Blond - The Lilac Years (1969)

Posted by Amelia Swhizzagers On 7:56 AM

Blond grew out of the Swedish heroes Tages, who ruled Sweden's hit parade during their 1964-67 heyday and arguably was one the best Scandinavian rock groups in the 60's. 1969's Lilac Years, a failed attempt to reach the British music market, is their most psychedelic album featuring moody pop-psych melodies, great guitar works, weird effects and lush orchestration. Produced by Andy Henrickson (King Crimson, Quatermass, Life and Jericho).
Tommy Blom left Swedish band tages in 1968, however the surviving members of the bands line up Danne Larsson rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist, Anders Töpel Lead guitarist and backing vocalist Lasse Svennson Drummer and backing vocalist, together with Tages bassist Göran Lagerberg leading the new project, that came to be known as BLOND named after the Bob Dylan LP Blonde on Blonde together with their old producer they went into full force to try once more to record an album, and they decided to do this over in England. The Lilac years, is an ace grand production, that goes deep trough fields of rock n and pop, blues jazz, and even deeper into folk music, to me one never senses the absence of their former front man Blom,
Lagerbergs grand melodic genius who now comes into light more than ever before, and while tages was a group of tight direct yet perfect little nuggets, with blond, the band becomes a bit braver, and manages to move out even more of the pop nugget frames and successfully emerges into even bigger arrangements at places, were they either go into more epic lengths around 6 or 7 minutes ( as on the albums title track, the folk rock arranged retitled Swedish folksong de sålde sina hemman, or the groovy blues jam Caroline complete with hand drums and percussion flowing throughout the track ) and if not they manages to take their shorter songs trough many fantastic levels as well, notable on the fantastic Sailing Cross The Ocean that crosses between swing rock, raga rock and folksy/waltz crossings

At first glance The Lilac Years might seem stiffer and more forced than Tages late 60s, But really the songs never loose their touch, and a lot of effort was put in the production, that it must have been exhausting, but hard work paid of as BLOND put out a complete and awfully strong effort, thick, but filled with melodic genius, and really stellar musicianship, and a great ambition to hit of grand, and make a grand production, with all ideas given space to flow trough, in magnificent arrangements, this album also features ace arrangements from the London symphony orchestra, that sweeps along on striking songs such as the magnificent “flowers in the morning” also recorded by British Cilla Black the same year(although under a different title If I thought you’d ever change your mind), and by Swedish Doris, a few years later, a strong beautiful ballad that captures a great melodic sense and that captures one to a great extent, during its three minutes of play time.
It features some gripping organ work to, and together with Deep inside my heart, they are the two strong ballad numbers that balance a already colourful and strong production, we have top ace rock n roll, on songs such as _six white horses; with mean guitars (some overdubbed by Anders Nord) and Hoy can I pray when I don’t believe Pick on a Buss
swaying Pschycadelic folk lost child reminiscent of Crosby stills and Nash a bit in the arrangement , we have country and western touches in Sun in her hand featuring banjo plucking and such together, together with a flowing piano, and orchestra and organ,
And we have a jazz swing rocker in the girl I once had with killing brass thrown in and some really ace boogie rhythm and neat vocal delivery.

Neat upbeat flowing is all over in I Wake up and call and Time is Mine in the end it comes of as a warmly crafted ambitious album, a colourful and truly ace production, that should be considered as a real gem, that really captures the time of the late 60s well, as well as being a strong and very creative effort, and this should to be considered as one of the top albums of the 60s, and perhaps it should have been, if the group toured more, and the album was spread more widely. Apparently it did not turn out this way, as some members left the group to go for military service, and other projects came in crossing their path, but before the group dissolved in 1971, Björn Linder and Anders Nord came in as substitutes (the two had made some overdubs on the album tracks Caroline and six white horses for the album) Nord wouldn’t stay around for to but was around long enough to feature on the blond single were they’ve backed Örjan Ramberg on the Balladen Om Killen single release, produced and written by Lagerberg, that captures the moody feel of a restless teenager, looking back in reflective and nostalgic mood which is also featured on the CD. While this line up never got to play live in front of an audience Nords substitute came to be Björn Töpel, Anders Töpels kid brother. Lost Child/How can I play when I don’t believe came as the groups last single, and in between they also managed to perform on Swedish TV , which was recorded in December 69, and broadcasted in December the following year. By JanFreidun
Tracks
01. Deep Inside My Heart
02. Sailing Across The Ocean
03. Six White Horses
04. Time Is Mine
05. The Girl I Once Had
06. The Lilac Years
07. I Wake Up And Call
08. Sun In Her Hand
09. I Pick Up The Bus
10. There's A Man Standing In The Corner
11. I Will Bring You Flowers In The Morning
12. Caroline
13. Lost Child *
14. How Can I Pray When I Don't Even Believe *
15. Balladen Om Killen (Del 1) *
16. Balladen Om Killen (Del 2) *
17. The Weight (Live/Bonus) *
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