Archive for the ‘ Folk ’ Category

The Roosters “All Of Our Days”

All Of Our Days

This Westchester, CA group released just three singles in the mid 60s.  The last single, released in 1967, is a disappointment (mediocre sunshine pop) in light of what came before: two of the best chiming guitar folk-rock singles of the 60s.

On these 45s the lyrics are above average, the vocals strongly recall Roger McGuinn, and the band plays with an exciting garage band energy.  ”One of These Days” (Progressive Sounds of America label – 1965) is perhaps their best known single and a classic but the flip “You Gotta Run,” a hybrid of Byrdsian folk-rock and British Invasion pop, is also a winner.  Their next single, released in 1966, was the excellent “Rosebush” (Enith label)  backed by another fine, hard hitting B-side, “Ain’t Gonna Cry Anymore.”

It’s said that the Roosters were headed by lead guitarist and head songwriter Tim Ward and vocalist Ray Mangigian.  Before the Roosters, Tim Ward had played in the Avengers and then a bit later in the Five More.  In 1965, the Five More released a fine surf instrumental (“Avalanche”) backed by the raving, Mersey influenced “I’m No Good.”

All Of Our Days collects all of the above tracks plus the Roosters 1966 Gold Star Studio sessions.  Thankfully, these tracks measure up to their official 45s.  ”She Sends Me,” a dark, minor key folk-rocker is one of their finest songs while “Help Me Please” and “Deep Inside” explode with enthusiasm and strong pop hooks.  This compilation, released in both vinyl and cd format by Break-A-Way Records  is better than most “real” garage albums as it’s a strong listen all the way through.

mp3: Rosebush
mp3: She sends me

:) Vinyl Reissue | 2011 | Breakaway | search ebay ]

PODCAST 29 Garage,Psych,Folk-Rock

I Will Go  - The Beau Brummels (1965)
You Gotta Run - The Roosters  (1966)
Song of a Gypsy – Damon (1969)
Invisible People - Hamilton Streetcar (1968)
Walkin’ ShoesThe Trolls (1964)
The Losing Game - The Five Americans (1966)
Thesis – The Penny Arkade (1968)
SwimThe Penny Arkade  (1968?)

Do I Love You - Powder (1968)
Wanting YouPaul Revere & the Raiders (1967)
Mother Nature – Father EarthThe Music Machine (1969)
Merry Go RoundReggie King (1969)
So Now You Know Who You Are - Peter Lindahl (1970?)
Think of the Good Times - The Stumps (with the Grodes)  (1967)
Secret Police - The Belfast Gypsies (1966)

Download: Podcast29.mp3
To subscribe to this podcast: http://therisingstorm.net/podcast.xml [?]

The Stained Glass “A Scene In-Between 1965-1967″

stainedglass

The Stained Glass hailed from San Jose CA, the same scene that spawned 60s garage heroes the Chocolate Watch Band, the E-Types and the Syndicate of Sound. Being 45 minutes outside of San Francisco, it was inevitable that the Stained Glass would rub shoulders with and even play on the same bills with many of the region’s big name acts. Chief songwriter and guiding light Jim McPherson would even go on to play in John Cipollina’s early 70′s post Quicksilver band Copperhead. The music heard on A Scene In-Between 1965-1967 suggest that had things gone right for the Stained Glass, they could have been – should have been – serious contenders.

The Stained Glass started out life in 1964 as a raw folk-rock, British Invasion influenced outfit called the Trolls. The group’s story began with Jim McPherson (bass) answering guitarist Rodger Hedge’s local advertisement to form a band.  Drummer Dennis Carrasco joined by way of recommendation, followed by lead guitarist Bob Rominger.  The group’s earliest songs, all originals mostly written by Jim McPherson, were an impressive lot. “Walking Shoes”, the Trolls only 45 (Peatlore) is a superb folk-rock track with a raw, garage feel – by far their hardest rocking early number and a track often championed by garage rock obsessives. “How Do You Expect Me To Trust You” (45 flipside) and “Sweeter Than Life” compare favorably to what the Beau Brummels were recording around the same time in that they are lyrical, downbeat folk-rockers with strong melodies and a mystical edge. “Such Good Friends,” “She’s Not Right” and “No Rhyme or Reason” were a nod to the Trolls’ British Invasion influences – all are giddy, driving numbers that compare favorably to the early Zombies or Kinks work from around the same time (circa 1965/1966). Jim McPherson’s songwriting, the group’s excellent harmonies and tight ensemble work separated them from countless other regional groups.

