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Tasavallan Presidentti - Still Struggling For Freedom  CD (album) cover

STILL STRUGGLING FOR FREEDOM

Tasavallan Presidentti

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Eetu Pellonpää
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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars My personal enthusiasm for this record is certainly based to memories of these gigs I managed to attend. The impact of these events was boosted by presumption that I would never be able to see my favorite classic Finnish band actually on stage. I also like Frank Robson's voice slightly more than Eero Raittinen's, so their earlier line-up gathered to these sets was also closer to my heart. The songs are constructed with conventional jazz-rock structures, sung verses being at the beginnings and the ends of the songs, and the middle parts being reserved for the improvisational interplay of guitar and wind instruments. There are some sections for bass and drum solos too, but the rhythm section luckily stays mostly on their conventional territories, thus creating the space for the two main tenor instruments. The album opener "I Love You Teddy Bear" is in my opinion the best version the group has managed to perform from this "hit ballad", and it surely is a lovely song. I also think that many of the versions here are much better than on their early studio records. I conclude that the musicians' playing experience from many decades have polished their skill and sense of style, and possibly concert arena was more preferable working area for the band than studio. I recall from a radio interview Måns Groundstroem contemplating that they should not have emphasized on studio recordings, but practice more for gigs and record them with proper gear I know YLE broadcasting company has early 1970's audio and film archive of their gigs, along with many other Finnish progressive rock bands. Hopefully they would be carved to vinyl in the future, instead of seldom radio airings or filling documentary interviews with tantalizing one minute excerpts. Sadly their cover version of Frank Zappa's "King Kong" is not presented here, perhaps because of copyright issues. On the concerts Frank played keyboards to this song, and the tune has been on band's repertoire from their early days. Some tracks which they performed from albums "Lambertland" are also left out, most certainly as they did not work well at the concerts. Though I like Robson's vocal tone, his vocal skills are not compactible to Raittinen's more hoarse and flexible voice. Even though these lacks, I rejoice this album for cherishing the memories of those evenings and hearing experienced musicians doing their thing.

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#43871)
Posted Tuesday, August 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
snobb
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3 stars TASAVALLAN PRESIDENTTI were one of legendary Finnish prog bands from early 70-s (disbanded in 1974 after few quite interesting albums). This album is not material from vaults, but newly recorded live one.

Band just recorded some material during concert ( 37 years after they were disbanded for the first time). It was interesting for me just to hear what their music is now.

To be honest, this album is mixed bag. Bad generally play jazz-rock with strong influence of Canterbury sound, some light psychedelic and spacey sounds. You can easy feel their blues- rock roots as well. No keyboards or other electronic devices/effects! Excellent guitar, very interesting flute ( often reminds Ian Anderson's techniques). Some nice sax as well. So - good music? Everything is not so simply.

First of all, their sound is quite authentic, but on the level of ... early 70-s. I believe their fans from old days will be happy to hear them again ,just as great nostalgia. But for today's music scene they sound more as dinosaurs. And then - vocals.... Album's opener sounds as Frank Sinatra's fame tribute. Later things go a bit better, but almost everywhere instrumental pieces are much more attractive.

In all, memories album for old fans or collectors. Hardly will attract even a single newcomer.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#275550)
Posted Tuesday, March 30, 2010 | Review Permalink

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