convention. They split not long after their 1971 s/t album from which 'Down and Out' is taken. Pluto interview with Paul Gardner & Alan Warner

Grave New World LP (1972)
Originally known as the Strawberry Hill Boys (from St Mary's Teacher Training College, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, London), The Strawbs were mainly known for being a progressive folk rock band. For a short time they had Rick Wakeman on keyboards and one of the first things they ever made was a 1968 recording with Sandy Denny called 'All Our Own Work' which wasn't released until the '70s after the band had changed considerably. I have chosen a great track from 1972's Grave New World album, 'Tomorrow' which contains less of their usual folk sound and goes in a heavier, epic prog direction. Here is an interview with guitarist Dave Lambert who joined shortly after and was part of the band's incarnation that made it big in America: Fire, King Earl Boogie Band, Strawbs interview with Dave Lambert

White Lightning
Nearing the end, and we reach the afore-mentioned White Lightning, from Minneapolis. It was started by guitarist Tom "Zippy" Caplan after leaving The Litter in 1968, and only released one single under that name before recording an album with the name shortened to Lightning. Since then many White Lightning recordings have been released in archival releases by labels like Arf Arf. Lightning supported the likes of Jethro Tull and The Amboy Dukes. They were quite heavily promoted but it was not be and broke up soon after the name change. In this interview Tom states that he is not happy with the production of the Lightning album: The Litter, White Lightning & Lightning interview with Tom "Zippy" Caplan

BOA - Wrong Road LP (1971)
The concluding track of this TDATS is from an extreme rarity that as been re-issued by archival labels such as Arf Arf. BOA made one privately-pressed LP in 1971 called 'Wrong Road'. It was a very amateurish affair, recorded in a "tupperware warehouse" according to drummer Richard Allen. Each song was recorded live in one take, with minimal mics set up and no production or mixing at all. The band started as 'Anvil' and only played locally at parties etc. The music is a mixture of garage rock and early hard rock and 'A Restful Sleep' is the longest and most adventurous song on the album, of which only 200 were pressed. BOA Interview with Richard Allen & Ted Burris


Phew! If you've got this far....thanks for listening.....also thanks to Klemen and It's Psychedelic Baby; keep up the good work of revealing the forgotten and fading history of rock, Rich.

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Day After The Sabbath 88: Escape From The Storm (Finland)



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Unzip password:  tdats


TDATS 88: Escape From The Storm by Rich Aftersabbath on Mixcloud
Finland is the fifth in my Nordic series after Denmark (Vol72), Sweden (Vol75), Norway (Vol81) and the first one (Vol28) which was a mix. I have now also done Iceland (Vol124). I finished most of the work for this a few months ago, but with the recent and gratefully appreciated help of a few TDATS group members like Aki Stenius, Ville Pirinen and Jani Pitkänen I have been able to fine-tune it to the point of perfection. It's turned out to be another excellent selection of heavy prog with a sprinkling of hard rock, a jazz-funk monster, a sliver of metal and a couple of chill-outs; a fine and varied mix that really shows what breadth of quality music the often over-looked country of Finland offered in the '60s and '70s. I was happy that I was able to use album cuts for the majority of the comp, giving you guys out there plenty of options to dig further if you like any of these bands, on top there's a couple of great singles.

Tracks:

