Tasavallan Presidentti


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1969-70)

- Juhani Aaltonen -- sax, flute

- Vesa Aaltonen -- drums, percussion

- Måns Groundstroem -- bass

- Frank Robson -- vocals, keyboards

- Jukka Tolonen -- lead guitar, keyboards

 

  line up 2 (1970-72)

- Vesa Aaltonen -- drums, percussion

- Måns Groundstroem -- bass

NEW - Pekka Pöyry -- sax, flute, keyboards (replaced 

  Juhani Aaltonen)

- Frank Robson -- vocals, keyboards

- Jukka Tolonen -- lead guitar, keyboards

 

  line up 3 (1972-73)

- Vesa Aaltonen -- drums, percussion

- Måns Groundstroem -- bass

- Pekka Pöyry -- sax, flute, keyboards

NEW - Eero Raittinen -- vocals (replaced  Frank Robson)

- Jukka Tolonen -- lead guitar, keyboards

  line up 4 (1973-74)

- Vesa Aaltonen -- drums, percussion

- Pekka Pöyry -- sax, flute, keyboards

- Eero Raittinen -- vocals

- Jukka Tolonen -- lead guitar, keyboards

NEW - Heikki Virtanen -- bass (replaced Måns Groundstroem)

 

  line up 5 (1974)

- Vesa Aaltonen -- drums, percussion

NEW- Esa Kotilainen -- keyboards

- Pekka Pöyry -- sax, flute, keyboards

- Eero Raittinen -- vocals

- Jukka Tolonen -- lead guitar, keyboards

- Heikki Virtanen -- bass 

 

  line up 6 (1983-95)

NEW - Juhani Aaltonen -- sax, flute

- Vesa Aaltonen -- drums, percussion

NEW - Måns Groundstroem -- bass

NEW - Frank Robson -- vocals, keyboards

- Jukka Tolonen -- lead guitar, keyboards

 

  line up 6 (1995-96)

- Juhani Aaltonen -- sax, flute

- Vesa Aaltonen -- drums, percussion

NEW- Eero Raittinen -- vocals (replaced Frank Robson)

- Måns Groundstroem -- bass

- Jukka Tolonen -- lead guitar, keyboards

 

  line up 7 (1996)

- Juhani Aaltonen -- sax, flute

- Vesa Aaltonen -- drums, percussion

- Måns Groundstroem -- bass

NEW - Frank Robson -- vocals, keyboards (replaced Eero Raittinen)

- Jukka Tolonen -- lead guitar, keyboards

 

  line up 8 (2002-)

- Juhani Aaltonen -- sax, flute

- Vesa Aaltonen -- drums, percussion

NEW - Heikki Virtanen -- bass (replaced Måns Groundstroem)

- Jukka Tolonen -- lead guitar, keyboards

 

 

 

- The Blues Section (Frank Robson)

- Robson Tapes (Frank Robson)

- Soulset

- Jukka Tolonon (solo efforts)

- Wigwam

 

 

 

 


 

Genre: jazz-rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Milky Way Moses

Company: Janus

Catalog: JLS 3065
Year:
 1974

Country/State: Helsinki, Finland

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1638

Price: $80.00

 

I had a college buddy who somehow stumbled on to the Finnish band Tasavallan Presidentti and thought the world of them.   I remember being less than enamored with "Milk Way Moses" thinking it was simply too ponderous and jazz-rock for my pedestrian tastes.  Of course at the time I was buying the likes of Boston, Foreigner, Robin Trower ...

 

Forty years later I stumbled across a copy of the album in a used record store (I instantly recognized the striking cover) and grabbed it out of a combination of curiosity and for old time sakes.   Ironically, I remember holding the album and trying to remember the songs without much success.

 

Produced by Peter Eden, 1974's "Milky Way Moses" was the band's fifth studio release.   It was also their one and only foray into the American marketplace. Released domestically by the Janus label,  I've always wondered how the company latched on to the band.  While there were still plenty of jazz-rock influences on the collection (check out the group-composed instrumental 'Jelly'), this time out the band seemed to opt for a slightly more mainstream and rock oriented sound.  Recognize mainstream is a broad baseline which in the case included the entire musical spectrum from conventional pop-rock ('Confusing the Issue') to Zappa-esque ('How To Start a Day').   The album was also interesting for the fact the lyrics were all penned by Jim Pembroke.  What made that interesting was the fact Pembroke was front man for the Finnish band Wigwam.   Hard to imagine going to one of your chief competitors for creative help.

 

"Milky Way Moses" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Milky Way Moses   (Jim Pembroke - Jukka Tolonen) - 8:08

Kicked off by a funky little Jukka Tolone riff the title track was far more tuneful and enjoyable that I rememberedYeah, the song went on to display some of the band's jazz-rock moves (particularly the extended interplay between sax player Pekka Pöyry and guitarist Tolonen who trotted out some of his best wah wah effects), but it had a great melody and the horns weren't particularly noticable.   Great opener.   rating: **** stars 
2.) Caught from the Air   (
Eero Koivistoinen - Jim Pembroke) - 11:45

The extended, largely improvisational 'Caught In the Act' was more in keeping with what I remember disliking about the band., though it wasn't nearly as discordant as I seemingly remembered.  In fact,, hearing it for the first time in years, I was surprised to hear the song featured a killer Heikki Virtanen bass line and a nice call and response segment between keyboardist Pekka Pöyry and guitarist Tolonen.   Yeah, clocking in at over eleven minutes the tune outstayed its invitation, but other than other than the whining sax, which unfortunately got to take an extended solo, and a couple of discordant segments, the tune was far better than I remembered.   rating: *** stars
3.) Jelly (instrumental)   (
Eero Raittinen - Heikki Virtanen - Jukka Tolonen - Pekka Pöyry - Vesa Aaltonen) - 3:36

A band-wide collaboration, the instrumental  'Jelly' showcased their jazz-rock inclinations.  It certainly wasn't to my tastes, but so what?   rating: ** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) Confusing the Issue   (Jim Pembroke - Jukka Tolonen) - 5:42

Another tune built on a catchy Tolonen riff, 'Confusing the Issue' found the band returning to a more conventional pop-rock sound.  In fact, this was probably one of the most pop-oriented tunes they ever wrote.  rating: **** stars
2.) How To Start a Day  (
Jim Pembroke - Pekka Pöyry) - 13:49

Based on the lyrics alone, ' How To Start a Day' was easily the album's weirdest performance.  Another tune written by Wigwam front man Pembroke,  I won't even begin to try to figure out what the song was about - sample lyric "I could get up and make tea, but maybe water is scarce because they're having a strike".   Musically the track had its moments (particularly the last four minutes where the tune morphed into a pounding blues-rock piece, but stretched out to almost fourteen minutes, it repeatedly switched directions, losing whatever momentum it had begun to build.  rating: *** stars
3.) Piece of Mind
  (Jim Pembroke - Pekka Pöyry) - 3:30

Opening up with a nice Heikki Virtanen bass pattern, 'Piece of Mind' brought things to a calming, almost pastoral conclusion.  If you listen closely you can hear singer Eero Raittinen start a couple of second too early.   rating: *** stars

 

 

I'm not Tasavallan Presidenttii scholar, but the band apparently called it quits after the album was released.   They regrouped in the early-'80s, but didn't release another studio album until 2006's "6 Complete" (I'm guessing it was a reference to the fact it marked their sixth studio set)

 

 

 

 

 

BACK TO BADCAT FRONT PAGE

BACK TO BADCAT CATALOG PAGE

BACK TO BADCAT PAYMENT INFORMATION