This 2-CD Anthology set consists the history of one of the first Danish Progressive Rock bands called Burnin’ Red Ivanhoe. Championed by people like the late John Peel and Julian Cope of The Teardrop Explodes who wrote an amazing article and history about the Danish Rock scene entitled Danskrocksampler that he compiled 12 years ago on his Head Heritage website on some of the favorite bands he admired from the late ‘60s and in the golden-era of the ‘70s.
Formed in 1967, the band blend in the styles of Jazz, Psychedelic, Blues, and Progressive Rock and it covers compilations from their debut album M144 in 1969 to the Right On album in 1974. This is a real must-have anthology set if you want to delve into more of the rock scene in the Netherlands. And Esoteric Recordings have scored something magical and get your ears perked up to hear and listen why this band were so ahead of their time.
The blaring psychedelic turned improvisation rocking adventure into outer space of Ksilioy, gives the band a hypnotic and swirling voyages from the spooky organs, flute reverbs, and Floyd-sque guitar workouts into the Milky Way. Since I’ve mentioned about the Floyd, you can hear a bit of that on Purple Hearts which has this psych-pop twist as if they were writing a sequel to See Emily Play.
The thumping intro with a freak-out mind-blowing flute solo done by Kim Menzer, Ivanhoe I Brondbyerne buzzes into amazement thanks to incredible guitar work that goes through a wah-wah lead section before ending in a climatic crescendo. But it’s Karsten Vogel that deserves some recognition. His Alto Sax and Keyboards really set the stratosphere for BRI’s music.
You can hear the essence of Coltrane through his blood and sweat as he brings the magic on pieces like; Antique Peppermint, Saxophone Piece 1, the homage to the Rolling Stones on Ivanhoe in the Woods, and the New Orleans Jazz mourning walk for Ida Verlaine. Both Kaj and Tingle Tangelmanden channel the styles of Serge Gainsbourg while the acoustic folk-up tempo beats sets a driven sound into the road on the Canal Trip.
Delving into the blues-jazz rock approach with a blaring harmonica improv and free-jazz midsections for Gong Gong the Elephant Song as the Coltrane inspirations come at you again for the Secret Oyster Service which was on their second sole self-titled release produced by Tony Reeves and Eddie Lee Beppaux, an alias name for John Peel who championed the band. Then on the second CD, it goes from the WWW album which is based around the story of Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe and straight into Right On.
All About All carries the psych-pop surroundings of early David Bowie along with the mid-tempo turned fast-driven finale of I Want the Rest of My Life Surrounded with Money that brings the resemblance of the Space Oddity sessions. The band had split up in 1972 and some of the band members would later to form Secret Oyster. Then, BRI came back in ’74 and did their fifth album, Right On.
The band moved from their Psych-Jazz Rock roots into a heavier territory. You can hear the rumbling and eruptive power for August Suicidal that almost resembles a bit of Uriah Heep in there followed by a gothic/mournful composition of When I Look into Your Eyes. They don’t lose their Jazz influences and they bring the funk-fusion into the punches featuring the wah-wah pedal crunch for the Rockin’ Rambler.
The 12-page booklet features an interview with Karsten Vogel and a history of the band’s music with liner notes done by Malcolm Dome. It is a rare and special occasion on why they are still such an amazing yet overlooked band in the Danish Progressive Rock scene that hopefully will get the recognition they deserve.