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Midnight Sun (Rainbow Band)

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Midnight Sun (Rainbow Band) Midnight Sun album cover
3.57 | 33 ratings | 8 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Talkin'
2. King Of The Sun
3. Nobody
4. B.M
5. Sippin' Wine
6. Living On The Hill.
7. Rainbow Song.

Line-up / Musicians

same line up as the RAINBOW BAND LP, except:

- Allan Mortensen / vocals

Releases information

Sonet SLPS 1523
A new version of the RAINBOW BAND album all redone with a new vocalist
CD on Black Rose Records BR139 and rereleased with RAINBOW BAND on Angel Air

Thanks to Zac M for the addition
and to ProgLucky for the last updates
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MIDNIGHT SUN (RAINBOW BAND) Midnight Sun ratings distribution

(33 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MIDNIGHT SUN (RAINBOW BAND) Midnight Sun reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Absolutely STUNNING.

Get out your blender. Mix equal parts jazz, blues, rock, hippie psych, and soul. Crank your stereo to 11 and prepare to rock. I'm telling you right now that I'm not going to be able to do this album justice with my description; you just have to hear this.

This album knocked me into next week. This is not artsy prog as we often discuss here but rather just an insanely good blues/jazz/rock album by musicians whose chops are unbelievable. I am amazed that this album has not been reviewed and praised.

The Roger Dean album cover is wonderful but misleading. This is not Middle Earth folk music. Try to imagine if you can parts of Traffic, early Chicago, Eric Burdon's War, Cream or The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Then imagine that with jazz-fusion sensibilities rather than overblown acid rock craziness.

If you are a fan of percussion, you MUST hear this Carsten Smedegaard. He is the most amazing drummer I've heard since Furio Chirico. The lead guitar is scorching, the vocals are deep and smoky, the bass is dead serious, and the window dressing of flute, sax, and piano are super as they blend together in a jazzy bluesy slurry. Hard hitting, heavy, but always nuanced and near-virtuoso musicianship. The 15 minute long "Living on the Hill" is perhaps the most impressive track with plenty of space for everyone to let loose but there are no clunkers on this album.

The band is Danish (with English vocals) and compared to Burnin Red Ivanhoe though I'm not familiar with them yet so I can't say. There are two versions of this album recorded with different vocalists and I am reviewing the one with Alan Mortensen. The remastered Black Rose records version sounds great and has 8 tracks, not 7 as noted here.

PLEASE! If jazzy blues-rock is your thing, RUN out and get this immediately. You can thank me later for your blown mind. 4.5 stars.

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

This album is a rework of the Rainbow Band album with a different singer, and since they chose to change their names (also used by a Canadian Band), so they changed the artwork as well. I'm not sure the Dean-esque artwork is a wise choice for this type of prog that relies more on jazz and blues than on folk and symphonics, though; and I preferred the more unusual previous artwork. With only Bisgaard being replaced by Allan Mortensen, the group remains constant, and if you expected more maturity (not saying it isn't the case), a lost of freshness was also tobe feared. And indeed, it is the case.

As opposed to the first version of the album, King Of The Sun has lost some 40 seconds and it's just as well as it remains the least interesting track on the album, while Where Are You Going To Be is almost doubled in time, both versions having their charms. Talking is the new version of Where Do You Live and I think I prefer the older version's more immediacy and urgency. The duo track of Nobody/BM are now separated (but it was already the case before) by another track, but none of them are drastically different.

Sippin' Wine is a relatively uninteresting blues track that brings little more to the album (it was the only new track on the second version of the album aznd written by Mortensen) and Rainbow Song had too few changes that the Long Hair Label decided to leave out the second version (time restrictions too). Among the two version of the mega Living On The Hill, the later version is clearer- sounding (production-wise), seems more jazz-rock tenser and urgent. Smedegaard's drumming being for a big part of this, as he pushes Frost's guitar antics to the limit and at wind-player Hesselman's expense.

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. Midnight Sun would then again change vocalist (but decided against re-recording this album again) and made two further albums in the progressive jazz-rock vein. In the meantime I find this album's second version less enthralling overall even if there are some brighter points as well, but since both version are on the same album, the Freudian choice is not to be.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars On the ashes of famous danish psychadelic rockers Young Flowers guitarist Peer Frost Johansson ( Later of Peter Belli & Les Rivals, Sebastian & Skousen & Ingemann. Today he plays with the famous danish band Savage Rose) formed Rainbow Band. This name was already taken though and after releasing the debut album Rainbow Band would change name to Midnight Sun and re-record the Rainbow Band debut with new singer Allan Mortensen.

