This is for the Swedes out there. I have just read “Hög standard – Om Sonet, folkhemmet och starten för det svenska musikundret” (Leopard Förlag, 2018) by Swedish journalists Håkan Lahger and Lasse Ermalm. It deals with the classic record label Sonet that roamed the earth as a well respected independent company for decades before the eventual fall that resulted in Polygram taking over the brand in the early 1990s. It really is a wonderful story about men that cared about music, cared about people and saw more highs and lows than most. They basically went for broke in the 1950s and pretty much winged it until the very end. But they were also bigger than the major labels for years since they had such a solid reputation. A handshake was good enough in those innocent days and by the time it crashed and burned (along with the rest of the independents) they had a reputation among their peers on the international scene as absolute top men. A reputation well earned.

The writers of this book worked for years on this project, the result is remarkable.

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Ended my day with a beer at Captain Cook in Östersund (Jämtland County) and watched Michael Mojo Nilsson crank up his guitar with his blues mates. We are going through a bit of a heat wave over here in the last few weeks and it was a hot night in more ways than the excellent musicianship on that stage. Mojo is one of the best blues artists in Europe, his 2013 album “The Abduction Of Big Papa Mojo” is certainly top notch. And I always wanted a live album from this guy.

Seen here is a few shots from the night and the cover I gave him for RETROFUTURE 7 (2014). You can read that interview on this blog.

It was 50 years ago now (July 17 according to Wikipedia) that Deep Purple released their first album “Shades Of Deep Purple” in the US. It would take a couple of months for a UK release to appear and by then the band was already a massive hit overseas. The album would eventually climb to an impressive #24 position on Billboard, helped by the single “Hush” that peaked at #4. Hugh Hefner invited Deep Purple to his television show Playboy After Dark which was the beginning of an enduring love affair between Purple and America. It should be noted that the first lineup was very much a product of its time and although you have flashes of brilliance on this album, it would ultimately be the second lineup that would really conquer the world. But in America in particular, “Hush” (which was a Joe South cover) remains a mainstay to this day.

It is worthy of note that Purple was first out of the gate of the Big Three – the other two being Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.

Spitfire

Posted: July 16, 2018 in General, TV & Movies

A documentary film titled “Spitfire” will be shown in UK cinemas tomorrow and tomorrow only. It is part of the 100th Anniversary of the RAF.

Queen Of Hearts

Posted: July 16, 2018 in Classic Rock, General

I have to show you this cover a little larger than usual. King Company from Finland is set to release their second album “Queen Of Hearts” on August 10. They have really good covers and the music is kind of grounded in the late 1980s. No word as yet on a Vinyl release, but with a cover like this it should happen.

Rock Masters

Posted: July 16, 2018 in Classic Rock, General

This is interesting. We have a couple of budget priced Double CDs coming up with Sweet and Uriah Heep on July 27. They are part of a new line of products called The Masters Collection. The collections may be a bit on the cheap side but you do get a lot of music for your money. And the covers are not that bad.

The Japanese hologram phenomenon Hatsune Miku is making waves. The mega show called Miku Expo is coming to Europe with shows in Paris, Cologne and London in early December. The show is visiting several cities Stateside right now and it is a huge success. It all started in 2004 when the Yamaha Corporation presented a music creation software that allowed users to write music and has it performed by Idol style Vocaloids. With “Vocaloid 2” (2007), Crypton Future Media created Hatsune Miku and the Vocaloid became a runaway success. Today the franchise is enormous and the most well known songs (most of them written by Joe Public) are being performed by a live band that flanks the hologram star with a stunning show that makes you think of Disney. The escapism is on a monumental level, but it is well crafted and highly entertaining. And fans will also be able to wave a lightstick in the air in unision, which is considered good fun by many.

Check out an official live clip from Japan 2016 here.