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WIGWAM

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Finland


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Wigwam biography
Finland's WIGWAM were truly one of the pioneers of early progressive rock. The history of WIGWAM can be subdivided into two separate eras: the original or "old" WIGWAM of 1969-1974 and the "new" WIGWAM of 1974-1977. The two were dramatically different, in terms of personnel and overall sound. The music of this unique band is dominated by the piano and organ sounds, all of those wrapped up in a sometimes dark music filled with typical Scandinavian influences. There is some great interplay between all the musicians. It gives you the feeling they were doing this to stay warm!

Though not a classic album, "Tombstone Valentine" was the first WIGWAM album that seems to show the band members getting to grips with each ones individual musical desires. In many ways, "Fairyport" was a continuation of "Tombstone Valentine", but I would say it is a bit more experimental and progressive. Nowadays, this album is considered a classic within progressive rock circles and it has a number of features that make it stand out as one of the great progressive albums of the seventies. "Being" (1974) was the last album by the legendary Pembroke/Gustavson/Pohjola/Österberg lineup. This album is a concept album, with most of the music and lyrics written by Jukka GUSTAVSON. This is an essential album for any fan of progressive rock. In early 1975, the new lineup was up and released the album that became an instant classic, "Nuclear Nightclub". When the new titled "Dark Album" was released in late 1977, WIGWAM had ceased to exist.

In the nineties PEMBROKE, RECHARDT and GROUNDSTRÖM suprised many by coming back with a third edition of WIGWAM, but that's a whole new story, to be continued...

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FairyportFairyport
Import
ESOTERIC 2010
Audio CD$9.83
$9.83 (used)
Nuclear NightclubNuclear Nightclub
Import · Remastered
ESOTERIC 2010
Audio CD$14.98
$9.99 (used)
Hard N HornyHard N Horny
Import
Imports 2007
Audio CD$8.74
$8.73 (used)
Tombstone ValentineTombstone Valentine
Import
Esoteric 2013
Audio CD$17.73
$11.99 (used)
Fresh Garbage Rarities 1969-77Fresh Garbage Rarities 1969-77
Import
Imports 2007
Audio CD$11.05
$11.04 (used)
BeingBeing
Import
ESOTERIC 2010
Audio CD$9.48
$8.59 (used)
HighlightsHighlights
Import
Imports 2003
Audio CD$7.69
$7.68 (used)
Dark AlbumDark Album
Import
Imports 2007
Audio CD$8.74
$6.99 (used)
Some Several MoonsSome Several Moons
Import
Major Leiden 2005
Audio CD$29.99
$183.65 (used)
Live Music From the Twilight ZoneLive Music From the Twilight Zone
Import
ESOTERIC 2010
Audio CD$21.44
$19.99 (used)
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CD being
WIGWAM
~ USD $15.39
LP pop-liisa 3 (black vinyl)
WIGWAM
~ USD $20.41
LP pop-liisa 3 (pink vinyl)
WIGWAM
~ USD $21.55
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WIGWAM discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

WIGWAM top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.32 | 57 ratings
Hard And Horny
1969
3.03 | 57 ratings
Tombstone Valentine
1970
4.15 | 176 ratings
Fairyport
1971
3.82 | 124 ratings
Being
1974
3.30 | 87 ratings
Nuclear Nightclub
1975
3.19 | 53 ratings
The Lucky Golden Stripes And Starpose
1976
3.35 | 40 ratings
Dark Album
1977
2.76 | 23 ratings
Light Ages
1993
2.08 | 26 ratings
Titans Wheel
2002
2.89 | 20 ratings
Some Several Moons
2005

WIGWAM Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.36 | 31 ratings
Live Music From the Twilight Zone
1975
3.73 | 11 ratings
Wigwam Plays Wigwam Live
2001
5.00 | 1 ratings
Pop-Liisa 3
2016

WIGWAM Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

WIGWAM Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.05 | 2 ratings
Wigwam
1972
3.71 | 7 ratings
Rumours on the Rebound
1979
2.05 | 2 ratings
Classics - The Rarest
1990
3.53 | 5 ratings
Hard N' Horny/Tombstone Valentine
1990
3.09 | 6 ratings
Highlights
1996
3.77 | 18 ratings
Fresh Garbage - Rarities 1969-1977
2000
0.00 | 0 ratings
28 Songs from the Twilight Zone
2014

