Monday, October 9, 2017

JASON'S FLEECE – Jason's Fleece (Mercury, 1970)

International relevance: ***
English vocals

Jason's Fleece was a supergroup comprising several famous members about to become even more famous in the years following their first and only album.

Singer and guitarist Hawkey Franzén had been in Lea Riders Group immortalized by ”Dom kallar oss mods” in 1967, one of the rowdiest and most psychedelic 45's ever to come out in Sweden, subsequently gaining international notoriety when it was included (with misspelt title) on ”Pebbles Vol. 3”. Franzén also had a solo album out prior to Jason's Fleece.

Flute player Björn J:son Lindh and drummer Jan Bandel were fresh out of Atlantic Ocean who released one highly sought-after album in the same year as Jason's Fleece, ”Tranquillity Bay”. Of course, Lindh had several solo albums out in the 70's, as well as session musician credits on numerous albums.

Made in Sweden main man Georg ”Jojje” Wadenius is another frequent session player – he's played on literally hundreds of albums over the years. He rose to international fame during his stint with Blood Sweat and Tears during the first half of the 70's.

Remarkable bass player Göran Lagerberg has a striking CV as well, including the highly talented ”Swedish Beatles” Tages in the 60's, Kebnekajse, Fläsket Brinner, Tillsammans, Egba, Bolon Bata, and... Well, you get it.

New York born jazz bassist Red Mitchell had an international career as a sideman for everyone from Gerry Mulligan and Clark Terry to Paul Bley and Henry Mancini before moving to Sweden, becoming a stalwart on the Swedish jazz scene.

Singer and guitar player Sam Ellison released the ”Jag vill ha en lessen häst” 7” in 1970 which actually was Jason's Fleece before they adopted the name. The following year, Ellison (whose real name was Elison, with a single L) released an eponymous album, and then became an in-demand session player for a couple of years.

Sax blower Kenneth Arnström was in Handgjort along with Lindh, Bandel and Greg FitzPatrick, and is also on the Tillsammans album (but so is everybody).

With such an illustrious cast, one could expect ”Jason's Fleece” to live up to its reputation but sadly, it doesn't. Despite good intentions and great ambitions, the album is rather anemic second tier pop psych with minor dashes of blue eyed soul. It looks good on paper, but with the possible exception of the Beatles flavoured ”Damn Long Way Behind Us”, the album simply refuses to take off. Maybe it's a matter of entities cancelling each other out? Maybe they just couldn't muster up enough inspiration once it was time to enter the studio?

Someone who certainly couldn't justify his remuneration was cover designer Göran Rossander. Progressive layout or just a good old lapse of imagination? I'd say the latter.

1 comment:

  1. I beg to differ a bit. It's a good album with some really great moments, f.ex. Cash box lady and Winter comes on slowly. Get it if you can or listen to it on Spotify and make up your own mind about the musicmusic because it deserves some attention. A forgotten gem I'd say.
    Impeccable musicianship and Sam Ellison has got a very nice voice, powerful and tender at the same time.