From 1966-1967, around the time the group changed their name to the Stained Glass, was when McPherson (and the group) recorded some of their finest material. In 1966, the group travelled to Columbia’s Sunset Boulevard Studios to audition for the label.  They recorded a few gems which ended up being shelved. “Lonely Am I” is a worthy minor key Zombies influenced gem but it was the devastating “Broken Man” that really catches the ear.  ”Broken Man” stuck out for it’s well written, enigmatic lyrics, unique chorus and proto psychedelic guitar solo which was innovative for the time.

The Columbia deal didn’t pan out which led the group to RCA Victor. Here, they recorded and released a fine version of the Beatles’ “If I Needed Someone” (before Rubber Soul had hit the market) backed by a recut of “How Do You Expect Me To Trust You.”  This single flopped and the Stained Glass gave it another go. “My Buddy Sin” backed by an underrated Kinks-like “Vanity Fair” (think “Dedicated Follower of Fashion”) was superb but somehow failed to connect with music fans. “My Buddy Sin” was one of the group’s true classics; the back bone of the song is harmony pop but the harmonica flourishes give it a rootsy folk-rock flavor that recalls some of the Byrds best mid 60s tracks. The band was disappointed with the outcome as they did not want harmonica added to the single but it’s interesting to note that the harpsichord intro was played by Jim. The songwriting on “My Buddy Sin” was once again interesting (religious imagery) and ahead of its time. When “My Buddy Sin” failed it did little to the group’s confidence as they were getting plenty of live work and making lots of money.  For their next 45, RCA Victor forced the Stained Glass to record a catchy Barry Mann/Cynthia Well offering. “We Got A Long Way To Go,” was a big hit locally and notable for it’s catchy melody and stinging distorted guitar solo.  It was more in vein with the Turtles pop sound, which wasn’t really where the Stained Glass stood from an artistic standpoint.  At around this time the group were in the studios, recording music that was more in line with Moby Grape, Buffalo Springfield and the Beau Brummels.  ”Inside Ouch” a fine balance between soul and folk-rock, would have fit comfortably on Buffalo Springfield’s debut.  The outstanding “Dollar Sign Friends” is a driving jangle rock track with defiant lyrics, which were written by Bob Rominger while “Second Day” was the kind of lyrical folk-rock that could be found on Moby Grape’s debut classic.  A latter recording session yielded two cuts that ended up being issued as a 45 in 1967, the bizarre “A Scene In-Between” and the pure pop of “Mediocre Me.”  Both songs are minor psychedelic pop classics and represent a high point for the Stained Glass.  During this session they also recorded two other fine tracks, “Bubble Machine,” a vibrant piece of sunshine pop with echoplex guitar, shimmering bells and keys and the morbid “Mr Martyr.”  The latter track once again featured unique lyrics and superb harmony vocals.

From here the anthology ends although the Stained Glass would go on to record two albums in the late 60s, the excellent Crazy Horse Roads from 1968 and the disappointing Aurora from 1969.  A Scene-In Between 1965-1967 is a much needed overview of this great lost American band.  This is easily one of the best 60s reissues of 2013 and it goes without saying that this disc is mandatory listening.

mp3: My Flash On You
mp3: Broken Man
mp3: Dollar Sign Friends

:D Reissue | 2013 | Ace Records | get it here ]

Beachwood Sparks “The Tarnished Gold”

Tarnished Gold

Beachwood Sparks are one of the most accomplished country rock bands on the indie rock scene today.  Influenced by classic LA country rock styles rather than 90s alternative country, the group has been around since the late 1990s.  In The Tarnished Gold Beachwood Sparks have released perhaps their finest album to date, their masterpiece and a return to form (their last album came out 10 years before).

