Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Since Richie Unterberger wrote Unknown Legends of Rock'n'Roll: Psychedelic Unknowns, Mad Genuises, Punk Pioneers, Lo-Fi Mavericks and More in 1998, many of the artists he unearthed (Wanda Jackson, the Chocolate Watch Band, Roky Erickson, Can etc) have enjoyed some considerable cult -- and sometimes even mainstream, success.
Jeez, Sandy Denny whom he singled out even had a 19 CD set (yes, that is nineteen, count 'em) box set in 2010.
Some he wrote about however remain very much on the margins of human knowledge -- like The Savage Rose from Denmark.
Okay, they do get a Wikipedia page (six sentences) but that gets you no closer to their Sixties/Seventies electric and eclectic art-rock which features the vocals of Annisette who anticipated both Kate Bush and Pavlov's Dog.
Founded by classically trained Thomas Koppel (who hooked in his brother and sister for the first incarnation), The Savage Rose were keyboard-driven and after a couple of albums pulled in singer Annisette from a local rock group.
Their self-titled debut album of '68 owed very little to the prevailing winds blowing out of San Francisco or London and instead drew on European folk, jazz and Sixties beat pop as much as rock music.
The album was a success in Denmark, caught the ear of promoters in the States and they played the Newport Festival in '69 slotted betwen Sly Stone and James Brown.
Over time they tried a heavier sound, became involved with radical left-wing politics, and in the mid Seventies Annisette left the band. They carried on and became even more politically active (they played PLO refugee camps in the Lebanon in '80) but this was largely as an acoustic outfit.
They continued to record right up until Koppel's sudden death in 2006.
But it was their early progressive period which is of most musical interest: "The engaging psychedelic lightness balanced by glimpses of darker visions underneath" as Unterberger wrote.
For more one-offs, songs with an interesting backstory or just plain odd things see From the Vaults.