Tasavallan Presidentti - Pop Liisa 01. 1973 Finland
CD issue: 2016 Svart w/Jukka Hauru & Superkings
LP issue: 2016 Svart
Tasavallan Presidentti are one of the "big 2" when talking Finnish progressive rock in the early 70s, at least from a commercially successful standpoint in their own native land. Like Wigwam, the band are known as diverse - but uniformly excellent - songwriters. Unlike Wigwam, they acted more as a cohesive unit when composing, and thus their albums were more consistent on the whole. But in Finland itsellf, Tasavallan Presidentti were most known for their live concerts, which were driven strongly by an improvisational desire. Lead by superstar guitarist Jukka Tolonen, the band moved in and out of lengthy jams with ease. Up until now, there hasn't been any aural evidence of this side of the band. Once again, these fantastic archival finds from Svart have opened up a new window for all of us to peek inside. For this session, recorded September 12th, 1973, Tasavallan Presidentti offer up two lengthy jams. The first 'Lennosta Kii', clocking in at 19+ minutes, is not easily recognizable. It's actually a composition from equally legendary jazz man Eero Koivistoinen, taken from his rare debut LP recorded in 1968. For those who have their doctoral studies in Tasavallan Presidentti's music, you then will recognize this main melody as 'Caught from the Air' from Milky Way Moses, though with Finnish vocals and significantly rearranged. As far as jams go, 'Lennosta Kii' is more than satisfactory, though perhaps not exceptional. The second and last jam is 'Dance' (14:28), taken from Lambertland, and extended considerably here. This performance is much more engaging, and there's a point past the half way mark where the band is firing on all cylinders and they catch a trance induced groove that is highly infectious. This takes the album one more notch on the rating scale. Overall the session seems like a completely new album, and not simply live readouts of previously recorded material. An absolute can't miss purchase if you at all have any interest in 70s Finnish progressive rock.
I have yet to hear the second session on the CD from Jukka Hauru, though a quick scan through the notes promises great rewards. Given that I already enjoy his two studio LPs, I'm buying the premise. Probably will have something to share next week on it.