While there are a couple of throw away tracks (see the clumsy “No Queremos Oro”), the album as a whole is uniformly excellent – easily one of the finest country rock releases in the past 20 years.  ”Sparks Fly Again,” “Mollusk” and “Tarnished Gold” strongly recall the Byrds from their Younger Than Yesterday and Notorious Byrd Brothers albums, as they combine Bakersfield/LA style country with trippy guitar work.  ”Goodbye,” “Nature’s Light” and “Talk About Lonesome” find the group arriving at their own sound (indie folk, rock and country) and are more original than much of what’s here (even though what’s here is great).  ”Water From The Well” one of the album’s finest songs, sounds like a classic and should be as it’s a great folk rock cut with catchy guitar figures.

The sounds here are soft, laid back and sublime – none of this music rocks hard but it doesn’t matter because the quality of the songcraft here outshines the lack of rock n roll music.  Without doubt The Tarnished Gold is one of the finest folk/country/rock/indie albums of 2012.  It’s an important album for Beachwood Sparks in that it shows the group’s maturity as song writers and performers.  Let’s hope Beachwood Sparks continues to release records this good.

mp3: Mollusk
mp3: Water From The Well

:) Reissue | Subpop | 2012 | buy from amazon ]

Clear Light “Clear Light”

Clear Light

Clear Light was a folk-rock/psych-rock group from LA that released one LP off Elektra in 1967, famously known for including two drummers, one of them being Dallas Taylor of CSNY and Manassas fame. Paul Rothchild produced the LP, which explains why the recording sessions were fraught with tension and negativity. The group was masterminded by guitarist/vocalist Bob Seal, bass player Doug Lubahn, and lead vocalist Cliff De Young. Prior to Clear Light the band had been known as the Brain Train. Seal felt a name change was appropriate to coincide with the release of a newly recorded debut single, “Black Roses.” Seal decided on Clear Light, a concept he had come across in his readings of Eastern philosophy, a name also shared by a potent brand of LSD.

“Black Roses,” written by Wolfgang Dios, was released in September of 1967. It was a great hard charging folk-rock single with an acid tinged guitar solo that deserved to sell much better than it did. Black Roses appeared on the group’s only full length platter, released in late 1967. Many psych fans are divided when it comes to the Clear Light LP but I think it’s a good one. Maybe not a true classic on par with Love’s Forever Changes or Moby Grape’s debut but still a very good LP without any weak tracks. The band tries nearly everything within a 2 to 3 minute pop song context, loading the songs with good quirky ideas and great guitar solos (check out “Think Again”). Some tracks like “They Who Have Nothing” and the baroque “Ballad of Freddie & Larry” bear a strong Doors and Love influence, but this makes sense considering these were all Elektra groups. Other songs like the outstanding fuzz guitar psychedelia of “Sand” and the trippy “Night Sounds Loud” are more original and hinted at a strong future for the group. The former track features some great organ and spiraling acid guitar interplay. The album’s most famous track, a cover of Tom Paxton‘s “Mr. Blue,” sounds dated today with its spoken word dialogue, although, even this song is oddly appealing in its own way and definitely still considered a highlight.

Rothchild’s iron fist policy coupled with the lack of commercial success led to Clear Light’s demise, shortly after the release of this solid album. Not everyone will like this record because of its eccentric nature but it really is a crime that Clear Light was unable to release a followup to this debut. A very worthy release from a talented, accomplished California group.

mp3: Think Again
mp3: Sand

:) Vinyl Reissue | Sundazed | buy from sundazed ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1967 | Vogue | search @ ebay ]
;) MP3 Album | download ]

Flaviola e o Bando do Sol

Flaviola e o Bando do Sol

Interest in Brazil’s 1960s/1970s music scene is pretty much dominated by Tropicalia these days, but behind this popular front lay a bevy of fantastic psychedelic rock albums that don’t otherwise fit in with the kaleidoscopic coastal sounds of folks like Caetano Veloso, Gal Costa or Os Mutantes. One of these is the self-titled release by Flaviola e o Bando do Sol, an ethereal slice of psychedelic folk music put together by many of the same cats who made Lula Côrtes and Zé Ramalho’s Paêbirú such an enduring classic.