WIGWAM Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.65 | 3 ratings
Must Be The Devil / Greasy Kids' Stuff
1969
3.24 | 6 ratings
Luulosairas / Henry's Highway Code
1969
2.00 | 1 ratings
True Confession / Helsinki
1969
2.22 | 4 ratings
Pedagogi / Häätö
1970
3.75 | 4 ratings
Wishful Thinker / Call Me On Your Telephone
1971
4.07 | 6 ratings
Freddie are You Ready / Kite
1975
1.35 | 4 ratings
Tramdriver / Wardance
1975
3.00 | 2 ratings
Borders to Be Crossed / Planetstar
1993
2.00 | 1 ratings
Heaven In A Modern World
2002
2.00 | 1 ratings
Drive On Driver
2002

WIGWAM Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Titans Wheel  by WIGWAM album cover Studio Album, 2002
2.08 | 26 ratings

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Titans Wheel
Wigwam Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Until this week I hadn't ever listened to this latter-day WIGWAM studio album (with very unfavourable reception generally), while I have given a merciless one-star rating to the last album Some Several Moons (2005), which to my surprise has a slightly better reception. Perhaps I should re-evaluate it too, but it's pretty clear that the 68-minute Titans Wheel is much more rewarding to me. (I might give even three stars, if this wasn't a Prog site.)

Sure, it more or less lacks what made Nuclear Nightclub (1975) a classic. [Please note that IMHO any comparisons to the proper Prog-era Wigwam featuring Pekka Pohjola and Jukka Gustavson would be completely unfair.] There are no timelessly strong melodies or exciting hooks, no adventurous arrangements, no highly memorable songs that really move you. Titans Wheel is a fairly professionally done (very thinly prog-flavoured) rock album by seasoned musicians. The sound itself is really not that bad. Only the drummer Jari Kettunen belongs to the younger generation; songwriters Jim Pembroke and Rekku Rechardt (g) are accompanied also by Måns Groundstroem (b) and Esa Kotilainen (keyb), all central figures of the 70's Finn-Prog scene. Actually I'd say sonically the weakest link here is the frontman Pembroke as a vocalist. As if he attempts to sound like Bob Dylan.

To some listeners the length itself is Titans Wheel's biggest fault. Well, one can always pick up the best and ignore the rest. Of the 13 songs I can pick up the ones that please me the most, whereas Some Several Moons only bored me from start to end, and I never actually listened to it twice... shame on me! Let's concentrate on the -- admittedly modest -- highlights:

The opener 'Remains To Be Seen' has good dynamic variety and some Beatles-like details; unfortunately Jimbo's vocals get slightly ugly at times, like on the whole album. Slow-tempo 'Titans Wheel' has a deep atmosphere, and the speech parts can be compared to some FISH moments. The electric guitar solo is short but great. Yeah, perhaps even the best song. 'Bitesize' has a great bass sound which gives it a place in top five. 'Greatfield' would be a prog-pop song that improves upon repeated listenings, but sadly it features a chorus with the ugly Dylan mockery. 'Win Your Love': a love ballad, decent enough. The vocally slightly speech-oriented 'The Lost Lizard King' feels like a sequel to the title track. 'To the Other Side' is quite good. I'd say this isn't as bad an album as its common reception suggests. In fact also Lucky Golden Stripes and Starpose, 1976, does very little to me. This is clearly the same band offering not-so-radically-different stuff.

 Fresh Garbage - Rarities 1969-1977 by WIGWAM album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2000
3.77 | 18 ratings

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Fresh Garbage - Rarities 1969-1977
Wigwam Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This week I've been diving deep into the early WIGWAM (because of my book project on Finnish prog). I'm not transforming here any sections from my script, but I thought to give a little more detailed collaborator review on this 2-CD rarity compilation. It was compiled in 2000 by two Wigwam specialists; the other of them released six years later a comprehensive, 500-page book on Wigwam (in Finnish naturally). Here the liner notes are in English.

DISC ONE (1969-1973). Pembroke-penned 'Must Be the Devil' / 'Greasy Kid's Stuff' was the debut single preceding the arrival of Jukka Gustavson. The style is still close to BLUES SECTION [the legendary proto-prog band that gave birth to both Wigwam and Tasavallan Presidentti], and the B-sider is irritatingly merry psych-pop rally about blowing bubbles. 'Luulosairas' was the A-side of the second single, an early classic of Finnish-language rock, written by and dominated by the organ and vocals of Jukka Gustavson. His admiration for Steve Winwood (of Spencer Davis Group and Traffic fame) has never been as strongly present as on this song.

'Pedagogi' (1970) is a more developed Gustavson tune that later found its way in a completely different form into the marvelous Being album (1974). The B-sider 'Häätö' composed by bassist Mats Huldén is the proggiest individual song by Wigwam up to that point, combining Kalevala-like poetry reading of the Love Records leader Otto Donner and two different song parts sung - in two languages - by Gustavson and Pembroke respectively. These songs were the last ones in Finnish that Wigwam ever recorded.

