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Odin - SWF Sessions 1973 CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.48 | 19 ratings

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3 stars Odin are yet another in a seemingly endless stream of early seventies bands that came and went and were forgotten, casualties of changing times and tastes and, in Odin’s case, an energy crisis in Europe in the mid-seventies. This CD is the very late issue of their final studio tracks recorded at Südwestfunk studio U1 in Baden-Baden Germany in 1973, recorded for and played on German radio then but not released until the 21st century. The sound is quite dated but worth a listen for the representative heavy organ and guitar work that holds up surprisingly well after all these years. The album also features a couple of Frank Zappa covers, which the band was known for playing back then in their live shows.

Like bands such as Sweet Smoke (U.S.) and the Trip (British), Odin had to become ex-patriots in search of elusive fame and fortune due to their inability to secure either an audience or a recording contract in their native country. Odin was more like the Trip though in that they acquired local talent as part of the process. Originally British drummer Stuart Fordham (since passed away of cancer) and Dutch guitarist/ vocalist Rob Terstall were part of a band called Honest Truth, which British bassist Ray Brown later joined. The band had picked up a Hungarian keyboardist along the way but when he died unexpectedly the group signed German Jeff Beer (ex- Elastic Grasp) and took on the name Odin. A recording contract and studio album soon followed and the band seemed to be on their way, but legal wrangling and an energy crisis stymied a tour planned for 1973. The band recorded the tracks to this album for German radio in early 1973, but by 1974 they had disbanded with most of the members leaving the rock music business for other ventures. Jeff Beer remained in Germany and pursued a career in multidiscipline art, while Rob Terstall (who also stayed in Germany) continued to perform in a variety of regional jazz and rock outfits including the cover band Motion-Sound. Ray Brown left the music business altogether and today works as a carpenter, while Stuart Fordham returned to England for a career in the electronics business before passing away in 2003.

So what about the music? Well the tracks here are rather unexceptional, but the playing is pretty tight considering the haphazard nature of the band’s makeup as well as the times. The first two tracks are original compositions by Rob Terstall and Jeff Beer/Ray Brown respectively, and both are prototypical heavy organ / blues-psych guitar affairs with some vocal harmonizing and long stretches of instrumental jamming.

The band also offers up a contiguous and somewhat shorter version of Zappa’s disjointed “King Kong” suite, not nearly as wild as Zappa’s but something they probably played in their live shows as well and certainly would have been well-received. Another Zappa cover is their rambling rendition of ‘Weasels Ripped my Flesh' "Oh No", this one sounding more like free-form jazz experiment than anything else, with the majority of the tune being consumed by an extended organ sound orgy and fusion drumming.

The album closes with another jam indulgence, a rather odd cover choice again but this time from Quatermass, the sonically charged “Make up Your Mind”. I’ve never heard the original but a quick fact check shows Odin’s version to run about five minutes longer and I can only assume this is mostly because of the extensive amount of heavy drum/organ jamming that consumes several minutes of recording time.

This is not a forgotten classic by any means, and really contains nothing that would be considered essentially by most proggers. But it is an interesting curio from the early prog archives, and as such is worth picking up if you stumble over it. Three stars and recommended to heavy prog fans and people who like to listen to unusual cover tunes.


ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |


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