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Midnight Sun (Rainbow Band) - Rainbow Band CD (album) cover


Midnight Sun (Rainbow Band)

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

First album of the group that will change its name just as this album was released (a Canadian band was named that way too), but it came out in the UK and Scandinavia anyway. A sextet (the standard prog quartet, plus a singer and a wind-player) that developed a bluesy jazz-inflicted rock, RB was an amalgam of local Copenhagen musicians from different local groups (although I'd hesitate to call it a "supergroup", even if Burnin Red Invanhoe and later, the superb Secret Oyster would also arise that way),

The opening tracks Where Do You Live and King Of The Sun are average tracks that are rooted in blues-rock and can remind Colosseum, Savoy Brown other late-60's and Early-70's blues-rock. The double track Nobody/BM is easily the first side's highlight with an intriguing piano intro, a haunting flute and fascinating construction. Bronstead's finest hour, if you ask me, in Nobody, while BM is a bit of free space for Stief's bass to extend and ends up in a jam.

Obviously most of the attention on the flipside will be paid to the 14-min+ Living On The Hill, and it does indeed prove to be the album's apex. Built on a mid-tempo blues (this could easily be on Savoy Brown's superb raw Sienna album), the track develops into a large instrumental boulevard where plenty of interplay between Hesselman's winds, Frost's fuzzy guitar lines and Stief's bass. Bronsted is strangely absent/low-key in this track. Ending with Rainbow Song, the album is a pleaser, but by all means never approached anything even remotely groundbreaking.

The proghead could do a good deal by choosing the Long Hair release which holds both version of the album, but gives the preference the Rainbow Band artwork rather than the Dean artwork of Midnight Sun, which is just as well as it is much more charming. After having released this album, the group fired their vocalist and had to change their names, so for odd reasons, they chose to redo their debut album, which this writer thinks was unnecessary, as I prefer this version because of its immediacy.

Report this review (#127394)
Posted Tuesday, July 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is the debut album from Danish rock/ fusion/ psych band Rainbow Band. The album was released in 1970. Rainbow band was formed in the spring of 1970 by Lars Bisgaard ( vocals) and Bent Hesseklmann ( Reeds) from The Maxwells. Per Frost Hohansson ( guitars) from Young Flowers, Carsten Smedegaard ( Drums) from The Beefeaters and Niels Brønsted ( Piano) and Bo Stief ( Bass) from the jazz scene around the Montmartre Jazzclub in Copenhagen. After the release of this album Lars Bisgaard would leave the band to be replaced by new vocalist Allan Mortensen. This was not the only major change to occur to the band in 1971 as they had to change their name from Rainbow Band to Midnight Sun to get a worldwide deal with MCA Records. Midnight Sun re-recorded and re-mixed most of the Rainbow Band album and replaced Lars Bisgaard´s vocal parts with Allen Mortensen´s ditto. That´s why there are basically two versions of this album around.

The music on Rainbow Band is influences from both blues, jazz/ Fusion and a bit of psychadelic music. The songs are actually pretty diverse. The songs with most wind playing from Bent Hasselmann reminds me a bit of the early albums from the english band Audience, while other songs like King of the Sun starts out more sixties rocking and then while the guitar plays solo the song almost shifts to fusion territory. There is a strong soul influence here too, which is mostly due to Lars Bisgaard´s soul/ rock vocals. Lars Bisgaard has a very similar voice to Allan Mortensen.

The musicianship is excellent and while the production is a bit darker than on the Midnight Sun version of the album it´s still great.

If you enjoyed the Midnight Sun album you´ll like this one too as there are no major differences. I suggest that you get the CD re-issue from 2003 where both the Rainbow Band and the Midnight Sun version are featured on one CD. This is a 3 star rating from me.

Report this review (#183054)
Posted Sunday, September 21, 2008 | Review Permalink

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