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Baby Grandmothers - Baby Grandmothers CD (album) cover

BABY GRANDMOTHERS

Baby Grandmothers

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.79 | 23 ratings

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TCat
3 stars Baby Grandmothers is a band that formed way back in 1967. In the very short time they were together (1967-1968), they recorded one single and an album which is now considered an underground psychedelic classic. Since they never toured outside of Sweden except for opening for Jimi Hendrix in 1968, they never really gained worldwide popularity until 2007 when Subliminal Records got their hands on copies of their studio and live material and then released it as this album. So, the music you hear on this album is from those years, much of it had appeared on the classic album they released and also on the single. The band line-up from that original group was Kenny Hakansson (guitar), Bella Ferlin (bass) and Pelle Ekman (drums).

The album starts out with the two songs that made up the single. 'Somebody Keeps Calling My Name'. The single cut only lasted 7 minutes, but this album version is over 9 minutes. This is one of their rare songs that included vocals, and when you hear the vocals, you understand why. It's the psychedelic jams that this band was locally famous for and for what gave them the sudden delayed popularity some 40 years later. The recording is not the best, but it is what you would expect from the time that it was recorded (1968) for a live and probably soundboard recording. As is the case with much of their recorded material, the music starts with a slow jam and then about halfway through, it speeds up, becoming noisy and chaotic at the end. Even though the line up is pretty basic, the music packs a wallop, a noisy psychedelic, space jam of the style that Sweden made famous. 'Being is More than Life' is the flip side of the single. This one is more pensive and slow and over its 6 minutes, it becomes heavy with feedback and loudness with a solid bass line.

The next three tracks are the 'meat' of this album. They come from a performance at their regular concert venue, Klubb Filips in Stockholm in late October of 1967. This is where you get to really experience their heavy jamming power, starting with 'Bergakungen' (over 16 minutes), followed by a repeat of 'Being is More than Life', this time extending it out beyond 19 minutes. This was not a strange thing for this band as they were known to jam on for hours. These mind melting psych trips are excellent examples of the movement that was going on back then, and demonstrate where this sound that is so popular today came from. These people were the innovators, the pioneers of the psychedelic jams. The third track from this venue is a 7 minute jam called 'St. George's Dragon', a not-so-interesting and minimal sounding jam.

In order to prove that these were not just one off jams, there are two short tracks that provide snippets from another show in Finland in 1968.

After touring with Hendrix, the band dissolved into 'Mecki Mark Men' who would become the first Swedish rock band to tour the U.S. Hakansson would later be influential in creating the Swedish folk-psych sound. After the emergence of this album in 2007, Baby Grandmothers would put out a surprise album in 2018 called 'Merkurius', their one and only studio album. I highly recommend that album over this one mostly because of the better sound and production. However, the band would have forever gone unnoticed outside of their own home country, where they became one of the most influential groups to give us the psychedelic sound of Sweden that is so popular today. It's a shame that all we have now is this not so great sounding album to document their music from back in the day, but at least we have this recording and the band was willing to come together to do a more recent album. It's not perfect, but it is a better idea of how their music sounds in studio. This album, however, is a bit hard to listen to because of the sound quality, and the long jams can be a bit tiring. The album is valuable more as a historical context than anything else, but for enjoyment value, only hardcore psych fans or collectors will be interested.

TCat | 3/5 |

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