Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Swedish Ancestors?

Thanks to Rudy for suggesting this awesome album!
Baby Grandmothers were a Psychedelic Hard Rock band from Sweden. This trio was inspired by music such as Jimi Hendrix and Cream. Their self-titled album from 1968 is an absolute classic.
This album contains excellent songs, especially the tracks Bergakunden and Being Is More Than Life. These are long-drawn-out songs where guitarist Kenny Håkansson excels. This guy is almost as much a virtuoso like Jimi Hendrix was! Baby Grandmothers were even support act for Jimi Hendrix on his Swedish tour in 1968!
Baby Grandmothers was an awesome band and this album is highly recommended! Enjoy!

One of Sweden’s most obscure psychedelic treasures, Baby Grandmothers evolved out of the T-Boones in 1967 and only officially released one single in Finland (Eteenpäin!, aka Forward!, May 1968) during their lifetime before the power trio of guitarist, Kenny Håkansson, bassist, Bengt “Bela” Linnarsson and drummer, Pelle Ekman joined forces with Mecki Bodermark in the reincarnated Mecki Mark Men, a highly prized, Swedish psych outfit that released a much-loved 1969 album for Mercury, ‘Running In The Summer Night.’ (MMM, rumoured to be Hendrix favorite Swedish band, were also the first Swedish band to tour America, where they recorded their final album, ‘Marathon’ at Chess studios in Chicago, later to be released by Sonet in 1970.) This archival release (which marks the 40th anniversary of the band’s formation and was compiled with detailed, historical photos and liner notes by Dungen guitarist, Reine Fiske) includes various live recordings of mostly soundboard quality (although the source tapes appear to have been sonically washed for improved presentability – these are definitely not your dodgy, microphone down the pant leg audience recordings), which only scratch the surface of conveying what the band sounded like, but will be of much interest to fans of fellow Swedish psych monsters, Pärson Sound and their myriad offshoots such as International Harvester and Träd, Gras och Stenar. A taste of the band’s mind-melting attack is evident the A-side to that single, ‘Somebody Keeps Calling My Name,’ wherein Håkansson moans the title like some psychotic patient in a mental ward before ripping off a brain-bending solo for a track that’s much more focused (but no less psychedelic) than the hippy-dippy assaults of their fellow countrymen. Imagine vintage Cream and Syd Barrett-led Pink Floyd morphing into a primeval Hawkwind sonic brain attack and you’re on the right track.

The flip side is up next (‘Being Is More Than Life’), presented here (as was the opener) from a live Finnish broadcast on March 24, 1968. It’s a meandering, freeform improv, which is essentially an elongated Håkansson guitar solo. Surely, one of the most unusual (and, at nearly six minutes, one of the longest) singles, psych or otherwise to come out of the Scandinavian sixties scene. A two-song, nearly 40-minute(!) live performance from late October, 1967 at the legendary Swedish psychedelic underground club FILIPS (where the Grandmothers were the house band) yields the 17-minute ‘Burgakunden’ and a nearly 20-minute version of the single’s B-side! The former is a rafter-rattling chunk of heavy psychedelia and together they just may be the most impressive examples of vintage Swedish psychedelia you’re ever likely to hear. Although it’s unknown whether this was one such recording, but the band did share the FILIPS stage for all-night jam sessions with the likes of Hendrix and The Mothers when they rolled through town, and Jimi’s influence, particularly on Håkansson’s amazing guitar work is immeasurable. Throughout, Håkansson dons the guitar God crown, exploring every nook and cranny of sound he can emit from his guitar, although to label him a “Swedish Jimi Hendrix” would be unfair, as he, perhaps intentionally, lacks or avoids the blues’ structures underlying many of Jimi’s solos.

Stretched out to sidelong proportion, the single takes on a life of its own and, despite the somewhat dodgy condition of the source tape, whose historical importance far outweighs it’s lack of pristine quality, is 20 minutes of sheer Hendrixian mayhem which actually precedes Hendrix’ guitar-burning performance at Monterey by two months. The fact that this is performed in front of what sounds like an audience of about 5 is not only shameful, it’s downright criminal, so mucho kudos to Fiske for rescuing this from oblivion. (And, oh, that video footage of the Grandmothers should someday surface, although, interestingly, Fiske suggests in his liner notes that this segment, which was provided by film-maker Stefan Jarl, was originally intended to form the soundtrack to the first film in Jarl’s Mods trilogy, ‘Dom Kallar Oss Mods’ (‘They Call Us Mods’). The slot eventually went to the Lea Riders Group, but we’re lucky to finally be able to hear this amazing piece of history.)

The band’s September 30, 1967 performance at FILIPS gives us ‘St. George’s Dragon,’ which finds the band in fine improvisational flight, with Linnarsson’s rolling bassline more prominent around Ekman’s galloping drum rolls and Håkansson’s by-now familiar fire breathing guitar bursts. So if you’re in the mood to experience the ultimate in six-string manipulation and total guitar destruction, you owe it to yourself to add this to your collection of vintage psychedelia, Scandinavian or otherwise.
(By Jeff Penczak at Terrascope)

Baby Grandmothers - Baby Grandmothers (1968)

*Thanks and credits to Andy from Another Sucker On The Vine!


Anonymous said...

Hi Riez. I have this , and this is fucking awesome!


Heavypsychmanblog said...

Classic Ultra rare SWE Heavy Psych

Matias said...

now I get it...
Thanks my friend

Dr Dopo said...

Love these guys. You all should do yourselves a HUGE favor and listen to the first album by KEBNEKAISE (basically all the same members as this band). It's called "Resa Mot Okant Mal" and is one the most amazing, creative, and satisfying heavy psych albums to come out of the 70s. Later stuff wasn't as cool so be sure you get the 1st one.

Dr Dopo said...

Man you guys and your blogs are saving my life.. keep the good stuff coming!

Insane Riez said...

Dr Dopo, thanks for the nice words! And thanks for the suggestion about Kebnekajse!

Mari said...

Great! I also have this already, and it is sooo cool!