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Aunt Mary

Eclectic Prog

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Aunt Mary Loaded album cover
2.96 | 46 ratings | 6 reviews | 17% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Playthings of the Wind (3:03)
2. Joinin' the Crowd (3:42)
3. Delight (2:44)
4. Upside Down (4:15)
5. Farewell My Friend Pt 1 (3:21)
6. Farewell My Friend Pt 2 (3:21)
7. Blowin' Tiffany (7:23)
8. Fire of My Lifetime (5:11)
9. G Flat Road (5:43)

Total Time: 38:43

Line-up / Musicians

- Bjoern Christiansen / guitar, vocal
- Bengt Jensen / keyboards
- Svein Gundersen / bass, piano and vocal
- Kjetil Stensvik / drums, vocal

Releases information

LP Philips 6317 010 (1972 Norway)
Cass Philips 7121 014 (1972 Norway)
CD Philips, Polydor 842 970-2 (1990 Norway)
LP Sandem Records SRLP 007, SR LP 007 (2015 Norway) (remaster, limited edtition)
LP Sandem Records SRLP007 (2015 Norway) (remaster, white vinyl, limited edition of 300 copies)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to The Bearded Bard for the last updates
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AUNT MARY Loaded ratings distribution

(46 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(28%)
Good, but non-essential (41%)
Collectors/fans only (13%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

AUNT MARY Loaded reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars I have trouble figuring out what a band like this one is doing on such a site. Just some hard rock , very average but not bad also. They were one of the earliest group from Norway along the much proggier Junipher Greene and can be likened to the slightly later Ruphus. But I like Ruphus much better.

Don't get me wrong , this is average rock'n roll and with slight touches of prog mainly through the keyboards. Not much more than that, no matter how you appreciate the group in their other albums. The line up is your standart quartet (KB, guit, bass and drums).

Review by ClemofNazareth
2 stars I can’t really get into this album as a piece of progressive music, although admittedly there are some trappings of prog in a few of the arrangements, and especially the keyboards. For the most part though, this is just some pretty decent heavy rock that happens to have a keyboardist who appears to have listened to a few ELP albums, although he doesn’t have the talent to pull off a true representation of the style. For one thing he didn’t bother having the two lobes of his brain separated, so he already is at a disadvantage to Keith Emerson.

This was the second of four Aunt Mary albums released by the Norwegian band in the early seventies. Like many of their contemporaries the band featured a blues-based rhythm section, a fairly decent lead guitarist and the aforementioned organ player as well as a pianist who doubled as the band’s bass player. The keyboardist is really the star of the show.

The band reminds me of a few other hard rockers of the same period, most notably Thin Lizzy and to a lesser extent Golden Earring. Tracks like “Joinin' the Crowd” even feature the same kinds of pompous guitar riffs these two and so many other rock bands of the seventies favored.

Elsewhere, such as on “Delight” the band moves into an almost pre-Perry Journey sound but with layered harmonizing background vocals and a really funky keyboard riff that sounds a lot like a Jew’s harp.

The problem with these, and most of the other tracks on the album, is that they are mostly quite short and not developed at all. Except for the straight-ahead rocker “Upside Down”, all the first six tracks are not more than two or three minutes long and quickly fade out before they develop any kind of detail or complexity. If it weren’t for the tastelessly named “Blowin' Tiffany” with its extended keyboard passages this wouldn’t be much more than a sampler.

Of the last two tracks only “G Flat Road” is even remotely memorable, and that one thanks only to the heavy organ once again along with a catchy but mainstream tempo.

This band intrigued me thanks to their relative obscurity and a sampling of their varied and eclectic debut (which has never been reissued on CD except as a 2-for-1 with their third album ‘Janus’). This one isn’t as good though, and I suspect it won’t do much to attract most prog fans. A novelty of Norwegian hard rock maybe, but not much more than a collector’s item for fans of the band. Two stars.


Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
3 stars Huh, majority of reviews here is 2 stars. So here wee have three points of view. Prog, rock and finally, how I personally like it.

Skilled guitar solos, very well played, voice which sounds very bluesy. In fact, I would dare to call this blues rock, at least some parts of it. But this genre is not so favourite here on PA, is it ?By far, I see it as lesser three stars. "Delight" is terrible track, vocals sounds like scratching with nails on blackboard. It's listenable album, but I understand that for its year of birth, it's not progressive at all. In fact I have strong feeling that I heard this music many times. And lyrics aren't some wise-crackng ones too as shown in "Upside Down". Sadly, good guitar work is domain mostly for first two tracks. "Farewell My Friend" shows some keyboards too, but not too much. Second part is better about it. And "Blowin Tiffany's" is probably something like epic here and, to be fair, it is very prog song.

