Wow, where the hell did Record Heaven find this long lost gem? From the Swedish archives comes Rag I Ryggen, who released this lone album back in 1975. The band did a fair amount of touring in their native country before ultimately calling it quits in 1977. While you can say the band was sure enough influenced by Uriah Heep (the high pitched vocals, raging Hammond organ, and blistering guitar work are very Heep like), you can also hear some Deep Purple, Kaipa, as well as Italian prog influences like PFM, Alphataurus, and Il Balletto Di Bronzo in their sound. The dual guitars of Bjorn Nystrom and Jan Aggemyr contain plenty of fuzz, and Christer Sjoborg's keyboard arsenal (Hammond, Moog, Mellotron) delivers plenty of vintage sounds. Vocals on a few tunes are in English, but most are sung in Swedish by vocalist Jonas Warnerbring, who sounds remarkably like David Byron.
Where to start? Well, the intricate instrumental "Spangaforsens brus" allows for the two guitar players to weave complex lines with Sjoborg's organ & synth, while drummer Peter Sandberg lays down some acrobatic rhythms. "You Know It Ain't Easy" is a Heep influenced heavy rocker, right down to the "Gypsy" sounding power chords, and the opening number "Det kan val inte vara farligt" is a great mix of Swedish and Italian styled prog with heavy rock. On "Naked Man" the band really gets into a groove and churns out some crunchy riffs, wah-wah guitars, strutting vocals, and stabbing flute, while "Jan Banan" is a psychedelic heavy rocker with great organ & synth work, as well as dual harmony guitar leads. Sjorborg's Hammond is the star of "Queen of Darkness", a somber and moody number that sees the keyboard player digging deep and doing his best Ken Hensley impression. The closing track "Sanningsserum" is a mind-numbing hard rocker again reminiscent of Uriah Heep, punctuated by powerhouse guitar work, kick ass Hammond, and speedy Moog.
The bonus live cuts are of pretty poor quality, but are included here so you can check out what a powerful live unit Rag I Ryggen were. While the overall sound quality on the entire CD is not great (there's even some dropout in spots, especially on the last few tracks), there's no denying what a find this is. Fans of Uriah Heep, Tyburn Tall, Zarathustra, or the many other Hammond/guitar bands that were around in the 70's should eat this up.
01. Det kan val inte vara farligt (5:43)
02 . You know it ain't easy (7:27)
03 . Spangaforsens brus (5:58)
04. Jan Banan (5:15)
05. Naked man (6:18)
06. Queen of darkness (4:36)
07. Sanningsserum (6:42)
08. Sanningsserum (live)
09. Jan Banan (live)
10. Land Over the Rainbow (live)