01. Jormas - I Can't Break the Habit (1968)
       from album 'sincerely'
02. Charlies - Living for Myself (I'm a King Dreamer) (1970)
       from album 'buttocks'
03. Apollo - Hideki Tojo 1884-1948 (1970)
       from album 'apollo'
04. Kaamos - Strife (1977)
       from album 'deeds and talks'
05. Alwari Tuohitorvi - Kromikaunotar (1973)
       single
06. Eero Koivistoinen Music Society - Hot C (1973)
       from album 'wahoo!'
07. Kalevala - Escape From the Storm (1972)
       from album 'people no names'
08. Tabula Rasa - Nyt Maalaan Elämää (1975)
       from album 'tabula rasa'
09. Paroni Paakkunainen - Plastic Maailma (1971)
       from album 'plastic maailma'
10. Eero Koivistoinen - Pientä Peliä Urbaanissa Limousinessa (1968)
       from album 'valtakunta'
11. Blues Section - Hey Hey Hey (1967)
       from album 'blues section'
12. Finnforest - Mikä Yö (1975)
       from album 'finnforest'
13. Elonkorjuu - A Little Rocket Song (1972)
       from album 'harvest time'
14. Melvin McRae Band - Law Man (1976)
       from album 'queen of hearts'
15. Tasavallan Presidentti - Obsolete Machine (1969)
       from album 'tasavallan presidentti'
16. Sarcofagus - All Those Lies (1979)
       single
References:
Prog Archives | Finnmusic.net | Mutant Sounds
Progressive homestead FINLAND

For those interested in the fantastic cover art; it's a famous Finnish painting inspired by the Kalevala, a collection of traditional Finnish poetry and folklore that was compiled by physician-philologist Elias Lönnrot and published in 1849. He traveled the regions in and around Finland over a course of many years, gathering spoken-word poems and mythological stories dating back to the Bronze age. The resulting epic book was an important inspiration to Finland when it was establishing and instilling its national identity during its successful 1917 declaration of Independence from Russia, taking advantage of the unrest caused by Russia's revolution.  The painting itself is called 'The Defense of Sampo (Sammon puolustus)', painted by Akseli Gallen-Kallela in 1896. This is a quote describing the painting: "The scene portrayed is taken from the 43rd song of the epic, where the hero Väinämöinen, seen wielding a sword, has stolen the precious artifact Sampo from the evil witch Louhi, and she, having taken the form of a giant bird, is trying to reclaim it. The battle for the Sampo is also given a deeper connotation as a battle for the soul of Finland."

Love Records logo
One record label to mention is Love Records, which was by far the most important in Finnish prog. Almost half of the artists in this comp had at least one release on Love. Wigwam was on Love, the most prominent of the country's prog acts which was one of the first and only to become acclaimed elsewhere in the world (they were signed to Virgin in the UK). Love was also the home to 'Blues Section', who seeded the development of many other bands in this comp, including another Love signing 'Tasavallan Presidentti' (trans:'President of the Republic').




Jormas
So we jump in with Jormas, a pop band that included members from 'The Islanders' and 'The Finnish Beatmakers'. They were at one time Finland's most popular band, members included Pepe Willberg and Raul Wikström who worked together often, including in the post-Jormas act 'Pepe & Paradise'. Their second album, 1968's 'Sincerely!' included track 1 here, a cover of London band The Ferris Wheels' track 'I Can't Break The Habit'.

Charlies
Charlies were from Lahti, the capital of the Päijänne Tavastia region in southern Finland. The members were Wellu Lehtine (vocals, harmonica, Moroccan clay drums, cowbell), Eero Ravi (guitar), Pitkä Lehtine (bass, tambourine), Kusti Ahlgren (drums, Moroccan clay drums, kettles) and Igor Sidorow (flute, saxophone, piano). There are a couple of re-issues available, of two albums, and 'Living for Myself (I'm a King Dreamer)' is from their second and final album called 'Buttocks' (1970). It's a great one, with plenty of heavy guitar, nicely done flute and funky drumming.