I havenīt heard the original Rainbow Band album so I canīt compare the two but Midnight Sun is a pretty good album with 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 Allan Mortensenīs soul/ rock vocals.

The musicianship is what Iīm most impressed by when listening to Midnight Sun. Peer Frost Johansson is a really great guitarist who is obviously inspired by sixties guitarists like Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. He delivers some really fiery soloing on some of the songs. The rythm section is really strong too and Drummer Carsten Smedegaard and bassist Bo Stief are really tight. Singer Allan Mortensen is a soul/ rock singer and a strong one IMO. The band is completed by Niels Bronstad on piano and Bent Hasselmann on Winds.

The production is excellent for the time. A real treat.

I think this album is really good and I enjoy listening to the songs once in a while, but frankly this isnīt my favorite style and even though the music is really well produced and performed I only feel this is a 3 star album. I really hope there are others who can appreciate this music more than me though, because there are lots of good things going on and I think this album deserves more attention than it has gotten so far on Prog Archives. Fans of Audience should take a listen.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars Of course that

4(-) is the rating. Now why: Well, it's almost like typical "heeeevy" band from late60/early70 era, however, there's something more added. First - it's interesting, not boring, so it should be counted too. Also, it does not follow one pattern, over and over one structure of sound, it builds different visions and uses them cleverly through this album. Sound is not so clear, as Pink Floyd's records for example are, but it's Heavy Prog (it is, believe me, or after all, you don't have to, I'm not the one with big music knowledge, I'm just layin' my cards (feelings) on the table (review). Sax adds jazz feeling, but I just don't hear it here so much to be "normal" jazz prog. Something in between I suppose. Vocals are quite tiring, not so pleasant and also not so strong. Nothing big, they're not here all the time, but still, it could be done better.

Basically, it's average (3) album with something more, this unspecified flavour that makes it interesting and unique. Nothing extremely unique, as you can hear more and more albums in this genre, but unique enough to get itself to 4-star league.


Review by stefro
4 stars An enigmatic Danish group with a penchant for blending jazzy breaks, psychedelic flourishes and Canterbury- style melodies, Midnight Sun issued a quartet of studio albums during the early-seventies without ever really breaking out of their homeland. Both their underwhelming debut and their final two albums showcased a group still unsure of their overall sound, yet on this second effort from 1971 everything somehow came together rather beautifully, making for one of the key Danish progressive albums of the era. Featuring an elegantly bucolic Roger Dean sleeve, 'Midnight Sun' sounds a little like Caravan jamming it up with both British jazz- rockers If and fellow Danes Ache, showcasing an undeniably talented five-piece who seem comfortable performing within the idioms of both progressive rock and fusion, the whole laced with a jaunty, psychedelic feel. Opening track 'Talking' starts proceedings in engaging style, with catchy guitar riffs underpinning Alan Mortensen's wavering vocals, whilst rockier elements sneak to the fore in both the meaty 'Nobody' and the complex 'Where You Going To be'. However, the album's highlight has to be the roaring fourteen-minute epic 'Living On The Hill'. A searing blend of scorching psych-rock and delicately-hued jazz currents, 'Living On The Hill' features a set of blistering performances from all involved as the churning tides of delicate keyboard textures and rippling guitar squalls constantly chop and change until the grand and fiery finale. Its a highly- satisfying denouement to a true hidden gem of an album, though listeners should be warned not to expect the same from Midnight Sun's other three albums, none of which reach the impressive heights reached here. Just why is a good question with no simple answer. However, despite failing to find both true success or consistency, Midnight Sun did manage to deliver at least one excellent album in the shape of this colourful mixture of cleverly-assembled musical ingredients. Jazzy, complex and adventurous, this a fine album indeed. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Considered as a legend of Danish Rock, this band, hailing from Copenhagen, started as Rainbow Band in 1970 with Bent Hesselmann on saxophone/flute (from Psych/Pop group Maxwells), Peer Frost on guitar (formerly of Young Flowers, a 60's Psych Rock act), Carsten Smedegaard on drums, Niels Bronsted on piano, Bo Stief on bass and Lars Bisgaard on vocals (also ex-Maxwells).They recorded a self-titled debut on Sonet, but, when Bisgaard left and was replaced by newcomer Allan Mortensen, they decided to re-record the whole album with new vocals.To avoid legal issues with their name they changed it to Midnight Sun and the re-recorded version of their debut was released in 1971 simply as ''Midnight Sun'', featuring an beautiful painiting by Anne Marie Brauges on the front cover.

