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Wigwam - Hard'N'Horny (1969)



The first album from Wigwam is perhaps the album from the whole of the band's repertoire that most clearly demonstrates the divergence in both musical quality as well as influence that there existed between Jukka Gustavson and Jim Pembroke. The first half of the album would be entirely dedicated to Gustavson compositions while the second half would consist of Pembroke compositions. Furthermore it would the last album for a number of years that would include a permanent guitarist within the band framework.

Bassist Mats Huldén would provide his only contribution to the band in the opening piece 633 Jesu Fåglar, though this track would not be presented in its original context on the album. The original track ran for a longer period of time and only the first seven seconds were used for the album. The original version of this song, which sounds as if it is a pastiche of sounds in the musique concrete vein still has to see the light of day.


Simple Human Kindness (1976)

The remainder of the album would consist of compositions by Gustavson and Pembroke. The first half (ie: the next five tracks) are all Gustavson compositions. 633 Jesu Fåglar merges into Pidän Sinusta, a bluesy instrumental that has the keyboards providing the brunt of the musical element.

En Aio Paeta, has the first set of vocals to be heard by the band, and as oft happens on this first album, the lyrics are in Finish. The opening section reminded me of a Ford Theatre intro with the Hammond organ providing its characteristic drone. One of the first things to strike the listener is the fact that the band are rather direct in their musical approach preferring to deliver the goods immediately rather than beat around the bush before reaching the main focal point of the theme, a feature that results in the band having relatively "short" tracks especially when compared to other bands of a similar style to theirs from the same period.

Neron Muistolle; Hyvää Yötä shows the more complex side to Gustavson's musical character, something that would be expanded on in albums to come. The track consists of narration backed by a jazzed up piano playing to uncharacteristic drum patterns. Unfortunately to the non-Finnish listener, much of the dramatic effect of this track is lost in the Finnish narration. Guardian Angel, The Future has the band using English lyrics for the first time and has Gustavson toying a style very similar to what Traffic exploited, that of expanding their musical ideas based on a Rhythm & Blues rhythm. In fact listening to this track reminded of Dear Mr Fantasy, both in style and even in the way the vocals are presented in a Winwood-like way.


Grass for blades (1976)

When one looks at Gustavson's contributions on this album one must note that very little of his complex musical arrangements come to the fore, except for Neron Muistolle; Hyvää Yötä, and No Pens, El Karsinoita is not different from most of the album. Once again the R&B influence pervades this instrumental track though there is the occasional hint at a jazz touch.



Jukka Gustavson - vocal, organ, piano
Mats Húlden -bass
Nikke Nikamo - guitar
Jim Pembroke - vocal
Ronnie Österberg - drums

The second side is dedicated to Jim Pembroke's compositions which are a form of concept based loosely on the life of one Henry....Mountain Range Of Thereabouts immediately shows off Pembroke's rather more commercial style of composing. Starting off with a rhythmic bass line the track progresses into a great jazzy piece of music. Possibly his obviously greater command of the English language allowed Pembroke to use lyrics with much more liberty. Furthermore the fact that he was the vocalist in the band also meant that he would be less intent in creating complex instrumental sections. Another striking feature of Pembroke's compositions is the difference in the way the music is distributed amongst musical instruments. The keyboards no longer remain the dominant force of the band and both bass and guitar get their spots in the musical structure, as happens in ...Geographical And Astronomical Mistakes which has the first proper guitar solo on the album.

...Highway Code retain the upbeat nature of Pembroke's compositions while ...Cancelled Holiday Plans has the band sounding like one of the numerous British beat groups that existed on the scene in those days. The rhythm is extremely captivating with a rumba feel to it though this then dies down to give way to a rather similar style to the previous tracks.

...Concentration Camp Brochure picks up the main theme of the second side, though performed at a much slower pace than previously. ...Ears, Eyes, Girlfriends And Feet re-evokes the very British feel that Pembroke introduces into the band's music, though the final percussive notes lead one to sense that the next track ..Hard And Horny All-Niter and the closer ...Milk Round In The Morning would be different to most of what this album presented. ..Hard And Horny All-Niter makes use of strings in an almost Burt Bacarach fashion and introduces sights and sounds with a Dixieland feel that one would expect to find on albums by groups such as The Kinks or The Small Faces. On the other hand ...Milk Round In The Morning has Pembroke at his most commercial on the whole of the album with the type of chorus one would expect at the end of a musical or as in this case, a concept album. (Nigel Camilleri)

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