Back in 1977, I was very impressed by a story about a boy named Little Ernie and his bird Marabou. The music that came along with this story can be found on Rockpommelís Land, recorded by Grobschnitt (read the interview), one of the best Krautrock-bands from the seventies. With this concept album, Grobschnitt made without doubt one of the best German progressive rock albums ever. At the time, they could musically compete with bands as Genesis and Yes, because not only their albums reached the same high quality level, but also on stage Grobschnitt was a real treat. Their live shows featured many costumes and other props. Unfortunately, the band stopped playing and recording in 1989.
A couple of years ago, some of the former members got together to perform Grobschnittís music again. They started to rehearse their masterpiece Rockpommelsís Land in order to play it integral as one whole piece. The last time they did that was in 1981. We can now enjoy the recordings from two of those new live performances on a CD called 2010 Live. This time the original 45 minutes of music from Rockpommelsís Land has been extended into one hour of music by adding four extra tracks to the concept.
The album starts with Behind, a short instrumental track with soundscapes from cars, a marching band, a helicopter, singing monks, thunder and rain. Itís followed by Before, a new piece of music with the sound of birds and musical elements from the entire album. This track sounds as if it always belonged to the original concept. However, the concept starts when this piece ends and the first tones of Ernieís Reise coming out of my speakers. Itís striking how good Willi Wildschwein sings his vocal parts with the same German accent after all those years, but also very recognizable and enjoyable. The more songs I heard from this album, the more it became evident that the band still performs this masterpiece excellently. The sound effects from the original album are also present making the story even more realistic. After the mellow piece Anywhere, we get a short and new piece of music that also contains the vocal intro of the title track. Stoney Dance is so cleverly done that it perfectly fits the whole concept. During the title track the line-up proves to be as strong as the line-up that recorded the original album. I was gasping for breath when the final notes of the song slipped away and the end of the album was near. However, surprisingly the short and mellow piece Beyond was newly written and recorded in the studio to finish the album in style.
How great it would have been if this live-CD should have contained an extra bonus-DVD with footage of the whole show. This show should have been a visual spectacle according to the many live pictures in the booklet. It would have been awesome to see the traffic jam, the stoney heads and the bird MarabouÖ In 1977, I judged Rockpommelís Land to be a real masterpiece. If there had been a Background Magazine at the time, I should have given this album five stars, the highest rating possible. Now, 33 years later Iím in the position to rate this perfect live version that brought back a lot of memories from the seventies. So itís evident that Iím going to rate this album with a five-star now! Thank you, Grobschnitt, for taking me again into your dream world!
***** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
Link: Interview Eroc about Rockpommel's Land
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