The Pink Fairies

Finland Freakout 1971

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It takes the Pink Fairies 47 minutes to make their way through a mere four songs on this recording of the band playing Finland's Turku Rock Festival in the summer of 1971, and that was after they'd been given copious amounts of speed by one of Canned Heat's roadies (or so claims drummer Russell Hunter in the liner notes). In the manner of their good friends in Hawkwind, the early Pink Fairies had no qualms about stretching out a tune in front of a crowd, but there isn't a whole lot of placid meandering on Finland Freakout 1971 -- Hunter bashes his drums within an inch of their life (pity poor Rod Coombes of Juicy Lucy, who let Hunter use his drum kit when the Fairies' gear failed to arrive in time), Duncan Sanderson's bass rumbles like a motorcycle gang that's just arrived to burn down your home, and Paul Rudolph's guitar is a blurry mass of fuzzy wailing hovering over the top in an effort to give this ferocious attack something like a melody. There are moments during the epochal covers of "Walk Don't Run" and "Tomorrow Never Knows" that the Pink Fairies suggest some acid-and-speed ravaged answer to Ten Years After, taking the snazz of good ol' rock & roll and dragging it into the excess of the '70s, but "The Snake" and "Uncle Harry's Last Freakout" (the latter clocking in at an impressive 20 minutes and rolling into a coda that sounds a lot like "I Wanna Be Your Dog") are something else again, a take on the hippie musical consciousness that was tougher and more muscular in the wake of the spiritual and chronological demise of the '60s. This show was recorded for Finnish radio and the sound quality is good for a live set of this vintage, while the performances show greater drive (if less precision) than the Pink Fairies revealed on their debut album, released the same year. It's intriguing stuff for neophytes and a worthy addition to the catalog for longtime fans.

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