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Symphonic Prog • Sweden

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Swedish Family biography
On the surface this appears to be a prog version of Spinal Tap, or the Rutles. It's actually more along the lines of The Traveling Wilburys or The Bubblemen (Love and Rockets). This is known musicians recording under pseudonyms. More precisely, it is the Flower Kings' Thomas Bodin doing a side project (but Roine does play guitar).

The lineup is recorded as Bo Dean on Hammond organ, Veke Berg on bass, Algot Davi on accordion, flute and vibraphone, Redar Gitsdorf on guitar, Inge Naning on Rhodes piano and minimoog, Britt Marie on Percussion, Hadde Wattnåt on drums, and Alf Willberg on soprano saxophone. In reality it is just Bodin, Stolt, and Hasse Bunisson on drums. Apparently the real names couldn't be used because of contractual obligations. I have a feeling they liked the idea of a ruse (it is much more fun).

The story is that they are supposed to be an obscure '70s prog band, and in 2004 previously unreleased tracks were assembled for "Vintage Prog." The music does not give the impression that it might be anything else. They truly did come up with a 'vintage prog' sound.

H.T. Riekels (bhikkhu)

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Vintage ProgVintage Prog
Helicon House 2004
$39.00 (used)

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SWEDISH FAMILY discography

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3.81 | 28 ratings
Vintage Prog

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Vintage Prog by SWEDISH FAMILY album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.81 | 28 ratings

Vintage Prog
Swedish Family Symphonic Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

4 stars We all need our piece of nostalgia from time to time. And what else could bring it than something not just influenced by 70's, but even doing seventies in naughties. And I like it. I like it a lot, because Tomas Bodin is master when concerning these things. Big element here is melody, as it always was concerning TFK related people. But there's other problem. These songs are sweeter than sugar mixed with yet another blast of sugar. Not like sugar pop music, but even for me, the optimistic feeling shining from it is far too much. Sometimes, not all the time (in fact just 1/4)

There's also trace of something older than golden age of prog. Some folklore traces (accordion I'm talking about). After all, when someone names his album with "vintage" word, all these things should be expected. Mostly instrumental, it's a good presentation of some ideas and keyboard work (other instruments plays second fiddle, so is Roine Stolt except some guitar solos). You can read the story about these songs on TFK homepage, or in Gatot's review, I say that it's great mystification.

4(+), at least I suppose.

 Vintage Prog by SWEDISH FAMILY album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.81 | 28 ratings

Vintage Prog
Swedish Family Symphonic Prog

Review by erling.naess

3 stars Tomas Bodins attempt at recreating the 70s Swedish prog-sound is so successful that it had me wondering for a while. All the ingredients are there: The atmosphere, the instrumentation (including accordion), the sound and the folk-music inspiration. It sure sounds like an authentic 70s Swedish prog-band, but was actually recorded in 2003/2004 with a group af anonymous session musicians (among which were several Flower Kings band mates). All tracks are instrumental, and I really enjoy the relaxed atmosphere with lots of Swedish folk-music inspirations. Be warned, though: Swedish Family bear no resemblance to Bodins earlier solo works (or Flower Kings, for that matter), the project has its own unique style. As with all Bodins releases up 'till now, this is high quality prog, and anyone interested in Scandinavian 70s prog or Tomas Bodins solo releases should check out Swedish Family. Recommended.
 Vintage Prog by SWEDISH FAMILY album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.81 | 28 ratings

Vintage Prog
Swedish Family Symphonic Prog

Review by Yurkspb2

4 stars The very best of the band that never existed! Wow! If I didn't know the band never really existed I would have believed it did - the music seems to come straight from the 70-s. Tomas Bodin who is behind this little mystification managed to create an album which will please many prog fans . The music is very even and instrumental throughout. And that is for good (I don't like vocals on "I am"). There are almost no rough pieces of music here, the music flows slow and a little relaxing for almost an hour. There are a lot of memorable melodies on the album, some repeating several times. Buy this and you won't be disappointed!
 Vintage Prog by SWEDISH FAMILY album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.81 | 28 ratings

Vintage Prog
Swedish Family Symphonic Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

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

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