There is a lazy, mellow vibe to the proceedings here that really puts you in a midnight, beach campfire vibe, with jangling acoustic guitars and wispy flashes of percussion bedding Flaviola’s warm, reassuring vocals. Flute, dulcimer, and what sounds like a harp also make appearances here, as well as several other instruments that sound distinctly Brazilian, though I’ll be damned if I can name them. The rare, rapid-fire semi-electric number “Asas” and the catchy “Balalaica” are definitely the numbers to play to Tropicalia fans, featuring the record’s most energetic rhythms, with Flaviola and friends cheerily chanting out the title on the latter (whether or not the song actually makes use of a Russian balalaika I have no idea). Slower pieces like “Noite” and the autoharp punctuated “Canção de Outono” are more personal numbers, with sleepy sways to them and delicate finger picking.

The record is pretty short, at just under half an hour long, so I’ll keep the review short in turn. After all, this isn’t exactly an album that you can say very much about, as it’s more about the magic of hearing all these simple acoustic sounds come together – there is nothing shocking or avant-garde here, simply beautiful music that is bound to stick with you long after the needle’s been lifted. British-based reissue label Mister Bongo has done us all a favor by repressing this one on 180 gram vinyl, though if that’s not your thing (and it should be) then they also have copies on compact disc. Don’t miss this one.

mp3: Canto Fúnebre
mp3: Do Amigo

:) Reissue | 2012 | Mr. Bongo | search ebay ]
:D Reissue | 2012 | Mr. Bongo | buy here ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]

 

El Congreso “El Congreso”

A pounding bass drum and a cyclical guitar riff slip into a swaying flute rhythm before exploding into a whirl of electricity and an explosive chorus. Calm, dynamic and controlled: thus does “Mastranzas de Noches,” a psychedelic garage-folk adaptation of a classic Pablo Neruda poem, manage to provide one of the most memorable opening hooks of any psychedelic record to emerge from Latin America. This 1971 debut by Chile’s Congreso is one of those rare, imperfect albums that somehow manages to hit a certain chord despite the noticeable flaws. A beautiful mix of jangling folk rock, cordillera accents and jazz touches, El Congreso would be a crate digger’s holy grail if there were even the slightest chance that this southern hemisphere obscurity might make it into the bins anywhere outside its own continent. All us extranjeros will probably have to rely on Record Runner’s excellent, Brazilian import-only reissue to tap into the sounds here, but don’t let the difficulty of acquisition deter you from exploring these grooves. This one is worth hunting down.

Despite El Congreso‘s relatively even conformity of sound, there are definitely some cuts that stand out a little higher than the rest. Emerging from the record’s heart, “Has Visto Caer Una Lágrima” and the heavy-battery “Mírate al Espejo” show the band at the peak of their artistic powers. The former affords us with an infectious melody and some radically grounded bass, which let the song’s incisive, obtusely-political lyrics seep in to full effect as we are confronted with “una bala de cristal, un cañón de turrón, o una bomba como un bombón” (“a bullet of crystal, a gun of nougat, or a bomb like candy”). “Espejo” shows of Fancisco Sazo’s soulful vocals and lets the band explode into what might be the record’s most impressive instrumental performance with pounding piano and dive-bombing lead guitar. This is immediately followed by the swaying anti-aggression of “Rompe Tu Espada, Vive La Vida” (“Break Your Sword and Live Your Life”), which is worthy of classic status in pretty much every sense of the word, commercially-hampered but artistically-graced by its ragged acoustics and a somewhat fevered production.