Apollo LP (1970)
The next track introduces the band Apollo, and a drummer that was in three of the bands on this comp, Edward Vesala. He was a well respected avant-garde jazz composer and band-leader also playing in Blues Section and Tasavallan Presidentti coming up later. Singer Harri Saksala was also the singer on Kalevala's first album 'People No Names' which is coming up later. The remaining two members, Eero Lupari (guitar, vocals) and Heimo Holopainen (bass, vocals) were both in 60s beat-niks Topmost and here's a sample. There were also some contributions from "Paroni" Paakkunainen who appears later here. The song I used here for track 3 seems to be named after the Japanese general who was in charge of the attack on Pearl Harbour, though I am unable to explain this further, so if there's any one out there who can translate the lyrics and help me out, drop me a line. I have found a great review of their single album from 1970 on the excellent Mutant Sounds blog so here it is: "One of the very first Finnish prog bands, Apollo was in fact the launching pad for the world renowned fusion drummer Edward Vesala, whose gorgeous work I've previously posted both under his own name and as a member of Toto Blanke's Electric Circus. Dag Erik Asbjornsen described this extraordinary acid rock/proto prog crew in Scented Garden's Of The Mind as sounding "like they're fronted by a singing moose", a description too perfect to try to top, though it only applies to the half of the album where they're in post-Cream acid pummel mode, but oh...when they are, it's sublime. If any of you out there have been hepped to Kalevala, you'd almost swear this was the same band when they're functioning off this tip; Apollo's iteration sounding as though it's being filtered though the same heavy fogbank of dope smoke that also resulted in expressions of this form like May Blitz or Peru's Tarkus. Yes. That heavy. Stomping stoned caveman shit that is just too gobsmackingly ridiculous and wonderful for words. It's also contrasted about 50/50 here with swoon-worthy orchestrated proggy prog that's very McDonald and Giles/early Crimson in tone. The tension between these poles makes for a truly epic listen."

Kaamos were from Turku, a city on the southwest coast of Finland at the mouth of the Aura River. The members that recorded their sole album in 1977 called 'Deeds and Talks' were Jarkko "Jakke" Leivo (bass), Ilpo Murtojärvi (guitar, backing vocals), Kyösti Laihi (Keyboards) and Johnny Gustafsson (Lead Vocals, all percussion). It was released on a label called 'M&T', which was run by the famous Schlager/folk duo and brothers Matti and Teppo Ruohonen. 'Schlager music' is the term used to describe popular and often sentimental music styles in Scandinavia, Central and Northern Europe, and the Balkans.

Kaamos
Here is a great summation of the band and album from Prog Archives: "This Finnish quartet were formed in 1973 and released one album that mixes folk, Medieval and classical music with bits of blues and funk. Thanks to Kyösti Laihi, the original keyboard player who kindly provided some information about his band (see the review section of their album), we learn that Kaamos comprised some seasoned musicians who learned their skills playing the likes of Yes, Gentle Giant, Jethro Tull, Zappa and Todd Rundgren among others. More importantly, they wrote their own material which resulted in a little gem called "Deeds and Talks" released in 1977, now a collectable item. Although the band doesn't exist any more, all members are still musically active in one way or another.

"Deeds and Talks" is a refined piece of prog with prominent guitar (in fact, great guitar work) and keyboards. Some tracks will remind the listener of Jethro Tull without the flute, whereas some have an almost funky, Stevie Wonder flavour but still manage to have a prog feel; others are rather bluesy while others, still, are purely symphonic. An unlikely mixture of styles quite successfully put together."

Alwari Tuohitorvi were from a town called Ähtäri in the Southern Ostrobothnia region. They started out as a progressive rock band, they morphed into a more commercial sound later on, and various spin-off bands like The Mathews and Kummitus appeared. At the time the song I have used here 'Kromikaunotar' (b-side, 1973) was recorded, the lineup was Jukka Rautiainen (vocals, guitar), Seppo Alajoki (guitar), Raimo Pikanen (drums) and Mika Sundqvist (bass). It's got a great jarring, proggy, almost post-punk riff. It's been hard to find much substantial information on the band so let me know if you can help out.

Eero Koivistoinen is a jazz saxophone player from Helsinki. After studying jazz in Boston, US, he was a member of seminal Finnish band Blues Section (coming up) between 67 and 68. Track 6 here is from his funk/jazz supergroup 'Eero Koivistoinen Music Society' which recorded a classic album called 'Wahoo!' in 1973. Also appearing on this record were many other members of Blues Section. It's a really highly-rated jazz funk album that is wicked fun from start to end and I think even non jazz-nuts like me will like it a lot!

