Straight Outta Stockholm

Straight outta Stockholm, crazy motherfucker named Hansson
From my picture on the back of ‘…Rings’ your ma thinks I’m handsome
When I’m called off, I got a sawed off Mellotron
Squeeze the trigger, and hit my instrumental song
You too, Frodo, if ya fuck with me
The nazgul are gonna hafta come and get me
Off yo ass, that’s how I’m goin out
For the prog motherfuckers that’s showin out
Orcz start to mumble, they wanna rumble
Mix em and cook em in a pot like gumbo
Goin off on a motherfucker like that
with an Ent that’s pointed at yo ass
So give it up smooth

Ain’t no tellin when I’m down for a jack move
Here’s a murder rap to keep yo dancin
with a criminal record like Sauron
Shelob is the tool
Don’t make me act the motherfuckin fool
Me you can go toe to toe, no maybe
I’m knockin’ goblinz out tha box, daily
yo weekly, monthly and yearly
until them dumb motherfuckers see clearly
that I’m down with the capital C-P-T
Gollum you can’t fuck with me
So when I’m in your neighborhood, you better duck
Coz Bo Hansson is crazy as fuck
As I leave, believe I’ll stomp him
but when I come back, boy, I’m comin straight outta Stockholm*

Thus rapped Bo Hansson on his 1972 opus Music Inspired By The Lord Of The Rings.  True story.  Almost.

Bo Hansson Lord Rings 01

Bo had originally been in a band called The Merrymen who had supported the Stones and jammed with Hendrix (who was impressed enough to record his track ‘Tax Free’), when that ground to a halt he retreated into those twin rock and roll death traps, Tolkein and synthesizers.  Recorded in a summer-house on an island off Stockholm Hansson created a musical envisioning of Frodo’s various travails.  Copies of Sagan Om Ringen, released in 1970, made their way to the UK, possibly clutched in Gwaihir’s talons and Charisma snapped up an option on it and Music Inspired By Lord Of The Rings was born.  Incidentally, the title had the ‘Music inspired by’ bit added at the insistence of Tolkien’s publishers, who also nixed Hansson’s desire to add vocal textures to some of the tracks too and so the album remained purely instrumental.

Bo Hansson Lord Rings 02
That’s a shimmering ball of wizard power at the bottom right – not poor photography

Needless to say the album’s mix of deft Mooging and lengthy atmospheric passages inspired by the nation’s favourite reading matter soon insured that Music Inspired By The Lord Of The Rings caused a big stir amongst British heads.  My folks have a copy and I know most of their friends do too**.  But is it any good? well … I would say it is an LP very much of its’ time and there is good and not-quite-bad here.

Bo Hansson Lord Rings 06

The first three tracks are my favourites, ‘Fog on the Barrow-Downs’ particularly for its icy atmospherics which could slot right into some of Eno’s later work.  Hansson uses light and shade really well and his gentle, precise playing is a treat.  It’s not an original comment but there are echoes of Meddle-era Floyd here and here, ‘The Grey Havens’ particularly and I do love that keyboard sound.  At its best it provides some great lying on your back, staring at the ceiling listening moments.

An English student listening to this LP, circa '73.
An English student listening to this LP, circa ’73.

Where it works less well is whenever he hits the jets and gets a bit more up-tempo, it all threatens to turn into the jiggy bit from Spinal Tap’s ‘Stonehenge’ from time to time.   It all gets a bit Bo Fiddly, for my tastes.  Mike Oldfield was definitely listening though.

Bo Hansson Lord Rings 05

421 Down.

Middle Earth's most wanted
Middle Earth’s most wanted, FWA (Fellowship With Attitude)

*all my own work, although I do admit to being slightly influenced by NWA ‘Straight Outta Compton’.  Okay, okay, so I just changed a few of the words! Jeez, leave me alone already! Cracking tune though.

**Santana Caravanserai, being the other LP I used to spot in everyone we knew’s record collections.  Yup, even as a little kid I used to make a beeline for people’s collections – I liked the pictures.

P.S  – Obviously I can’t relate to the concept of being bound by unwisely putting a ring on my finger that cannot be got rid of unless it be cast into the fiery pits of Mount Doom!  Nope.

Bo Hansson Lord Rings 04

 

 

13 thoughts on “Straight Outta Stockholm

  1. At first I was alarmed at being pre-empted on a Bo-Post. But no, it’s fine. Another amusing and thoughtful appraisal.

    LOTR – the album – is certainly one that benefits from personal associations for me – how you found that drawing of me on a 1973 Year 12 English class excursion, I have no idea – and it is indeed a magnificent ceiling/cloud gazer of an album.

    Musically I prefer the next album, “Magician’s Hat”. But Bo’s LOTR gains bonus points for being originally released in 1970 – the very birth of prog and a full year-and-a-half before “Meddle”. Who’s zooming who, eh?

    Like

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