It’s Midsummer and that is the time when most of us Finns flee to our summer cottages on countryside and drink our asses off and listen to old Finnish music. This year I was having an urban Midsummer at home and I was kinda inspired of all the bonfire and sausage grilling pictures people kept posting on facebook. I decided to celebrate the Summer Solstice my way and do a small mix of late 1960s and early 1970s Finnish groovy music. Since I decided to do it yesterday it’s done in a haste, I hope you still enjoy it. cheers.
Beat and rhythm n’ blues group I pyranas was originally from France but spent most of it’s active time in Italy. When Miami born singer Rocky Roberts (who had moved to Italy to perform) separated from his backing band The airedales (who continued with their bassist Wess a the new leader), he contacted the French group Les pyranas to be his new band. Les pyranas had already released few 45s on a French label Barclay and after request from Rocky, they moved to Italy to record and perform under a name I pyranas. Together with Rocky Roberts they did total three 45s in Italy and France, and continued as an instrumental group. In 1969 their line-up consisted of André Laidli (trumpet), Albert Verrecchia (keyboards), Paul Nicolas (saxophone), André Ceccarelli (drums), Jean Claude Chavanat (guitar), Jean Costa (trombone), Christian Guisien (trombone) and Tony Bonfils (bass).
Their second album Motivi di ieri, successi di oggi was released in 1969 on an Italian RCA sublabel ARC, in a same year as their debut album Tanti successi per I pyranas. Musically they follow the same style as in their debut. Songs vary from bluesy r’n'b and soul to melancholic beat and uptempo funk and it’s all instrumental. There’s mellow downtempo groovers like “Un’ora sola ti vorrei”, there’s very bluesy stuff and then there’s uptempo beat-funk. The midtempo “Portami tante rose” sounds very much of those Italian soundtrack sounds from the same period with a slight easy listening feel. “Angeli negri” is an uptempo funky beat track with very melancholic horn melodies and it’s feelings are almost Finnish’ish. It reminds me of those funkier ones from Danish-Finnish trumpeter Jörgen Petersen. “Parlami d’amore mariu’” is also an uptempo track similar to “Angeli negri” but with more pace and less melancholy. The best track here is “Amor amor amor”, a bboy friendly funky breakbeat track with catchy horn stabs, nice organ and some percussion work.
AMIGA was a state owned label of former DDR that had the monopoly on record production. Asi it was so in every communist state back then. They released 2200 albums and around 5000 singles. Seems that the poor and highly controlled communist state produced more imaginative and groovy music than the capitalistic Germany in the west. Or that’s how I feel about it, since there’s much more good music in my shelf from the east than the west.
Theodore Schumann’s professional musical career begun in the 1950s when he started his own jazz quartet. From 1961 to mid 1970s was was a bandleader of Theo Schuman combo, a group that was concentrating on pop music - both original compositions and covers. Their self titled debut album was released in 1969 and the band soon gained a lot of popularity and radio play. Almost all the songs on this first album were original compositions of Theo Schumann and they varied from surf rock and rock n’ roll to beat and even funk. Besides the quite dull late 1960s rock there’s however two interesting songs on this album. The midtempo funky “Hackepeter” and the breakbeat track “Derby”. For these two songs only Theo Schumann combo album is worth getting.