Kalevala
Nearing the middle of the comp and we arrive at a Helsinki band that is named after the afore-mentioned epic book, a name which they ended up almost by accident, when a concert organiser objected to their then-topical original name Vietnam and they needed a quick replacement. Kalevala's first record 'People No Names' was an unusual album to come from the country at the time, deffinitely one of the more advanced, and most progressive Finnish albums of the early 70s. It's full of tight, complex and heavy playing as you can hear on this comp's namesake 'Escape From the Storm', which at times builds up tension like cool 70s movie chase music. As previously mentioned, their singer Harri Saksala also sung on the Apollo album, but he does't use such a theatrical/exaggerated method here, which maybe something to do with the fact he sings in English this time. The next album that came along 'Boogie Jungle', is a little of a backward step into predictable rock but there's a couple of decent tracks there like 'Rockin' Fish'. Here's the bio from Prog Archives: "Kalevala was formed in 1969 by Juha Salonen (bass), Remu Aaltonen (drums/vocals) and Albert Järvinen (guitar). Their first name was Vienam, but they had to change it in order to get concerts. This first line-up played straightforward rock’n’roll, and they were a popular live act in Finland. There was no studio recordings from this line-up, but the Finnish broadcasting company recorded their performance from 1970 “Ruisrock” festival. After this the line-up changed. Remu founded Hurriganes (see Vol79), which Albert also joined later. 

Now Kalevala’s musical direction was changed to more progressive direction. The new musicians on their second line-up were Markku Luukkanen on drums, Matti Kurkinen on Guitar and Harri Saksala doing singing. They recorded one album, “People No Names” (1972) which was released by Finnlevy. They had some guest musicians helping on doing it: pianist Olli Ahvenlahti, Raimo Wallen playing flute and on acoustic guitar Ile Kallio, who was playing on Hurriganes during that time. The result was quite unique.


The band was very unstable, as they had again changes in their line-up. Now they had Zape “Limousine” Leppänen on vocals, who has worked with many respected Finnish artists. The band recorded an album “Boogie Jungle” (1975), which is again more basic rock music. They had Jim Pembroke doing their lyrics plus backing vocals, and Jukka Gustavson playing keyboards on one track. Shortly after this band faced a sudden catastrophy, as Matti Kurkinen got in to a fatal car accident. Their name was defined as Kalevala Orchestra for their next album ”Abraham’s Blue Refrain” (1977). After this they toured Europe with Ange, but they faced financial problems, and the musicians disbanded Kalevala went to different directions.

Some members of the band rejoined in studio 1995, but they couldn’t get a record deal. These new tracks are available on “Anthology” (2004), which has some live recordings and before unreleased material on it."

Tabula Rasa
Half-way now and we find a pleasant but powerful folky instrumental from Tabula Rasa. They were from Kangasala and made two albums between 75-6 after forming in 1971. The lineup for the first album was Tapio Suominen (bass), Asko Pakkanen (drums), Jarmo Sormunen (flute), Heikki Silvennoinen (guitar) and Jukka Leppilampi (vocals). There's some really great stuff on the s/t 1975 LP that this track is taken from and I plan to use more of it on a heavy folk comp I'm doing. Jarmo Sormunen left the band and became a priest, while Heikki Silvennoinen continued a career in blues rock, as well as becoming a comedy actor who's notable work included a TV sketch series called Kummeli which was acted almost entirely by musicians. Heikki is the guy who has trouble staying seated in this clip.

Paroni Paakkunainen
Seppo Paakkunainen is a saxophonist/flautist who was involved in many Fininsh bands. I have used a track from an album which he lead, and was released under a nickname of his, Paroni Paakkunainen. It includes the talents of names I'v already mentioned; the singer Harri Saksala from Apollo/Kalevala and Edward Vesala from Apollo. 'Plastic Maailma' (Trans: 'Plastic World') is a swinging song with some cool flute.

Now we return to Eero Koivistoinen, this time his first record, which was a varied affair, that was influenced heavily by The Beatles. It includes the killer fuzz of 'Pientä Peliä Urbaanissa Limousinessa', which makes for a long garage rocker with manic guitar (courtesy of Blues Section's Hasse Walli) and tonnes of crazy attitude as the the song breaks down into chaos towards the end.

