Hansson & Karlsson show many of the typical traits of the progressive rock movement in the late '60s and early '70s. Being an instrumental organ and drum duo, they indulged in half-hour long improvisations and named their songs in the style of "Towards Brave New Goals." But when they started recording totally improvised albums with a heavy, mauling organ and jazzy drums, there were few or any other groups that sounded like them. And compared to most groups to come, their Hammond sound was still heavier and their drums jazzier. Probably influenced by jazz pianist Jan Johansson, who had become famous with jazzy adaptations of Russian and Swedish folk melodies, Hansson & Karlsson were among the first rock groups to include elements of traditional Scandinavian folk music in their somewhat bewildering mix of jazz, rock, and classic music. In just a few years, the folk connection would be exploited fully by bands like Träd, Gräs & Stenar, and especially Kebnekaise, but in 1967 it was still rare. This compilation contains tracks from Hansson & Karlsson's first and second album, arguably their best ones. One track, "I Love, You Love," is taken from the live album Rex, and "Canada Lumberyard" was only released as a single. It is also the only track not written by the duo themselves, but by composer Bill Öhrström. Hansson & Karlsson's entire production is not that big, and this album gives a good idea of what they sounded like. The number of short tracks found here could be surprising, but a closer look at the original albums shows a mix of extremely long (22 minutes) and extremely short (one and a half minutes) songs.
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AllMusic Review by Lars Lovén