It’s all too easy these days. You make a record on your laptop, bung it on a website, and potentially the whole world can be exposed to your genius at the click of a mouse. Fifty years ago, though, the information superhighway was a forbidding, uncharted wilderness, and Scandinavian rock rarely ventured beyond its own chilly shores. So young Norwegian guitar virtuoso Terje Rypdal had his work cut out getting his band The Dream’s debut album noticed by the wider rock world.
Eventually, though, it would become a sought-after rarity on the hitlist of psychedelic record collectors, who had been alerted to its considerable charms during the intervening years. And now you 21st century prog pickers don’t even have to crate-dig half of Northern Europe or splash out on eBay for it, as it’s been reissued by Norwegian label Round 2. You don’t know you’re born.
With some such recordings you get the dawning realisation that the rarity was more of a selling point than the quality – not so here. Most satisfying for the rockers among us are tracks such as the Floyd-ish Ain’t No Use, You, an organ-soaked, blues-voiced romantic lament, and You’re Right About Me, a tuba-honking jazz mooch that resembles The Coral having a soundclash with Cream. If the ‘j’ word suggests a key influence on Rypdal, we’d seen nothing yet – the freeform instrumental meanderings on Ain’t No Use are also a pointer to where Terje Rypdal would later go, turning into a key figure in the Norwegian jazz community after this short-lived flirtation with acid rock.
But you’ll probably prefer Hey Jimi, a tribute to Hendrix replete with screeching, wailing guitar work and
a pretty fair impression of the great man’s gutsy vocal delivery. It warns its subject, ‘something wicked this way comes, longing to drink your blood and suck your bones white’ – Hendrix was said to have been a fan when sent
a copy of this album on its release. You may well be too, and this time you won’t have to get on a plane to get your hands on a copy.