That rough-hewn construction is beautiful, but is also the product of one of the record’s flaws: the band is loose beyond all get-up, especially drummer Sergio González, whose uniquely constructed, tom-heavy runs occasionally fall out of time as the band pushes things outward. Usually this works, considering the nature of the material, but it is not enough to qualify the man for the stoned Pollockian drum solo that closes out the album’s longest cut: the otherwise funky eleven minute instrumental “A.A.R.” It’s a rather undignified way to lead us out of the swirling flute and fuzz guitar improvisation that precedes it, and would have been better off sacrificed for the inclusion of one of the two non-album cuts that close out the Record Runner reissue. The psychedelic, wah-pedal overdrive of “Nuestro Es El Momento” would have been the worthiest replacement, introducing some tasteful, sylvan flute and violin accents to what are perhaps the band’s most brilliantly claustrophobic moments.

All quibbles aside though, this one comes very highly recommended. Few records of any vintage manage to bring as much to the table as Congreso does here, and you’d be doing yourself a great disservice not to lend an ear to your South American brothers-in-arms. The band continues to perform around Chile (I managed to catch a show of theirs early last year at a political rally), albeit in a revamped lineup that veers dangerously close to middle-of-the-road jazz fusion. If you’ve given this one awhile to sink and are eager for more, I’d recommend turning to 1975′s Tierra Incognita or 1977′s similarly self-titled Congreso, which, while polishing up the band’s sound, maintain most of the fundamental elements that make these earliest recordings such a distinct pleasure.

mp3: Maestranzas de Noche
mp3: Rompe Tu Espada, vive la vida

:D Reissue | Record Runner | buy here ]
:) Original | 1971 | Odeon | search ebay ]

Sandy Denny and the Strawbs “All Our Own Work”

It is telling that during the course of Sandy Denny’s short but illustrious career, she managed to cut two full-length records which, despite remaining unreleased for many years, are nowadays heralded as essential pieces in the puzzle that is British folk-rock. One of these two “rediscovered” LPs was Fotheringay 2, which met a good deal of critical claim when it was put out on CD a few years back, while the other is this: All Our Own Work, the tragically-unreleased debut album that Denny cut with a young, unknown group known as The Strawbs back in 1967, but which failed to see the light of day until Denny had built a name for herself with Fairport Convention.

It is actually rather interesting to place late-sixties Strawbs alongside Fotheringay, as both bands share a number of commonalities outside of Denny’s extraordinary faerie voice. Each group borrows from both British and United States pop and folk-music traditions, and pair Denny’s voice against a strong, distinct male lead…actually, now that I read back over that, Fairport pretty much followed the same formulas, though they quickly shucked off the U.S. influences and contemporary rock and roll material for starker, traditional ballads and old English dance songs. On All Our Own Work, Denny and The Strawbs are still drawing out bits and pieces from mid-to-late sixties radio sounds, as the densely-orchestrated balladry of “You Need Me” and the bouncy, acoustic “Always On My Mind” reveal. There are also many touches of classic psychedelia here that never quite carried over into any of Denny’s other work, such as the droning sitar work on “Tell Me (What You See In Me).”

The songs here are almost uniformly excellent, making it even more of a shame that this album never saw the light of day back when it would have made the biggest impact. It’s hard to select just a few cuts to talk about, as each has its own unique, quirky charms. “How Everyone But Sam Was A Hypocrite” and “Poor Jimmy Wilson” could have easily come from the pen of Ray Davies, while the simple, swirling acoustics on “Two Weeks Last Summer” create an entrancing day-in-the-life head space that could very well have made this one a classic on the folk-psych genre. Perhaps the most historically notable song on here is Denny’s original full-band recording of “Who Knows Where the Time Goes,” which would soon be put on vinyl first by Judy Collins and later by a Denny-fronted Fairport Convention. There’s a lot of ground covered here considering the constrained palette of sounds that the band conjures, touching on all the best British flavors of the era. On later records, Strawbs would expand their arsenal of instruments considerably, but to hear the band working primarily with acoustic guitars and touches of orchestration is something of a revelation. Sometimes you just have to clear away the clutter and Mellotrons and electric guitars and just let a record breath.

