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Rag i Ryggen - Råg I Ryggen  CD (album) cover

RÅG I RYGGEN

Rag i Ryggen

 

Heavy Prog

3.56 | 26 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars Råg I Ryggen released one of those nearly-forgotten seventies heavy prog albums whose somewhat mythical reputation causes the original vinyl to fetch too high prices today. As with most albums of this sort, there’s no need to spend that kind of money since it was reissued on CD a few years ago. The band itself appears to have consisted of six fairly young guys (most if not all of them still in their teens), and according to the liner notes they were essentially part-time musicians who worked during the week and toured on weekends.

And to be sure, there are small signs of immaturity in the music, including a few noticeable keyboard flubs on “Jan Banan” and some difficulty staying in time on the live bonus track “Land over the Rainbow”. But these are more than offset by the high level of energy and obvious enjoyment these guys bring to their music.

The band lasted only two years, and you won’t find a whole lot of information about them from most internet or written sources. No matter, they’ve included pretty much their entire biography in the liner notes of the album, which along with the bonus concert tracks makes this CD release something of an anthology as well.

Being young and new, it isn’t surprising the band shows evidence of many influences in their music. Comparisons to Uriah Heep and Deep Purple are obvious and relevant, especially in the harder-rocking tunes like “Det Kan Val Inte Vara Farligt” “Naked Man”. The twin-guitar motif calls to mind Wishbone Ash, while the Hammond tracks on songs like “Queen of Darkness” and the live “Land over the Rainbow could have come from just about any act headlining King Biscuit’s Flower Hour from around 1973 to 1975. But they also branch out on their own a bit, most notably with some Nordic folk vocals and flute inflections on “Jan Banan”, and a heavy Celtic lilt on the instrumental “Spangaforsens Brus”.

All the songs here are spacious; all ranging from around five to seven minutes, so there’s plenty of elbow room for all six players to contribute. That said, the approach is pretty much two-pronged: synth keyboards and twin fuzz guitars. The rest is just minor window dressing.

Like I said, the original vinyl of this album is rare and expensive, and going out and finding one would be an act of vanity that could be better directed at feeding some poor people or something. But the CD reissue is worth a listen if you are into heavy prog, seventies synth keyboards or decent fuzz guitar, and aren’t put off by a slightly unpolished sound. Speaking of which, the CD comes from a vinyl restoration since the master tapes are long gone, but that doesn’t detract much at all. The live cuts are pretty flat, but one can only imagine how those were recorded or even how the tapes were stored for the past thirty years, so some wear and tear is to be expected I suppose.

A very decent and fun discovery that is worth finding if you fit the description above; not a long-lost masterpiece, but pretty good nonetheless. A high three stars and recommended.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |

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