Monday, October 9, 2017

JOHN-ERIK AXELSSON – Spår (G-Produktion, 1972)

International relevance: **
Swedish vocals

John-Erik Axelsson was a remarkably untalented singer/songwriter from Malung who somehow managed to convince G-Produktion (home of Acke & Gurra) that it was a splendid idea to release not one but two numbingly inept albums in the early 70's. Both albums were released as Axelsson.

In the liner notes to his first album ”Spår”, Axelsson gladly explained that the arrangements were a group effort but that he, as a self-proclaimed dictator, was in charge of the final results. I guess he was ultimately responsible for ”Spår” too but maybe he shouldn't take too much pride in it. 'Real people' and outsider albums can be amazingly intriguing, but they can also be amazingly bad – not good bad, just bad bad. ”Spår” fits the latter category, falling somewhere inbetween Erik Aschan and U.S. dunce Cosmic Michael. Just to say something kind about it: it's short, less than 28 minutes.

If I had to pick the best or rather, the least worst track, it would be "Barkbrödsdag".
Not only was Axelsson a sub-par songwriter, a sub-sub-par singer, a sub-sub-sub-par guitar player, he was also a sub-sub-sub-sub-par lyricist. While there's no doubt his concerns with, for instance, environmental issues were sincere, his ability to express them weren't quite Nobel Prize winning material. Try this line from "Ode till Göran Nilsson": ”Det är så långt till ditt öra/men nu måste du höra” (”It's so far to your ear/but now you've got to hear” – and no, it does not sound any better in Swedish).

It's possible, even likely, that some will find the unintentional silliness cute and the naivety endearing, but an album this unimaginative and scoring this high on the bungler scale just makes me feel antsy and uncomfortable. I've seen ”Spår” compared to Kjell Höglund but that's as close you can get to defaming Höglund without being prosecuted.

Year of release might be incorrect. I've seen it listed as 1970 but according to "The Encyclopedia of Swedish Progressive Music" it was released in 1972 so I stuck with that.

Ode till Göran Nilsson

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