Gasolin'


Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1969-71) 

- Franz Beckerlee -- lead guitar, sax, harmonica, vocals 

- Kim Larsen -- vocals, guitar 

- Wili Jønsso -- bass, keyboards, vocals 

- Bjørn Uglebjerg -- drums, percussion 

 

  line up 2 (1971-80) 

- Franz Beckerlee -- lead guitar, sax, harmonica, vocals

- Søren Berlev -- drums, percussion, acoustic guitar (replaced 

  Bjørn Uglebjerg) 

- Kim Larsen -- vocals, guitar 

- Wili Jønsso -- bass, keyboards, vocals 

 

  supporting musicians (1971)

- Mogens Mogensen -- backing vocals 

 

 

 

 

- Franz Beckerlee (solo efforts)

- Christianhavns Bluesband (Franz Beckerlee and  Soren Berlev)

- Dream City (Soren Berlev)

- Exploding Mushroom (Wili Jonsson)

- Kim Larsen (solo efforts)

- Starfuckers (Kim Larsen)

 


Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Gasolin'

Company: CBS

Catalog: CBS S 64685

Year: 1971

Country/State:  Kobenhaven, Denmark

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 

Catalog ID: 1178

Price: $60.00

 

Formed in 1969, the initial Gasolin' line-up featured the talents of by lead guitarist Franz Beckerlee, singer Kim Larsen, bassist Wili Jønsso, and drummer Bjørn Uglebjerg. In 1970 the band scored a contract with the small Spectator label, releasing their debut single: 

 

- 1970's 'Silky Sally' b/w 'I've Got to Find The Loser (Spectator catalog number MS-112) 

 

Switching to the larger Sonet label saw a second, equally obscure three track EP: 

 

- 1970's 'Child of Institution' b/w 'The Escape' and 'W.J' (Sonet catalog number T 7259) 

 

Following a personnel change that saw original drummer Uglebjerg replaced by Søren Berlev, the group returned with a third single: 

 

- 1971's 'Johnny The Jackpot' b/w 'Get in Touch with Tomorrow' (CBS catalog number 7183) 

 

inner sleeve photo: left to right: Wili Jønsso - Kim Larsen - Franz Beckerlee - Søren Berlev

 

Like the earlier singles, this one did little commercially, but rather than dropping the band CBS management elected to finance an album - 1971's self-produced "Gasolin'" (also referred to as "Gas 1").. Unlike their earlier singles the debut album found the band writing and performing in Danish. It may have done wonders for domestic sales, but essentially ensured the album never had a chance of breaking through in the States. Shame since the performances were quite impressive.   Larsen certainly had an impressive voice; raw and rock and roll ready.  While he may not have been the most original guitarist you've every encountered, Beckerlee was more than capable of churning out excellent lead guitar moves (check out his performance on 'Fra Dag Til Dag'.   The big problem remained the Danish lyrics.   Say what you will about the language, but it lacked the fluidity of French, or Spanish which meant, no matter how strong his vocals, Larsen's performances came off as harsh and gutteral - check out 'Laphophora Williamsii'.  I've sometimes found myself making up my own English words to the songs.  By the way, I've always loved the Hergé designed cover art. 

 

full gatefold cover

(side 1) 

1.) Langebro (traditional - Kim Larsen - Wili Jønsson - Franz Beckerlee)- 3:20 

Their version of the traditional ballad 'Geordie' sounded like it was heavily inspired by Baez' cover (which had been renamed 'London Bridge'). They also transplanted the location from London to Copenhagen, though they kept the song's original dark and somber tone. Larsen clearly had an impressive voice, though the Danish lyrics were completely lost to my ears.  Nice harmony vocals throughout.  The track was tapped as a Danish single.   For anyone interested, YouTube has what appears to be a 1990's Danish television  performance of the tune by a solo Larsen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omDlmQHhXdI   rating: *** stars

