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Undertakers Circus

UNDERTAKERS CIRCUS is a jazz-rock band from Lillestrøm, Norway, with their most active period between 1967 and 1976. With a full horn section accompanying traditional rock instruments their sound resembles bands like CHICAGO and BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS, but with melodies and harmonies more of the BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST and THE MOODY BLUES mode.

They were one of the first rock bands in Norway to sing in their native language, and they often wrote lyrics with political and social content. They also put music to two poems by working class poet Rudolf NILSEN. Other lyrical subjects ...read more

UNDERTAKERS CIRCUS is a jazz-rock band from Lillestrøm, Norway, with their most active period between 1967 and 1976. With a full horn section accompanying traditional rock instruments their sound resembles bands like CHICAGO and BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS, but with melodies and harmonies more of the BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST and THE MOODY BLUES mode.

They were one of the first rock bands in Norway to sing in their native language, and they often wrote lyrics with political and social content. They also put music to two poems by working class poet Rudolf NILSEN. Other lyrical subjects was, amongst others, Norwegian history and Norse mythology.

In 1968 they released their first single, "Little Boy Blue"/"Gotta Get Away" (both Curtis MAYFIELD covers), but it took them another four years to get signed by Polydor and release their second single, "Riil køntri mjusik"/"Menuet silikose". A shortened version of "Menuet silikose" later emerged on the bands first album, while "Riil køntri mjusik", which was an ironic comment to the discussion between music snobs and the rest of the country's artists, became their greatest ever hit, although, as it was musically based on THE LOVIN' SPOONFUL's "Nashville Cats", it wasn't very representative for the band's sound.

The following year they released their first album, "Ragnarock". At the time the band counted 11 members: Thor S. GRENI (vocals), Per Kristian LINDSTAD (guitar), Frank MYRSETH (guitar), Stein GUDMUNDSEN (vocals, congas), Erik THOEN (bass), Frode KILDAL (drums), Øystein BJØRK (trumpet), Johnny TORP (trombone), Kjell KRISTOFFERSEN (trumpet), Ivar HOVDEN (tenor sax) and Wiggo NILSEN (trombone). HOVDEN left the band later that year to join NEW JORDAL SWINGERS. "Ragnarock" was remastered and re-released by Pan Records in 2004, with "Riil køntri mjusik" and "Menuet silikose" (single version) as bonus tracks.

One of the songs on the album, "Nettenes Prinsesse" (The Princess of the Nights), composed by GRENI and Eigil BERG (of NEW JORDAL SWINGERS), reappeared in 1981 as "Queen of the Night" on BERG's solo album "Alhambra", and in 1999 as "Long Distance Man" on "Electric Psalmebook", an album by BIGBANG, a band fronted by Thor S. GRENI's son, Øystein GRENI.

In 1975 UNDERTAKERS CIRKUS (now written with a "k") released their second album, "Brød & Cirkus" (Bread & Circus). By then only four of the eleven members who made "Ragnarock" was left; THOEN, KILDAL, MYRSETH and GRENI, with two new members added on; Arild STAV (woodwinds, piano, vocals), who had appeared as a guest musician on "Ragnarock", and Tom DANIELSON (piano, guitar, vocals). The horn section on "Brød & Cirkus" consisted of several guests, most notably Bjørn RØSTAD, who later played in Åge ALEKSANDERSEN's (ex PRUDENCE) backing band, SAMBANDET.

Soon after the release of their second album UNDERTAKERS CIRKUS disbanded, but they've come back together for several concerts over the years, and are still active as a live band as of 2014. « hide

Similar Bands: Chicago, The Moody Blues, Popol Ace

Ragnarock
1973

3.5
1 Votes

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