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" Isn't it easy to say, I'll go my way Am I the first one to pray that she will stay!'

The HEP STARS-THE HEP STARS Decmber 1966 Available on Swedish CD

The Hep Stars were Sweden's biggest home grown rock group of the mid 1960's.
They featured Benny Andersson on keyboards and Svenne Hedlund on vocals, Janne Frisk on Guitar,
Christer Pettersson on drums and Lelle Hegland on Bass.
This self -titled album is the Hep Stars third album and probably their most consistent album. The Hep stars have a slightly mellower sound here than on the earlier work.
This is where Benny emerges as full-fledged songwriter and his talent is already blossoming. The CD version of this has eight songs written by Benny and or Björn. (Six of which were on the original LP.)

The first song Björn and Benny ever wrote together, the exquisite, "Isnt It Easy To say" is here. The oft-told legend has it that "Isnt It easy to Say" was written in the office of Björn's father's papermill after Björn and Benny had met at a party in Vastervik that both the Hep Stars and the Hootenanny's attended. Another result of their colloraboration was the trading of songs. The Hep Stars recorded a version of the Hootenanny Singers hit "No time "which is done here at a less sleepy pace than the original.(Björn cowrote "No Time"). The Hootenanny's recorded a version of the Hep Stars's "Sunny Girl".


A real standout track is one of Benny's solo compositions, a #2 Swedish hit called "Consolation" -it's seemingly the lament of a dead (or metaphorically dead) lover . Benny's organ melds well with the band here.The chorus hook soars to the sky on the strength of the band perfomance.

Benny also wrote the haunting classically
influenced "Sound of Eve" which features some lovely piano and what would seem to be actual birdsong. The backing vocals on "Sound of Eve' are ambitious.
A promo bio of Benny at the time indicates that Benny already had developed an interest in bird-watching) which later lead to the release of birdsong record on Benny's record label. The "Sound of Eve' is one of those hidden little gems in the ABBA related catalog.


Two of the most famous Hep Stars
song are here. The Hep Stars biggest international hit-"Sunny Girl"(written by Benny) is found here as a bonus track.
Also here is "Wedding" a wedding march written by Benny and Svenne that later was played by Benny at Björn and Agnetha's wedding in July 1971.
The Hep Stars version of the Hootenanny Singers hit "No time ' is done here at a less sleepy pace than the original.(Björn cowrote "No Time")

The best of the non-Benny songs is the anti-war song" Last Night I had the Strangest Dream" which like a lot of songs here has some solid 3(or more) part harmony which Svenne sings with Benny and Janne or perhaps Felle. Felle was the group's stage manager/sometime roadie/bassist/ and backing singer.The Swedish version of the same song can also be found here. (The Hep Stars often did English and Swedish versions of the same song). All in all, this album stands up well against albums by some British and American artists of the time.

This CD is a must have for students of the songwriting of Björn and Benny.

HEP STARS CD track listing

 

No time (Ulvaeus-Dean)
The birds in the sky (Bjarenas)
Consolation (Andersson)
Easy to fool (Ost-Himmelstrand)
Sound of eve ( Andersson)
Isn't it easy to Say (Andersson-Ulvaeus)
Lady, lady (Andersson)
Last night I had the strangest dream (MCurdy)
Morning comes after night (Bjarenas)
I've said it all before (Martin-Morrow-Arnold)
Wedding( Andersson-Hedlund)

Tracks not on original LP but added to CD reissue-

Sunny girl (Andersson)
Hawaii (Wilson)
When my blue moon turns to gold again (Sullivan-Walker)
I natt jag drömde (McCurdy-Vreeswijk)
Jag vet (lindeman-Stutz)
Don't (Lieber-Stoller)
Malaika (Mdawida)
It's nice to be back Again(Andersson)


Details for the HEP STARS 1966 self-titled album
 
Released December 1966 on Swedish Lp
No production credit

Engineered by Gert Palmkrantz

Reached # 12 on Swedish chart

Original album recorded August to December 1966

Bonus tracks recorded January 66 to May 1967

Recordings made at Phillips Huset, Stockholm

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