The Old Man & The Sea - s/t. 1972 Denmark

The Old Man & The Sea - s/t. 1972 Sonet

(moving this entry forward to call out the new stunning Shadoks LP reissue!)

CD reissues: 2003 Dunk; 2011 Belle Antique (Japan mini-LP)

LP reissue: 2013 Shadoks (Germany)

Packaging details: For as long as I've been collecting progressive rock (mid 1980s), The Old Man & The Sea's sole album has probably been Scandinavia's most sought after major label record, along with Junipher Green's debut. As such, it was always too expensive for me to buy a copy. Unfortunately, for years on end, this album thrived strictly in the bootleg market - both on LP and CD. Then in 2003, unbeknownst to everyone (including me) there was an authentic CD put out by a small label called Dunk. No one even carried it for sale! And it was just as obscure as the album itself, though not as expensive of course. Finally, in 2011, Marquee's Belle Antique put out a fresh copy completely remastered by former band member Tommy Hansen - who also happens to now be a famous producer. This is an unusual move for Belle Antique, who are usually content to put fancy packaging on already remastered CDs. So the only way to really get a quality CD reissue of The Old Man & The Sea is to fork over for the Japanese mini-LP. As for the packaging, the original gatefold album cover is stunning - thus a perfect vehicle for the mini-LP format. And recently Shadoks has come through with a beautiful LP reissue. The thick gatefold has been replicated perfectly, and includes an insert with a full history and interview. They even received permission from Universal to use the original orange Sonet label!

Notes: Musically speaking, The Old Man & The Sea fits squarely in the Scandinavian / Northern European sophisticated heavy rock bag. Heavy organ and guitar lead the instrumental solo sections, while rough English vocals add a bluesy feel to the proceedings. It's definitely influenced by the "Vertigo" UK sound, but of course deep divers will likely recognize other Scandinavian acts such as Norway's Ruphus (first album) or Host, Finland's Kalevala, and Sweden's November. Excellent album.

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