Album Reviews
Band: Backwood Spirit

Title: Backwood Spirit

Label: Pride & Joy Music

Back in the early-mid 70's, there used to be a few folks around where I lived who always seemed to belong to a secret sect or something on those lines, well, that's what I thought when I used to see them all together in their long hair, flared jeans, cheese cloth shirts and denim jackets, talking in some strange tongue of 'yeah dude' or 'cool man'.  Thing is, this was in Gateshead, so the Geordie twang was still there, slightly giving the game away that they weren't as 'hip' as they were, but what I did take notice of was the music they played on their tape recorders when they all got together at Saltwell Park, which for an Osmonds fan at the time ( come on, I was only 11!!), was a bit too noisy but intriguing at the same time. 


When my older sister suddenly started buying records that were on the same lines, I'd sneak in her room and play them, slowly but surely realising that this music, especially by a band called Bad Company, was actually quite good, and from then on, unknown to me, a seed was sown for my later teen years when the likes of Thin Lizzy, AC/DC and Boston came to prominence.  Ta Sis!  Why is he prattling on, I can almost hear you moan! Well folks, I have in my hand an album by Swedish band Backwood Spirit that as soon as it started to play, instantly transported me wa-ay back to those times I'd prattled on about there, because between then, Goran Edman (vocals), Kent Engstrom (guitar), Joje Lindskoog (drums), Niclas Boson (bass guitar) and Peter Emilson (organ/keys), play some mean 'retro' blues rock that literally belie their age on this smashing long player.


I mean, the so laid back, shuffling drummed 'Gimme Good Lovin', that begins the album is classic Free to a tee, the vocals bang on Paul Rodgers, then suddenly it takes a turn towards that Southern feel of The Black Crowes with it's Hammond sound and choiristic harmonies on 'Piece Of The Peach', which literally turns into a jam session as the kick ass solos take over.  Staying within that vibe, 'Ain't Got Love' slows things down to tearjerker tempo, the heart tugging guitar at the forefront here, as it is at the minimalistic opening to the Bad Co-esque 'Take Me Home', Edman's vocals as heartwarming as a glass of Mulled wine on a winters night, Engstrom's luscious guitar flowing throughout.  Groovy, Ma-a-an!! 'When Love Comes Around' benefits from the swirling keys by Emilson and some quite funky bass-lines via Boson, all held together with the crunching fretwork that toughens up the track just when it needed it, but as 'Soul To Soul' makes an entrance, EVERYONE will declare ... Black Crowes!!  Jumping Jesus, how close to 'Remedy' is that opening riff?? It's as if Mr. Robinson is there in person, yet even as Engstrom's solo veers the track away on another route for a few seconds, it's those soaring harmonies in tow that keep things in Crowes-land. Swirling. Yeah, that's how you'd describe the guitar-work that subtly brings the uber-laid back, body swaying 'Get Your Wings' into play, moving along very gently, thank you, putting the listener into the type of comfy zone that makes us want to stay there and watch the sun rise, before slowly building up to a crescendo (of sorts!) of power drumming, Hammond styled keys and strong vocals.


Ok, get the spliffs and incense sticks out, dudes, we're heading off towards late 60's Hippy territory on the final track, 'Water Of Change/Rainbow', the intro alone mind bending with the sound of rippling water, birdsong, atmospheric keys and guitar that sound amazing, before the Beatlesque vibe pours in and our spaced-out, multi-coloured, hypnotic journey begins and ends in a matter of seconds! Whoaa, what the Hell just happened?! I'm going to give this a listen on my earphones in a dark room to get the full effect, which will probably be awesome, so I might not see y'all for a while ... OH YEAH, IT WORKS!!!!!!  What a great way to bring this coooool long player to a close, though personally I'd loved a couple of more tracks than the 8 that are on show here, but that's me just nit-picking as I enjoyed it so much, so thanks for the memories, Backwood Spirit, you've made an achey, bald 54 year old feel like he was 12 all over again, and that's why I began this review the way I did. Just a pity I didn't look that way now!!!


Review by: Robb Baldwin



1.  Gimme Good Lovin' 
2.  Piece Of The Peach
3.  Ain't Got Love
4.  Take Me Home
5.  When Love Comes Around
6.  Soul To Soul
7.  Get Your Wings
8.  Water Of Change / Rainbow  


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