2.) Hej Christoffer (Kim Larsen - Franz Beckerlee) - 4:13 

Powered by some tasty Beckerlee lead guitar 'Hej Christoffer' was a surprisingly commercial and radio-friendly pop-rock tune.  Surprisingly this one was tapped as a single.   rating: **** stars   

3.) Fra Dag Til Dag (Wili Jønsson - Franz Beckerlee) - 4:26 

Nice hard rock tune carried by more first-rate Beckerlee lead guitar.  In terms of overall quality this one could have given most English bands a run for their money.     rating: **** stars

4.) Lille Henry (Kim Larsen)- 2:28 

Pretty, largely acoustic ballad.   rating: *** stars

5.) Tremastet Beton  (Will Jønsson - Mogens Mogensen)- 5:29 

'Tremastet Beton' sported a pretty melody (perhaps the album's best), but wasn't so much a song as an opportunity for Danish poet and sometimes musical collaborator Mogens Mogensen to recite some of his work.  No idea what it was about, though Mogensen seemed to get kind of riled up towards the end ...   rating: ** stars

 

(side 2) 

1.) Solfangen Dag (Wili Jønsson - Franz Beckerlee) - 3:14 

Another hard rock--ish number built on Jønsson's nice bass work and showcasing one of Beckerlee's better lead solo efforts  rating: **** stars

2.) Laphophora Williamsii - (Kim Larsen - Wili Jønsson - Franz Beckerlee)- 3:23 

Kind of a nice Lou Reed-meets-John Mellencamp vibe going on the breezy rocker 'Laphophora Williamsii'.   rating: *** stars

3.) Jeg Kan Høre Dig Kalde (Kim Larsen - Soren Berley) - 3:15 

Maybe it was the harmonica, but 'Jeg Kan Høre Dig Kalde' exhibited a bit of Dylan flavor ...   Nice tune.   rating: **** stars

4.) Strengt Fortroligt (Kim Larsen - Wili Jønsson - Franz Beckerlee) - 4:31 

Blues-rock ballad that demonstrated the band's nice harmony vocals and some of Beckerlee's Hendrix influences.   rating: *** stars

5.) Lilli-Lilli (Kim Larsen - Wili Jønsson)- 5:02 

Catchy, commercial rocker that served as a 'B' side to the 'Langebro' single.   Based on this one, Beckerlee should probably stick to lead guitar, rather than atonal sax (I think he started out play free form jazz and it showed).  rating: *** stars

 

 

The album's Dutch single was:

 

  

 

- 1971's 'Langebro' b/w 'Lilli-Lilli' (CBS catalog number 7183)

 

 

 http://www.kjukken.dk/tekster/albumgas.php


Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Gas 5

Company: CBS

Catalog: 80993

Year: 1975

Country/State:  Kobenhaven, Denmark

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve; minor edge wear; Danish pressing

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID:SOLD  6096

Price: SOLD $20.00

 

So be forewarned, produced by Roy Thomas Baker, most 1975's "Gasolin' 5" was sung in Danish which was likely to be a major turnoff to the rank and file American audience.  That said, if you could get over the language issue (remember for most rock fans, English is a second language), the collection was quite impressive.  You could also try to track down a copy of the US version of the album - 1976's 'Gasolin'"  or the UK version entitled "What a Lemon" both which featured the bulk of the album translated and performed in English.

 

                 

   Epic catalog number PE 34149        Epic catalog number EPC 81436

 

Recorded at Copenhagen's Rosenberg Studio on a 24 track mixing board (the mixing board was featured on the album cover). Thomas-Baker and engineer Freddy Hansson gave the album an incredibly dense sound (try listening to the collection on a good pair of headphones).  I've always been a big fan of Larsen's ragged, powerful  voice; though to my ears he's actually sounded far better when singing in Danish.  Kudos for trying a couple of tracks in English ('Fatherless Hill' and ''Lonesome Avenue'), but the strain of trying to sing English detracted from the overall performances. Featuring an all-original collection, this was prime form Gasolin''.  Thought the ten tracks offered up a mixture of genres including detours into country ('Lonesome Road'), the emphasis was on pop and rock numbers that retained a distinctive commercial sound ('Rabalderstræde' and 'Sjagge').