This is cool, energetic and pretty loose jazzy Psychedelic Rock, featuring the intense, melodramatic vocals of Allan Mortensen and a nice team, which could perform both in jazzy and psychedelic enviroments, adding often doses from Soul, Horn Rock and Folk.Lots of acoustic and electric piano textures with emphatic, heavy guitar runs and solos and a steady rhythm section, supported by the sax work of Hesselman.The tracks evolve from dramatic instrumental passages and strong lyrical moments to abstract solos and individual beams of technique, always having an evident jazzy flavor, but the pieces fronted by the saxes are rather too commercial and even outdated.Most of the material is good though, highlighted by the fine talents of Peer Frost on electric guitars and Niels Brondsted on piano, while Hesselman's work on flute regarding ''Sippin' wine'' is trully efficient.All these just before the 14-min. closing farewell of ''Rainbow song'', where Midnight Sun jump on the jamming wagon to deliver dense, mostly instrumental and slightly improvised Jazz Rock with endless, scratching guitar soloing, fiery Heavy/Psych leads, powerful grooves and impressive bass and drum work.Some sort of structure wouldn't hurt, but even so this piece unleashes strong amounts of energy.

In 1972 Mortensen was replaced by a third singer, Frank Lauritsen, and Stief left his place to Jens Elbol.The new-line-up recorded two more albums, ''Walking circles'' (1972) and ''Midnight dream'' (1974), both of them showed the band reducing the complex, abstract ideas for a more accesible sound with Pop leanings, before fading out in November 1974.

Sweet and intense Psych/Jazz Rock with fiery performances and a nice bunch of interesting solos, eventually hurt by a number of indifferent, more radio-friendly tunes.Recommended.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars MIDNIGHT SUN formerly called RAINBOW BAND released this album in 1971, a re-recording of their debut with a different singer. This band was from Denmark and the music is very much Jazz/ Rock with some outstanding guitar and bass but the singer's voice for me is a required taste. Soulful is the word with his vocals making this sound often like a commercial record and indeed some of these songs are too poppy for lack of a better word. I think I was reaching for the "eject" button during that second track called "King Of The Sun". Well after many spins I have gotten kind of comfortable with his voice but there's too much on here that turns me off to give anything more than 3 stars.

"Talkin" is jazzy with bass, drums and piano but then sax and vocals join in. Not my thing really but the electric piano impresses, especially after 1 1/2 minutes. Contrasts continue between the instrumental and vocal passages. "King Of The Sun" is about as lame as it gets in my opinion. Love the bass but I'm feeling sick.

"Nobody" is the first song that I like. Piano is featured early on and throughout to be honest. Vocals just before a minute. Gotta love that extended instrumental section. "Where You Going To Be" is a catchy and commercial sounding tune that almost rivals "King Of The Sun" for being the worst song on here. "B.M." is more like it with the drums, strummed guitar and killer bass. Vocals arrive late but are distant sounding.

"Sippin' Wine" is so not my thing. Then neither is this song. Commercial sounding drivel but I do like that sax solo. "Living On The Hill" is an incredible 15 minute piece of music that right from the start doesn't sound like the rest. What could have been? This is why I'm giving 3 stars. Bass, guitar and drums to start. Piano and sax join in then vocals before 1 1/2 minutes. I love when the flute arrive around 4 minutes and I wish there was more of it on this album. The highlight though is the guitar starting after 5 1/2 minutes and going non stop until around 13 minutes and man what a show he puts on. "Rainbow Song" ends it in a mellow way with atmosphere and flute. Strummed guitar and bass help out as well.

This did grow on me but it's just not my kind of music despite being impressed with the instrumental work. The Roger Dean cover art is a little misleading too.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Great, eclectic fusion from Danish band Midnight Sun. The style is influenced by a mix of jazz, blues, and psychedelic music all laid over good ol' rock. Very different from Colosseum's great blend of jazz and blues, but just as good in my opinion. Talkin' and King of the Sun are good unique s ... (read more)

Report this review (#161128) | Posted by Speesh | Wednesday, February 6, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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