There have been a couple separate reissues of All Our Own Work, released under varying titles, but the most readily available these days is Witchwood Media’s CD issue, which includes not just the original LP but also a wealth of additional cuts from the same sessions. I imagine that this is one of the more obscure Denny releases out there, so if you’re a fan and have yet to hear this – one of her earliest recorded offerings – you are in for quite a treat.

mp3: Who Knows Where the Time Goes
mp3: Tell Me (What You See In Me)

:) Original | 1973 | Pickwick | search ebay ]
:D Reissue | 2010 | Witchwood | buy here ]

Ithaca “A Game For All Who Know”

Though only one record was ever released under the name Ithaca, the band actually has a rather lengthy history which encompasses four different LPs. The band’s roots lay in the British folk duo Peter Howell and John Ferdinando, who put out two obscure albums in the late 1960s under their own names before pulling their act together into the band Agincourt. That band’s Fly Away, released in 1970, was a gently magnificent slice of cosmic folk-rock which highlighted the ethereal vocals of Lee Menelaus. A Game For All Who Know is technically the follow-up to that unfortunately unheralded release, marked by a change in name (which probably didn’t help the groups’ momentum, if they had any at all by this point), and a somewhat darker atmosphere.

The songs on A Game For All Who Know tend to bleed into each other in a rather seamless continuum, giving the record the feel of a concept album. All in all, it’s a relaxing trip. Though “The Journey” opens rather auspiciously with an explosion, the buzzing of insects, and what sounds like a soaring air raid siren, it soon dissolves down into a beautiful wash of gentle cymbal crescendos and finger-picked guitars. Droning vocals are kept relatively low in the mix, making the overall sound a little disorienting but also emphasizing the engaging instrumental textures which underlay the songs. According to the liner-notes on the Acme Lion reissue, the band decided during the recording of this album that their material had gotten too complicated and involved to perform live.

The sound of the record has more to do with chiming 1960s U.K. folk rock than it does with most of Ithaca’s progressive-leaning contemporaries. Jangling acoustic guitars provide the bedrock around which most of these songs are written, and instrumental flourishes tend toward flutes, Gilmour-esque slide guitar runs and organ trills that never escape their place as accents. Even the record’s eight-and-a-half minute centerpiece “Times” floats on a quietly-tumbling Bryter Layter atmosphere before picking up the pace into a bright, country-rock groove. The cosmic “Dreams” is perhaps one of the album’s most unsettling moments, in which traces of jazz piano melt and bleed into clouds of fuzz guitar before light ivory arpeggios bring the proceedings down into a rather sudden fade-out. Cut to the lengthy, record-closing reprise of “The Journey,” introduced by the sound of pages turning and a a burst of flamenco guitar before sampled NASA radio chatter announces that “Houston, we are underway” and Ithaca returns to the spaced-out balladry that by now has clearly been revealed to be their forte. It’s only in the introduction of weird, rudimentary synthesizer harmonies on this cut that the band starts to push into standard prog territory, though they redeem themselves a little later in the piece as it begins to slide out into a super mellow, freestyle improvisation.

The band would release one more record, this one under the name Friends and being more of a Peter Howell project than anything. Howell was also spending more and more time as a composer at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop (where he would go on to compose the second Doctor Who theme, released as a single under his own name in the late seventies), and slowly the loose amalgam of musicians that had made up Agincourt, Ithaca and Friends ceased recording formally together. They left an impressive run of musical testaments, however, and A Game For All Who Know is worth checking out. Though it was only released in a limited run of ninety-nine LPs back in 1973, the aforementioned Acme Lion edition is readily available for anyone down to take “the journey.”

mp3: Questions
mp3: Peace of Mind

:D Reissue | 2008 | Lion | buy at amazon ]

International Harvester “Sov Gott Rose-Marie”

One of the more under-appreciated international underground music scenes to emerge from the 1960s was Sweden’s iconoclastic progg movement, spearheaded by political organizers and avant-garde musicians such as International Harvester founder Bo Anders Persson. These musicians fought to cultivate a new social and artistic consciousness among Swedish youth, playing free shows across the country and recording experimental, minimalist improvisations that pushed back against an elitist, exclusionary musical culture. According to Persson, their principle goal was to bring the community back into the music. Many different bands would emerge from the progg scene, laying down sounds from fuzzed-out trance rock to traditional Swedish folk and more or less everywhere in-between. This record falls in-between.