 

"Gas 5" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Rabalderstræde   (Kim Larsen - Willi Jönsson - Mogens Mogensen) - 4:56

'Rabalderstræde' opened the album with a pounding rocker.  Great tune with some tasty effects laden guitar from Franz Beckerlee.  The song also showcased the band's knack for crafting catchy melodies.    Ccourtesy of YouTube you can actually see a performances of the tune: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BF9QETcSMaQ   rating: **** stars

2.) Fatherless Hill   (Kim Larsen) - 4:15

One of the album's few English performances, 'Fatherless Hill' (I'm guessing something got lost in the translation), found the band shifting gears.  A mid-tempo pop number with a killer hook, the track featured some wonderful Beckerlee jangle guitar/sitar.   rating: **** stars   

3.) Lonesome Avenue   (Kim Larsen) - 3:25

Another English performance, 'Lonesome Avenue' found the band taking a stab at a country ballad.  Not exactly my favorite track, but you had to give Larsen credit for turning in a surprisingly good performance (try to imagine an American artist singing in Danish).   rating: ** stars

4.) Sjagge   (Pedersen - Mogens Mogensen) - 3:07

Built on an insidiously catchy Berkerlee guitar riff and sporting a slinky, slightly ominous edge, the rocker 'Sjagge' has always reminded me of something Golden Earring might have recorded.  Great rocker.   rating: **** stars   

5.) Masser af Success   (Kim Larsen - Mogens Mogensen) - 3:33

'Masser af Success' (traslated as 'Lots of Success'), was a pretty acoustic ballad, though due in part to the fact the song was slow, you had a tendency to focus more attention on the vocal.  On the positive side, Berkerlee use the song to turn in one of his prettiest solos.   rating: *** stars   

 

(side 2)

1.) Refrainet er Frit   (Kim Larsen - Franz Beckerlee - Soren Berlev - Wili Jonsson - Mogens Mogensen) - 4:13

Side two opened up with another crunching rocker.  Musically it wasn't anything particularly original, but it sure did crank out some energy.  It was tapped as a Danish single.   YouTube clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOGUKYJ0xjk  rating: *** stars   

2.) Kvinde Min   (Kim Larsen - Franz Beckerlee - Soren Berlev - Wili Jonsson - Mogens Mogensen) - 2.42

'Kvinde Min' was a pretty acoustic ballad with one of Larsen's most impressive vocals.  Picture something a ,mid-9170s British band like Smokey might have recorded, but with a much tougher vocal.  YouTube clip at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QOFJyrLgbQ   rating: **** stars   

3.) 1975   (Kim Larsen - Franz Beckerlee - Soren Berlev - Wili Jonsson - Mogens Mogensen) - 3:32

'1975' returned to straight-ahead rock with a great rhythm track and one of their more commercial structures.  The song featured Larsen's best sneering vocal.   rating: *** stars   

4.) Sct. Emitri   (Kim Larsen - Franz Beckerlee - Soren Berlev - Wili Jonsson - Mogens Mogensen) - 4:43

No idea what it was about, but the ballad 'Sct. Emitri' was probably the album's most commercial and radio-friendly composition.  It sounded perfect for top-40 radio and I've always been a sucker for Wili Jonsson's harpischord.   rating: **** stars   

5.) Good Time Charlie   (Kim Larsen - Franz Beckerlee - Soren Berlev - Wili Jonsson - Mogens Mogensen) - 3:59

A slow, blues-rock number, 'Good Time Charlie' was the album's third English language performance.  Kind of plodding and predictable, all told it was one of the album's less distinguished performances.   rating: ** stars  

 

A pair of Danish singles were released off the LP:

 

- 1975's 'Rabalderstræde' b/w 'Kvinde Min' (CBS catalog number CBS 3555)

- 1975's 'Refrainet er Frit' b/w 'Good Time Charlie' (CBS catalog number CBS 3826)

 

For anyone interested, Larsen has a website at:

http://www.kjukken.dk/tekster/albumgas.php

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Gasolin'

Company: Epic

Catalog: PE 34149

Year: 1976

Country/State:  Kobenhaven, Denmark

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: promo stamp

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD 6097

Price: SOLD $20.00

 

Immensely popular in their native Denmark (ah one of Europe's rock and roll hotbeds), Gasolin' never made much of an impression in the States. Formed in 1969 and showcasing the talents of guitarist Franz Beckerlee, drummer Soren Berlev, singer/rhythm guitarist Kim Larsen and bassist Wili Jonsson, starting with 1970's "Angaende Lone" the quartet released a series of highly popular Danish sets, before Epic signed them to a short lived American distribution deal in 1976. 

Teamed with producer Roy Thomas Baker, 1976's "Gasolin'" was a compilation pulling together a mixture of material from their earlier European releases including the bulk of "Gasolin' 5",  most of it rerecorded with English lyrics.  In case you wanted to hear it, the blazing rocker  'Rabalderstraede' was the lone reflection of the band's native Danish catalog. Admittedly, on paper it didn't sound very promising effort ... wrong assumption !!!  Occasionally sounding like Golden Earring meets The Guess Who ('Lonesome Avenue'), Larsen may have been singing phonetically, but exemplified by original material such as 'What a Lemon', 'Rebel Run', 'Fatherless Hill' and 'It's All the Same To An American Dane' the quartet rocked with more energy and convention than 90% of American or English bands - give me these guys over Whitesnake any day.  Elsewhere, the harpsichord-propelled 'Sad Song of the Bluebird' was one of the year's prettiest ballads. In spite of rave reviews, the set vanished without a trace. (Always loved the Tage Hansen cover painting.)

 

"Gasolin'" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) What a Lemon  (S. Malone - D. Beck - J. Bredsdorf)- 4:57

2.) Fatherless Hill  (Gasolin') - 4:16

- One of the few performances the band originally recorded in English,, 'Fatherless Hill' (I'm guessing something got lost in the translation), found the band shifting gears.  A mid-tempo pop number with a killer hook, the track featured some wonderful Beckerlee jangle guitar/sitar.   rating: **** stars   

3.) Lonesome Avenue (Gasolin')- 3:25

Another English performance, 'Lonesome Avenue' found the band taking a stab at a country ballad.  Not exactly my favorite track, but you had to give Larsen credit for turning in a surprisingly good performance (try to imagine an American artist singing in Danish).   rating: ** stars

4.) Rebel Run  (Gasolin' - T. Petersen - D. Beck)- 2:58

5.) Lots of Success  (Gasolin' - D. Beck)- 3:40

'Lots of Success' (originally entitled 'Masser af Success'), was a pretty acoustic ballad, though due in part to the fact the song was slow, you had a tendency to focus more attention on the vocal.  On the positive side, Berkerlee use the song to turn in one of his prettiest solos.   rating: *** stars   


(side 2)

1.) It's All the Same To An American Dane  (Gasolin' - M. Moloney - D. Beck)- 3:54
2.) Lady Oh Lady  (Gasolin' - M. Moloney) - 2:43
3.) Sad Song of the Bluebird  (Gasolin' - M. Moloney) - 4:31
4.) Rabalderstraede  (Kim Larsen - Wili Jonsson - Gasolin' - Morgansen) - 4:50
5.) The Last Jim (instrumental)  (Gasolin') - 2:51


As mentioned earlier, the band continued recording through the 1980s, accumulating an extensive European discography. I'm aware of at least 15 albums including a couple of retrospectives, though none have seen an American release.

 

 

 

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