Then follows some previously unreleased and sonically rather gritty live material, mostly covers (from e.g. The Band) but also from Wigwam's own output. 'Nipistys' originated from PEKKA POHJOLA's solo debut.

DISC TWO (1974-1977) covers the "deep pop" period led by Jim Pembroke, with the new guitarist Rekku Rechardt also composing. Clearly less interesting than the first disc, the big majority is live cuts; more boring compositions but at least a better sound quality. I agree with Eetu that the highlight is the 18-minute 'No New Games/Grass for Blades'. The only studio tracks are 'Tramdriver' and 'Wardance' from a single released in 1975. They are not on the level of the hit album Nuclear Nightclub that had preceded the single.

This is strongly recommended for the most dedicated fans, but for the others I advice to concentrate on the studio albums (with or without the so called deep pop era).

 Fairyport by WIGWAM album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.15 | 176 ratings

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Fairyport
Wigwam Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The following album Being (1973) is considered Wigwam's ultimate masterpiece, but the group found their strength (which mostly was on the shoulders of Jukka Gustavson) on this one. Fairyport was released as a double vinyl - albeit a short one, approximately 66 minutes - and now we really can say that by leaving the worst parts aside and using further thinking in the running order this would have been so much better and more coherent.

The second vinyl side ends with a lousy - frankly, very irritating - Jim Pembroke song 'How to Make It Big in a Hospital'. What a striking contrast to the wonderful suite by Jukka Gustavson that starts with the title track on the first side. I'm not fond of the cacthy and rollicking 'Rockin' Ol' Galway' with its harmonica playing either, but Pempbroke wrote also two beautiful songs, the acoustic and moody 'Lost Without a Trace' (backed up by piano and Jukka Tolonen's guitar) and emotionally powerful 'Every Fold', which is an uplifting finale to the main album. Pembroke also wrote and sung nice lyrics for Pekka Pohjola's composition 'One More Try'.

Wigwam didn't too often succeed in team writing. The finest fruit of team work comes as the album opener 'Losing Hold'. WOW! One of the best tracks in the entire Finnish prog history. 'Fairyport' is another masterpiece. Notice those wonderful reed arrangements and the harmony vocals in the soft sections. Jukka's own vocal parts are very much in the style of his two Stevie heroes, Winwood and Wonder.Thankfully he was not the only vocalist in the group because it could easily became a tiresome factor. The three Gutsi songs in the second side are good vocal jazz-rock but less memorable. By the way, Jukka's original words in Finnish were translated by Mats Huldén. The wordplay (ie. intended "misspelling" of words) sometimes went a bit too cryptic, especially on Being album.

The master bassist Pekka Pohjola offers two instrumentals in his own unique style. 'Hot Mice' is naturally a nod to Zappa's album Hot Rats which he admired like crazy. 'PK's Supermarket' features a wide use of instruments played by Pekka, the brief composition being a bit silly fusion of jazz, rock and Baroque.

Some listeners like the forth vinyl side's 17-minute edition of live jamming titled 'Rave-Up for the Roadies' (starring Tolonen's electric guitar and Gutsi's organ) but I don't. I wonder how would I have felt in the concert, listening to the endless showing off of the technical skill, probably I'd be bored to death after half an hour, sorry. Those who despise prog as endless soloing are for once absolutely right.

Fairyport comes very close being a masterpiece but the faults are too serious to be totally forgiven. The great cover art was drawn after Gustavson's concept. On Being he took the leading role further; that album would ALMOST pass as his solo work, but thankfully he ordered compositions from Pembroke and Pohjola too. Both albums represent the very best of the Finnish classic prog.

 Being by WIGWAM album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.82 | 124 ratings

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Being
Wigwam Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by THE PROGDOLYTE

5 stars absolutely essential prog masterpiece !!! jim pembroke- pop/prog songwriting genius. jukka gustavson-superb keyboard player and vocalist. pekka pohjola-bass maestro ronnie osterberg-drummer extraodinaire.

how could this album possibly be anything less than brilliant with this line-up? i'm not going to give a track by track review of this album as many people have already done a much better job than i could possibly do, the only fault i could find with this album is that i would have liked it to be 20 minutes longer (pure prog heaven ). here's something interesting to ponder if jim pembroke had not gone to finland and stayed in london, would he have disappeared ( lost without a trace ) like so many others or would we be now mentioning him in the same breath as other great london songwriters of that era i.e. ray davies and pete townshend ? think about it !

