Σάββατο, 7 Απριλίου 2012

Merit - Queen of Swedish Hammond Folk Groove '71-'77



  Swedish Hammond Folk Groove, yeah!! We hadn't heard of her before we came across this, but now we know she made a handful of records in the '70s that brought together ancestral Swedish folk melodies, jazzy Hammond organ grooving, and some colorful psychedelic moves. Merit's Hammond is at the fore, playing her own swingin', riffin' take on these traditional tunes, but the arrangements also variously incorporate '70s funky wah-wah psych guitars, her lovely, wordless vocals, flutes and bongos and more... It's all so sunshiney and delightful, reminding us of everything from Hansson & Karlsson to Turid to The Free Design to a calmer, mellower version of Aavikko! And of course modern-day Swedish folk organ duo Sagor & Swing.
Merit's music is gentle, soulful, rhythmic -- so nice! It's total "grooving with trolls and flowers in the forest funk". Not your everyday organ jazz that's for sure, though Merit got her start in the '60s playing jazz -- she came over to the New York City to study, taking piano lessons from both Joe Zawinul and Lalo Schifrin and even getting to sit in with Miles Davis's band! But soon she went in a more pop/funk direction, and then became inspired by Scandinavia's rich history of olden folk music to create the sounds heard here.
The twenty tracks on this collection are all from albums originally released between 1971-1977 (Huvva, Trollskog, Bergtagen, Balsam, and Hoven Droven) except for a couple of recently-recorded tracks at the disc's end done in a similar style, featuring as sidemen members of currently happenin' Swedish retro-leaning rock bands (and big Merit fans) Dungen and The Ark! That's right, while obscure for years even in Sweden, she's undergone a bit of a hipster rediscovery lately and in fact this disc (the first time on cd for most of this music) is the prelude to a new album due out this year. 






                                                                Enjoy!

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