3(-) stars for more of classic rock than prog.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars One of the pioneers of norwegian rock is for sure Aunt Mary. They are considered one of the best from this country and aswell one of the first who explore the hard rock territories with progressive elements. They released 3 albums in early '70's this one is from 1972 named Loaded. I know Aunt Mary for 2 years now and I was quite pleased to have their last two albums. Loaded is a hard rock album with some heavy prog leanings and for sure not an eclectic one as is stated here in the description of the band. Being similar with Jeronimo from Germany same period, Jerusalem or Junipher Greene their country fellows Aunt Mary did agood job on this second effort but nothing over the top, just almost plain hard rock all almost all the pieces. It was a typical album foor that period to combine hard rock with progressive elements, but in this case the progressive elements are only fiew and specially in keyboards department, who are to tell the truth not very adventurous. The album beggin very strong with an instrumental pieces Playthings of the wind, pure hard rock with some excellent guitar work and solid bass lines, one of the best from here for sure, the next piece Joinin the crowd is a bluesy kinda tune up tempo , good piece remind a lot of the old good times in rock music, great piece while nothing complicated here just pleasent . The rest of the pieces are ok, nothining groundbreaking but pleaset all of them. So a good album , far from being an essential listning but with some catchy riffs and solid bass lines and drum chops.3 stars
Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Loaded' - Aunt Mary (64/100)

Admitting my own bias as a reviewer, having first heard Aunt Mary's third (and final) album Janus before anything else, the knowledge that these guys would evolve into a full-fledged progressive act has no doubt coloured my impression of Loaded. While an eclectic progressive sound is usually preferable to the sort of psychedelic-tinged hard rock that flooded the early 70s, it's not the difference in style that makes Loaded the lesser testament in hindsight. Aunt Mary made themselves out to be an impressive hard rock act here, but with songwriting chops ringing true only around half the time, Loaded is left feeling less impressive than might befit a band of their thunderous energy.

It has everything to do with consistency. Beginning with the debut (which I've heard compared to the rockier side of Jethro Tull, and rightly so) Aunt Mary always had an inventive side to them. It would be wrong to say they 'evolved' into progressive rock on Janus- it was just a matter of highlighting an element that was there all along. Perhaps not-so-coincidentally, the best cuts on Loaded are those in which Aunt Mary are openly strutting their progressive side. Make no mistake; Loaded is a hard rock album and never strays far from that path, but the particularly sophisticated riffs in "Joinin' the Crowd" and inventive flair of "Fire of My Lifetime" feel cut from a different cloth than the regular sort of 12 bar bluesy same-old that influenced so many of these bands.

As I said before, listening to Janus has influenced the way I see Loaded. The problem is not that Aunt Mary were playing familiar blues rock for the most part; it's that the mileage of their songwriting success varies to the point of a fault. "Playthings of the Wind" is a solid tune, and as I mentioned before, "Fire of my Lifetime" is a fantastic song, and probably the best tune Aunt Mary ever wrote. On the other hand, "Delight" feels like a shrill half-baked ditty at best, and "Upside Down" is plainly boring- with its tired blues rehashes, it sounds like a poor man's Rolling Stones, without the benefits of that band's natural talent as songwriters.

Even "Blowin' Tiffany"- eight minutes long, and my greatest initial hope for the album- feels sort of aimless; it's as if Aunt Mary felt the urge to write a hard rock epic, but lacked the inspiration for it at the time. Be it progressive or your garden variety hard rock; Aunt Mary are successful half of the time with both on Loaded. So much of the criticism I see regarding this album attacks the album for not being 'progressive' enough. That is not the issue at all. Aunt Mary could have made an excellent hard rock record just as well as a progressive one. Where Janus succeeded over Loaded was not necessarily a matter of style, but the fact that they made each song somehow memorable. That album flowed. This one flows around half the time.

More enduring fans of Aunt Mary seem to be torn between this and Janus as their favourite. I'll conclude the review on a more positive note: while Loaded's songwriting is impressive only half the time, they had a thunderous, organic punch to their sound. I think they lost a bit of it on Janus. For my money, it's that album that will stand the test of time (as best as Aunt Mary can, at least) but Loaded has got its moments.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Reading some of the reviews for this truly leaves me concerned as to whether the goal is sometimes to try the first couple of tracks from an album and then report here about how "prog" it is. An excellent album, Aunt Mary's Loaded covers quite a bit of ground. This is certainly a hard rock al ... (read more)

Report this review (#816558) | Posted by Jeff Carney | Saturday, September 8, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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