 Must Be The Devil / Greasy Kids' Stuff by WIGWAM album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1969
2.65 | 3 ratings

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Must Be The Devil / Greasy Kids' Stuff
Wigwam Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by THE PROGDOLYTE

4 stars let's get one thing straight, wigwam were the best prog band outside the uk ever and far better than most of the ones inside it, this single however precedes their prog era, it is though a classic piece of late 60's psychedelic whimsy and is an early indication of jim pembrokes genius. the b-side has a chorus that could be sung with gusto at every west ham united home game, those of you who have heard this song and know your football will know what i mean. i love this single, but it's true to say that wigwams amazing music really took off shortly afterwards when the 17 year old keyboard maestro jukka gustavson joined the band. both sides are available on the fresh garbage cd, don't miss out !
 Being by WIGWAM album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.82 | 124 ratings

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Being
Wigwam Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by The Mystical

3 stars Wigwam - Being

Being is a very strange little album. After many listens I no longer agree that this is jazz fusion, rather an eclectic blend of genres that has a dark musical effect somewhat similar to that of Van Der Graaf Generator. I have listened to this album on and off for a while now, and I am not as excited about it as I was at the time I discovered it. The music is dark and matches the cynicism of the lyrics, but it is rather bland in some parts. The musicianship is obviously and undeniably excellent, particularly Pekka Pohjola's bass playing, which is superb. Jukka Gustavson has a great voice, and I can't help but think that it is somewhat similar to Stevie Wonder at times throughout the album. He has a very amusing range of voices that make me laugh out loud.

The songwriting is rather a mixed bunch of similar sounding songs. Some points of the album are rather weak, such as Pride Of The Biosphere, but there are some really great tracks as well. The stand out on the album is Pedagogue, a 9 minute song that is driven by woodwinds and a great electric piano solo. Ooooh...that chord progression. From what I gather this is a song about a lessons in politics and similar such things. This track is probably one of the more memorable tracks in my music collection. Petty-Bourgeois is another great moment, which has some great instrumental work and some very funny voices. Pride Of The Biosphere is one of the more memorable moments of the album, more out of shock than out of wonder. Here we hear an old man reminiscing about the "glory" of the war, which is a rather tasteless account of rape and racism. While the lyrics are biting and cynical and capture one's attention, I can't help but dislike the track's blatant lyrics.

Highly political lyrics do not really interest me, and so I think I am a little biased. The lyrics are well written however, and there are some very genuinely amusing moments. Musically the songwriting is good, though it does lack substance in some places. Musicianship is this albums greatest merit, particularly the bass playing, which is a credit to bass playing in any genre.

A good addition to your prog collection.

 Fairyport by WIGWAM album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.15 | 176 ratings

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Fairyport
Wigwam Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars Days ago I was reading some reviews of "Yessongs". Many reviewers were complaining about the sound quality. Alsome everybody admits that it's the "best of the best YES", but it's jeopardized by the bad quality.

Well, this third (and double) album of Wigwam suffers for the same reason, but as for Yessongs I quite disagree about "jeopardizing". That's the sound quality available at the beginning of the 70s and for one like me who was listening to them on a "Readers Digest" turntable, that's the quality I was used to.

On a live like yessongs and on a studio album like Fairyport, including the last long track that's live, what is called a "bad sound quality" is part of the album, like it or not it's so.

The very good thing is how the things are mixed together. The first very jazz moment arrives with the title track, that's the third of the album, but the whole thing is permeated by Pekka Pohjola's bass. It's effectively on the title track that the bad recording quality can be more disturbing, but t gives me the same sensations of when I listen to Tommy Dorsey on a 78 RPM (believe me or not, I have a 78RPM compilation of big bands at home).

Now let's speak of the album instead of the production. After the first two releases this seems to be the album on which the band has found a direction. With Canterbury and Zappa as principal influences there's also a good bunch of classical music, some humor and some very prog moments. The second part of Caffkaff is one of the best examples including almost all the mentioned elements.

It's a long album so it can even have some weaker episodes, but the overall quality of the compositions is very above the standards. It's a pity that the sound quality of "Rave-up For The Roadies" is so bad. Effectively on this one I can't say that it doesn't disturb, and the music is quite different from Dorsey's orchestra. In this jazz-rock epic there are so many things to catch that effectively it's quite too bad, but the music is so good that I can forgive the producer.

So how to rate it?

Let's say that even with the bad production it's an excellent addition to any prog collection. I can't rate it as a masterpiece because an album is made also of production but there are surely masterpiece tracks. As we all know 4.5 is not allowed....

