Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

The Savage Rose - In The Plain

The Savage Rose
In The Plain

Released 1968 on Polydor
Reviewed by zmnathanson, 14/03/2009ce

In the cross between the anti-war in Vietnam and Black Panthers marching to the beat and stopping wars along with the music of Psychedelic and rare Progressive Rock, the Savage Rose represented everything that was political and with a message for peace of pure rock and roll. The group was formed in the late '60s by the Koppel brothers (Anders and Thomas), they knew something that what they were about to do was going to be beautiful and dynamic at the same time. It was the late writer for Rolling Stone Magazine, Lester Bangs who championed them, could see the difference as much as organist Anders and the explosive vocalist Annisette which makes you feel that the voice is coming right behind you and gives you a chill to the bone.
When the group released their self-titled debut album in 1968, and after being signed by Polydor, They knew there was another part of their music that was up their sleeve. Being bigger than Cream and the Beatles, The Savage Rose were like a flower that has just been given birth to a newborn with a taste of music up its hands and along with their second album, In The Plain, in which the late Thomas Koppel mentioned in the liner notes of the reissue in 2001, he knew that this was a breakthrough for him and the band. "We were happy, creative & powerful, with no fears and ready to go anywhere with the music."
Thomas concept of making the next Sgt. Pepper was right on and came with a magnum opus with a golden cover of the band sitting on a lawn that was more of a cross between Bebop Jazz meets The Beatles meets John Coltrane. Its idea, strangely similar to the protest of the war that was strict and like troops coming home to see a band that had the ingredients it needed for a political psychedelic rock album, seemed at the right place at the right time.
Once the pounding piano introduction that sounds pre-Glam Rock, starts off with Long Before I Was Born, where the band go into a whirlpool of terror for militant rock, the glorified upbeat number alongside other tracks that looked like an explosive device sounded fresh as Anisette's vocal arrangments that were magnificient for its time.
If Long Before I Was Born had represented the problems with the War in Vietnam with screeching vocals and clapping rhythms with the organ going a little bluesy while the drums go into a panic mode, the rest of the album was no suprise at all. Compositional pieces opened up the door including the jazzy virtuoso funeral ballads; His Own Happiness/God's Little Hand, I'm Walking Through The Door, The Shepherd and Sally, and Let's See Her went through strange and various changes; Ride My Mountain (Jade) went through a ornamental dramatic story around a young girl who's lost on top of the mountain of a lost of a child, combine with a church like sound of the background vocalist singing the line:

Ride my Mountain
I shall receive you
Ride my Mountain
I shall receive you

And the beat has a 4/4 measure with an Jimi Hendrix-like guitar solo from Nils Tuxen while Alex Riel does some early jazz beats per measure on the drums that reminded me of Elvin Jones and Ringo Starr working together as Thomas does thunderous piano work to set the scenery of the music as Anisette seems that she's fighting back tears while singing the glorified piece; Evening's Child has once again an upbeat folky acoustic classical piece followed by a small bossa nova piece on the drums that delivers a statement for Jazz listeners; and In The Plain ends on a high note on the 7-minute gloomy piece A Trial in our Native Town, a twisted world of hell and other words, oddly normal.
With the group getting ready to go in the '70s to be followers of the Black Panthers and James Brown and refusing to perform in Vietnam, The Savage Rose were almost a psych-punk-jazz movement during that time period. And its that quality of the late Thomas Koppel's songwriting and composing music for ballet a few decades earlier with Dodens Triumf that wasn't pretentious, makes the Rose such almost the danish version of Classical Jazz Punk Rock. Almost as if John Lydon meets Beethoven in Arthur Brown style as if they would do something that was outrageous.
Almost the conceptual post-apocalyptic album, The Savage Rose represented the hellish world a little bit, opening up the doors of a new generation of fans to take the music of garage and jazz at the same time. No wonder David Fricke plays it nonstop on his turntable and maybe playing about 600 times.

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