Alongside their compatriots WIGWAM, TASAVALLAN PRESIDENTTI were the premier ensemble who put Finland on the international progressive rock map – proudly brandishing their fusion credentials throughout numerous line-ups that intermittently spanned, from 1969 onwards, four decades. And while the collective, reformed last time in 2019 to stage a couple of concerts celebrating their 50th anniversary, will hardly deliver new music anytime soon, the fans don’t lose interest in the Suomi veterans, which is why their archival releases – the first of these arrived in 2019 too – are so eagerly embraced.
January 13th is to see the series continued with the CD issue of two more titles, focusing on the early phases of the band’s journey.
“The Lost 1971 Studio Session” stems from the group’s performance for YLE Broadcasting Company in Helsinki – a historic set that captures the last time the Finns played for radio with their original singer, the British warbler Frank Robson. If he stayed, it could have become the combo’s third album, as there are a few cuts which would land on “Lambertland” in 1972, after Eero Raittinen had replaced him at the fore, and listening to those tracks prototypes should be extremely fascinating.
1. Impressions Of India
2. Falling Deeper (aka The Bargain)
3. Celebration Of The Saved Nine / After Celebration
4. Hills And Dales
Harking from the shows preserved for posterity the following year, when the team successfully toured the UK, “State Visit” captures the aforementioned “Lambertland” live – almost in its entirety, with one missing piece more than made up for with “Ramblin'” from guitarist Jukka Tolonen’s solo album – given a voice here – and the titular song of the yet-to-be-recorded “Milky Way Moses” that, in 1974, would mark the end of the collective’s first lap of existence. Until then, they were flying high and, returning from Blighty, landed in Sweden to charm the Gothenburg audience, which is the gig stored on the disc now next to two tracks the group laid down for the Swedish TV show “Opopoppa” – surprisingly never bootlegged, so it’s a treat to hear them half a century after the programmed aired.
1. Celebration Of The Saved Nine / Bargain
3. Milky Way Moses