Blues Section
Speaking of Blues Section, here they are for track 11! 'Hey Hey Hey' arrives literally with a roar of heavy machinery that fades into the distortion of some more Hasse Walli guitar freak-out. Like the track before, this one swings and grooves along with the aid of Eero Koivistoinen's sax, and ends in an equally heavy and destructive morass of fuzz which could be described as the sound of a spitfire with guns blazing flying head-on into an on-coming double decker bus.

After the tumult of Blues Section's implosion, we can enjoy the cleansing crystalline sounds and new beginnings of 'Mikä Yö', some beautiful instrumental progressive rock from Finnforest. They originated in Kuopio, a city and a municipality located in the region of Northern Savonia, and when they recorded their first (of three) albums in 1975, their lineup was the trio of Pekka Tegelman (guitar), Jussi Tegelman (drums) and Jukka Rissanen (keyboards).

Elonkorjuu - Harvest Time (1972)
Back for a pummelling now; Elonkorjuu were from the city of Pori on the west coast of Finland. I used them once before on Vol22, as they made one of Finland's earliest heavy proggers, 1972's 'Harvest Time'. Here's another track from that album; 'A Little Rocket Song'. The band recorded again in 1978 with a different lineup and a move into a more sedate style. It would seem that guitarist Jukka Syrenius had the most involved post-Elonkorjuu career, and the 'Jukka Syrenius Band' has recorded four albums since the 80s. Here's a clip of him playing at the Pori jazz festival last year, and here's a clip of Elonkorjuu playing (with Jukka) at the same festival in 2011.

Melvin McRae Band - Queen Of Hearts LP (1976)
From the beginning of researching this comp I was intending on using the opening track 'Palaa' from Yellow's album 'Keltakuume'. Recently I discovered that the next album they made, under the differing name of 'Melvin MacRae Band', was an all-round better effort, so here is 'Law Man' from the 'Queen of Hearts' album instead. It's seems to be a very rare album and there is little information available on the net. It's a typically later-70s sounding hard rock record with a lot of boogie blues going on which is not that inspired. All is not lost....there are at least three good'n heavy songs which are quite fast and aggressive, of which 'Law Man' is my pick. Here are the credits from the album: Melvin McRae (guitar, vox), Rauni Osterman (drums) and Hannu Takala (bass) (which is the same as the final Yellow lineup, minus Helge Koskela). Engineer: Tom Vuori. Recorded at Finnlevy Studios, Helsinki, Finland 1975. According to the Finnish Wikipedia, Yellow emerged from a 60s band called 'Only Five', though by the looks of it none of those original members were still around in the McRae band.

Tasavallan Presidentti
Nearing the end now, and a track from veteran band Tasavallan Presidentti. One of Finland's most famous prog rock bands. Founded in spring 1969 by guitarist Jukka Tolonen and drummer Vesa Aaltonen. Other members of the band came from Blues Section that had recently split up: bassist Måns Groundstroem and singer Frank Robson. Tasavallan Presidentti released their debut s/t album in 1969 with the complete lineup being: Måns Groundstroem (Bass Guitar, Organ), Vesa Aaltonen (drums), Jukka Tolonen (Guitar, Piano), Junnu Aaltonen (flute, sax) and Frank Robson (vox, piano). They toured in Sweden and England in the early 1970s and released three more albums before splitting up in 1974. 'Obsolete Machine' shows it's Blues Section heritage nicely with the same irresistible swing.

So #88 comes to an end with a slice of NWOBHM-style heavy metal, heralding the new sounds of the next decade... Helsinki's Sarcofagus just about got a 70s release with their first single, the galloping 'Go to Hell / All Those Lies' (1979), with the lineup of Juha Kiminki (bass), Ari-Pekka Roitto (drums), Kimmo Kuusniemi (guitar) and Hannu Léiden (vocals). Two albums came in 1980 and then a third was made after the band changed name to the 'Kimmo Kuusniemi Band'. They have re-formed since and you can see more of them at their site here.

Thanks for listening and see you on the next one! Rich



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