Ebba Grön – “Live” (1998)

Ebba Grön is one of the early Swedish punk bands, having formed in 1977.  I had them on my list of bands to look for during our first trip to Stockholm, but came away empty handed; this time around, however, I found a copy of the 2015 RSD re-release of Live, a collection of live tracks from the 1980-82 period.  Live was originally released in 1998, and copies of that version sell in the $150-200 range, so I’m glad to see it got repressed.

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Like many early punk bands, Ebba Grön focused on the young working-class and at times were seen as anti-fascist and anti-capitalist.  Bassist Lennart Eriksson even spent some time in jail for refusing to do his compulsory military service, an incident that ultimately led to the band’s dissolution.

Ebba Grön’s style of punk rock was simple, fast rock ‘n’ roll.  It’s got the classic sneer and swagger, reminding me more than a bit of The Clash (check out “Die Mauer”).  One of the best songs on this collection is the unusually ballad-esque and emotional “Mental Istid,” a heartfelt departure from the overall feel of Live.  But there’s plenty of solid rock ‘n’ roll here as well on tracks like “We’re Only In It” and “Schweden Schweden”.  There are a handful of covers too, most notably to non-Swedish audiences Chuck Berry’s “Rock and Roll Music” and Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild.”

Live will definitely appeal to fans of classic punk, and most of the vocals being in Swedish isn’t a serious detractor – the sound quality is great and all the rawness and emotion is there whether you understand the words or not.

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