 Fairyport by WIGWAM album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.15 | 176 ratings

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Fairyport
Wigwam Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Guldbamsen
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

4 stars Saucy Canterburian White-boy Stevie Wonder out of Finland

Finland. Yes Finland. The outsider country that lies on the eastern tip of Scandinavia mostly known for Nokia and it's involvement in the second world war. Personally I have a long withstanding relationship to the country due to a brand of vodka named Finlandia, and most importantly: the music.

I've been thinking about a series of reviews opening up the gates to Finland's progressive music scene, and where else to start than the magnificent and probably most recognised of bands: Wigwam. First of all I really have to thank John(Mellotron Storm) for pointing me in the right direction, and for that I am forever grateful of. Thanks buddy! This album is a jewel in the rough, and even if it, at times, shows signs of overindulgence and the odd track that doesn't quite fit in with the rest, the remaining material is up there with the best of it's time. This is melodic fusion at its most intricate and endearing, and to yours truly it actually feels much more like a Scandinavian Canterbury release. It's got those angular shifts - the jumpy pianos and organs that sound incredibly powerful and meaty - like fluctuating fat chords being stomped upon by a great big melody smith of jazz rock. Swish! From one end to the other, these massive chords act as a delightful foundation for everything else to flourish on. Saxophones, guitars, oboe, bassoon, clarinet and warm vibrating congas fluently running alongside the engaging melodies like a sprinting sonic gazelle.

The trademark of Wigwam, at least to this slightly crazy Dane, is the wonderful mix of the aforementioned Scandinavian Canterbury warmth coupled together with what can only be described as the white-boy rendition of Stevie Wonder on vocals. In fact most of this album wouldn't sound out of place on Wonder's fantastic Innervisions - had he opted for a decisively more jazzy and playful expression. But don't take my word for it though, get your own copy, and tell me you don't hear the distinct similar feel in both piano and organ melodies as well as those bitter-sweet charismatic vocals. What this effectively does, is making Fairyport astonishingly accessible, even for those of you who normally despise the fusion genre. This is just such a welcoming and lovable album, that I have serious trouble imagining anybody into progressive music not liking it.

For anybody who's interested in music from Finland, this is da shizzle right here! Even if many of the Finnish bands were into gang-banging back in those days - trading members all over the place - I think that essentially was part of the reason as to why the scene became such a thriving and blooming place for music. There was a common feel, and although most of the groups had created a sound for themselves, you still hear that endemic and Canterburian sound prevailing. It's playful and well-thought out - likening to the sort of song-writing you'd encounter in British groups like Caravan and Hatfield and the North - be that with the unique Finnish stamp. A sense of melody and a way with brass instruments that I personally feel exceed any of the acts from the cradle of the Canterbury sound.

Fairyport is recommended to everybody. Hah! Sounds ridiculous, but I mean that. Most of this album is masterpiece material - it rides a musical high that is as seldom and beautiful like a lost rainbow in a closet, and even if those mundane and bewildering sections knock it down to a 4.5 star rating, the remainder of this album is like exploding chocolate ice cream in your tummy.

 Being by WIGWAM album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.82 | 124 ratings

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Being
Wigwam Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Suedevanshoe

4 stars Being is a near masterwork from a band truly working at their peak. Wigwam is not a prog group per se--in their infancy they fused jazz and rock and jammed heavily and flipped out. But then they pulled in the reins and made Being--Stevie Wonder meets Robbie Robertson.

Heavy and brooding with lighter undertones sprinkled here and there, the album takes shape quickly and the flow is nice. "Pedagogue" and Prophet" are true highlights, with the latter highlighting vocals you'd swear were Stevie Wonder.

Not a true representation of the bands aspirations, but a great album nonetheless. This record is 39 minutes well spent from a band that has soul.

 Fairyport by WIGWAM album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.15 | 176 ratings

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Fairyport
Wigwam Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Wigwam's Fairyport is the band's magnum opus, a double album of eccentric fusion with strong influences from Zappa and the Canterbury scene, with just enough mainstream rock left in the mix to keep things accessible without compromising on innovation and complexity. At the same time, it isn't quite consistent enough to convince me that it was really worth making this a double album; a few songs or parts of songs could have been trimmed or tightened up to yield an absolutely five star single album, but as with so many other double albums Fairyport sprawls and doesn't quite manage to hold the listener's attention. (In particular, I could have done without the live improvisation Rave-Up For the Roadies, whose recording quality is a bit too rough to do the material in question justice - why they thought it was worth dedicating an entire side of the album to is beyond me.)
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