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Monday, July 07, 2008

ABBA meets ABLUTION (1973/1974)

R.I.P. Ola Brunkert (1946-2008)

Ola Brunkert, the former drummer with the Swedish pop group ABBA, has been found dead with his throat cut at his home in Majorca. He is believed to have fallen through a glass door in his kitchen.
The body was found in his garden at Arta, on the holiday island's north-east coast, at about 8pm last night (Mar. 16) by a friend and neighbour.
Officers from the Civil Guard are investigating. A spokeswoman at the paramilitary police force's headquaters in Madrid said today: "All the indications are that this was a tragic accident.
"A glass door in the kitchen of the house was shattered and it appears that this man fell through the door. He then managed to get out into the garden where he died."
She added that Brunkert, 62, had been alone at the time and that there were no signs to indicate that there had been any intruders.
But she added: "The investigation is still continuing and the results of an autopsy will be required to confirm that the victim died as a result of the cut he received."
Ola Brunkert had been a jazz drummer and also a member of the blues band Slim's Blues Gang, before joining the pop group Science Poption in the mid-1960s. Then, through working with guitarist Janne Schaffer in the jazz-pop group Opus III later in the decade, he became a session musician from the 1970s onwards.
Ola's first known session with ABBA was also the group's first single, People Need Love.
According to an internet profile Ola, together with bass player Rutger Gunnarsson, is probably the only musician to appear on all ABBA's albums.
He was one of the most frequently used Swedish sessions musicians during the 1970s and also toured with ABBA in 1977, 1979, and 1980.
He had lived in Majorca for many years.
So here are two groups that Brunkert played in. The first, ABBA, was his best known, and "Ring Ring" was an early hit for the group. Straightforward pop with a rock beat.

Here's the allmusic blurb:
This early Ulvaeus, Andersson hit is notable because it gave ABBA their first massive success in Europe outside Sweden. Although "Ring Ring" is a much simpler affair than later ABBA songs like "Mamma Mia" or "The Name of the Game," it displays the melodic inventiveness and the knack for insidiously catchy pop hooks that Ulvaeus and Andersson have shown throughout their careers. Utilizing a simple but well-crafted story line lyric penned by pop songsmith Neil Sedaka with his partner Phil Cody, "Ring Ring" takes its tale of a lonely girl waiting for a phone call from a suitor and pumps it up into an operatic slice of pop that builds from soft but emotional verses into a full-throttle chorus full of frustrated yearning. Ulvaeus and Andersson also throw in a surprising minor-key break in the middle of the chorus that gives the song an added emotional kick before its final line. The latter element adds an unusual richness to "Ring Ring" and thus makes it a good example of the densely layered but easily accessible pop craftsmanship that made ABBA international favorites.

Song: "Ring Ring" by Bjorn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid (a.k.a ABBA)
From the LP "RING RING" (Polar) Mar. 26, 1973

LINEUP:
Benny Andersson : piano, vocals
Agnetha Faltskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad : vocals
Bjorn Ulvaeus : acoustic guitar, vocals
Ola Brunkert : drums
Rutger Gunnarsson : bass
Roger Palm : drums
Janne Schaffer : guitar
Mike Watson : bass


In complete opposition to this is Brunkert's jazz side. In 1974, he was in a one-shot group called Ablution that played groovy jazz-rock. Half the musicians were Swedish, the other half British or elsewhere. The group also included two favs of mine: jazz guitarist Janne Schaffer (also with ABBA) , as well as the great John Gustafson on bass (in between Roxy Music albums, it seems). There are plenty of drum fills to sink your teeth into!

Song : "The Nard Finished Third" by Ablution (composed by Pete Robinson)
From the LP "ABLUTION" (CBS) 1974

LINEUP:
Ola Brunkert : drums, percussion
Malando Gassama : percussion
John Gustafson : bass
Jayson Lindh : flute, Fender piano
Pete Robinson : keys
Jan Schaffer : guitar
Barry de Souza : drums, trumpet

Get it here : ABBA - Ring Ring
Get it here :
Ablution - The Nard Finished Third

1 comment:

Dana said...

First of all, what a horrible way to die.

That ABBA song was cute.. I haven't heard that one before.

The second song is SS (soooooo Simon!). I admire the way you find songs with about a million different instruments (well, what sounds like), including the FLUTE, that are funky!