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Made In Sweden (Sweden) - 1970 - "Made In England"
(40 min, "Mellotronen"/"Universal")


*****+
Winter'sa Bummer 5:25 (Wadenius, S. Heine)
You Can't Go Home 3:25 (Wadenius, S. Heine)
Mad River 5:02 (Wadenius, S. Heine)
Round about5:03 (Haggstrom, Wadenius, Borgudd, S. Heine)
Chicago- Mon Amour 5:05 (Wadenius, S. Heine)
Love Samba 7:25 (Haggstrom, Borgudd)
Blind Willie 3:27 (Haggstrom, Wadenius, S. Heine)
Little Cloud 7:33 (Wadenius, R. Wallis#)

Arrangements by the band, except: 3 & 7 (by Neil Ardley) & 3 & 7 (by N. Ardley & T. Reeves). Recorded by Terry Evenett at "Pye" and by George Chkiantz* at "Olympic" studios, London, UK. (*George is still a closest friend of Francis Monkman who played in Curved Air then.) Produced by **Tony Reeves (of Colosseum's 1st incarnation). (**The members of Made In Sweden are friends of Tony.) Originally this album was released in the UK through the Swedish 'Sonet Records' division in London. Another version of the album's title was "Mad River". Remastered by Claes Persson at CRP Recordings, Sweden, 2001. (#Roger Wallis was a producer of the band only 'live' album of 1969).

Line-up: Georg Wadenius - guitars, organ & piano, vocals; Bo Haggstrom - electric bass, mellotron & piano; Tommy Borgudd - drums & percussion.

Prologue. It's obvious that it's a bit strange even to compare Made In Sweden's original discography depicted in the story of this band in the CD booklet to that which is penned in the Gibraltar EPR. In other words, the latter edition's version of the said discography contains one studio album more, so I guess it is necessary to delete the unnecessary one. There is an interview with the bandleader of Swedish prog-pioneers in the CD booklet, and who but Wadenius himself really knows all these and other Made-in-Sweden details? All became clear after I looked at the Made In Sweden discography in the GEPR once again where the band's same debut album "Made In Sweden" - a.k.a. "With Love" - was penned twice with the second version of the title as the "real" debut one. So it's time to correct Made In Sweden's discography in the GEPR, as only the following one is true:

---1968 - "Made In Sweden" (a.k.a. "With Love")

---1969 - "Snakes In a Hole" (this one featured the Danish violinist Svend Asmussen as a special guest)

---1969 - "Live! At the "Golden Circle" (Note: it's almost clear that "Live" contains only new material)

---1970 - "Made In England" (a.k.a. "Mad River")

---1976 - "Where Do We Begin" (Note: with Wadenius as the only original member of the band)

Well, 1970 was a year of the first rich 'progressive' harvest, but a few bands had been already working on the first fields of Progressive since 1966. First of all, these were the guys of Pink Floyd whose debut album of 1967 was the very first brainchild of Progressive Rock. The bands that (no matter, why and how) came to a similar 'conclusion' - to perform the most complex Rock Music in the years of the second half of the 1960s were the following. Clear Blue Sky (the review on their 1st album is here, Made In Sweden (according to the GEPR and the CD booklet), The Moody Blues and The Beatles (their self-titled double was the only progressive, on the whole, album they created, but by no means "Sergeant Pepper"). While Jethro Tull's second album (of 1969) became their first progressive one and, as well as all previously mentioned, was just a bit lacking of something to be the perfect progressive work; a bit later the same year King Crimson found those failing connecting links to create that perfect progressive album. Finally, in 1970, the international Progressive Rock movement became a reality to be counted with. (Note by Progressor: I am familiar well with the creation of Procol Harum, Traffic and the likes, including their early albums released in the second half of the 1960s, and I consider neither early nor the other albums by these bands as truly progressive at all.

The Album. "Made In England", created by trio Made In Sweden, as well as all the band's three previous albums (except their second which featured a guest violinist in addition), has a very rich sound - as if there were four to six musicians performed on the album. While Made In Sweden prefers to sing in English and to play music that is typical for early British Progressive (exactly of the same 1970) and in which I don't hear any Swedish (at least Scandinavian) roots at all, I can still easily see that their music is all their own: it's as highly original as music of the majority of Rock bands at the time in general (let alone the progressive ones). Yes, talking of originality, I consider such a charisma as the main trump of any artist of any genre. It's obvious, however, even (the best manifestations of) pop-music demonstrate various forms of true originality. So, concerning Progressive, there are at least two more important points that artists of our genre need for their music to be of a high 'progressive' quality. I mean composition (including arrangements) and performance (including the musicianship). Listening to "Made In England" I find all those progressive 'ingredients' that are necessary to rate it as an excellent album. However, bearing in mind that "Made In England" was released at the very Dawn of Progressive, I have to admit that this is a bit more than just an excellent progressive album. There are no instrumental compositions on the fourth Made In Sweden work, but each of the eight songs featured on the album is filled with variegated vocal and instrumental arrangements. I've listened to the album already five times (though it arrived to me just three days ago) and still can't 'choose' which of the songs I like most. Probably, this case just indicates the band's stability, in other words the equal quality of the 'production' the band is able to offer the listener at the moment. The mastery of each of the trio is really amazing, and their joint instrumental work is especially impressive.

Summary. Of course, 1970 was already a year of such progressive monster-albums (read 'pure masterpieces') as "Jesus Christ Superstar", "H To He Who am the Only One" by Van Der Graaf (Generator), "Trespass" by Genesis", "Lizard" by King Crimson and self-titled by Emerson, Lake & Palmer. However, such albums as "Made In England" by Made In Sweden are not only some significant documents of the development of Progressive Rock. The music the band perform is so intriguing and interesting, it's so sincere, after all, that sounds incredibly refreshing even now - more than years after the album was released. All in all, "Made In England" is one of the best progressive albums of 1970.

VM. May 25, 2001


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