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Swedish Family - Vintage Prog CD (album) cover


Swedish Family


Symphonic Prog

3.71 | 33 ratings

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4 stars If I am asked to give an opinion of who is the best marketer? I may vote Mr. Robert Fripp of King Crimson as number one and number two is Mr. Tomas Bodin of The Flower Kings? Why? Robert Fripp has been a master in communication with many great ideas through regular contacts with media - even people were not aware that at certain period of time King Crimson was dead. He is a positioning master that has helped the marketing of King Crimson albums especially post "Discipline" album and also he had great idea like "Double Trio" line-up, etc. etc.. The result is obvious: he is one of Top 100 guitarist as per Guitar World magazine. What a great result - even Steve Hackett is not here in the Top 100!

What about Mr. Bodin? Well, the result of his marketing communication strategy is not obvious or tangible yet. But one thing for sure: he has been very successful in putting his 'what supposed to be' fourth solo album called "Swedish Family" in the right frame of mind to prog music buffs. Don't get confused, he made this band imaginary only as if it has been the Swedish prog band in the late sixties with legendary albums which are "hard to find" nowadays. The band has inspired other Swedish prog bands - that's what Mr Bodin says in the Flower Kings website. He seemed like not joking because he also put the seventies album of Swedish Family: 1.) "Success in Moscow" 1969; 2.) "Who is Cess?" 1970; 3.) "Sorry but I have the flu" 1972; 4.) "Even harder" 1973; 5.) "When kids do it for fun" 1974; 6.) "Why air was clean and sex was dirty" 1975; 7.) "Europe Alive" 1976; 8.) "But I will take a big step forward" 1977; 9.) "Workers On strike-Live in Gothenburg". 22 May 1978; 10.) "Hungry in Hungary" Live in Budapest 1979. Not only that, he also put each individual song featured with "taken from ..". So cool, Mr. Bodin!

Hey, what about the music man? Excellent! Terrific! Amazing! I'm speaking not in terms of composition, songwriting or performance but this album bring another value to me:

First, this album has successfully cheated me for a while because I thought that this was a "real" band in the past that has many lost albums and hard to find records. But when I checked the website, ohm . Mr Bodin has pulled my legs man! But I'm happy being treated that way because it created a significant curiosity after three times spinning the CD: "Gee!!! What is the band discography? How come I have lost their history in the seventies - which I did also with Kaipa whom I knew only recently? I really wanted to buy previous CDs of the band, of course.". I was so ashamed with what happened with me, really.

Second, the sonic quality of this CD is truly representing the recording technology of what available then. This what makes me "amazed" with this CD because it sounds like a classic rock music records - most CDs by Repertoire label usually sounds like this. But, this is in reality a 2004 recording technology in digital era, how come it still sounds analog like this? Brilliant man! Again, I am cheated.

Third, the music itself is an excellent composition (structure and arrangement), powerful songwriting and excellent performance (overall). The music blends the elements of jazz, rock, traditional music and the Flower Kings music. The real musicians who contribute to this band are Tomas Bodin (keyboards, accordion, percussion & vocals), Flower Kings' Roine Stolt (guitars & bass), Samla Mammas Manna's Hasse Bruniusson (Drums) and Ulf Wallander (soprano saxophone). All compositions were done by Bodin who also produce this album and release it for the first time under his own label: Helicon House.

The first track "Stoneheart" 6.03 (From the album "Even Harder" 1973) impressed me at first spin. The combination of organ and guitar solo is terrific. Even, the touch of organ is very catchy and memorable. Style-wise, it's very Flower Kingsy. It flows beautifully with another excellent track "A man without mind" 5.01 (From the album "But I will take a big step forward" 1977) where accordion is used sparingly combined with organ and stunning guitar work. Wow! What a great music. "Gotheburgs Heros" 3.58 (From the album "Workers on Strike-Live in Gothenburg" 1978) continues with a sort of traditional melody or national anthem using accordion as opener. I would say it's a traditional prog rock music bcause it has its roots on traditional music melody. "A waltx about sadness" 4.03 (From the album "Who is Cess? 1970) is a mellow track exploring the use of soprano sax. "The Last Goodbye" 4.28 (From the B-side of the "Making kids" single 1974) explores the combination of accordion, organ and soprano sax.

My true favorite is track 6 "From the foot" 6.10 (From Success in Moscow 1969) where the track starts wonderfully with excellent exploration of organ with soaring sound in relatively long sustain notes combined nicely with guitar fills. Oh my God .. this is a true gem really! The melody produced by this song is amazing. The guitar solo itself is also stunning and the song is characterized with jazz beats. Vibraphone is also used. Awesome. "The Summerdress" 3.08 (From the album "Why air was clean and sex was dirty 1975) brings the music back into a combination of accordion and organ in a mellow style, without drumming. "The Flu" 5.17 (From the album "Sorry but I have the flu") is another true favorite of mine, again I'm attracted with the organ work here. Other tracks, including bonus tracks are excellent.

Overall, I think this album deserves five star rating. Because this is still new with me, I'd ratther put four stars with something in my mind that one day I will upgrade it into five stars. Highly recommended! Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 4/5 |


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