Bo Hansson has released an album to satisfy the hunger of all things to do with Tolkien, hobbits, and the Lord Of The Rings.
Written by: Eric
ARTIST: Bo Hansson
ALBUM: Music Inspired By The Lord Of The Rings
SERIAL: CAS 1059
CD INFO: Discogs CD Info
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Sweden
LINEUP: Bo Hansson – organ, guitar, moog synthesizer, bass * Rune Carlsson – drums * Gunnar Bergsten – saxophone * Sten Bergman – flute
TRACK LISTING: 01 Leaving Shire * 02 The Old Forest & Tom Bombadil * 03 Fog On The Barrow-Downs * 04 The Black Riders & Flight To The Ford * 05 At The House Of Elrond & The Ring Goes South * 06 A Journey In The Dark * 07 Lothlorien * 08 Shadow Fax * 09 The Horns Of Rohan & The Battle Of The Pelennor Fields * 10 Dreams In The House Of Healing * 11 Homeward Bound & Scouring The Shire * 12 The Grey Havens * 13 Early Sketches From Middle Earth
Who was Bo Hansson? A star in his native Sweden as part of the wildly popular psychedelic duo Hansson and Karlsson who not only toured with Jimi Hendrix but had the guitar icon cover one of Hansson’s song’s ‘Tax Free’. In 1969 the pair split, finding Hansson on the rebound and recording on a remote Swedish island a classic of epic proportions.
Originally released in Sweden on the groundbreaking Silence label as ‘Sagan Om Ringen’ (‘The Saga of the Ring’) in 1970 although supposedly that version was different not only in name, but in content to the UK version with additional material. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never heard the Swedish version but have lived with the widely available Charisma issue for a few decades and in my opinion ‘Music Inspired By The Lord Of The Rings’ is one of the finest progressive rock albums ever put to tape.
To be frank, I’ve never been much into Tolkien or the whole wizard’s and hobbits thing and if you’re anything like me this shouldn’t take away from seriously enjoying Hansson’s music. In fact, this album is so otherworldly, so timeless, without the occasional glance at the lengthy album and song titles, I would never associate this with anything remotely Gandalf, Frodo or magical rings.
I know, how very ‘un-prog’ of me, but instead my mind conjures up visions of deep Scandinavian forests, midnight sunsets and the smell of crisp wintry air permeating a music filled to the brim with aural nuances. Hansson’s organ sounds rustic while at the same time futuristic with distant percussion and bell-like guitar and the opening ‘Leaving Shire’ leads the way, drawing the listener into a very special place.
Whirling melodies and lively waltzes and the sounds of howling wolves (‘Fog on the Barrow-Downs’) while ‘The Black Raiders & the Flight to the Ford’ feels like Esquivel – loungey and very 1960’s until broken up with a raw and fuzzy guitar solo from Hansson which is featured again to great effect on the stunning ‘Lothlorien’.
An all too brief Middle Eastern dance dazzles the instrumental ‘Shadow Fax’ which segues effortlessly into a Far East influenced percussive tour-de-force ‘The Horns of Rohan & the Battle of the Pelennor Fields’. The best is saved for last with the record’s longest track ‘Early Sketches From Middle Earth’ giving Hansson an opportunity to stretch out and reminding the listener this is a progressive rock album, although at times it sure doesn’t feel or sound like it.
I put Bo Hansson in the category of Mike Oldfield and in particular Vangelis whose 1973 soundtrack ‘L’apocalypse des Animaux’ has the same dreamy and ‘out there’ vibe.
Early in 2010 we lost Bo Hansson and having not released an album since 1985 his passing might have gone unnoticed outside the prog community if not for Swedish DJ’s who in recent years have sampled and given his music hipster cool.