The history of International Harvester is somewhat convoluted, due to a constantly shifting lineup and unstable name. Originally the group formed under the monicker Pärson Sound, recording two  albums’ worth of material but never releasing a proper record. On scoring a record deal, the band renamed itself International Harvester, a reference to the U.S.-owned tractor manufacturer and a symbolic attack against corporate agriculture. To avoid legal wrangling, however, the band soon had to shorten their name to Harvester, and released one last record with their current lineup before dissolving into Träd, Gräs och Stenar (Trees, Grass and Stone) and finally managing to score popular success.

Sov Gott Rose Marie, the band’s sole release under the International Harvester name, is an unusual patchwork of field recordings, electric krautrock jams and percussive experimentation that bridges the sonic gap between what the Velvet Underground was laying down in New York (the band was actually personally invited by Andy Warhol to play an exposition, but things fell through) and the Amon Düül commune was brewing in Munich circa 1969. Though the music may sound free-form, closer listening reveals the rigorous discipline displayed by the individual musicians. Each member leaves his ego at the door and subsumes himself in the music, a quality perhaps picked up from the band’s time spent studying and performing under the auspices of the aforementioned Riley back in the mid-sixties.

After opening with the deep drone of a Latin death hymn and the chirping of woodland birds, the record wastes no time kicking into gear. “There Is No Other Place” is perhaps Sov Gott Rose Marie‘s heaviest track, combining the band’s obsession with heavy, pounding tribal rhythms with an overdriven guitar line lifted straight out of the Hawkwind bible. Three tracks later and the disarmingly concise “Ho Chi Minh” serves as one of the band’s more unusual political statements, exploding the Harvester’s percussive tendencies into a Viet Minh war chant running on a hypnotic two-note figure by bassist Torbjörn Abelli. It is perhaps the group’s artistic and political spirit (the band was associated with the Swedish Communist Party’s youth league, and performed and recorded regularly at the Kafe Marx in Stockholm) most perfectly distilled: no time wasted, no unnecessary chords – the new electric underground resistance in less than two minutes.

The mellower side of International Harvester makes itself apparent on “The Runcorn Report on Western Progress” and the droning title track, which rides at a glacial tempo that perfectly foreshadows such later record’s as Earth’s The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull. “It’s Only Love” is one of the band’s closest forays into the realm of popular music, but coming in right after “Ho Chi Minh” it’s given its own surreal edge that keeps you on your toes through all of its one minute-forty seconds. All these shorter songs (basically encapsulating Side A of the originally-planned album release) are only a teaser for Sov Gott‘s second half, however, which is composed of three mammoth jams carried over from the group’s Pärson Sound days. “Skördetider (Harvest Times)” runs almost half an hour, a roaring cauldron of blissed-out space rock featuring spiraling violin lines and low, moaning vocals before an intense fuzz guitar improvisation rends the track to pieces. “I Mourn You” is thirteen minutes of a similar brew, while “How To Survive” is an extended Swedish folk chant built around sleepy-eyed percussion and what sounds like a saxophone impersonating an old, croaking hurdy-gurdy.

All of Pärson Sound/International Harvester/Harvester’s records have been recently re-released in one form or another, with Sov Got Rose Marie finding berth with the independent Swedish label Silence Recordings and finally emerging on compact disc in 2006. This is perhaps one of the definitive documents of 1960s Sweden, and an essential record for anyone interested in the more experimental and stimulating strains of acid rock. Hell, even on the most cursory listen it doesn’t take long to realize that International Harvester was truly a band ahead of its time, and one long overdue for popular rediscovery.

mp3: The Runcorn Report on Western Progress
mp3: Sommarlåten (The Summer Song)

:D Reissue | 2006 | Silence Recordings | buy from amazon ]
:) Original | 1969 | Love Records | search ebay ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]