Wednesday, July 17, 2013

HUNTINGTON BAND – Huntington Band (Nacksving, 1977)

International relevance: **
Swedish lyrics

Dennis Huntington had made a bit of a name for himself years before he founded Huntington Band. He used to be in the little heard Lag & Ordning who released an album in 1979, ”51, Moderately Beat”, four years after it was recorded. His best known work ought to be with Love Explosion, whose ”Bästa låtar” is an unhinged proto-punk classic.

Huntington Band's only album is held in lower esteem than his previous bands. Perhaps because it's a less frantic effort, more along the lines of Motvind, Nationalteatern, Mobben and Ensamma Hjärtan's more straightforward songs. It's fair to say that it is a Gothenburg album typical of its time; the Gothenburg bands were less experimental and relied more on blues based rock with a harder edge than their Stockholm contemporaries in particular. Gothenburg has always been a workers' town, a left wing stronghold, and it's not too far fetched too say that the down to earth approach to life also affected many of the 70's bands.

It's a pity that Huntington Band's eponymous album is overlooked. Huntington himself was a good songwriter as proven by this album as much as anything else he did. ”Vad är det som händer” is a hard rocking number, while ”Barn av vår tid” (not to confuse with the Nationalteatern song of the same name) adds a semi-funky groove. ”Utan moral” veers towards Santana territory, with an eager drive and a contagious beat. Ten minute track ”Tre hjältar” rounds off the album in an angst ridden way, as grey as the concrete houses of a Gothenburg suburb. Famous saxophone player Christer Boustedt adds a crying alto sax to the song which further adds to its sense of underlying desperation. Tracks like ”Vårt samhälle” and ”Håll mig hårt” are probably responsible for giving the album a reputation of being a blues rock album, but although being a no-nonsense, straight ahead album, it's more varied than your standard palefaced blues rock album.

Being such a neglected effort, ”Huntington Band” is still pretty cheap in terms of value, but it doesn't show up very often. Being released on Gothenburg's premiere progg label Nacksving, it's likely easiest to find locally in and around Gothenburg. It's well worth to pick up if you run across it, but you should bear in mind that the focus to a fair extent lies on the lyrics, why foreign listeners miss out on some important aspects of the songs.

Huntington Band did at least one session for the Swedish Radio but they're unfortunately not included in the massive live recordings compilation box set ”Progglådan”.

Dennis Huntington also wrote songs for fellow Gothenburgers Röda Ropet, and he later became the drummer for Togges Gossar, an obscure outfit that, apart from playing at weddings and parties, released a mere three singles in the 80's. Huntington sadly died in 2011. His son Ivar Huntington plays in a band called Fred På Jorden who performed some of his dad's songs at a memorial concert in 2012. 

1. Vad är det som händer
2. Inga sorger mer 
3. Det kan vara en vän 
4. Barn av vår tid

1. Utan moral
2. Vårt samhälle 
3. Håll mig hårt 
4. Tre hjältar

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